27 May 2022. Brought to you by Luke Richards.

Jessica Tjandra

What is your current position?

PhD student, Imperial College London

The A-Levels (or equivalent) that you did?

Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Economics, General Paper and Mathematics Special Paper (Singapore A-levels)

Why did you choose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)?

I chose to do a Materials Science and Engineering (MEng) undergraduate degree because I couldn’t decide between engineering, physics and chemistry, and a Materials degree is all three of these combined.

In my third year, I got involved in research projects and realised I enjoyed research a lot -this inspires me to continue with a PhD in the same field.

What did you enjoy most about MSE course?

I really enjoyed how my course allowed me to specialise in a particular field of materials science.

I chose to specialise in Aerospace Materials which allowed me to use my materials knowledge in aerospace applications. I got to do research for Rolls-Royce plc and one of my modules in my final year gave me the chance to design an actual passenger aeroplane!

What is your research about?

I research 3D printed titanium alloys for biomedical applications. Specifically, I work with a company who manufactures 3D printed titanium implants and bone replacements. My project in particular aims to determine the corrosion mechanisms of these implants when exposed to fluid in our body.

What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far?

Doing outreach! I never knew it is so fun to share cool science with people of all ages! I have played with cornstarch and water (a non-Newtonian fluid) with five year olds, performed toughness experiments on different chocolate bars with teenagers and demonstrated shape-memory paperclips to adults, among others.

It’s such great fun to talk about science to curious children, teenagers and adults alike. I even have ongoing outreach projects including one where we are planning to make a spacecraft (model, of course)! 

What do you see yourself doing in the future?

At the moment, I don’t know (yet). However, I currently enjoy helping with teaching undergraduate students, so teaching is something I am considering. If not, I can also see myself continuing with research in the future, perhaps working in the research and development (R&D) section of a company.

What is your favourite material (and why)?

Since I am currently working with titanium, I don’t know if I am obliged to say titanium -but definitely metals!

Metals are used in so many different things, from cans, batteries and electrical wires to steel bridges, blood vessel stents and magnets. They have very unique properties such as shape-memory capabilities (think planes that can change wing shapes to optimise aerodynamics) and chromicity (think colour-changing dyes).

What advice would you give your 16-year old self?

Take it easy, and stay curious!

Links to external profile pages

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-tjandra-35129211a/

Instagram @tjandrajessica