Research Vision - Safety Through Understanding

Research Motivation

No structure is indestructible. Time, environment, repeated use, and misuse all take their toll on everyday structures, taking advantage of their inherent weaknesses and bringing them closer to failure.  This is not the most comforting thought when walking onto an airplane, or driving over a bridge, but it is a reality that structural designers must face; how do you design something that you don’t want to fail while accepting that it eventually will? The answer is: very carefully!Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

The challenge structural engineers are faced with is as follows. First, they must understand the raw materials and the level of engineering already applied in their creation. Second, they need to synthesize material behaviour and required structural function into a working design. Third, compromises in the working design need to be made to address manufacturability. Finally, all of this must be completed while continually assessing the impact on the durability and longevity of the final structure.

In my research, I am interested in the above challenges and how to cope with them while maintaining the demands for safety and reliability in the aerospace sector. There are many new and inspiring technologies on our current horizon. Additive Layer Manufacturing (also known as 3D-printing), automated smart manufacturing technologies, structural health monitoring systems that can automatically detect problems before they become a real issue. All of these technologies are very promising and inspiring, but we cannot apply them without fully understanding their potential weaknesses. This is the domain of my research.