David A. Lara Ramos
MSc Advanced Mechanical Engineering
My name is David A. Lara Ramos, I studied a BSc in Mechatronics Engineering at the Instituto Tecnológico de Querétaro (Mexico, 2013), and worked for two years as a product design and development engineer for GE Aviation, before starting an MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield (UoS), program that I concluded in September 2015. I would like very much to encourage other students to go the extra mile, and demonstrate how UoS alumni, and their jobs are recognised all over the world.
Currently, I am pursuing a PhD at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden, Germany (Leibniz-Institut für Festkörper und Werkstoffforschung, in german). This research institute belongs to the Leibniz Gemeinschaft, one of the largest and most respected research associations in Germany. I am part of the thermoelectrics research group, which is primarily focused in developing thermoelectric materials and devices in nano scale level, aiming to take advantage of the characteristic of such materials to convert heat into electricity (or vice versa) without any moving parts or working fluids. Due to this property, thermoelectricity can be used for cooling or electrical energy harvesting purposes. Pushed by a green mindset, this is an upcoming technology that must be explored to meet the world’s increasing demand of energy and to develop new efficient and reliable cooling devices to control the temperature in sensitive nano scale electronic appliances.
My PhD thesis involves two main branches: first, in developing numerical analysis, assisted by finite element modeling software, to simulate the challenging and highly Multi physics behavior of thermoelectric coolers. Secondly, by using state of the art nano scale thermal measurement equipment, characterise the temperature profile of such devices. All this is to understand how the device performance is affected by the structure architecture definition, and to obtain both a design tool and manufacture best practices for next generation thermoelectric devices with optimised efficiency.
This research topic is highly multi-disciplinary, involving material science, solid state physics, finite element analysis, optics, experimental mechanics and electrochemistry among other disciplines. Even though this field is completely new from my previous background, at the time that I studied at the University of Sheffield, I developed many of the necessary research skills that I use nowadays in my everyday research duties. For my current position, I have found particularly important some of the modules included within the MSc Advanced Mechanical Engineering scheme, such as “Advanced experimenting and modeling” and “advanced finite element modeling”. In addition, I must also highlight the great influence that my MSc thesis supervisor, Dr. Rachel Tomlinson, has made on me for helping me develop strong analytical thinking and problem solving skills needed to deal with complex challenges , such as the ones encountered in designing thermoelectric modules with a mechanical engineering focus.