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ISSUE 12: December 2016

MechEngNews MechEngNews





Pickin’ up good vibrations 2016 best vibrations paper


Profile Dr Lizzy Cross

What an exciting end to the year with another issue packed full of exciting stories from the Department!


Engineered to lead SELA graduation


200 reasons to love TUoS Scholarship celebrations


Where are they now? Shetima Dambatta

10 Spark! New engineering contest 11

A breath of fesh air Deni Greene award


Advancing knowledge New MSc


Pathway to engineering The new physics pathway


Researcher focus Payam Soltani


Change is on the Horizon Netirail


It’s a gas! Energy 2050


Read all about it!


The Final Word.

Our alumni have been busy this quarter, with new start-ups, prestigious awards and exciting new engineering contests, they continue to make us proud! Our students are no different, picking up awards of their own, embarking on cutting edge research and taking part in things like the Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy, we have no doubt that they will be just as successful as those who went before them. And that leaves the staff, who have been pretty busy themselves setting up research centres and travelling the world. As always, if you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me so that I can help to spread your news!

Kat Kat Buck


Follow us: @SheffMechEng /SheffMechEng


MechEngNewsThis publication is produced using 100% recycled FSC certified paper

Pickin’ up good vibrations Vibrations in mechanical systems are normally undesirable, because they can cause wear and tear, can affect the controller performance and in a worstcase scenario they can destroy the complete system. In many applications it is imperative to observe these vibrations and keep them under control all the time. Much research has been done on damping the vibrations. There have been devastating incidents caused by vibrations; one of the most famous is the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge. Constructed in 1940, this was the longest suspension bridge at that time but just months after its construction a phenomenon called flutter or aero elastic instability caused the bridge to completely collapse under gusts of only 40mph. In this phenomenon the structure starts to have larger and larger oscillations, caused initially by the interaction with the wind causing the bridge to effectively have negative damping.. Vibrations are not just damaging to structures, but can have adverse effects on controls in vehicles and a physical effect on people’s health and wellbeing.

uses a combination of a semi-active device and an active control actuator situated elsewhere in the structure to suppress vibrations. The key novelty is to use the hybrid controller to enable the semi-active device to achieve a performance as close to a fully active device as possible. This is accomplished by ensuring that the active actuator can assist the semi-active device in the regions where energy is required. Also, the hybrid active and semi-active controller is designed to minimise the switching of the semiactive controller. The control framework used is the immersion and invariance control technique in combination with a sliding mode control. A two degree-of-freedom system with lightly damped resonances is used as an example system. Both numerical and experimental results are generated for this system and then compared as part of a validation study. The experimental system uses hardware-in-the-loop to simulate the effect of both the degrees-of-freedom. The results show that the concept is viable both numerically and experimentally, and improved vibration suppression results can be obtained for the semi-active device that approaches the performance of an active device.

Irfan Ullah Khan is a PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and recently presented his research at the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference in Minneapolis, where he picked up the award for 2016 best vibrations paper. Irfan’s work presents a new hybrid active and semi-active control method for vibration suppression in flexible structures. The method

Irfan Ullah Khan (right ) receiving his award at ASME DSCC 2016.




Dr Lizzy Cross

What made you want to become a mechanical engineer? I’m not sure I ever made that decision consciously, but when I finished my maths degree I wanted to do something practical. Most of my friends were going into finance or teaching which didn’t appeal at the time. As I’d enjoyed the more applied maths I thought it might be good to give Mechanical Engineering a go. I came to Mechanical Engineering to do a Masters and haven’t looked back since.

Where did you train? Sheffield, Sheffield and Sheffield. You could say that I like Sheffield. It’s a fantastic city and a brilliant department. I feel really fortunate to work here.

What are your research interests? I’m a data person, broadly my research interests are about what we can learn from 4

the data we collect from everything around us but most commonly from structures - bridges, aircraft, offshore structures, the list goes on. Most of my research is computer based, it’s data analysis, algorithm development, but the main thing we are trying to do is assess structural condition through different measurements collected over time. We want to be able to infer the condition of our structures in operation so that we can predict if they are going to break, plan maintenance and enhance performance. The net benefits are safer and more productive structures and systems.

What are you working on at the moment? Lots of really exciting projects going on at the minute, from load prediction in landing gear to studying nonlinear responses in offshore structures. One thing that is taking some time at the minute but is particularly exciting is the design and commissioning of a new lab for the Dynamics Research


Group. Led by Professor Keith Worden, the Laboratory for Validation and Verification (LVV) is going to be a unique facility for testing full structures and components in realistic conditions (wind, rain, vibration, extremes of temperature, snow if we are lucky) - the project is part funded by EPRSC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and ERDF (England Regional Development Fund). There are lots of academics in the group contributing to this but Dr Rob Barthorpe is going to be our lab manager so I’ll leave it to him to tell you more in a future issue.

research rather than saying something like ‘bring about world peace or redesign our lives so that we can stop using land fills’?? More realistically, I’d like to be able to predict the performance of a structure throughout its life without having to attach lots of sensors to it. It’s becoming more feasible if you think about how much data we (or other people) collect about our lives and also how much we can learn from that data with machine learning - we might end up using a network of phones to tell us about the performance/condition of a building or vehicle we are in.

If there was one Mech Eng problem you could solve, what would it be?

What words of advice would you give to your student-self about the future?

That’s a tricky question for me, where does Mechanical Engineering end and begin? I guess my answer should focus on my

Life is better when you pay attention.

Engineered to lead Since its conception in 2014, we have been closely following SELA’s first cohort of students as they have grown and developed into engineering leaders of the future. In October, we proudly congratulated them on graduating from the programme and asked what they’d got out of the experience. After two years of evening talks, leadership sessions, team working and bootcamps, our first cohort of future leaders had mixed feelings about graduating from the Sheffield Leadership Academy (SELA) - pride in themselves and each other for completing the programme, awareness of how far they’ve come, and disappointment that it’s all coming to an end. At the event, graduates were given the opportunity to present to their colleagues and the new cohort of students about what SELA has meant to them. Having been involved in SELA from the very start, it was truly inspiring to see how these students have grown in just two short years. “SELA has given me the soft skills around my Engineering degree to make a real impact on my Year in Industry with Rolls-Royce,” Mechanical Engineering student Jake Brown tells us.

“Completing the two group projects as part of the SELA Scheme has given me valuable team working skills that I am now applying in my day to day job. The SELA programme played a big part in me securing my Engineering Leaders Scholarship from the Royal Academy of Engineering. This scholarship has allowed me to secure a placement in Singapore and the skills I have developed as part of the SELA programme will allow me to make the most of this opportunity.” “It’s fantastic to see how much our students have achieved together.” says head of SELA, Gary Wood. “They have grown in self-awareness and confidence, as well as learning a range of skills that have prepared them for the next step in their journey as leaders. I am excited to see how they continue to develop, and look forward to welcoming them back as future motivational speakers and mentors to inspire future SELA students.”



200 reasons to In recent years, a number of events have been organised to congratulate winners of University-wide scholarship schemes. This year, the University hosted a new combined event, bringing together scholarship winners from across a range of centrally administered schemes: undergraduates and postgraduates, home and overseas students. The 'Scholarship Celebration Evening' was held on Tuesday 1 November in the Octagon, with speeches, photographs, food and drink, and live music provided by a student jazz ensemble.


without this scholarship. I am so grateful to be given this wonderful opportunity.” Rajath Rajanandam is a first year Mechanical Engineering student from India and he won the India Undergraduate Merit Scholarship. Rajath says, “The scholarship created avenues for my parents to use the finances that I would have otherwise invested in my course to help fund my family’s charitable activities as well as give me the confidence to perform academically well in university.”

Almost 200 winners attended the celebration with seven from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. These scholarships will make a huge difference to the students lucky enough to be awarded this year, below we find out why. Hiba Khalidi joined the Department in September from Jordan and won the International Baccalaureate Undergraduate Merit Scholarship. She says, “To me, the scholarship means a brighter future and a greater chance of success. I wouldn’t have been able to come to this prestigious University let alone leave my country



Where are they now? Shetima Dambatta graduated from the Department in 2016 after studying his Masters with us. Shetima is one of the founding members of Interesting Engineering, one of the World’s fastest growing engineering news sites, with almost seven million readers, but he has even bigger plans for the future. After three years in Gaziantep, Turkey studying for his Bachelors degree Shetima, originally from Nigeria, decided that he’d like to study elsewhere for his Masters. After receiving a number of offers from other Universities, it was a call from our International Office that clinched the deal, “I never expected it and it made me feel special. It was on that day that I made up my mind that the University of Sheffield was the right choice. I was so impressed by the attention to detail. I had a conversation for almost 30 minutes with the Nigerian student ambassador which ended with ‘see you in Sheffield’. I was also excited at the prospect of combining my Engineering background with management. The combination was just so appealing.” Shetima has always had a passion for fixing things as well as a love for technology that makes things easier. He shares this passion with the world through Interesting Engineering, the website he became involved in whilst studying in Turkey. He was introduced to the founder by a mutual friend, “We shared the same passion for creating awareness about the latest developments in Science, Engineering, and Technology in such a way that it would appeal to a wide audience,” says Shetima. Over the years the team has expanded from the two of them and 3 freelance writers to a team of 13 and they have recorded remarkable growth in the size of their audience. Their following is now at 6,995,900 in just four years, a result that Shetima puts down to the passion and drive of his team and their determination to keep improving. “The most important thing I learnt from the University of Sheffield has to be diligence,” he


says, “I saw this not only in the classroom but everywhere! The academic staff, non-academic staff, and students; everyone was well motivated and dedicated to giving their utmost best. I literally just sit and admire the stuff going on around me at the University of Sheffield.”

I was excited at the prospect of combining my engineering background with management.

After leaving us in October Shetima has returned to Nigeria where he received an offer from Nile University to work as the Director of Clubs and Associations to ensure the smooth running of all the student clubs and associations at the University over the duration of the academic year. The role involves interacting constantly with the students and stakeholders within and outside the university. “I was offered the position based on the recommendation of my High School Vice Principal,” says Shetima. “He asked me to meet with the Dean of student affairs at the University for an interview and I was offered the job on the evening of the same day. They were impressed by my communication skills and the fact that I was multi-lingual. I speak Turkish fluently and the majority of the foreigners working at the University are Turkish nationals. In fact the interview was conducted in Turkish language.” But Shetima’s ambition doesn’t end there. “Apart from Engineering, I have a passion for history. During my spare time, I plan on reading lots and


lots of books, mainly biographies of people that have helped shape the world we live in and major historical events that have left lasting effects. I want to be involved in the government at some point in time. I want to have a say on the policies and decisions, especially related to education, that shape the world I live in and the world my children and generations after them would live in. “I would love to see policies that would lead to the improvement of our tertiary institution. Incentives to increase the level of research and quality of facilities. I want the Universities to have enough funds and support to partake in ground breaking research that would add value to Nigerians and the world at large. “I believe education is a basic right and everyone should have access to the very best quality of education. I can definitely see myself returning to school to further my own education in the near future, Sheffield hopefully. Learning is a continuous process and I want to keep learning amongst the best.” In the future Shetima plans to set up a tea, herbs and spice farm in Nigeria. After four years living in Turkey, where the average person consumes 6.961 pounds of tea per year, it’s no wonder that Shetima has developed a love of the stuff. “Tea farming is not so popular in Nigeria, however, I want to be different. I want it to grow into a family business and I see it as a way of creating employment as it is a labour intensive process. I would one day love to brag about having the finest tea in Nigeria, and maybe the world!”

We are nothing but a collection of days, so make every single one count.

“I have always been lucky to have the best mentors I could ever wish for around me. An advice I would give to a younger me is one I have heard countless times over the years: ‘We are nothing but a collection of days, so make every single one count’.”



The Spark! Contest was conceived two years ago by Mech alumnus Nicholas Morris and his Parisian colleague Hadrien Rhonat with the aim to foster a Franco-British community of Energy, in order to bring a pool of young talent closer to Industry. Driven by a passion to develop opportunities for Young Professionals in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), Nicholas Morris, a 2011 graduate of the Department, cofounded the Spark! Contest with the invaluable help of other Industry Leaders to help identify and develop the next generation of leaders in Energy. The competition is now open to both current and former students to produce innovative thinking on a topic related to Energy, under FrancoBritish supervision. This year’s focus is on nuclear and alternative energies, exploring the energy management, legal and socio-political challenges of cutting-edge nuclear technology: Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). “Having previously studied in France at INSA de Lyon as part of my undergraduate studies, I was readily versed in the French culture and language when I was seconded to Paris from EDF Energy to develop the relationship between the French and British sides of the company.” says Nicholas, “Now, five years later, I have seen various colleagues, both British and French, take the plunge and opt for an expatriate opportunity. Despite French


fears of the lack of (good) cheese in the UK, and British fears of a national shortage of (proper) tea, the general consensus is a positive, eyeopening and memorable experience.” Knowing the importance of exposure to an international professional community at an early point in an individual’s career, Nicholas took the decision to make his experience more readily available to others. With a principle focus on STEM, it is Nicholas’ intention that the Spark! Contest will provide an outlet for bright, young minds to present their thoughts on the subject of energy in the European community, with opportunities to network and reorientate their career. Participation in the Spark! Contest 2017 will challenge each participant, but for a lucky few, it will be an opportunity to showcase their talent to Franco-British leaders in the nuclear energy industry and perhaps ignite their career. For more information on the Spark! Contest 2017 and how you can participate or partner with the event, please visit


A breath of fresh air The prestigious Deni Greene award is presented annually to an Australian who has made a significant contribution in the areas of sustainability, ethical investment, energy, environmental and social responsibility, or environmental communication. Past winners of the award include Australia campaigns director Charlie Wood; energy efficiency pioneer Alan Pears AM; and leading sustainable architecture academic Dominique Hes, M.AIRAH. This year the award was won by a 1995 alumnus of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at TUoS. Phil Wilkinson left the UK straight after graduation and headed to the other side of the world to pursue a career in the air conditioning industry. Phil worked in several roles from CAD draughtsman to project engineer before eventually realising that his heart was not in the technical side of engineering, which was when a Technical Manager position arose with the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH). So Phil went from working in the industry, to working on it. Phil has remained at AIRAH for the past 14 years in a variety of high-profile roles, including his current position as executive manager in government relations and technical services. Each role has enabled him to apply his enthusiasm and expertise to a raft of sustainability-related

projects. Whether it’s through his work on bestpractice guides, magazine articles, conferences or workshops, Phil has been a tireless champion of sustainability and energy efficiency within Heating, Ventilation Air conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R) and represents AIRAH on several high-profile sustainability-related committees and bodies within the built environment industry. “It was such a pleasant surprise when I took the call telling me I’d won the award,” says Phil. “The Deni Greene Award has been won by some of the country’s leading sustainability advocates, so I’m honoured to be recognised in the same illustrious company. The award is testament to the fine work done by AIRAH to promote safe, sustainable, healthy and comfortable built environments – something I am passionate about. “When I came to Australia I was really worried that I wasn’t doing the same as everyone else, but a Research Associate in the Department, Richard Burguetti, said, ‘just because one path is right for everyone else it doesn’t mean it’s right for you’. This has stuck with me throughout my career and given me the courage to be a bit different.”



Advancing knowledge. 3D printing is a rapidly growing industry with an almost infinite range of applications, our new course will keep our students at the forefront of this technology and give them a head start to a career in Additive Manufacturing. In October, Kamran Mumtaz from the Centre for Advanced Additive Manufacturing (AdAM) spoke at the World 3D Printing Industry Alliance in China. During this event Kamran officially launched our new MSc (Res) in Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Manufacturing Technologies and initiated discussions related to additive manufacturing research collaborations with China. The new Masters programme has been developed to meet the demands of industry and to expose students to cutting-edge manufacturing techniques and applications.

With specialist modules in additive manufacturing principles and applications , ground-breaking manufacturing technologies, materials, a broad range of modules in advanced mechanical engineering and further optional modules available, students will be able to customise their course based on their interests or career aspirations. Students will undertake an industry focussed research project at our internationally renowned AdAM Centre, working with both commercial and bespoke manufacturing technologies using high performance materials. The AdAM centre, with its state-of-the art facilities, carries out world leading research in areas of novel process development, materials, simulation and design for aerospace, automotive and medical sectors. “This MSc was initially developed as a result of market demands for a taught programme in this area,” says Kamran, “The AdAM Centre has excellent global visibility working with high value industrial sectors. Being passionate about additive manufacturing, our research naturally flows into our teaching, allowing students to be exposed to the most recent developments in this field.” To find out more about the course, visit http://bit. ly/2fKzzyM or to apply, please contact



A Pathway to Engineering. In a recent move to open up Mechanical Engineering to as many students as possible, the Department has launched a new short course to do just that. Our aim is to attract the best and brightest students to study Mechanical Engineering, a subject that is based fundamentally on maths and physics. However, we recognise that not all students choose to take A-level physics and traditionally, this has excluded them from studying Mechanical Engineering at University. We want to remove this barrier so through this new short course we’ll teach students the bits of A-level physics that we feel are essential to their success on our courses, before they start their degree. The Physics Pathway will give students four weeks of expert physics tutoring in our state of the art Diamond building, before the main degree course begins in September. Students will combine small group class room teaching with exciting laboratory sessions.

Physics Pathway is not an extra exam or module that students are expected to pass in order to progress on to the full degree course, this is purely a stepping-stone to give them the skills they’ll need to excel in their course, and a way to open engineering up to a class of students who would not otherwise have considered it as an option. Dr Nikos Dervilis, administrative lead on this course is excited about the launch of the new pathway. “For a variety of reasons not everyone has the opportunity or encouragement to study physics at A level, and whilst we still feel you need physics to succeed on our courses, we’ve decided to provide this pathway so that anyone studying maths but not physics with a passion for engineering, can come and study with us, bringing a new level of diversity to our courses.” To find out more about the course, visit or to apply, please contact Caroline Brown, Udergraduate Admissions Officer, on

Physics Pathway will bring a new level of diversity to our courses.


” 13

Researcher focus: Payam Soltani Dr Payam Soltani started his academic and research career in 2001 as a university lecturer in mechanical engineering teaching and supervising several final research and industrial projects. He received his PhD on the nonlinear modelling of nanostructures in 2012 from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran. He later joined the Structural and Material Computational mechanics (MSC) research unit at BATir department at the University of Brussels. In BATir, he started working on an industrial project with the aim of design, simulation and manufacturing of a low-frequency acoustic emission broadband sensor for vibration monitoring of rotary machines. After that he joined the Space Structure and Systems Lab (S3L) at the University of Liege as a post-doctoral researcher designing piezoelectric vibration absorbers with focus on the nonlinear aspects. Payam is now a postdoctoral research associate of the Dynamic Research Group (DRG) at the University of Sheffield and is also a member of theme 9 in the Programme for Simulation Innovation (PSi). PSi is a joint five-year research programme between Jaguar Land Rover and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Polymeric components in a Jaguar Land Rover dashboard

Council (EPSRC). The unique £10 million five year collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and EPSRC in conjunction with some of the country’s leading academics will develop the capability of the virtual simulation industry in the UK and will give manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover access to new, world-class simulation tools and processes. In his role in PSi, Payam is working on a project titled “Cradle-to-Grave Life Cycle Prediction of Automotive Materials and Systems in Service.” Modern vehicles are complex systems made of many different materials (metals, plastics, adhesives, foams and composites) and interconnecting components. The materials may interact with air, oil, moisture, and other environmental hazards during manufacture, shipping and storage as well as interaction with each other once they have been assembled in the vehicle and the vehicle enters into service. They may weaken, harden, corrode, or even fail. These physical and chemical changes in properties are often lumped together under the label “aging.” Payam’s main focus is on the modelling of the material deterioration and aging of polymeric and elastomeric components in a vehicle as aging

Research funding received gradually changes the mechanical properties of the components. He is also interested in the impact of aging on the performance of the vehicle. He is currently developing a simulation tool for prediction and assessment of two key components during their in-service life. Put simply, he is trying to create a simulation package which predicts the variation of the mechanical and dynamical behaviours of the two key vehicle components as their constituent elements deteriorate during their lifetime. Material aging is inherently a complex phenomenon. It occurs in the microstructural scales, but during the lifetime of the component, it might cause a meaningful change in the macro mechanical behaviour. Payam’s biggest challenge on the PSI project, is finding an appropriate and reliable way to link the measurable mechanical behaviour of the components and also the performance of the vehicle to the micromechanical ageing of the materials. This will lead to creating a comprehensive simulation tool which can imitate the aging behaviour of the components, and will help automotive engineers to optimise their designs according to aging. PSi has been a great learning opportunity for Payam, “PSi has brought me the chance to meet and interact with a large number of automotive experts and academic researchers with different expertise, research interests and experience. This will help me develop and expand my engineering knowledge and perspective, especially in the area of modelling and simulation.”

Charity £14,400

Industry £264,269

EPSRC £3,149,703

£3,428,373 our top 5 research grants this quarter: Dr Candice Majewski and Dr Kamran Mumtaz (led by Professor Ian Todd of Materials Science) - Future powder manufacturing hub - £2,063,083 from EPSRC. Dr Nikos Dervilis and Professor Keith Worden - Wind turbine blade SHM - £97,973 from Siemens Plc. Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian - Clean Electricity Generation - £67,000 from Clean Electricity Generation UK Ltd.

Dr Ben Hughes - Mapping and modelling in manufacturing (Part 2) - £50,000 from BMW

Dr Jon Gibbins and Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian - International Partnership for Carbon Neutral Combustion (IPCNC) - £49,296 from Kaust


Change is on the


Optimisation of railway technologies to ensure the viability and sustainability of socially important rail links at Brussels technical dissemination event. NeTIRail-INFRA, a 5.4m€ project funded by the European Commission under its Horizon 2020 Programme, and coordinated by University of Sheffield, held it’s mid-term conference at the Maison Grand Place in Brussels on the 4th November 2016. The event brought together a wide range of stakeholders representing railway operators, infrastructure operators and maintainers, technical industries and research organisations from across Europe and Worldwide. The meeting was an opportunity to disseminate the research results from the first 18 months of the project and present the plans for the future. Launched in June 2015, the project aims to develop future railway technology and infrastructure tailored to the economic, reliability and societal needs of different categories of rail systems. The presentations included studies from University of Sheffield, University of Leeds, TU Delft, IFSTTAR, International Union of Railways, INTADER and ADS Electronics on a range of engineering and economic topics. An example of the types of track the project results will target.

The conference was opened by Dr David Fletcher, Project Coordinator, giving an introduction to the project, the project structure and the key research topics addressed in each part, which include three core technical packages as well as societal and economic packages. A number of presentations were delivered by the various task leaders under three main sessions: • • •

Costs, Society and Decision Support Lean Analysis, Corrugation Strategies and Monitoring Lubrication Systems, Transition Zones and Overhead Lines

The technical work being led by Sheffield includes the improvement of vehicle-track dynamics in transitions between soft embankments and more rigid bridge structures (an area in which peaks in track forces currently lead to heightened maintenance needs), and improving overhead line power supply systems (reduced fatigue failures, and first laboratory validation of autonomous force monitoring devices to clip on the 25kV overhead lines). These were presented by research associate Dr Rahi Rahbari. LS-Dyna models of the transition zones and overhead line models have been developed to simulate these systems. This research was presented by research associate Dr Rahi Rahbari. Further details about the NeTIRail-INFRA project can be found at Or follow us on twitter @netirail



It’s a gas!

Mechanical Engineers from the Energy 2050 institute are developing designs for a new generation of gas power stations. Experts from the Energy 2050 institute are working on a new project to develop designs for a new generation of gas power stations fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies.

Centre, the University operates the national CCS testing facilities (known as PACT), and is the lead UK institution in the International CCS Test Centre Network.

The £650,000 project, commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), supports industry partners SNC Lavalin – who designed the world’s first power CCS project in Canada and AECOM, the global engineering consultancy.

For more information on this project please visit

Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Head of Energy 2050, said: “I am delighted we are able to contribute our engineering expertise on power stations and CCS to this exciting project.” The project will develop an outline scheme and a ‘template’ power plant design (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) with post combustion capture), identify potential sites in key UK industrial hubs and build a credible cost base for such a scheme, benchmarked as far as possible against actual project data and as-built plant. Professor Jon Gibbins, Professor of Power Plant Engineering and Carbon Capture and Director of the UK CCS Research Centre, said: “Gas power plants equipped with CCS are an essential part of the UK’s future energy mix, and projects such as this are needed to inform the government’s thinking on their new CCS strategy, which we expect to be announced later this year.” The University of Sheffield’s Energy 2050 institute is an expert hub of the UK’s CCS research. A founding member of the UK CCS Research

The University of Sheffield has its own small gas-fired CCS power plant at the PACT facilities. Experience from the PACT 330kW gas turbine (seen here with Dr Karen Finney talking to Chris Davies, former MEP) and the post combustion capture plant that can be connected to it is contributing directly to this study.



I’m an engineer, get me out of here! I’m an engineer, get me out of here is a free online event funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering where school students meet and interact with engineers. It’s an X Factor-style competition between engineers, where the students are the judges. The competition is split into four zones, apprentice, diagnosis, motor and space and students challenge the engineers over fastpaced online live chats within those zones. They ask the engineers anything they want, and vote for their favourite engineer to win a prize of £500 to communicate their work with the public. After hearing about the competition through the Integrated Tribology CDT (iT-CDT) centre manager, student Leon Wechie decided to give it a go. Engineers were voted out over the

Leon in blue I’m an engineer , get me out of here! course of a week, and the last man standing was… our very own Leon in the Motor Zone! “I had a great time talking to young students across the UK about what being an engineer involves!” Leon tells us, “They asked questions about my PhD work, what it entails from the pros to the cons, what inspired me to become an engineer, the best possible advice I could give to someone who wants to pursue a career in engineering, and many other questions! I was very enthusiastic about relaying my knowledge, experience and key information that I knew they would benefit from hearing at a young age. The majority were very receptive, some captivated, and so it’s a pleasure knowing that we were able to encourage some of our future engineers!” Questions included, how many potatoes does it take to power a car, how many times have you failed at engineering, and what is the most efficient way of launching a bear into space. There were also more serious questions about what it’s like to be an engineer and what the work involves. Leon, whose research involves doing smallscale lab experiments, interpreting data and discovering new findings for an oil company, looks forward to spending his winnings on some apparatus or kit that would assist in allowing young children to partake in Engineering game activities, educating them on what, why, and how an engineer can contribute to society.



staff development

We need your memories! Don’t worry, we haven’t branched into lobotomy. To celebrate our centenary next year our marketing officer, Kat Buck, is writing a book about the last 100 years of Mechanical Engineering at Sheffield. The book will include stories about our staff, students and alumni, our facilities, our research, women in engineering, outreach, and much more besides! We’d love to hear from you if you have memories or photos to share from your time with us. Did you work on some cutting edge research? Were you one of our first female students? Have you had an interesting career since leaving us, or won any prestigious awards? Did you meet your partner in the Department? What was your favourite thing about the Department or your course?

Congratulations to Melanie Scannell, Department Administration Manager who has recently graduated with an MBA (Higher Education Management). Melanie says, “I hope that the in-depth study of management in the Higher Education sector will help me undertake my role in the Department, and enhance the way the Department is able to respond to the challenges of the current funding and policy environment.”

Any stories that aren’t used in the book will be released throughout the year on our website and social media using the hash-tag #Mech100. Get in touch at

Send your stories and photos to Kat Buck at



The Final Word. As we come to the end of our 99th year, it’s great to look back on the successes of this last year while also looking forward to the next; and what a year it promises to be! This issue has a real focus on our alumni and the great things they’ve been doing since they left us. We get real pleasure seeing how well our past students are doing and the difference they’re making to the world around them. Thanks to this magazine, our graduates can continue to be a part of our history as it unfolds. On a recent research trip to Malaysia I had the pleasure of catching up with a number of our alumni at an event organised by Jessie Teo from our South East Asia office and Dr Chin. Some had been research students from my own research area, whilst others had been Bachelors or Master students at Sheffield over the last four decades. Regardless of their background, it was great to hear how their careers had developed since they left Sheffield, and how positive they were about their experiences at our University. Some of them are probably reading this - so thank you for joining me in Kuala Lumpur and for making my visit so interesting! I’d like to wish all reading this a fantastic Christmas and a very happy New Year, and thank you for continuing to read MechEngNews!

Neil Sims

Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering

This publication is produced using 100% recycled FSC certified paper



MechEngNews // Issue 12 // December 2016  

Find out what's going on in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University - the latest findings from staff, students and alumni...

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