“The bursary has allowed me to explore my interest in materials and material structure and has encouraged me further to go into this field as a career.”
Maxwell Johnson was awarded a Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary which enabled him to work with Dr Wayne Miller at the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Exeter in the summer of 2010.
Maxwell looked at how the buckling strength of honeycomb cores used in transport applications can be improved through optimising the position of honeycomb ribs to minimise internal structural stress. Honeycombs are widely used as cores in sandwich panels in transport applications e.g. aircraft where weight specific performance is critical. The ability of honeycombs to resist compression and in particular resistance to buckling is a key performance factor in these uses. Maxwell created an analytical model for a honeycomb section with differing geometries and then found a mathematical formula which explained what he observed. Maxwell’s model was a success and the project also allowed him to use a new form of manufacturing known as Additive Layer Manufacturing.
Speaking about his experience Maxwell said: “The bursary scheme has been a great experience and I have learnt a lot about how research is conducted in universities.” As a result of his bursary, Maxwell secured his final year research project in collaboration with Rolls Royce.