YPLC South East finalist - Megan McGregor
Megan graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2015 with a first-class MSci in Natural Sciences, specialising in Materials Science for her final two years. With pilots in the family, aviation has always been of particular interest to Megan; this interest led her to embark on a PhD funded by EPSRC and Rolls-Royce plc investigating new alloys for commercial gas turbine engines. Her project looks specifically at a novel coating material required to attach abrasives onto the end of rotating turbine blades, in the pursuit of a more efficient shroudless sealing system.
Alongside her research, Megan recently completed an RCUK policy internship at the Government Office for Science, working on the Innovation and Industrial Strategy team as part of the Sustainable Economy Division. She enjoys being involved in her group's outreach activities, and has delivered a number of well-attended talks at the Cambridge Science Festival and at the inaugural Cambridge Soapbox Science event. In her spare time, Megan enjoys reviewing popular science books for Chemistry World, and studying Japanese - she is excited to visit Japan and present her research at the Beyond Nickel-Based Superalloys later this year.
World's hottest superglue: Materials requirements for better sealing in jet engines
Jet engines function using a high-temperature gas stream to do work and generate thrust. In the aviation industry, where fractional increases in efficiency equate to savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds, preventing loss of gas from this stream is crucially important. This requires sealing between the moving turbine blades and the stationary casing of the turbine. Any sealing solution must not only increase sealing efficiency, but must stand up to the ever-increasing temperatures and rotational speeds of turbines, whilst remaining light.
Such niche applications provide opportunities for new intermetallic materials, specially tailored to withstand this challenging environment. This talk will explain current and new sealing systems in the high-pressure turbines of jet engines, and explore the materials requirements for such new systems.