Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


30 May 2024

AACME research students recently participated in the 3-Minute Thesis Challenge

Parvathi delivering talk during three minute thesis competition

Last month, research students across the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering participated in the 3 Minute Thesis Challenge (3MT).

Students Taya Stankevych, Parvathi Vasudevan, Galina Makarikhina, and Ashley Van Bruygom showcased their research in the Penrose Atrium, explaining complex concepts in just three minutes to a general audience. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®), developed by The University of Queensland, challenges PhD students to enhance their academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

We caught up with winner Parvathi and runner-up Taya after the competition.

Parvathi's experience

Parvathi, a PhD student in the Department of Materials, shared her thoughts:

3MT was a challenging opportunity – to articulate complex scientific concepts in layman’s terms. I relished the humbling experience and the quote that kept me going was: "we only fail if we give up, let’s keep trying!”

Parvathi is working on additive manufacturing (AM) ceramic filters for high-temperature molten metal casting to improve current manufacturing methods. Her research focuses on two main issues:

  1. Sustainability: Current filter manufacturing uses polyurethane foams as the template for ceramic filter manufacturing that release harmful emissions when burned. AM eliminates the need for these foams, making the process more environmentally friendly. AM also allows for innovative and unexplored filter structure with optimised performances.
  2. Energy: The sintering process consumes the most energy in any ceramic manufacturing process. By using Field Assisted Sintering Technologies (FAST), the process requires less time and lower temperatures for industry and in turn, reducing energy use and carbon emissions.

Combining AM and FAST can create sustainable ceramic filters with unique pore morphology (structures) and porosity, advancing research in filter manufacturing – an integral part to her doctoral work.

Taya's experience

Taya, also from the Department of Materials, described her 3MT experience:

"Presenting to such a diverse audience was exhilarating yet nerve-wracking. It was my first time sharing my PhD topic with such a varied audience, and I was thrilled to hear about others' impactful research."

Taya’s research focuses on improving mechanical polymer recycling through the use of chain extenders. By exploring different morphologies of chain extenders, she is aiming to investigate the effect they have on the structure of the recycled polymer, hence the effect on the properties and the further recyclability of the plastic. By doing this, she is hoping to bring circular recycling one step closer by increasing the number of times the polymer can be recycled while maintaining properties for use.

The winner, Parvathi, will now take part in the University’s 3MT Grand Final at the Doctoral College Summer Showcase 2024 happening Wednesday 19 June 2024.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in this event, your work and confidence is very exciting!