Imperial College London

Aeronautics inspires next generation of engineers


Group of students from The Norwood School outside Imperial College London

The Department of Aeronautics hosted students from a London secondary school in a day that showcased university life and latest research developments.

Professor Emile Greenhalgh and Dr Ajit Panesar recently provided students, from The Norwood School, with an insight into student-life at Imperial and the incredible opportunities in the field of aeronautical engineering.

The students enjoyed a presentation on the future of aeronautics and how Emile Greenhalgh’s development of a multifunctional carbon composite has the potential to transform the world of technology and aviation. Such structural power composites have the ability to carry load and store electrical energy, in the same way as lithium-ion batteries, giving rise to the possibility of phones as thin as credit cards and a new generation of aircraft that will be much lighter and more efficient.

Professor Emile Greenhalgh, Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies said: "As a world-leading Aeronautics Department, it is really important for us to inspire and enthuse budding engineers from London – these are the young people who will wrestle with and solve the future challenges for the UK."

A tour of local cutting-edge facilities gave students a behind-the-scenes feel for where research is conducted. Adam Year 9, noted how facilities at Imperial allow for ideas to become quickly tangible: "I would say I most enjoyed the 3D printing facility because it is very interesting to see how you can rapidly prototype and bring your ideas to reality. The testing department really excited me as you are able to test and optimise products before they go into production.”

The Department hosts some excellent facilities for research and teaching, that support computational and experimental projects in fluid mechanics, structural analysis, composites, optimisation and control, and aircraft design. The Department boasts a much from a flight simulator to an aerial robotics lab and a composites centre to a variety of wind tunnels, including its flagship 10 x 5 wind tunnel. Rupert, Year 9, was inspired by the capabilities of facilities: “I found it very insightful to tour the Aeronautics facilities and it really encouraged me to look further into the engineering sector and its opportunities!"

Norwood School students were accompanied by Hayley Robjant, Head of Visual Arts Faculty, who is a keen ambassador for outreach: “It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn more about STEM in action, and how this could lead to a career, both in Aeronautics and other fields.

“The facilities that the students got to see were fantastic, and it really showed students what and how they could be studying in the future! The presentation from staff was inspiring, and really made students think about the development of materials and how this may impact on future design.

The students had a wonderful day, and we would like to say thank you once again to the team for arranging a superb visit.”


Ayesha Khan

Ayesha Khan
Department of Aeronautics