Graham John McShane, MA, MEng, PhD. Notley Fellow in Engineering; Acting Director of Studies in Engineering (parts IIA, IIB) & Director of studies for Construction (MSt).
I teach all Queens' IB students for the 'mechanical' half of the course, using a mixture of whole cohort example classes and small group supervisions. Queens' has an unusual way of supervising; whilst other colleges may have one supervisor per topic we find teaching across a wide range of papers allows the relationships between various subjects to be brought out. There is more breadth within supervisions and we build a strong teaching relationship with students. A mixture of small and large group teaching formats provides the flexibility to address different issues (from common conceptual problems to individual difficulties) in the most appropriate way. This teaching approach was developed by Dr Andrew Gee (Director of Studies for Engineering) and delivers a good teaching experience for students, and is certainly a strength of the subject at Queens'.
My aim as an undergraduate Tutor is to ensure that all students are able to make the most of their time at Queens’. I offer support to help resolve any welfare or administrative difficulties that might present an obstacle to life at University. As a previous undergrad here I am well suited to the role and am more than aware of the opportunities and challenges of the Cambridge system; I feel it is important to have this understanding of both the student perspective as well as that of the wider college and university. As Senior Treasurer of the College Union, I aim to support the wide range of sports clubs and societies in Queens’ that add enormously to College life outside the sphere of academic study.
As an undergraduate I always enjoyed the mechanical engineering side of the course, and my research in materials started when I took part a material focused summer vacation project. I subsequently had an excellent fourth year project supervisor for another materials related project and having enjoyed both of these set my sights on doing research as a career. My research focuses on the mechanics of lightweight materials, such as cellular materials, composites and light alloys. I am particularly interested in material deformation and damage when subjected to dynamic loads such as impact and blast. Current research topics include: developing new models for predicting impact damage in composite materials for aerospace applications; optimising retro-fit coatings for the protection of structures against blast and fragment impact; the use of additive manufacturing (3D printing) to create high performance blast and impact energy absorbing cellular materials; the application of 3D printing to personal protective equipment for injury prevention; aerogel composites for damage tolerant thermally efficient materials; the application of composites to the protection of buildings from dynamic loads, such as blast. It is a very multidisciplinary subject and getting involved in a wide range of things is exciting. New strands of work are also moving towards bio-medical research and the involvement of materials in new medical equipment.
In the Department of Engineering I am a University Senior Lecturer in Solid Mechanics, lecturing solid mechanics and materials related courses in Parts IB, IIA, and IIB. I also organise undergraduate labs and teach material characterisation and plasticity and fracture in torsion. I supervise a number of IIB projects each year on topics related to my research interests and currently have four PhD students. I also supervise projects that are linked to student initiatives such as the Solar Car and Eco Car projects.