IMechE award for RGU engineering students

Five engineering students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have won a group project award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), which will allow them to present research at an international conference.

IMechE student award 2016The £2,500 grant will allow the students to attend an international conference in Glasgow on Advances in Subsea Engineering, Structures & Systems (ASESS) after they were able to demonstrate they met the criteria for the award.

James Williamson, Jamie Thomson, Alasdair Crawford, Gearoid Kerins, and Azat Yusupov will present research that they have done as a team to develop a pigging capsule at the event in June, as well as attend the various presentations and workshops throughout the day.

James said: “The team members and I are thrilled to have been presented a Group Project Award by the IMechE to aid with funding for our Master’s Degree Group Project.

“This conference is a fantastic opportunity for ourselves as soon to be graduate engineers to receive exposure to a wide variety of engineering topics at the forefront of industrial research and also allow us to meet with engineering professionals currently working in industry.”

He added: “The grant will allow us to attend ASESS 2016, an internationally renowned conference bringing together specialists in subsea structural engineering from all around the globe. As a team we will be presenting our research at the conference and attending numerous other presentations and workshops throughout the day.

“We hope to learn more about what we can expect from our future careers as engineers and what new and exciting technologies are currently being researched. As ambassadors of our university we will strive to present RGU as a school well suited for young engineers to explore their potential and learn more about engineering subjects.”

The group’s research project focuses on the design optimisation of a pigging capsule used for pipeline inspection within the oil and gas sector. It is a continuation of work done by Dr Yang Liu, a lecturer at RGU, who designed the capsule drive mechanism, and aims to make improvements to the capsule design used to hold the mechanism through both computational simulations (CFD) and experimental prototype testing.

Dr Sheikh Islam, a lecturer at RGU, who is an expert in CFD modelling, has also been involved in the supervisory team of the group project with Dr Liu.

James said: “From our research we identified several design improvements that helped stabilise the capsule and would allow it to travel faster within a pipeline, improving the capsule’s efficiency.

“The design of pigs in the subsea industry has not changed significantly in the last 60 years and the uniqueness of Dr Liu’s ‘vibro-impact mechanism’ makes it of great interest to the subsea engineering community.

“Using this mechanism a pigging capsule is able to move within a pipeline independent from the product flow and without external propulsion such as wheel or propellers, something which has not been achieved before.

“The simplicity of the vibro-impact mechanism allows for a safer, cheaper and more reliable pig that is able to operate in conditions that no existing pig design can currently operate in.”

He added: “The capability of this capsule design is not merely limited to the oil and gas industry but could also be implemented in the energy, water management and health industries.”

The IMechE group project award is one of numerous awards and scholarships the industry body promotes each year with the aim of developing, inspiring and encouraging engineers at every stage in their career, through practical, financial help.

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology