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Student ultrasound researcher scoops award


Media Release
30 June 2009

Student ultrasound researcher scoops international award

Ultrasound researcher Andrew Dawson has been named the winner of a prestigious international student innovation competition.

Named the winner of the PZFlex Student Innovation Competition recently in the USA, Andrew is a Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) PhD candidate from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences.

He is engaged in research work at Industrial Research Ltd (IRL) under the supervision of IRL Research Engineer Paul Harris and VUW Senior Lecturer Gideon Gouws.

The competition was run by PZFlex, a software branch of US-based complex engineering consulting company Weidlinger Associates. It was judged by industry experts looking for originality, feasibility and innovation in entries created with the PZFlex software application.

The software is a virtual prototyping application used throughout the world in areas such as medical ultrasound, ultrasonic non-destructive testing, acoustics, sensors design, and sonar research.

The competition attracted numerous applications from students in top tertiary institutions including universities from the UK, USA, Japan, Europe, and China.

Andrew’s winning entry examines how high frequency ultrasonic waves propagate within materials which have internal structure.

“Common examples include a porous material that has been immersed in water, fibrous materials, or even tissues like muscle as these essentially consist of comparatively long string-like collagen structures within a fluid,” says Andrew.

At appropriate ultrasonic frequencies the acoustic wave ‘sees’ and is guided by the internal structure, but not at much lower frequencies.

Andrew anticipates potential benefits arising from his research in the areas of improved performance of ultrasound sensors and in medical imaging.

He says he spent countless hours putting his application together and the guidance of Paul Harris was very helpful.

“We are delighted to have won the competition, especially given the number of institutions that entered,” says Andrew.

He says that PZFlex software enables him to conduct his research faster and more effectively.

“It provides us with a major step-up in modelling capability; its fast computation speed allows us to model structures with greater accuracy. From this we will gain greater insight into the propagation of high frequency ultrasonic waves in micro-structured materials and tissue."

As the winner of the competition, Andrew received a state-of-the-art laptop to carry out his research, whilst IRL and Victoria University receive PZFlex and SolidWorks software licenses.


ENDS

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