Current student, International student
- Subject area
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
Before pursuing my PhD, I worked in a consultancy firm providing assistance in building services, particularly in the area of heat, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), water and sewage systems. The experience equipped me with the essential engineering skills and provided perspectives of, and insights into, the real-world application of engineering. Although the scope of work was different from my current field of research, the experience ignited my interest in the art and science of manufacturing engineering, especially machining.
My PhD research focuses on improving the manufacture of hard-to-cut materials by applying electric current during the machining process. The application of electric current while machining metals is a potential alternative to achieving an efficient machining technique which would save energy, resources and costs. Through this research, I aim to understand the mechanism that is responsible to ease the deformation of material, in particular metals, when subjected to electric current during the machining process.
Choosing Loughborough University to pursue a PhD was quite an easy decision. The first pull factor is the prestige of the University, as it is renowned as a top research university for engineering in the UK. The academics are experts in their fields and its active collaboration with industry and organisations speaks volume of its role and contributions. Secondly, the research being offered perfectly matched the previous research that I carried out when studying my undergraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde. Thirdly, the University offers a conducive environment for learning and research, with excellent resources, laboratory equipment and facilities, as well as access to the library and online databases. The location of the University is an added bonus as it is located in a town that is convenient for my small family to live, and it is not too far away from London either.
My PhD has been an enjoyable ride but not without challenges. I appreciate having the opportunity to do research in manufacturing engineering; observing the materials in microscopic scale and carrying out experiments. Apart from the interesting research subject itself, the encouraging environment of the faculty is also instrumental in keeping me motivated.
I am fortunate to have the support from my supervisor, who has been attentively guiding me along the way even before embarking on my research; from the day I was interviewed, through the admissions process, up to doing the research I am undertaking at the moment. The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering provides an avenue for students to engage, interact and exchange ideas. The School holds weekly meetings for students to present and discuss research undertaken in the field, hence I have the opportunity to learn research skills from my colleagues and experts to broaden my perspective. Additionally, the staff are very helpful, and the IT services provided by the University are excellent, with quick response and assistance to keep me on track with my work.
I have found the PhD structure to be quite flexible, however this does mean time management and discipline are crucial. After breakfast, my workday usually starts at 8am in front of the computer, checking emails. My research requires me to conduct computer simulations and experimental works, which can either be performed from home or in the office. To keep track on the research, I have a meeting with my supervisors twice a week, in which we discuss my research developments.
Reading is inevitably part of the research. I read one research article at a time to add to the literature review chapter of the thesis. In addition, I also do revision on fundamental subjects to strengthen my mathematical and physics skills. Balance is important in life. In this regard, I am grateful to receive comfort and support from my family, the source of inspiration that keep me going. I would say discipline, diligence, creativity and perseverance go a long way.
If your passion is research in engineering, I would highly recommend joining Loughborough University to pursue your interest. Whilst there is no one way to success, it is worth letting your passion lead the way and work your way from there.