22 July 2022. Brought to you by Chris Hamlett.

Rob Scales

What is your current job / programme of study?

PhD Researcher

What A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do?

Maths, Physics, Chemistry, D&T Graphic Design

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

I found that a lot of bottlenecks in engineering development that I asked about were materials issues before discovering the field. After finding out the undergraduate degree existed and reading books, it then clicked how fulfilling and interesting finding out how and why the materials we use every day and rely on act the way they do.

What did you enjoy most about your MSE course?

I did a pure materials science degree (4 years MEng). I liked most the friends I made in my course, as well as learning a large breadth of knowledge relating to materials.

What is your research about?

My research is about looking into the environmental affects on the lifetime of nickel-based jet engine blades. The blades can experience low but high frequency bending forces during operation, which will eventually lead to crack initiation and then failure. So, I am bending small and thin cantilevers at 20 kHz in different environments (e.g., air, vacuum, pure O2 gas, etc.) for long and short lives to see the effects of that on the mechanisms that cause the cracks to initiate.

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

Developing a computer code to help detect crack initiation in my small samples with a non-contact method.

What do you see yourself doing in the future?

Teaching undergraduates materials science and assisting other researchers. As well as progressing analysis techniques.

What is your favourite material (and why)?

Single-crystal nickel super alloys. Can have a beautiful microstructure under a microscope of very small but evenly distributed cubes to form a continuous grid. They are also a feat of materials science control of microstructures.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

Get reading into materials science earlier! Philip Ball’s Made To Measure book if I had read earlier would have got me into materials science earlier.

Links to any external profile pages / website you have