Engineering and design student insights

Student projects, placements, research and study experiences in the Faculty of Engineering & Design

Algorithms to improve medical imaging

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📥  Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Postgraduate

Author: Ander Biguri, PhD student from our Engineering Tomography Lab.


Having clear, non-blurred images is key for medical imaging, especially during radiation therapy. Knowing the exact location of a tumour helps to target treatment and protect healthy tissue. Motion artefacts are a challenging issue for medical imaging and any sort of motion will lead to blurry images (similar to when moving a standard camera whilst taking a photo).

To improve this we have developed TIGRE, our fast, free and accurate 3D X-ray image reconstruction toolbox (created by the University of Bath Engineering Tomography Lab and CERN). We hope this will be used by the community, and most importantly, hospitals. The toolbox is based on Cone Beam Computer Tomography (CBCT). This is a type of scanning process that takes a series of 2D X-ray pictures and processes them into a 3D image.

Medical imaging

Traditional medical imaging

Increasing the speed of motion correction algorithms in TIGRE

The algorithms we accelerated in graphics processing units (GPUs) are now fast enough to be used in clinical scenarios. I adapted these algorithms to be faster by modifying them to run on a laptop fitted with a GPU. These algorithms can lead to improved image quality and some of them can work with very low amounts of data, thus potentially reducing radiation doses to patients. This could in turn help to increase patient survivability rates.

We are also currently working on motion correction, by using techniques developed 20 years ago at the Proton Synchrotron at CERN by Steven Hancock. I was involved in translating this concept from Phase Space to X-ray tomography. Phase Space tomography (tomography performed in an accelerator) uses known motion models to update tomographical information during algorithmic image reconstruction, essentially removing all known motion happening from the image. This technique has now been translated to X-ray tomography.

Imaging from TIGRE

Imaging from TIGRE - fast and more accurate 3D X-ray image

European Network for LIGht ion Hadron Therapy poster prize

Programming on GPUs is very tedious, but I am proud of achieving a code that can run in milliseconds rather than minutes (or what once took hours or days). I really enjoyed translating the methods used at a particle accelerator to a medical scenario, and it's always a pleasure to be able to play with techniques developed at CERN! Presenting this work to other researchers at the European Network was a really enjoyable experience and winning a prize for my poster was very rewarding. Having my hard work recognised in an expert environment gives me the energy to continue on with my research.

 

Matthew - Wilkommen zum München!

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📥  Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Undergraduate

Hi, I am Matthew and I will be blogging here about my experiences whilst studying an Erasmus semester abroad at the Technical University of Munich (TuM) in Munich, Germany.

First off a little about me. I have been studying the Civil and Architectural Engineering Course for the past four years, including a placement year with BuroHappold Engineering in Bath. I have had a great time so far – It has been challenging, interesting and I have loved living in Bath so what prompted me to up sticks and move roughly 700 miles away to study?

Firstly, I love getting to know people from different countries and cultures and I count myself lucky to have friends from places such as China, Norway, France, Brazil, USA, Italy, Poland…  A key part of Erasmus is “cultural interchange” so I am looking forward to meeting other Erasmus students as well as the German locals and expanding my international contacts list further!

Secondly, the opportunity to practice studying and working in a foreign country is a good one and I believe that the skills involved in doing this will help me hugely in my future career. Another reason is that I wanted to study a greater breadth of subjects whilst at university and, although Bath’s options are great, TuM offered a huge range of subjects to pick which made coming an easy decision. I also enjoy a good challenge so studying new subjects as well as building on others in perhaps a different way is something I am hoping to test myself with. Other reasons include wanting to visit Germany, as I have never been before, Traveling more widely to other countries nearby such as Austria and also trying to learn the German language.

I arrived in Munich at the weekend from Edinburgh, and am living just north of the city centre in a district called Schwabing. It’s a beautiful leafy area with some great architecture and lots of new buildings being built (annoying for most but interesting for a civil engineer!) and I am a ten minute walk away from the Muncher Freiheit area for shopping and the metro. This week I have registered with the local authorities (necessitating a three hour wait in a crowded waiting room for what ended up as a two minute appointment) and opened a bank account with Deutschbank in order to pay rent and gain a debit card. I have also been coordinating my courses and modules navigating around TuMs hideously complicated module selection process. Unlike at Bath,  students are expected to arrange their own learning - selecting the modules they wish to study, assessing the courses/credits attached to those modules then trying to build a timetable which inevitably contains clashes between different lectures/seminars. Despite the complexity it is nice to have an almost blank slate of units to choose from allowing me to pick subjects fairly different from what I would be doing in Bath. That said, I did have some limitations being required to undertake a good chunk of credits in “design” in order to negate missing the Basil Spence project.

In my spare time this week I have had a great time walking through the “Englischer Garten” an enormous park leading to the Munich Residence (a huge castle/palace) and also exploring the Olympic Park which contains Frei Otto’s Olympiastadion - one of my favourite buildings! The weather (yes, I am British after all!) is warmer and sunnier than at home which was a nice surprise when getting off the plane – however I am expecting it to get a lot colder and came prepared! I have yet to undergo the full Oktoberfest experience so that is planned for the end of this week.

The German language has also thrown up a few surprises including some abnormally long or unusual words. Therefore, the “German word of the week” for this blog post is:

“Wohnungsgeberbestätigung”

Any ideas what it might mean? Check back in my next post to find out the answer!

University welcome fortnight starts next Tuesday with lectures following after that so no doubt my next post will also contain some more information about what we have been up to and more about academic life! If you have any questions about Erasmus, Munich or anything else related to this blog then feel free to get in touch!

Until next time, Auf Wiedersen!

M

 

Team 2016 DTU - First Impressions

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📥  Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Undergraduate

Our first month here in Copenhagen has almost past, and I think it is safe to say we are all very settled here, and have taken the opportunities when arising to explore the city. By we, I refer to myself (Dominique Pitman), Ben Buckley and Will Millar-Smith.

DTU itself

As said in last years post, DTU is one of the best engineering Universities in Europe and the highest ranked of the Nordic countries. All the courses we take are taught in English, and we are all taking Structural Analysis, Sustainable Buildings, Smart Cities this semester, and a 3 week intensive course in January. I am the only one also taking Concrete Technology. It was pretty well planned out as we now all have Fridays off! Each lecture is 4 hours long (I know it sounds horrible) but they are generally broken up into lecture and tutorial time, which is actually great incentive to get tutorials and assignments done there and then, and where there is help available.

The work load has been fairly large, as we have no exams (I have one for concrete), so all the work is made up of various assignments throughout the semester, of which one (Sustainable Buildings) has been the most intense. As said in last years post, some of the things that the lecturers want are hard to understand

The only problem we have found is a lack of societies. We definitely take them for granted in the UK! That isn't to say there isn't anything but the selection is small, there is no competitive football team (only recreational), but there are a variety of bars and events on campus, such as this Friday, beers will only cost 5kr (about 60 pence!). Unfortunately I will be working at the bar at halls for a private event, but we have another party in the halls bar this Saturday!

Social Life and Accommodation

We have been to pub crawls (both in town and on campus), hall parties (in which I was bartending), the freetown of Christiania, Nyhavn, Tivoli, boat tours, and generally cycling around the city.

Learning how to make the cocktails

Learning how to make the cocktails

Unfortunately I missed both the introduction week (a kind of freshers week) and the first week of lectures as the terms starts fairly early (late August) and I had been working in Zambia as part of the University of Bath for 6 weeks (see A2Z if you are interested! - https://ace2zambia.wordpress.com/). However, it was fairly easy to get into the routine of getting up at 6am to get to 8am lectures, and cycling everywhere. We all live in the same accommodation in Tingbjerg, which although in a little bit out the way, is great for both town and campus, has cheap shops like Aldi and Lidl very close by, green parks with lakes, and the halls themselves are really nice, ensuites, large rooms, and a great shared kitchen (much better than the accommodation on campus).

Route from Tingbjerg to Lynby Campus
Route from Tinbjerg to Lyngby campus

Route from Tingbjerg to Lyngby campus

There as some intense hills, but on the way back it is pretty great!

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Route from Tingbjerg to town

Route from Tingbjerg to town

My bike was purchased from a second hand store for 1050kr (which including a new chain and lights), approximately £120. Bikes can be purchased cheaper, but since I wanted one straight away (to avoid having to pay for buses) I bought what was available quickly (and one that had gears, which Ben found out was very important since Copenhagen isn't as flat as you might think, and a basket for groceries). I am hoping to sell it for a similar price when I leave. Cycling can be manic within the city centre, but is such a great way to get around, and also great for your fitness!

A Copenhagen requirement - A BIKE! Nyhavn in the background

A Copenhagen requirement - A BIKE!  Mine is actually the one behind me. Nyhavn in the background

Comparing us to the guys last year, we were very lucky with accommodation and got our first choice. This area is full of immigrants and foreigners, and to be honest, I haven't actually got to know any Danes! But there are plenty of great people from all around, all of whom speak great English so is not really a problem 🙂

Travel

I have only recently purchased a rejsekort (a travel card which gives you half price discount), which you are able to purchase in some shops and metro stations. The cost was 80kr for the card itself, and I also had to pay 100kr credit. From where we live (Tingbjerg) to town, instead of 24kr paying by cash, it is only 12kr! Not bad for Copenhagen. The transport costs work by zones, so you can get on one bus, change, then get off in another zone and the price only depends on the zone you end up. However, should you forget to sign out there can be a very large fine! (about 700kr = £80). I wouldn't say public transport is the best, although we have a great bus link to town, getting to Lyngby campus is another story, with 3 buses involved and about 1.5 hours travel. Biking is definately the best way unless you own a car, and only take about 40 minutes (this might seem long but you get used to it very quickly).

The Sites

Christiania the freetown is a 40 minute bike ride away, just across the river and is a lovely place day and night, with a very different vibe. If you google it you will understand why, it has a very interesting history and sees a lot of tours!

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Shots of the freetown of Christiania

Shots of the freetown of Christiania

The skyline has a lot of spires, and the city itself is incredibly pretty, with little roads full of cafe's and life. We will find out if this remains the same through winter! There are lots of museums, and an incredible amusement park, it has an interesting mix of rides, shows, gigs, beautiful restaurants and a great view at night with all the lights lit up. Although not cheap, it is a great day out!

Next blog post will probably be more study orientated I'm sure!

 

DTU (First Week)

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📥  Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Undergraduate

Hello,

(Sorry this post is a bit dated as I have had troubled logging into to upload this to the moodle page! But should still be useful)

My name is Will Millar-Smith and I am one of the current University of Bath students on Erasmus to the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Copenhagen. DTU is one of the biggest Universities in Denmark, and has a really good rating as one of the best technical Nordic Universities. I have been told the number of people studying at DTU is similar to Bath, and in a way it is similar to Bath in that it is a Campus University outside of the city, however, it is almost four times the size in area and almost dwarfs the campus we have at Claverton Down.

I applied to undertake the Erasmus programme at DTU as I have always wanted to work and live outside of the UK, to see if it was something I would like to do once I graduate from University. Denmark (DTU) seemed like the ideal place to live in, with amazing scenery, style of life and a University that offered the courses in English. Although, this said attempting to learn a new language was also a large attraction as this is something I have never done (However, Danish appears to be extremely tricky to learn- be warned).

From living in Copenhagen for all of one week, it appears to be an incredibly friendly city with a strong focus on green and sustainable living. Everyone cycles everywhere on an impressive cycle network (which if you do choose to come to Denmark is a must in order to get about) or failing this makes use of a large public transport network. One word of warning I have noticed so far is that it is an incredibly expensive place, I would say cost wise more than London and transport is VERY expensive which I guess is a reason for everyone cycling everywhere. However, this said flight wise to London it is extremely well connected with budget airlines.

I guess it may be useful to talk about the application process and then go to introduction and getting settled into Denmark. Once you have been accepted by Bath University for the Moodle application to DTU there is a bit of a lull before you apply online and in paper to DTU official which I think has to be done in April. At this time you also have to pick your course modules from an online database in order to fit within a specific timetable, which is easier said than done. In total you have to take 30 ETCS credits which work out to be slightly more modules than you would in Bath but the term is a longer period so I guess it all evens out. Also you have to build your timetable to ensure no modules overlap as some take place at the same time (which is a bit annoying as it does rule out doing certain things). A module (5 ETCS) takes place across a 4 hour period from either 8-12 or 13-17. However, I have yet to have any lectures so I cannot comment on this style of learning yet.

Once you have applied and been accepted by DTU then comes the rush! DTU is heavily oversubscribed and lacks a lot student accommodation! I think it makes the Bath rush around Christmas seem over dramatized for the student housing. Copenhagen itself also seems to have a limited number of student style or just rented apartments which then further compounds this problem. As will be pointed out to you, DTU provides no guarantee of accommodation so when the email comes through to apply it is a big rush to look at the DTU accommodation on offer and apply quickly as it works on a first come first saved basis. Also a word of warning, this isn’t a thinly veiled comment, I have met many people who are currently in hostels or airbnb rooms, as the lack of accommodation is severe. There is a range of accommodation on offer, as mentioned before DTU is a campus university location roughly 17km from central Copenhagen. They have accommodation on campus called Campus Village (Which reminded me of shipping containers – it looked pretty poor when I visited last week), other student halls on campus, student halls located across the city suburbs, student houses to the North of the campus (further away from Copenhagen) and the option of living with a family around the city itself (which some friends do seem to be enjoying). I and two others from Bath opted for student accommodation in the suburbs of Copenhagen, where we have ended up in Tingbjerg which is in the north west of the city. The map below should be able to give you some scale from the city, our halls and the campus.

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The location of our halls (Tingbjerg) to DTU. Note the distance to Copenhagen as well!

The student residence we are staying in is slightly odd; you stay in a building made from large corridors with up 15 other students all living off the corridor and all sharing a kitchen which is really nice as it is very sociable. The rooms have all been recently renovated with en-suites, and within the student halls itself there is also a bar and gym so there is plenty of activities to be doing. However, a slight moan would be the student halls are not just for students from DTU and are used my people studying at Universities all over Copenhagen. So not everyone is in the same boat as you, some people I have met have been living there for five years, so when you first arrive it is a bit of a shock that it is not a load of nervous international students all studying and joining DTU at the same time. So that could be a bit overwhelming, however, I have found everyone to be extremely friendly and sociable so far! I really can’t complain, it is a bit of a hassle getting to campus without a bike (roughly an hour on public transport) but now I have one it is roughly 30 mins to campus and 30 to the city (which I think is great! Providing lots of opportunities to nip into town to explore, see the sights and go out on an evening).

At DTU they run an introduction week for new exchange students in order to allow you to meet new people, make friends and also learn about the University and how it works. The week is very different to a typical English fresher’s week with more activities during the day which include lessons about Danish Culture, language lessons and team bonding activities, there was also opportunities to have a tour around the city which was very useful! I attended the week, and to be fair even though it was different; I really enjoyed it and it was a great way to meet new people! Although it isn’t as alcohol/night out focused as a British fresher’s week, every evening most people ended up in the bar so it was a good way to socialise and they also held a large party on the last night.

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Me and my buddy group on the city tour ( I am the small one, with the checked shirt)

I will try and write another blog once I have had some lectures to provide more information on this side of the Erasmus programme and also on how it is going during term time. If you have any questions or would like further information about DTU give me a message on Facebook or drop me an email at wfms20@bath.ac.uk and I will be more than happy to help.

 

 

 

 

 

Men in Pool & Other Stories

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📥  Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Engineering placements, Undergraduate

A short overview of what I’ve been working on over the past month and more about the construction business game MERIT that our team from BuroHappold participated in.

Merit Competition

Throughout March and April, I took part in a construction business simulation competition called MERIT (standing for Management Enterprise Risk Innovation and Teamwork) with a team set up together with five other young engineers from BuroHappold. The aim of the competition is to put you and your teammates in charge of making all the business and managerial decisions of a virtual construction company, while competing to grow your business against teams from all around the globe.

The game was set up so that each week, as a team, we could evaluate our company’s progress throughout the previous week and, using the MERIT software, enter a new set of decisions. These covered a range of relevant areas including finance (investments in other firms and paying out dividends to shareholders), overhead staffing (coping with company turnover and conducting market analysis), bidding for new jobs and ensuring ongoing jobs had enough labour and competent managers.

Concentration levels intensified as we developed elaborate spreadsheets

We encountered some problems during the running of our company.  For example, we had been hiring a lot of workforce to cope with a high number of projects, but when we were unsuccessful in qualifying for new jobs, we were instead left with a large number of idle workforce, or ‘free men in pool’ as MERIT liked to phrase it. This might sound like a lot of fun for the workers, but for us it meant a lot of lost funds. Therefore, we had to make the decision of whether to lay off the excessive construction staff or keep them ‘in the pool’ in hopes of soon qualifying for more jobs. But not to worry! After long calculations and some moral dilemmas hardly any staff were deemed to be worth giving up.

During the first week or two, it proved to be quite challenging to take in a lot of information as well as having to familiarise ourselves with the nitty gritty of how the software itself operated. Having said that, the whole process helped me really appreciate how decisions made in different managerial positions interact and affect each other in the long term. Overall, the competition lasted for 10 weeks and, in addition to learning about all the different business functions, it was a really fun teamwork exercise!

The final meeting featuring glorious pizza

Platform design for KAFD Metro

On a more serious note,  in addition to MERIT, I have been doing some actual work as well. For the past month I have mostly been working on the design of the platform structure, which supports two train lines for the KAFD Metro in Riyadh. On top of analysing any basic loading such as supporting its own weight or the pedestrian traffic, one main design criterion is that the structure has to be strong enough to withstand any accidental loads. In the very worst cases, these accidental loads could be caused by the derailment of a train or collision of two trains. Although extremely unlikely, accidental loads are all still some of the most important factors affecting the final design of the platform.

Architect’s vision of the interior of the station by the platform level, image copyright of ZHA

To start with, I looked into the relevant design code and calculated the various criteria that the platform has to be designed for. I went on to set up more than a hundred loading variations on Excel which I could then import and easily amend later in the engineering software we had used to create the model. Due to the very high collision loads, the platform had to be redesigned in some local cases. In these instances, it was important to stick to the most minimal but effective changes so as to keep the amended design as close to the original. Bits of the platform are still being finalised with the architects and so this is all still a work in progress; therefore, until the next time!

Screenshot from Robot Structural Engineer with a view of the platform model

 

A Key Ingredient in Ice Cream Production...

  

📥  Department of Chemical Engineering, Engineering placements, Undergraduate

I am now 10 months in to my placement with Unilever, and life in the Ice Cream Global Design Centre has not been easy! Since my last blog post, I have started working on a number of new projects that have been keeping me busy, making the days and weeks fly by.

The Wall's Bike - Doesn't every office have one of these?

The Wall's Bike - Doesn't every office have one of these?

Over my time working with Unilever, I have learnt how incredibly complex ice cream is. Simply mixing some water, cream, sugar and flavours together, and then putting this in the freezer will not necessarily give you ice cream. There are a number of very important steps to follow that process the ingredients in a way that affect the texture, taste and quality of the final product.

One of the projects I have been working on since I started my placement involves studying and analysing the very first step of making ice cream – the mixing process. This process involves dosing and mixing the ingredients, and is the key factor in ensuring all ingredients are fully blended, dispersed and hydrated within the mix.

As with all mixing processes, certain levels of shear occur in the mixing vessel that arise from the stirring motion of the impeller. The shear in the mix tank is dependent on a number of factors, including the dimensions of the tank, the type of impeller and the nature of the fluid being mixed. Part of my project involved building and developing a tool that is able to model and calculate a number of mixing parameters – including the shear in the mix tank.

After being able to characterise shear in mixing vessels, I worked on improving the company’s knowledge on the effect this shear has on the ice cream produced. This involved running a number of trials in the pilot plant and analysing the ice cream premix and product in a number of ways.

As well as the work I carried out in the pilot plant, the project also involved building a network of contacts with mix plant managers across Unilever’s ice cream factories in Europe. From an R&D point of view, this was a great insight for me to see what supply chain is like and how the factories operate.

Unlike many of my other projects, I worked on this assignment alone – something I am quite accustomed to after 3 years of university coursework. However, working independently on a project in the workplace has felt quite different. Rather than your work just ending up as a grade, other members of your team may depend on the results and outcomes of your task, meaning every assignment must be carried out quickly, efficiently and to the highest standard.

With the end of my placement fast approaching, I plan to make the most out of the few months remaining by learning as much as I possibly can whilst improving my workplace skills.

 

Rolling On

  

📥  Department of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering placements, Undergraduate

A shorter working month than usual this time as I have been off work for the previous week and a half skiing to celebrate my 21st, the joys of being able to take holiday when you please and not according to a school or university timetable.

Making the most of a slight lull in work I have used March to attend many of the mandatory training days that new starters at TFL are required to complete. These range from courses outlining PATHWAY, the methodology used within the company to manage projects, programmes and portfolios, to those teaching the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion at TFL. As with any lecture or course the usefulness of these courses has much to do with the quality of the speaker, so although a course reminding you to make sure you respect diversity within the workplace sounds entirely unnecessary it turned out to be a highly enjoyable day.

Alongside work I have also been encouraged to study for the Association of Project Management Introductory Certificate, an exam I will be taking this Friday following another training course, Introduction to Project Management, which I completed yesterday.

 

On an unrelated note I’ve now had placement visit from a member of staff from the university. Steve came down last Friday and, following a long chat with my Sponsor and manager, we had a talk about both of the placements I’ve worked in so far before going for that classic Friday lunch, fish and chips in the canteen in Broadway.

 

Everyday life at the Buro

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📥  Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Engineering placements, Undergraduate

In my second post about my placement in the London Structures department of BuroHappod Engineering, I talk a bit more about what I do on day-to-day basis at work and the projects I have been involved in.

Getting into my day job

In my previous post I mentioned how I’m mainly working on the KAFD Metro Station project in Riyadh. Prior to joining the BuroHappold team in London I had very little, or in some instances, no experience with the programs I now use on an everyday basis. During my first year at University we had a course on AutoCAD, which has now proved to be very useful, as well as a good basis for learning to use other engineering and modelling software.

I most commonly spend my time modelling complex elements of bigger structures on Autodesk Robot, which can be best imagined as a ‘grown-up’ version of the Sims build mode. The completed models can later be used to analyse the self-weight of the building, movements and any critical forces. In addition to hand calcs, I also often use CSC Tedds to check member design to different regional standards as well as elaborate spreadsheets.

For example, a really interesting challenge that I’ve been helping with is the structural design of a skybridge connecting the KAFD Metro station to one of the nearby financial district buildings. This involved setting up a model based on design information received from our Bridges department from an earlier stage, checking this for any discrepancies with the current design, while avoiding clashes with the Building Services routes. Due to the new design criteria the initial structure of the bridge was no longer stable enough and in order to not exceed the spacial limitations, I went on to redesign the main supporting structure with enhanced custom steel beam members.

Working in industry has proved to be great fun as I have already been able to work on some amazing projects with BuroHappold, that are either already under construction or will be built in a few years. Similarly to university, you are still constantly learning and developing new skills but without any of the stress from exams.

KAFD Metro Skybridge model on Autodesk Robot

Gallery Installation

The Structures department is divided into teams per project, with some of the engineers working on more than one project at a time or being ‘borrowed’ for shorter periods of time. Therefore, although I am mainly assigned to work on the KAFD Metro Station project, I have also been able to help out on a small variety of different projects for shorter spans of time.

For example I had an opportunity to contribute to the installation of Magdalene Odundo’s glass sculpture in the James Hockey gallery in Farnham. My project director, Rasti Bartek, had already designed a custom wire net to which each of the 1001 individual glass pieces were attached and my task was to check the existing structure of the gallery room, in order to ensure that it can take the new forces from the installed cable net.

Although it was a very short-span project, I really enjoyed the opportunity to work on something on a very different scale to my main project and which was not specifically building-related. Also, it just looks very pretty.

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gallery1

Photos from Transition II, by Linda Salamoun, BuroHappold

Out of office hours
To finish things off, in addition to project-work, we get up to quite a few extra-curricular activities after working hours, such as team sports, pub-quizzes, STEM outreach and many in-house or institutional talks. For example, the talks I’ve been to with my co-workers have ranged from technical and design lectures to more light hearted talks such as the Stratigraphic Beer talk and tasting session, on the link between quality groundwater and the taste of the brew. I find all of these events a great way to learn new things, get to know the people in the office as well as just generally being a lot of fun!

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Our winning team at the YEF quiz

 

A Cool New Placement

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📥  Department of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering placements, Undergraduate

One month into my second placement and I’ve now got my head around what my new team does and, after a slow start, finally have some work to sink my teeth into. My new team is part of the Capital Programme’s Directorate. The projects this directorate are involved with are to renew ageing assets, rebuild some of the network’s most congested stations, increase capacity on the busiest lines and to also replace obsolete systems with the latest technology. These are all critical to supporting the continued growth and regeneration of London.

The works already completed range from upgrading the signalling on the Jubilee line, increasing capacity by a third by allowing trains to run much closer together, to introducing Wi-Fi across the network.

The team I have been placed in is the Integrated Stations Programme, working with the vents and cooling systems in place in the underground. With the capacity of the network on the rise there is an ever increasing amount of heat being produced by the system, whether that be from the regenerative breaking of the trains or the commuters themselves. It is therefore necessary to constantly upgrade and replace the fans and condensers that provide comfort cooling, not quite air conditioning, to the stations.

The work I have been involved in so far in its most basic form is pressure drop calculations. In order to determine what fan is required for installation you must first find the Index Route. This is the route of greatest resistance within the system where the pressure drop will be greatest. Typically, but not in all circumstances, this will be the longest route within the system. Once this route has been calculated you are able to calculate the size of the fan and the flow rate it is required to produce in order to ensure there is sufficient air flow at the extremes of the cooling system.

Alongside this I have been introduced to the Microstation, a CAD programme used to model the position of the vents and grilles by overlaying them above the floor plan of the station. By working from the CAD files and copies of the original installation drawings I created a Grille Schedule. As a new set of standards have recently been introduced the required flow rates for the various rooms within the station, such as ticket offices, mess rooms, or toilets, has changed, and it is therefore necessary to determine what the new required flow rate is and from this source an appropriate grille to be installed in the update.

As I am now approaching 6 months with TFL towards the end of March I had my mid-year probation review a couple of weeks back. This is part of the P&D (Progress & Development) process that everyone at TFL goes through and it involves a sit-down with the Scheme Advisor, personal mentor and sponsor to discuss your time so far with the company and assess your progress towards the objectives set at the beginning of the placement.  As you might imagine this tends to be more of a formality as I have regularly been meeting with all 3 over the course of the placement but it will be very useful should I decide to return for the grad-scheme in future.

Reflecting on my time at DTU

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📥  Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, Undergraduate

Author: Adam Engstrom


Hey guys so I have now come back to Bath from my stay at DTU. After a bit of reflection I’d like to in this post give my impressions of the exchange overall as I’ve already gone into quite a bit of detail on the university bit in my previous post.

The most important thing to know is that Copenhagen is an amazing city, absolutely loved it. I loved how though it’s a big city it still has a very relaxed feel to it, like Amsterdam. I really enjoyed everything being just a short bike ride away instead of having to get on a bus or metro to get around. It would have been nice to have been there during the spring/summer to make better use of the fact that the best way to see and enjoy the city is by bike but there’s not too much to do about that. There’s still loads of things I haven’t been to during my stay such as Christiania or getting to know Nørrebro better.

In terms of accommodation Elliot and I definitely didn’t have the best of luck, but it was still much better than others. Loads of people didn’t have a place to live for about the first month. Some of the other dormitories we heard about also didn’t sound good, especially Albertslund. I think the main issue about many of the dorms was that they were not completely rented out by students, for our dorm locals lived on the first floor. In many cases they were actually worse than us with people throwing underage parties in the student common rooms, absolutely trashing the place. The thing that was the biggest problem with our dorm was the fact that there were no common kitchens and therefore not very much interaction between people as everyone would cook and stick to their rooms unless you really made an effort to gather people together. Although living on campus would have been really fun and easy, it was really nice to be quite close to town so you could enjoy the city in your free time.

The most enjoyable and, in my opinion, biggest reason to go on Erasmus is to meet new people. It was really cool to meet people from certain countries which you don’t see many from here in England such as Iceland and the Faroe Islands and learn about their cultures etc. In general, the Erasmus crowd are a really good bunch as everyone is in the same situation as you and there to meet as many new people and do and see as many things as possible. Everyone has a really positive and outgoing attitude. The one negative about our Erasmus experience was the fact that our grades mattered while we were over there meaning we had to still work. This meant we couldn’t participate in a lot of Erasmus trips and doing things with other students etc. The fact that we were only in Copenhagen for a semester was a bit of shame as it was only towards the final months that we got settled in and had made good friends with people. Working with other Erasmus students who were on a pass/fail was a bit frustrating as they would more often than not only put in minimal effort into projects. I would also recommend doing a sport while over as it’s another way to meet more people. As DTU didn’t have a floorball team I ended up playing with a local team, getting to know loads of Danish people. Also, on a personal note, I ended up seeing a really good friend for the first time in about 10 years. It was great to hang out and catch up with him again.

In conclusion, the Erasmus has been a really great experience. Meeting and making friends with loads of people from all around Europe was a lot of fun. Do be aware however that it can be quite tough to make friends with Danish students as more often than not you’re group together with international and Erasmus students. In terms of the university, it was really cool to do quite different subjects which has probably helped me grow as a person and had an influence on the type of things I would like to do as for a career. Although studying at DTU was fun, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to do my entire degree there as I was a bit underwhelmed by the quality of teaching and some other aspects. Hopefully our blogs will help students in other years decide what to do and stay clear of the bad courses which Elliot and I sadly had to experience. Also, the campus was really cool due to the number of bars creating a really good student life.

I would definitely recommend as many people as possible to go on Erasmus as it is quite an eye-opening experience and a lot of fun. Just remember that you still have to work while over there!