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From academia to industry: Imanol's story

From Academia to Industry: Imanol’s story


Imanol Martinez Perez became interested in engineering when he was in high school, having considered mechanical engineering as a mixture of maths and physics but keeping in mind a practical perspective. 

After studying mechanical engineering at the University of the Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain), Imanol enrolled in a double degree program with Arts et Metiers ParisTech (Paris, France). From there he secured a six months internship at Subsea7 (Suresnes, France) in the structures department, before graduating as a Mechanical Engineer.

Imanol continued to work at Subsea7 for 9 months in the assets team, where is roles included performing structural calculations of installation aids, platform maintenances, sea fastening of large structures for the different vessels of Subsea7’s fleet, amongst others.

In 2015 he embarked on his PhD with NSIRC and the University of Edinburgh, working in the Numerical Modelling and Optimisation Section at TWI. His subject was on computational fatigue assessment of mooring chains, taking into account residual stresses.

Within the Oil and Gas industry, there was concern over the increase in mooring line failures and, despite the remarkable progress in this area, there is still no robust fatigue assessment method that accounts for the combined effect of residual stresses and mean load. A significant number of Joint Industry Programs (JIP) have been launched for better understanding and improving fatigue analysis of mooring chains.

At NSIRC, Imanol’s work highlighted the need to take mean load into account, and he developed a method to do this through a computational assessment for routine use in an industrial environment. Importantly, the assessment method does not lose accuracy with respect to the original computational fatigue assessment methods. The fatigue predictions showed good agreement with fatigue testing carried out as part of a Joint Industry Project (JIP) at TWI.

For the NSIRC 2018 Annual Conference, Imanol submitted his research for the Industrial Impact Award, winning first prize. The award recognises students’ research that makes a significant contribution or takes an innovative approach to solve an industrial problem.

Alongside the Industrial Impact Award, Imanol was awarded a scholarship by ASME for presenting his research to the International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (OMAE) 2018 Conference. During this conference, Imanol presented part of the research he did at Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France) as a visiting PhD research student at the Laboratory of Solid Materials (LMS).

Imanol regards his time studying for a PhD with NSIRC as “a great experience. It has enabled me to gain scientific knowledge, but at the same time stay connected to industry. I had regular meetings with my industrial mentor, who set me research guidelines based on the challenges faced by industry. I would like to thank my supervisors and my industrial mentors – I felt I was standing on the shoulders of giants”.

Having completed his PhD, Imanol now works at Principia’s headquarters at La Ciotat, France; an engineering company developing added-value offer to Energy sector and to Naval Defence sector.

Imanol works performing advanced mechanical analysis of structures, including nonlinear Finite Element Analysis fatigue. He is also involved in R&D projects, some of them directly related to his PhD.

For more information, or to speak to Imanol about his research, please contact enquiries@nsirc.co.uk.


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Numerical modelling to examine stresses in mooring chain links.jpg
Numerical modelling to examine stresses in mooring chain links. Photograph: TWI Ltd
Imanol Martinez Perez