UNNC young researcher publishes five high-quality papers in two years

27 October 2020

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Yue (Yolanda) Yang

Recently, a PhD student of the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), Yue (Yolanda) Yang published a paper in one of the world’s top journals on manufacturing - International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture.

The paper, entitled “Controlling of compliant grinding for low-rigidity components”, is Yolanda’s brainchild. In her paper, she proposes a solution to address the accuracy challenge in machining, when both the workpiece and tool are compliant in grinding.

With thin-walled structures being applied increasingly widely in engineering construction, many areas now face this practical problem, such as aerospace and automotive industries. The controlling method that Yolanda has presented in her paper enables, for the first time, to obtain the desired and uniform material removal rate, helping manufacturers to improve the machining precision and produce higher quality components.

This paper is the fifth that Yolanda has published since her admission to UNNC as a PhD student two years ago. All her five papers are devoted to advanced manufacturing and published in highly ranked journals categorised as JCR Q1, which denotes the top 25% of journals according to Journal Citation Reports.

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Yolanda is doing a lab experiment

A prolific young researcher as she is, Yolanda didn’t have much experience in manufacturing engineering before joining UNNC. In her undergraduate and master’s degree study, Yolanda majored in aircraft design and spent one year subsequently working in a well-established research institute.

“But it is UNNC that gives me a world of possibilities and allows me to be the best I can be.” She said.

After an online chat with Dr Haonan Li, who is now one of her supervisors, Yolanda decided to pursue a doctoral study at UNNC on advanced and intelligent manufacturing.

“I was challenged by a test that Dr Haonan Li sent to me. I found it very interesting and that test inspired my interest in advanced manufacturing.” Yolanda said. “Dr Li gave me a strong support during my PhD application.”

Yolanda’s supervisors also include Chair Professor Dragos Axinte and Dr Zhirong Liao at the University of Nottingham UK campus.

Professor Dragos Axinte speaks highly of Yolanda: “She is a very talented student. She has a solid foundation in scientific knowledge and is hardworking,” Professor Axinte said. “Whatever problem you throw to her, she picks it up and solves it! I gave her a mathematical problem that other students had struggled with for over three years, and believe it or not, she solved it in three months.”

The “problem” that Professor Axinte gave to Yolanda dealt with an issue in the manufacturing process. Resolving it required both mathematical modelling and simulation validation. Yolanda was confident in providing the model, but she encountered a challenge in the simulation test. After having rounds of discussions with her supervisors and spending long hours in the lab, eventually, she found the solution.

Her result was published in the journal - Proceedings of the Royal Society A, titled “A curious observation of phenomena occurring during lapping/polishing processes”.

Yolanda was grateful to her supervisors. “I have been good at solving physics, mathematics and modelling problems, but wasn’t very comfortable with lab experiments,” she says. “With the support and guidance from my supervisors, I walked out of my comfort zone and became well capable of it. Without any one of them, I won’t be able to achieve so much.”

As part of her PhD programme, Yolanda is now at the University of Nottingham UK campus, sponsored by China Scholarship Council (CSC) for two years, to further her research on advanced and intelligent manufacturing.