Sam Thomas

Subject area

This summer, I undertook a 10-week summer internship in the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering in the field of Batteries and Electric Vehicles, looking into thermal management of electric vehicles with next generation solid state battery packs.

The aim of this project was to investigate the effect of solid-state Li-ion battery adoption on battery thermal management in electric vehicles. This involved an initial investigation into the properties of solid-state batteries, including resistance, transient behaviour, and temperature tolerances. I worked in the office and from home, as the project was mainly Simulink based, all work could be done from a computer without the use of a lab.

I worked mainly with my supervisor, with weekly progress meetings. I did also work with some other PhD students for help with specific segments of the project. I learnt how to optimise my research time and succinctly present my findings to others during meetings.

The internship provided lots of flexibility in working hours if the required work is completed. For example, on some days I would take a longer lunch break to do some extra activity and then work back the extra time in the afternoon. Alternatively, starting time could vary based on individual needs. At the start of the placement, most of my time was spent researching the broad topic to gain some base understanding, this involved compiling a list of useful sources as well as summary notes for the relevant papers. Towards the end almost all my time was spent developing the Simulink model for the project.

Sam Thomas

I have heavily improved my researching skills, including the ability to find appropriate sources and extract data quickly and effectively. During meetings and progress checks I also developed my presentation skills. The modelling section of the project also exposed me to new modelling techniques. Overall, this placement has had a large effect on my profitability.

I enjoyed research-based work and I am now considering the possibility of completing a PhD later in my career. I have also decided to go into consultancy over working for an OEM company, this will provide a middle ground between a generic OEM engineering job and research.

It is definitely worth applying for a summer internship if you are interested in research as a career or not! If you aren't, the worst that can happen is that you gain some experience and employability skills. Alternatively, you could enjoy it and find a new career path.

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