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Bristol Composites Institute PhD student wins the prestigious Jefferson Goblet

David Bridigo and Ben Woods at AIAA after David won the Jefferson Goblet

David Brigido and his PhD supervisor Dr. Ben Woods (on the left beaming with pride) after the award ceremony.

David Brigido collects the Jefferson Goblet

David Brigido collecting the Jefferson Goblet.

23 January 2020

Final-year PhD student David Brigido has won the extremely competitive student paper competition at the 2020 AIAA SciTech conference.

The Jefferson Goblet is given to the best overall student paper and presentation in the areas of Structures, Dynamics and Materials at SciTech, which is the largest Aerospace Engineering conference in the world. This year's conference was held in Orlando, Florida between 6 and 10 January 2020.

David Brigido, a final-year ACCIS CDT student, presented his work on applying the principle of granular jamming to create morphing aircraft wings that can change their stiffness in real time. The concept is based on the ability of granular materials to act as either a soft “liquid” or a solid depending on how tightly the grains are squeezed together. David’s approach is to fill aircraft wings with coffee grinds, which can be squeezed together under vacuum pressure to make a stiff aircraft wing. When the vacuum is turned off, the grains unlock and the wing becomes soft enough to be deformed into a new shape. This allows the wing to immediately adapt its shape to changing operating conditions – reducing drag and therefore fuel burned.

David beat out 110 other student entrants to secure the Goblet, and his win reflects the depth and breadth of progress he has made in his research: including detailed mechanical modelling and experimental testing of the complex and highly non-linear behaviour of granular media and the design, manufacturing, and testing of protype demonstrators, which show the concept can achieve very useful levels of stiffness adaptation.

The judges and audience were impressed with the inventiveness of the concept and the passion with which David presented his work.

David said: "I was lucky to win the Jefferson Goblet Student Paper Award, which is the most prestigious student paper prize at the world's largest aerospace engineering conference. I want to acknowledge my supervisor Benjamin Woods, and Andres Rivero, both of whom helped me a lot. I could not have done it without them. Last year Andres Rivero won the Best Student Paper Award in Structures. For the second year in a row, a PhD student supervised by Benjamin Woods won a prize at the SciTech conference!"

In addition to an award certificate and the beautifully machined solid metal Jefferson Goblet, David also won a $500 prize. Congratulations to David!

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Further information

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science (ACCIS CDT) is now known as the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Composites Science, Engineering and Manufacturing (CoSEM CDT). 

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