Dr Jonathan Russell
EngD student 2005-2009
University: Imperial College London
Sponsoring company: Rolls-Royce Submarines
EngD research: The Development and Implementation of Advanced Ultrasonic Phased Array Technology
Ultrasonic inspection is the primary technique for the detection of planar flaws within the nuclear industry. Typically inspections are limited to the application of rigid wedge, single element transducers to components with regular surface geometry. My research developed a membrane coupled conformable phased array device. The membrane coupled array is a low-cost, robust device that uses a conventional phased array coupled to the outer surface of the component under test via a water path encapsulated by low-loss membrane. Through the use of a large membrane coupled phased array the amount of scanning required can be significantly reduced, simplifying the inspection and helping to improve inspection speed.
Current role: Chief Design Engineer Support and Development Operational Business Unit, Rolls-Royce Submarines
During my EngD studies I joined Rolls-Royce, initially as a Senior NDE Research Engineer and then a Principal NDE Research Engineer. In both of these roles I led a variety of NDE related projects across Rolls-Royce. This included further development of the membrane coupled array and associated data acquisition and processing software which culminated in the overall capability reaching Technology Readiness Level 4 approximately six months after completion of my doctorate.
I then moved into a system level, technical governance role as Assistant Chief Design Engineer providing technical leadership and governance across a range of design and safety case development activities. In early 2013 I moved role again to be the Assistant Chief Engineer (In-Service). This was a more strategic role setting scope and direction to resolve emergent technical issues as they arose within the In-Service Submarine flotilla. During both these roles I built on my NDE knowledge and maintained an involvement in NDE through attendance at various review meetings. I also supervised another student through his studies and mentored a second student.
At the start of 2014 I was appointed Chief Design Engineer in the Support and Development Operational Business Unit. In this role I am accountable for the governance and technical quality of the output from the business unit. This includes, amongst other tasks, the output from approximately 30 engineers involved in the research, development and deployment of NDE capability. My level of direct engagement in the NDE industry has reduced since I completed my studies but my specialist knowledge developed through the EngD has been invaluable to my career progression to date.