Dr Chau Vo
- Course: Embedded Systems Engineering PhD
- PhD title: Detection of Stress Concentration Zones in Ferrous Material using Stand-off Magnetometry
- Year of graduation: 2015
- Job title: Chief Technical Officer
Taking research from the University to industry
Dr Chau Vo, a University of Leeds alum who specialises in ultrasound, pursued a career with Speir Hunter Ltd after collaborating with them as during his PhD. Before taking up a permanent position at Speir Hunter, Chau was a Research Fellow in the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Previously, Chau studied his Masters degree in Embedded Systems Engineering at Leeds. He said:
“I was interested in the ultrasound subject during my Masters degree and applied for PhD with my supervisor, Professor Steven Freear. However, my funded PhD was on a different subject.”
Chau described his journey from Masters student to postgraduate researcher to Research Fellow. He said:
“My Masters final research project was titled ‘FPGA-based Ultrasound Array Research Platform – The main controller and transmitter’. This involved developing the hardware and firmware for the controller and transmitter of the first version of the Ultrasound Array Research Platform (UARP). In my Masters project I developed the hardware for the system based on FPGA, and wrote the firmware in C to communicate with an application running on a host computer.
“The funding for my PhD, however, was from Speir Hunter to pursue research on a new technology for underground pipeline inspection.
“As a Research Fellow, I worked with Professor Steven Freear on a project to develop techniques to determine the depth of cover, and girth welds of buried pipelines. This project was a continuation to findings during my PhD. The project was funded by National Grid and involved DNV/GL and Speir Hunter, the technology owner. I worked part time on this project during my PhD stage together with another part-time PhD student in Physics.”
The funding for my PhD... was from Speir Hunter to pursue research on a new technology for underground pipeline inspection.
Innovating Speir Hunter’s inspection technology
Chau’s journey from his taught studies at the University of Leeds to postgraduate and postdoctoral researcher paved the way to his career. Chau explained how his research has become integrated into the design of Speir Hunter’s inspection technology. He said:
“The findings from our research is implemented in Speir Hunter’s inspection technology as part of the core system. It improves the accuracy of the existing functions of the technology, and also adds a new feature to the technology that allows accuracy mapping the underground pipeline network.”
“I’m working on research projects to improve existing technology and develop new techniques for pipeline inspection. It’s about working with clients to find solutions for their problems, developing tools for practical uses.”
“Developing hardware and software involves using recent advances in Electronics to develop printed circuit boards and implemented the firmware for the instruments. User interface and data processing applications to process the instrument data are developed in many different languages depend on the requirements. It could be in Matlab, C/C++ or Python.”
The findings from our research is implemented in Speir Hunter’s inspection technology as part of the core system. It... allows accuracy mapping the underground pipeline network.”
More about Chau
Chau Vo received his MSc degree in 2010 from the University of Leeds. He completed his PhD degree in 2015 at the University of Leeds, investigating detection of stress concentration in ferrous material using stand-off magnetometry.
He was working as a research fellow in the Ultrasound group at University of Leeds from 2013, where he developed a technique to determine depth of cover of buried pipelines using stand-off magnetometry. He joined Speir Hunter in 2016, where he is working to develop hardware and software for Stress Concentration Tomography (SCT) technology.