Student Blog: Research Visit – Ioanna Stamataki

After attending the 2018 UK-China Workshop on Water Wise Cities and Smart Water Systems, WISE CDT student Ioanna Stamataki visited Tsinghua University and the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) in Beijing. The purpose of this visit was to learn about ongoing hydraulic research both from an academic and a government institute approach and to create opportunities for future collaborations. Keep reading to hear about Ioanna’s visit in more detail:

“I was welcomed to Tsinghua University by Dr Qiushi Yan, and was introduced to the research currently taking place in the Department of Hydraulic Engineering by two current students. During the visit of the laboratories, an experiment on wave energy converters was set up in one of the wave flumes by one of the postgraduate researchers where a new wave energy converter was proposed and the effect of different parameters (width, raft length, pendulum, damping coefficient and others) was being investigated.

Dr Yan insisted upon a visit around Tsinghua University’s vast and impressive campus (395 hectares). With over 36,000 students it is ranked in the top two Chinese universities. The university was established in 1911 around a formal royal garden, constructed during the Qing dynasty. Its most important features today are the Old Gate, the Jin Chun Garden and the stone sundial with the inscription “Actions speak louder than words”.

The visit to IWHR was run by Prof. Yujie Wang, Prof. Li Weichao and Dr Yu Shu from the Department of Geotechnical Engineering. The visit started with a presentation from Prof. Wang on the work that IWHR is involved in as well as its different divisions. The Department of Geotechnical Engineering is made up of three research sections: Soil Mechanics, Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering Safety Technology. The meeting was followed by a presentation on the work of dam stability both through experimental and numerical work, which was particularly relevant to my research on dam breaks. It was interesting to see the results from the large-scale laboratory experiments on dam failures looking at different types of soil and scour protection.

The visit finished with a tour of the laboratory facilities including the laboratory of the large scale cyclic & static triaxial testing and the laboratory of centrifugal modelling. In the latter, there is a large-scale centrifuge (5m in diameter) used to increase the gravitational forces acting on the model so that the stresses and strains in the model are equal to the prototype ones. It can reach a maximum acceleration of 300g.”

As this was the first time for Ioanna in China, she also took the opportunity to do some sightseeing; visiting the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City which were exceptional life experiences. The opportunity to talk to people about her research and hear about the research that is currently being undertaken in China was as an incredible experience for Ioanna. She would like to thank her supervisor Dr Jun Zang for organising her time in Beijing and for putting her in contact with such wonderful and hospitable people.

Ioanna at the Department of Hydraulic Engineering in Tsinghua University, China