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Fatigue paper secures Cooling Prize for Oxford University student

Oxford University research student William Beuckelaers was announced as the winner of the 2015 Cooling Prize at an event hosted by the Southern Geotechnical Group at Southampton University last night.

Beuckelaers’ presentation on fatigue life calculation of monopiles for offshore wind turbines using a kinematic hardening soil model beat off stiff competition from Southampton University PhD researcher Letisha Rorke and Arup research engineer Georgios Katsigiannis.

According to the British Geotechnical Association, which organises the annual event in the memory of Leonard Cooling, the quality of the eight entries received for the 2015 event were very high making selection of the three finalists very challenging.

Beuckelaers along with Rorke, who discussed the effects of suction and principal stress rotation on the stiffness of a railway formation, and Katsigiannis, who talked about HYD verifications using numerical methods, delivered their presentations to the audience and judging panel.

While the judging panel, formed by Flint and Neil’s Hugo Wood, Ramboll’s Stephen West and last year’s Cooling Prize finalist Femi Ajayi, deliberated over the winner, Southampton University’s Fleur Loveridge delivered a lecture on thermal response testing.

Before announcing the winner, the judges said that all three finalists gave excellent presentations demonstrating their understanding of the material included in their previously submitted papers. Judges also acknowledged the high level of engagement with the audience who quizzed all three with probing questions, which allowed them to demonstrate their breadth of knowledge around the subject matter.

In announcing Beuckelaers as the winner, the judges said that they felt that his presentation “provided the best elaboration of the material described in his paper and provided an insight into how his research may be used in future to optimise offshore windfarm foundation design”.

Beuckelaers will receive a £200 prize fund from GE, a cut glass decanter and BGA sponsorship to attend the European Young Geotechnical Engineers conference to be held in Durham later this year ahead of the ECSMGE conference in Edinburgh in September.‎ Beuckelaers’ prize-winning paper will also be published in GE later this year.

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