Engineers on a mission to make the world a better place

As Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2019 (4-8 November #TEWeek19) gets underway, Portsmouth engineering staff and students are on a mission to make the world a better place and shape the way we live.

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is delivered by EngineeringUK, a not-for-profit organisation, which works with the engineering community, employers and professional institutions to inspire tomorrow’s engineers.

Now in its 7th year, Tomorrow’s Engineers Week provides a unique opportunity for universities, schools, employers, professional institutions and engineers to drive interest in engineering careers, showing young people the ways in which engineers are on a mission to make the world a better place, find innovative solutions and shape the way we live.

Turning the plastic tide

Serena Cunsolo, a PhD researcher in our School of Civil Engineering and Surveying is working to change the stereotypical image of the engineer and engineering among the wider public.

Serena was part of the Ocean Cleanup team, which is providing vital evidence about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), located halfway between Hawaii and California and the largest accumulation zone for ocean plastics on Earth. She is now looking at how plastics can be prevented from entering our rivers and oceans.

Serena said: “There is an urgent need for action to prevent microplastics particles from entering our oceans. Once these tiny fragments of plastics end up in the marine environment, they represent a potential harm to sea life. Hopefully, the results of my research will promote innovation in technologies and the implementation of reduction measures to preserve the aquatic environment.”

Find out how Serena is on a mission to prevent plastics from entering our rivers and oceans.

Hopefully, the results of my research will promote innovation in technologies and the implementation of reduction measures to preserve the aquatic environment.

Serena Cunsolo, PhD researcher

Dr Serena Cunsolo

Serena Cunsolo

Driving us closer to green transport

Professor Hom Dhakal, from the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering, is driving research that could make the automotive, marine and aerospace industries significantly greener.

Professor Dhakal is an expert in composite materials, and the leader of the University’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Research Group. He is breaking new ground in developing sustainable, lightweight composite materials.

Composite materials are a mainstay of manufacturing. Usually, they take the form of plastics reinforced by man-made reinforcements such as carbon fibre and glass fibres. This combination (compositing) makes the material stronger than it would be on its own.

But as Professor Dhakal notes, ‘extraordinary amounts of materials have been thrown into the sea because of the problem of recycling.’

He and his team are working on a much more radical, far more natural solution – bio-composites. They are trying to use materials that are bio-based and biodegradable after their useful life. They’re making natural composite products using plant based natural fibres as a reinforcement.

Read about how the potential green revolution works.

Professor Hom Dhakal

Professor Hom Dhakal and his team are developing sustainable, lightweight composite material, which could make manufacturing in the automotive, marine and aerospace industries greener than ever before

Meeting the global energy challenge

The future of the planet depends on finding a sustainable, reliable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels, and Dr Jovana Radulovic is busy working to find one.

Dr Radulovic is a Senior Lecturer in Mechanical and Design Engineering. Her research is looking at how we can improve existing energy solutions – and at the same time, develop new alternative electricity generation technologies that meet the ever-increasing energy demand of a growing global population.

To combat our continuing reliance on fossil fuels, Dr Radulovic is looking into alternative electricity generation technologies. In particular, she’s looking at renewable energy and energy storage.

Implementation of different solar energy systems across Western Europe is part of Dr Radulovic’s research. She’s also investigating how modern solar technologies can be used to power protected historic buildings.

Find out more about Dr Radulovic’s sustainable and affordable energy solutions.

Dr Jovana Radulovic's research is exploring how we can improve existing energy solutions and develop alternative electricity generation technologies that meet the demands of a growing global population

Changing the face of engineering

On the Wednesday of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (6 November), the Royal Academy of Engineering unveils the next major moment in its This is Engineering campaign, 'This Is Engineering Day', a new national awareness day dedicated to publicly celebrating the engineers and engineering technicians shaping society and solving global problems.

This Is Engineering Day is focused on changing the stereotypical image of the engineer and engineering among the wider public and showcase what 21st Century engineers and engineering really look like.

As part of This Is Engineering Day, the University of Portsmouth has signed the Academy’s image pledge to make engineering more representative of the society it serves. The University has committed to creating and using images and imagery of engineers and engineering that properly reflect the breadth and diversity of the profession.

The University has supplied a number of images to the Royal Academy of Engineering to help them change the mix of images that appear in online search results for the word ‘engineer’.

Want to learn more about engineering? 

Visit our Faculty of Technology, or explore our undergraduate and postgraduate engineering degrees. 

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