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Hydralab+ funded internship at HR Wallingford develops experimental skills

Posted: 15-Jun-2018

Pilar, a PhD candidate in the Environmental Fluids Group at the University of Granada, has been working at HR Wallingford’s Fast Flow Facility as part of a two-week internship programme, funded through an EU Hydralab+ project.

During her time at HR Wallingford, Pilar has been working as part of the PROTEUS team – a diverse range of European researchers from the University of Ghent, Leibniz University Hannover and the University of Porto, alongside IMDC nv, and the Department of Mobility and Public Works, Belgium. The team are undertaking large-scale physical modelling in the Fast Flow Facility to improve scour protection design around offshore wind monopile foundations, and to adapt designs for future climate change scenarios.

Pilar said: “The main objective of my PhD thesis project is to study the interaction of the interfaces between wind-waves, the initial stage of wave generation in shallow waters; wave-bottom, the boundary layer structure and the sediment concentration in a turbulent flow; and wave-breakwater, the stability of breakwaters, which takes into account the wave energy distribution in its interaction with the structure. A fundamental element of the PROTEUS project involves carrying out experimental tests to achieve a better understanding of the Wind-Wave-Structure-Soil interaction.

“Similarly, we have been performing our own experimental tests in the Wave-Flume of the Environmental Fluids Group in Granada, analysing the impacts and implications of climate change on the stability of breakwaters. However, the world of laboratory experiments is broad and requires a wide range of skills, such as using different measuring techniques or even solving personnel problems, or dealing with instruments that don’t perform as expected, for example. I wanted to have the opportunity to work in a facility where academia and industry work together, managing all sorts of challenges.

Pilar added “The internship has enriched my experimental skills, as well as providing experience in cutting-edge experimental methods, devices and techniques, specifically with Aquadopp, Vectrino, the ULS-200 underwater laser scanner and HD underwater video camera. What’s more, the opportunity to work with researchers from HR Wallingford and different countries around Europe has allowed me to improve my communication skills in English, and also to learn how to coordinate and organise the work of these researchers within the experimental framework.

“In the future, when I finish the PhD Programme, I would like to continue to research environmental hydraulics, either applying to a Post-Doctoral grant or working in companies dedicated to research in these fields.”

Dr David Todd, Business Development Manager for Research and Commercialisation at HR Wallingford, said: “One of the best parts of working at HR Wallingford is the opportunity to take part in cutting-edge research in the Fast Flow Facility, working alongside world-renowned researchers in environmental hydraulics. We’re delighted to be able to have a hand in training researchers who represent the next generation of experts in this field.”

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