School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

News

20 Dec 2022

PhD student wins second prestigious international award

Self-taken photograph of researcher, Jessica, looking directly at the camera smiling while holding an award plaque that reads "9th Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference is proud to present the EAPPC Outstanding Young Researcher Award to Jessica M Stobbs, Loughborough Univesity, UK".

Jessica Stobbs, a doctoral researcher from the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, has received her second prestigious international award at the Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference (EAPPC). The conference is in its 9th year and took place in Seoul, Korea from 18-22 September 2022. 

Back in 2021, Jessica received a travel grant whilst attending the conference after impressing the judging panel with the outstanding results of her research. This year, Jessica took home the EAPPC Outstanding Young Researcher Award. The award is presented to the researcher who can contribute an outstanding presentation during the conference that should include a worldwide relevant breakthrough in pulsed power physics and technology.

Jessica’s research is focused on the practical demonstration of an underwater supersonic acoustic source. She explains, "By applying a high voltage across specially shaped electrodes in water, an electrical breakdown of the gap between them occurs, in the same way that lightning forms due to the static charge that accumulates within storm clouds. The electrical breakdown of the gap results in the formation of a channel of conducting plasma that facilitates the deposition of energy into the water, some of which is ejected as a sound wave.

The research is focused on the discovery of new ways to improve the performance of a system with the optimisation of a number of design variations. These variations include modified voltage signals and numerous geometries for the electrode configuration. Jessica explains, “We investigated the local conditions of the region where pressure is ejected in order to better understand the processes taking place”.

Proud of her acknowledgement, Jessica said, “I believe the recognition I have received through winning this prize was due to the final stage of my research, producing the most interesting results yet. The experimental work conducted during the final campaign would not have been possible without the support and contributions of Tom Sommers, an international collaborator from Eindhoven University of Technology, and the generous loan of a high-speed camera from our friends at Specialised Imaging. The outcome of this research promises to enable a significant improvement of the efficiency of high power ultrasound generation via supersonic discharge in water”.

As part of the Plasma and Pulsed Power Research group, Jessica told us, “Attending conferences and running for prizes is something that is always encouraged in our research group, so to finally win an award was a great moment. I’m extremely proud of myself for the hours of commitment and focus, particularly with data processing, which can be pretty grueling!”

Jessica attended the conference with her supervisor, Professor Bucur Novac, who is head of Loughborough’s Plasma and Pulsed Power Research Group. The EAPPC is a biannual conference where experts from all over the world gather to share their knowledge and experience in the pulsed power physics and technology domain. 

Athena Swan Bronze award

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