August 28, 2020, by Rob Ounsworth
Everybody is looking forward to when a bit more buzz and normalcy can return
Rebecca Shaw, Project Manager at the Gas Turbine and Transmissions Research Centre, reflects on the team’s return to campus
I’m writing on behalf of the team that has reopened the Gas Turbine and Transmissions Research Centre (G2TRC) labs after the University shutdown, who are busy undertaking the work and data gathering so fundamental to our group. The G2TRC works on a wide range of experimental and numerical modelling projects; many of our projects focus on aerospace applications and minimising the environmental impact of aviation propulsion. The team comprises academics, experimental researchers, CFD (computational fluid dynamics) researchers, and dedicated engineering and technical teams.
The shutdown had a significant impact on the group’s experimental work, but we were able to adapt quickly to home working. The computational projects, such as those looking at modelling oil systems, have been able to continue through the shutdown, but the whole team was excited to hear that the G2TRC labs were reopening in early July. The shutdown came at a difficult time for two projects, which had been just about to start their test programmes. These projects were critical for our industrial partners who were waiting for the data to answer key questions that will support the design of new propulsion architectures.
The task to prepare the working area for safe working was led by Richard Thompson, who is the area lead for the group’s work in the Energy Technologies Building. Working with building manager Karl Booker, who has been so helpful, and a technical team of Richard, Karl Gregg, Terry Alvey and engineer Graham Johnson, we returned to the lab on 13 July.
Social distancing and face masks
have made the lab quieter
and glasses foggier
Since then, the team, joined by two researchers, have fully restarted the two projects and are looking forward to working on more. The hard work put in by the technicians, researchers, and engineers have allowed data to be gathered that, even within the first two weeks, has produced some unexpected results which are ripe for further investigation.
Richard says life in the lab has been strange and a bit isolating. All interactions with individuals outside the lab have been through the internet, if it be talking with colleagues in the group or arranging deliveries. Social distancing and face masks have made the lab quieter and glasses foggier – online group discussions have pondered the solution to this new engineering conundrum (shaving foam is the most popular contender).
Everybody is looking forward to when a bit more buzz and normalcy can return to the G2TRC labs, but the reopening team is taking it slowly. The rota for building access is set out a week in advance with staggered working times and set task lists. The lab risk assessment is being reviewed to see capacity can be increased, especially as the team looks forward to welcoming back more members of the engineering and technical teams. On the list next? Three more rigs to restart, projects to design … and hopefully a bit of time enjoying of what remains of the Great British Summertime.