Royal Society award for engineering expert
Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education and also in Central Government
Professor Artur Jaworski, Chair in Engineering at the University of Leicester
A Leicester engineering expert has been presented with a prestigious award for his work harnessing the power of sound as a form of energy conversion.
Professor Artur Jaworski, Chair in Engineering at the University of Leicester's Department of Engineering, has been awarded an Industry Fellowship by the Royal Society.
The fellowship will see him use his over 10 years of experience in the field of Thermoacoustic Technologies (Thermoacoustics for short) to assist Leicestershire-based company European Thermodynamics Ltd.
Thermoacoustics is a relatively new interdisciplinary topic in science and engineering. It is broadly concerned with a direct conversion of heat into sound, or using intense sound to transport heat.
When a porous solid body, referred to as “stack” or “regenerator” is immersed in an intense acoustic wave, the cyclic expansion and compression of the gas, coupled with its movement, can cause localised cooling and heating of the solid body, producing large temperature differentials.
In a reverse effect, a high temperature differential imposed along the solid leads to a spontaneous generation of an acoustic wave, a form of useful work that can be converted to electricity. These effects are utilised in thermoacoustic coolers and engines, respectively.
Skillful application of thermoacoustic processes can be used to increase the efficiency of energy sources - from solar power to burning firewood.
The three-year industry fellowship will allow Professor Jaworski to work closely with Kibworth-based European Thermodynamics Ltd, which designs, manufactures and supplies an array of thermal management products.
Professor Jaworski hopes to help the company widen its range of products by incorporating thermoacoustic devices into its roster.
Professor Jaworski said: “Since these fellowships are very rare and prestigious, of course I was over the moon to receive one.
“The collaboration between industry and academia is very important. I have always found the practical problems found by the industrial colleagues very relevant to moving the frontiers of science further. They are important for developing new research ideas - and ultimately the solutions to improving the industrial technologies and their performance.
"For me, the fellowship will result in the flow of expertise back from the industrial host to the academic environment. For example, one of the known bottlenecks in developing Thermoacoustic systems is an efficient heat transfer mechanism in the presence of an (acoustically induced) oscillatory flow.
"It thus necessitates the design of heat exchangers of unorthodox topologies, geared towards mass production. The company’s experience in thermal management will lead to new academic ideas and scientific problems worth pursuing by future PhD students in my own research group.
Mr Kevin Simpson, the technical director of the company commented: “We have identified Professor Jaworski as a leader in the field of Thermoacoustics with over 10 years experience in this emerging technology, with clear potential to bring the academic and research know-how into the industrial world. The proposed Industry Fellowship is the first stepping stone in establishing a long term relationship between the company and the applicant’s research group. Above all it will give us a unique access to the thermoacoustic academic technology base.”
Professor Jaworski and Mr Simpson see the Fellowship as a self-perpetuating feedback mechanism between academia and industry which they hope should bring about the desired step-changes in both the UK industry capabilities and the underpinning science and technology.
The Fellowship will run from August 2012 to August 2015, and allows Professor Jaworski to spend two thirds of his time engaged with the company accelerating the technology readiness level and bringing the technology closer to commercialisation.