Mr Matthew Ward Mechanical Engineering, Loughborough University, 2016, MEng (Hons) (DIS)
I graduated from the Mechanical Engineering MEng course at Loughborough in 2016. My individual dissertation project during this time was investigating the effect of deformation on the aerodynamic performance of a missile wing; which was proposed from my placement year at a defence systems company in Stevenage. This aerodynamics experience and a passion for sport have tied in well for my current research.
Football is the most played sport in the world and it is important that the equipment is up to standard. Several individual balls have been analysed, but the underlying physics of why they behave as they do have not; which is where my research comes in.
I am researching how and why surface features (such as seams and texturing) affect the flight of association footballs in association with adidas. Rapid prototype balls with simple seam geometries will be placed in a wind tunnel and analysed to understand the effects various features have on the flow field and subsequent ball flight. This will then be built up to be able to analyse real balls to identify how features can be used to control the ball’s behaviour. The research will then fit into ball design stages to have an early idea of how it is going to perform.
Out of the lab…
Sport is a big part of my social life; I play tennis and football in particular, but generally enjoy playing or watching any sport. Squash, badminton, golf, cricket and skiing are all sports I have played in the past (to varying levels of competence). I also have an interest in motorsport, particularly F1; for which I run a prediction league each year. In my remaining time, I enjoy watching TV and playing video games.