Neha, Materials Scientist

 
Neha 1_4

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My research is looking at embedding monitoring systems in carbon fibre pipes. It’s based on the fact that when you get cracks in materials, because there’s a release of energy, it propagates through the material as an elastic wave which is really high pitched- like acoustic frequency - and you can use the sensors that I use to pick up those waves. Like, you know when you knock on a table, it makes a sound, the reason why it makes a sound is because the waves are propagating through the material, but the frequency is low enough that we can hear it, and the same thing happens in carbon fibre material it’s just that it’s such a high pitched noise that we don’t hear it and we need those sensors to pick up the wave. If I can embed these monitoring systems in pipes, we can monitor the structure without having to inspect it or send somebody out there to physically look at it. It’s all about taking out the downtime that goes into inspecting any structure, but also having more confidence in like the way you design those materials so that you can make sure they perform well like in the environment they are supposed to be in.
 
Neha 2_4

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Everyone knows when they start a PhD - like all of your colleagues who are one year ahead of you or two years ahead of you are like, ‘don’t worry, you’re going to feel like you don’t know anything for the next 3 years, it’s okay, we all feel like that’, and you’re just like, ‘but it’s not okay for me to feel like that! It’s just not okay! I don’t care if you’re telling me that it’s just not okay’. And you know it, you know it’s okay to not feel that way and we still beat ourselves up about it. It doesn’t make you feel any better about it either, you don’t think oh actually yeah it’s you’re right there’s so much out there I can’t know it all your like, no, I want to know everything!
 
Neha  3_4

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I’m always scared that I’m not meeting the targets I’m supposed to be meeting, like, you know when you do something great, and people come to you and they say ‘oh that’s amazing well done’, then there’s always that fear of, now that I’ve like done better than they thought I was going to do, maybe I’m just going to drop back and be rubbish like I was before. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know if it’s the PhD or just the kind of person I am, but yeah, I’m always kind of scared that I’m not going to meet people’s expectations or that I’m going to be perceived in the wrong way so it’s more about other people than about me. But I think that’s just because I’m not confident in myself to be like ‘no everything’s fine everyone’s fine with what you’re doing’.
 
Neha 4_4

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The biggest thing that I’ve learnt is not to close any doors to any opportunities because sometimes you fall into things that you didn’t think you’d ever be doing. I never thought I would be doing a PhD, and as a consequence I’m really enjoying myself I’m making a lot of contacts and to be honest I feel pretty good about where I am. When you tell people you’re doing a PhD, they’re always like ‘wow that’s awesome’. No matter if you’re a kid at school picking your GCSE subjects or your A level subjects, just don’t close any doors. People I went to school with always said ‘I don’t like this subject’ or ‘I don’t like this teacher’ and let that decide what they ended up doing at university. I would just say, you can always get to where you want to be, there’s always a way, don’t give up on what you want to do.
 

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