Portrait of Hassam Chaudhry

Dr Hassam Chaudhry

After studying his PhD in the School of Civil Engineering, followed by a period of 8 months as a postdoctoral researcher, Hassam joined Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai Campus as an Assistant Professor in Building Services Engineering. At the moment, he is the Director of Studies for the Architectural Engineering programme, overseeing the teaching and research activities of the programme.

Hassam talked about the inspiration behind his research:

“Ever since my undergraduate days, I was interested in the built environment, especially building-related engineering systems.

“My final year project at UG level was on dynamic architecture, and when the PhD opportunity on improving ventilation in buildings using heat pipes came about, I jumped on it.”

His PhD project aim was to integrate heat pipe technology into wind catchers to not only enhance natural ventilation but to also provide passive or free cooling for regions experiencing hot climates. 

Hassam claimed that carrying out his research involved a wide range of activities, from using specialist software such as CFD to the use of experimental wind tunnels and 3D printing of prototypes. He said:

I was lucky to have access to the Building Physics Lab at Leeds where I could conduct all my numerical simulations and experimental work that was required.

Hassam explained what is like working with his supervisor, Dr Ben Hughes:

“He [Dr Ben Hughes] is a pioneer at delivering wind catcher technologies for various climate parameters globally, and to work alongside on my project with him and his research team was a memorable experience in itself.”

Reflecting on his experiences in Leeds, Hassam claimed that one wonderful experience was interacting with fellow PhD colleagues across the wider Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. He said:

“It helped me navigate through my own PhD study, at the same time I learnt about the range of other students that were being undertaken at the same time. 

“Getting an opportunity to build a wind tunnel with my colleagues, and then showcase that on Open Days to prospective UG students boosted my public speaking skills.”

Furthermore, Hassam was involved in the fluids and CFD user group during his PhD experience. He added:

“It was a fruitful experience as it helped me enhance my skills in using FLUENT software which was essential for my project.

“I also had a chance to interact with the postgraduate community, based at the Energy Building, and it helped me develop my skills on 'user-defined-functions' for CFD simulations.”

Not least, Hassam was reminiscing about his experience of living in Leeds:

“I enjoyed my daily walks from Headingley to Leeds and back - helped me feel less guilty about piling on the kilos by enjoying all the great food options we had across the road from the Civil Engineering building.

“I enjoyed spending time at The Edge to unwind from the research stress whenever I had the opportunity. 

“I also spent a fair share of my time on the famous Parkinson steps, interacting with colleagues and enjoying the view of the bustling Leeds city centre from a distance”.