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Dr Alex Leung joins the Materials, Structures and Manufacturing team at UCL Mechanical Engineering, bringing in a wealth of knowledge and experience. His new role will see him lecturing engineering students, as well as leading an interdisciplinary research team to develop intelligent systems for advanced manufacturing.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I was born and raised in Hong Kong, but have worked in the UK for the last two decades. I received a MEng degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, majoring in Aerospace Materials. During this time, I took on a fellowship where I worked on a product development project using directable light technology. Afterwards, I worked as a New Product Development (NPD) Project Manager at British Steel.
I started my academic career as a research associate at the University of Manchester in 2013. I received my PhD in Materials in 2018, and worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UCL. I am now happy to be part of UCL Mechanical Engineering as a lecturer!
Can you tell us about your research areas and interests?
My research interests intersect between computer science, materials science, engineering, physics, and manufacturing. My research aims to help better understand what is happening during manufacturing processes with the aid of imaging techniques.
Most of my research activities require using a combination of electron, optical, infra-red, and X-ray imaging to visualize the additive manufacturing (AM) process at multi-length scales in 2D and 3D, from the examination of feedstock materials to real-time process monitoring and testing of manufactured components. Combining these techniques with imaging processing algorithms, we can extract key information related to fluid, thermal, and hydrodynamic behavior during manufacturing process. This provides new insight to explain the fundamental aspects of the manufacturing process and suggests ways to improve the manufacturing productivity and efficiency.
You have had a number of significant professional achievements (including two recent awards). Which achievements are you most proud of?
I am flattered to get asked this question. Getting awards and professional recognition helps build confidence in what we do; however, it is more important for us to advance new knowledge to the research field as well as helping the present and future society. I am most proud of having the opportunity to work beside the brightest minds in the world.
What prompted you to join UCL Mechanical Engineering?
UCL Mechanical Engineering has an excellent education program, a diverse and world-leading research portfolio as well as access to world-class facilities to do great science and tackle engineering challenges. In particular, I am delighted to be part of the materials, structures, and manufacturing team as it fits very well with my background, research, and personal interests. I think starting my academic journey at UCL Mechanical Engineering is fantastic, because the department attracts the brightest minds, helping us build a strong research team.
What are you looking forward to achieving at UCL Mechanical Engineering?
I am looking forward to leading an interdisciplinary research team to develop intelligent systems for advanced manufacturing. My research team will develop new ways to better understand and optimize manufacturing processes (not limited to additive manufacturing), including (1) intelligent beam control, (2) development of smart materials, (3) advanced imaging and image processing techniques, and (4) development of in situ diagnostic instruments.
You’re clearly passionate about your research. What other things are you are interested in outside of your professional life?
I enjoy playing all sorts of sports, including football, basketball, and different types of racket sports. I am also a fan of martial arts, and hold a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. In recent years, I took on figure skating and spend my spare time jumping and spinning on an ice rink.
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