School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


16 Dec 2021

Loughborough PhD student wins award at national Future Materials Conference

PhD student with prize

Anna Tholen, a doctoral researcher at Loughborough University, was the proud recipient of the Best Presentation award at this year’s Future Materials Conference, which took place on Monday 13 December.

Anna is in the third year of her PhD studies, working on a project between the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering and the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering. Her research focuses on using laser beam shaping to change the way the laser beam heats, melts, and cools a material belonging to a family of steels, called H13, during a process referred to as laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing (AM), with the aim of producing parts which are tougher, stronger and less likely to crack.

After submitting an abstract in advance, Anna was chosen to present her research at the annual conference, which took place in Birmingham. Hosted by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, the conference aims to be a forum for early career scientists and engineers in these areas from across the UK to come together and present their research on the materials they are working with, with the hope of initiating collaboration between research groups, industry and academia, as well as improving presentation and poster skills.

Across three separate sessions Anna’s presentation, which discussed areas of her research, was judged by a panel based on a range of factors such as clarity, confidence, and the quality of work presented, before she was awarded the top prize.

On her win, Anna said: “It was such a pleasant surprise – every presentation during the conference was exciting and interesting, so to win the award myself was a huge confidence boost.

“I would like to thank my supervisors at Loughborough University and my industrial collaborators at Renishaw Plc, whose continuing support strongly contributed to me winning the award.”

Anna’s future aspirations are to continue a career in research, looking at further understanding materials which are difficult to fabricate by laser additive manufacturing and other laser processes, by marrying metallurgy and laser processing. 

Athena Swan Bronze award

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The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
Loughborough University
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