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Aeronautical engineering student reclaims Teddy Fielding Prize

Monday 19 June 2017

AN AERONAUTICAL engineering student has won a prestigious prize for her research exploring a way to combat moisture getting into composite materials in aircrafts.

Bettina Islam, 21, beat tough industry competition to win the trophy, representing the University of Salford.

Her research explores the feasibility of using computational fluid dynamics to combat the expensive problem in the aviation industry, of moisture getting in to composite materials that make up different components of an aircraft.

When this happens, the component such as an entire elevator, has to be expansively repaired or replaced altogether, because the moisture damages and weakens the layers in a compound, making the component unsafe to continue to be in service.

Expensive problem

It can cost aeroplane companies millions of pounds to replace a damaged component, which is why research in to cheaper ways to analyse and combat this issue.  

Bettina, who is in her final year of her BEng BettinaAeronautical Engineering degree said: “This was the first competition that I have ever entered, so it was the largest audience that I have ever spoken in front of. When I was describing my work, people were asking me lots of questions which gave me the confidence that what I am researching is interesting to other people.’’

“Winning the prize, and beating other talented engineers who already work for top companies, has given me the motivation to continue to research this area during my Masters”.

Bettina, who currently lives in Blackpool, came to the University of Salford from France. During her course, she had the opportunity to spend a year working in industry, which she spent at an aircraft maintenance organisation Lufthansa Technik in Malta.

Industry experience

She said; “Working at Lufthansa for a year was amazing. It’s great to have an industry experience, it’ has helped me so much in terms of finding a job in the field for over the summer and will surely help in the future. What was also great about working there was that a lot of the engineers were actually women. It’s so important that women are represented in engineering, because I feel that they can offer a different perspective.”

Dr Thurai Rahulan, Senior Lecturer in Aeronautical Engineering said: “My colleagues and I are very proud of Bettina’s achievements and winning back the Teddy Fielding Trophy for our institution. She faced stiff competition from the other finalists from the University of Manchester, Martin Baker Ejection Seats and BAE Systems.

Salford takes great pride in collaborating with industry and a copy of Bettina’s final report will be sent to Lufthansa. Bettina is on target to graduate in July with a First Class Honours degree in BEng Aeronautical Engineering, along with the diploma in Professional Studies.”.

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Victoria Barker

0161 295 4779