Daniel Mulvihill wins Young Stress Analyst Competition

Daniel Mulvihill, a D.Phil. student in the Department of Engineering Science and Hertford College, has won first prize in the Young Stress Analyst Competition for 2011. The prize is awarded annually to young researchers by the British Society for Strain Measurement (BSSM).

Daniel MulvihillThe competition involves submission of a paper describing the candidate’s research from which four finalists are selected and invited to present their work before a panel of judges at the BSSM’s annual conference.  This year’s award was made following the conference dinner at the joint BSSM/SEM International Conference on ‘Advances in Experimental Mechanics’ held this September in Edinburgh.

The title of Daniel’s winning presentation was ‘Observations on Frictional Behaviour’.  His first prize, which was sponsored by Airbus, Imetrum and AWE, includes a cheque for £200, Imetrum strain measurement software worth approximately £12,000, free membership of the BSSM for one year, and coverage of his conference expenses.

Daniel’s project was part of a larger Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded collaboration between Oxford University and Imperial College, London aimed at developing a better understanding of frictional joint phenomenon.  Vibration modelling of a single component is straightforward, but when parts are joined together the modelling predictions can give incorrect results because of the present poor understanding of frictional joint behaviour.  Two important parameters in characterising joint behaviour are friction and contact stiffness, and Daniel’s work was a combination of experimentation and modelling aimed at developing better understanding of these parameters.

The impetus for this work arose from the need to model vibrations more accurately in aeroplane engines and Rolls-Royce plc is a partner on the project.  Daniel said: “This was a very exciting, rewarding, and well-structured project with real and immediate engineering applications and the opportunity to work and interact with some really great researchers at both Oxford and Imperial”.

Daniel graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Limerick, Ireland, in 2008, winning the gold medal for first place across all faculties and the IMechE Frederick Barnes Waldron prize. He came to Oxford in October 2008 to undertake a doctorate at the Department’s Solid Mechanics Group.

Daniel is currently finishing off his D.Phil work and hopes to do post-doctoral research in Solid Mechanics when he qualifies.  Daniel said: “I would like to acknowledge the support of my supervisor Professor David Nowell, as well as my project collaborators at Oxford namely Professor David Hills and Dr. Mehmet Kartal of the Solid Mechanics Group”.

Acknowledgement: British Society for Strain Measurement (BSSM)