Before my EngD I was an Innovation Technologist at Anglian Water. In my student summer holidays I used to work at Manchester United FC, as a waiter.
Research Engineer as part of STREAM (www.stream-idc.net/)
Cranfield University and Severn Trent Water
I study and improve chemical reactions to destroy pesky pesticide pollutants and make sure your water is safe to drink
Pesticides are for plants, not for people. Drinking water needs to be treated before it can be sent to homes around the country. I study a chemical reaction designed to destroy pesticides found in water. My reaction uses a catalyst, but the catalyst particles keep sticking together which makes the reaction less effective. At work I study these particles to understand the reaction and what I can do to improve it. My work will improve the process and save my sponsor company lots of money!
I am interested in the size and shape of the particles once they stick together and I took the picture below with the use of a microscope to show their size. The sides of the square in picture are 1 mm long, some of these particles are incredibly small!
My Typical Day
Coffee, lab work, particle sizing, reading, biscuits, plotting graphs, analysing, reviewing, planning, adjusting, optimising, improving. Engineering.
As an research engineer I’m not tied to my desk all day. I have a chance to spend time working practically and doing experiments. In the past I’ve spent a lot of time working at treatment sites, so it’s nice to be outdoors, even if it was treating sewage.
Although it’s not typical, as an academic you have a lot of opportunity to travel for conferences and events. Last year I was in Spain, Greece and I recently applied for a conference in the USA.
What I'd do with the money
I would create a table-top treatment processes to demonstrate water treatment to schools.
Sometimes we take it for granted that we turn on the tap and clean, drinkable water comes out. I’d like to show people what goes into the water treatment processes which are essential to our everyday lives. I would spend the money on creating a table-top treatment process demonstrating the various steps: Abstraction (pumping from a reservoir), Clarification (dosing chemicals to settle solids), Filtration (through sand or other media) and Disinfection (add chlorine, kill bacteria).
I think it would be exciting to see the process at work and the visual difference between the raw water and treated water is quite impressive! This would also be a way to introduce the regulations and standards that water must be treated to.
A typical jar test – Clarification demonstration
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Optimistic, Creative, Easy-Going
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Seafood, calamari is very good
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Skiing, I skied for the first time this year and I’ll definitely be going again
Were you ever in trouble at school?
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
I spent six weeks working in Spain where I treated water using the sun. (My profile picture was taken during this placement)
If you weren't an engineer, what would you be?
If not an engineer I would have liked to have a career in music, I started to learn the tuba when I was 7 and I taught myself other instruments.
Tell us a joke.
What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down? It gets toad away.