My name is Inés Usandizaga and I am a DPhil student at the Osney Thermo-Fluids Laboratory. I am working under the supervision of Dr Tom Povey on turbine aero-thermal performance in the presence of cooling flows. These cooling flows currently limit the thermal efficiency of jet engines and improved cooling systems could translate into significant performance increases.
I first became interested in gas turbines when I had the opportunity to do a student research project on aerodynamic losses of a transonic turbine blade here in Oxford while studying for my Dipl.-Ing. degree in Germany. During my undergraduate degree I was able to gain both research and industry experience in various short-term placements. After staying in Oxford I spent a further six months working for Rolls-Royce in Derby at their Combustion and Casings department, which reinforced my decision to pursue a career in the field of turbomachinery. For my master’s thesis I chose a numerical project on the transitional boundary layer of a rough surface.
Before going to university I knew rather little about what to expect from an engineering degree. Studying for my A-levels in Spain, my favourite subjects were maths and chemistry, but instead of studying a pure science I wanted to do something that had an immediate application on real-world problems. This is indeed what I have been studying for and what I hope to be doing in the future – and I am still excited to discover ever more interesting engineering applications.
My degree in mechanical engineering has given me a wide understanding of the fundamentals of engineering. At the same time I found practical experience and my internships to be crucial for deciding what I wanted to do. Since the first time I came to Oxford, I have found it to be an extremely inspiring and enriching as well as a very welcoming environment. I very much enjoy the research and the many opportunities Oxford has to offer. In particular, I highly value exchanging ideas with other scientists in my lab and using the world-class facilities. Over the past few years I have been fortunate enough to count on scholarships to support my studies, especially of the German National Academic Foundation. I look forward to continuing my work in the field of turbomachinery and hope to pass on some of my enthusiasm.