Structural Engineering Undergraduate Student
Azeez Aderounmu, a Structural Engineering student at UC San Diego, is currently involved in Dr. Veronica Eliasson’s research lab, focused on analyzing the Dynamic Fracture of Polymeric Specimens. Dr. Eliasson is a renowned Research Professor at UC San Diego with a Mechanical Engineering and aerospace background. Her research includes topics such as Dynamic Fracture of Polymers, Shockwave Attenuation, and High Rate Loading of Brain Cells with the help of Ultra-High Speed Photography.
Azeez initially had no experience in engineering or even physics before attending college. He had always been interested in space and wanted to work in the aerospace industry, but was not sure he wanted to do Aerospace Engineering because he was not interested in electrical and propulsion components of flight and space. He found that the UC San Diego Structural Engineering Program’s aerospace focus sequence coincided more with his interests because it focuses on the analysis of aerospace structures and light-weight materials.
Description of Azeez's Undergraduate Research Project
Azeez is currently experimenting to record differences between low impact and high impact on the angle of propagation. He laser-cuts large sheets of acrylic into smaller specimens and then attaches strain gauges on them -- these are used to collect data and trigger the ultra-high speed camera. After soldering and wiring everything, he records the instantaneous impacts of the experiment and processes the data with Digital Image Correlation and Matlab.
Azeez chose this research lab because it is one of the Structural Engineering labs that has applications in the aerospace industry. He contacted Dr. Eliasson following his performance in her Dynamics course and got into her research lab shortly after.
SE Techniques Utilized in Azeez's Research
Most of Azeez’s lab is related to his composites design and structural materials courses (SE 104 and SE 142). In his composites class, he uses various fabrication techniques to create carbon fiber/epoxy structures that are synonymous with the carbon fiber/vinyl ester specimens he tests in Dr. Eliasson’s lab. A previous project he worked on was comparing the fracture toughness of wet carbon fiber samples to dry ones.
Fracture toughness is a material property indicating the stress required for a crack to rapidly propagate. This is an essential part of materials engineering because engineers need to understand how materials react in various conditions. For instance, studying how composites in aerospace structures perform under high velocity and high stress scenarios, or in marine applications where moisture absorption might greatly impact the fracture toughness of the material.
What is Engineering to Azeez?
"It is the process of creating new ideas or materials and creating or prototyping those ideas and seeing how those ideas are in the real world. "
What is Structural Engineering to Azeez?
Azeez says that structural engineering deals with any structure, whether that is civil or aerospace structures, such as bridges and satellites. For example, structural engineers can analyze a component of a wing-craft under air resistance and how to resist those forces to ensure optimum structural performance.
Most Valuable Lesson Learned from Undergrad
Azeez says the most valuable lesson he’s learned from undergrad is to not get comfortable with good grades. They are important, but it's just as important to branch out and make as many connections as possible. There are a lot of opportunities in college, you just have to look for them.
Plans After Undergrad
Azeez plans to attend graduate school with the UC San Diego Structural Engineering MS/BS Program. Initially, he didn’t consider getting a masters degree, but the program’s convenience and the industry demand for topic mastery helped push him to get his masters. Afterwards, he hopes to go into the aerospace industry as a Structural Engineer working on aerospace structures.