Success for first year PhD student Petia Tzokova after participating in her first conference. Petia presented her research at the Young Researchers’ Conference run by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) at their headquarters in London. The IStructE is a professional body which provides accreditation for structural engineers. They also fund research in structural engineering, especially research with connections to industry.
Only 24 young researchers were accepted to present at the conference – Petia was given the opportunity to present a poster of her research. Petia’s poster presentation showcased her MRes project, called “Tall modular buildings: height limits of stacked steel modules”. The project involved finding the structural height limit of steel modular buildings, which was calculated at 78 storeys. However, the project also considered practical issues, such as lifting the modules that high. With Petia’s interests grounded in structural engineering, this project kept her motivated from the start. Petia’s poster presentation involved introducing existing modules and tall modular buildings, outlining the method of analytical and numerical modelling used to find the maximum heights and finally, revealing the results.
Several companies’ representatives expressed interest in the project. Some made suggestions for future work, such as considering other materials, which Petia is looking at implementing as part of her PhD. Delegates from the finite element program Oasys GSA were at the conference and, since Petia used their program in her MRes, they will include her project on their website as a case study. Petia enjoyed presenting her research at a conference for the first time and learning more about what makes a good poster presentation. She also learned that attending conferences not only promotes her research to others, but that they might also suggest an improvement that may have previously been unconsidered, which could ultimately enhance the project.
Credit for images goes to the Institution of Structural Engineers, 18th Young Researcher's Conference