PhD student Rui Zhang has won the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers (WCSIM) Freeman Scholarship for her work to develop an advanced sensor which could help reduce harmful emissions from gas turbine engines.
The WCSIM Freeman Scholarship is a prestigious and competitive annual prize of £2,000, granted to postgraduate researchers who are actively engaged in developing advanced scientific instrumentation systems.
Zhang's research focuses on promoting carbon neutrality in the transport sector by designing a laser sensor that can rapidly and accurately measure exhaust emissions from gas turbine engines.
The cutting-edge tool offers valuable insights for evaluating next-generation sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and advancing our understanding of carbon-neutral transport.
Zhang has tested the sensor in a commercial auxiliary power unit (APU) at the Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC), University of Sheffield, demonstrating its ability to provide reliable temperature and water concentration measurements of the high temperature and high speed exhaust gas in kilo Hertz.
Zhang is now working to further develop the sensor so that it can take up to 128 measurements simultaneously, and produce a 2D visualisation of the temperature and composition of engine exhaust gases. The research will be a valuable tool for engineers to develop greener combustion engines in future.
Zhang is based in Dr Chang Liu’s research group at the School’s Institute for Digital Communication (IDCOM) and is co-supervised by Dr Brian Peterson at the Institute for Multiscale Thermofluids (IMT).
Zhang's research is making a significant contribution to the ground-breaking Laser Imaging of Turbine Engine Combustion Species (LITECS) program. LITECS is an £8M Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) project in collaboration with academic partners from the universities of Strathclyde, Manchester, Southampton, Loughborough, and Sheffield, alongside industrial partners from Rolls-Royce, Siemens, OptoSci Ltd, M Squared Lasers, and Tracerco.