01 October 2007

High-flying Sheffield graduate lands top award

Photo: Edward Spalton receiving his award

A graduate from the University's Department of Aerospace Engineering has been named as Best Aeronautical Engineering Student 2007 at the national Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) awards, for a project which looked into the manufacture quality of turbine blades and how this affects their aerodynamic performance.

Edward Spalton, 22, who has recently completed an MEng degree in Aerospace Engineering, was presented with the Airbus-sponsored award trophy by Robin Brown, from Airbus UK, who was one of the judges. The judges assessed the technical quality and achievement of the applicants’ projects, together with the students’ personal qualities, their overall knowledge of their discipline and their ability to be an ambassador for the discipline.

Edward’s project focused on how defects produced during the manufacture of turbine blades might affect their aerodynamic performance in operation and whether some flaws could be tolerated, potentially saving the industry millions of pounds in reducing the number of blades that have to be scrapped after manufacture.

His achievement was announced at a ceremony attended by more than 500 students, academics and business leaders at London’s Alexandra Palace. Record numbers of entries were received from every major university in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and judges paid tribute to the exceptional quality of this year’s work.

This is just one of several prizes Edward has received during his time at the University of Sheffield; others include the Sir Harold West Award for academic and personal promise, two Hatfield Memorial Awards in concurrent years and the Mappin Medal in his final year.

Edward said, “I was extremely flattered to be nominated by my university for this award and to make it through the successive rounds and win the award is a dream come true. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the projects I have completed during my time at university and I am very grateful for all the support and guidance I have received from my faculty, my tutors and fellow students during my studies. In particular I’d like to thank my dissertation supervisor Dr Robert Howell who was central in making all this happen. I am now looking forward to travelling for a year and then joining the Rolls-Royce graduate scheme in 2008.”

Robin Brown, Technical Adviser at Airbus UK, added, “Edward is an articulate and enthusiastic student who is committed to an engineering career. All these qualities make him an excellent ambassador for engineering and a worthy winner of this award.”