Vasiliki Loukodimou an Associate Interim CEng of The Welding Institute, explains how she came to study engineering and how her professional membership has aided her in her journey so far…
Vasiliki is a third year PhD student with Cranfield University based at the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) at TWI Ltd. With funding from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), her research topic is on the ‘Development of leak-before-break (LBB) filament wound composite structures’ with application for composite pressure vessels (CPVs).
As Vasiliki explained, ‘Over the past few years many accidents of bursting CPVs have been reported, leading to injuries and fatalities and causing dramatic environmental and economic impact. The aim of this PhD research is to develop design concepts to achieve safer, controllable and predictable way of failure to preventing catastrophic failures.’
27-year-old Vasiliki’s work could have important consequences for the future, which is in line with her reasons for pursuing engineering as a career in the first place. She revealed, ‘I decided to follow an engineering career as I always wanted to be part of something greater, something that would have a great impact on problems faced by people in their everyday life. Through an engineering profession, I seek opportunities to get involved in the development of technologies to tackle the challenges faced in our society. Besides that, being in a position to identify, characterise and, in some cases, predict situations through the application of science principles and mathematics, has always been an area that attracted me to pursue this career path.’
In order to get where she is now, Vasiliki successfully passed the Pan-Hellenic exams to get accepted into one of the most prestigious polytechnic schools in Greece, at the University of Patras. It was here that she studied Mechanical and Aeronautical engineering in order to develop a wide set of skills, as ‘apart from mathematics and physics, mechanical engineers also obtain a high level knowledge on material science, structures, computer applications, electronics, driven by social, environmental and economic factors.’
It was during the final years of her undergraduate study that Vasiliki developed an interest in composites, which led to her carrying out her dissertation on the subject of ‘Multi-functionality of carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) enhanced with graphene nanoplatelets.’ From here she decided to pursue a PhD in the same area and gain expertise on composites.
It was through attending seminars from the Welding Institute’s Young Members’ Committee representatives that Vasiliki was motivated to seek out professional membership and registration. Having heard about the opportunities for career advancement and industrial recognition as part of a global network of welding and joining professionals, Vasiliki applied to become an Associate Interim CEng.
Assisted in filling out her forms by a member of The Welding Institute team, Vasiliki received a lot of support from her Institution on becoming a member. Membership has provided several benefits including the access to information, resources and the professional prestige it carries. Vasiliki added, ‘As a member, I also have the opportunity to regularly attend a range of conferences, seminars and workshops. Through these events, I have had the opportunities to network and promote my research to like-minded professionals.’
While Vasiliki says she would definitely recommend fellow students and professionals consider obtaining professional membership and registration with The Welding Institute, she has also kept busy with events related to her Institution. These activities include attending the YMC and Tipper Group seminars taking place at The Welding Institute and gaining an Armourers and Brasiers Travel Award in 2017 to attend the International Conference on Composite Structures (ICCS20) in Paris in September 2017.
Vasiliki’s immediate plan involves finishing her PhD after which she will be seeking out professional-level employment so that she can apply the scientific knowledge she has gained to industrial challenges.
Through her education and professional membership, Vasiliki has taken the first steps in achieving her dream of providing solutions to peoples everyday problems.