- Course: Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering BEng
- Job title: Undertaking a PhD in Bio-tribocorrosion
- Company: University of Leeds
During the first year of my course I became fascinated by the overlap between materials engineering and biology. How can we design materials for biological and medical applications? And how can we use and adapt natural materials for new products and to solve engineering problems? Spider silk is a perfect example.
I was so interested in what I learned about it during my third year project that I applied for an EPSRC Bursary for Summer Research to carry on my work during the vacation.
The funding was available for seven students in the Faculty of Engineering; I was one of the privileged few to be selected.
I found the project intellectually stimulating and highly multidisciplinary. I engaged with academics from many departments: Physics, Engineering and Biology. I focused on analysing the surface of spider silk, capturing details at the macro-, micro- and nanoscales. Of course, I had to work with actual spiders too – not a project for the squeamish! But I discovered a lot and learned about the best characteristics of spider silk as an engineering material.
Today I continue my fascination for bioengineering. I am currently working towards a PhD in bio-tribocorrosion, specifically characterising the properties and performance of orthopeadic materials and silicon nitride coatings in total hip replacements.