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Mrs Jennifer Forrester MEng, CEng

Senior Consulting Engineer

Mrs Jennifer Forrester's photo

Jennifer works with aerospace partners to develop methods for incorporating measurement data into automated design processes in order to inform design decisions by investigating the effects of uncertainty upon probabilistic performance. The emphasis of her work is on the practical implementation of complex methodologies alongside existing computational analysis codes. She also has a background as a chartered design engineer in composite marine structures leading consultancy projects for international clients.

Composite engineering

MShip Co. M80 Stiletto
MShip Co. M80 Stiletto

Having obtained a Master of Engineering Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Southampton in 2001, Jennifer began engineering yacht and other composite marine craft structures as part of a consultancy team at the then SP Technologies Ltd., now Gurit (UK). She specified laminates and designed support structure on multiple custom yachts. As her experience grew she began to take the lead in engineering for a number of high-profile projects, including the Sebastian Schmidt designed Decision 35 One-Design catamaran class for Lac Leman, the MShip Co. M80 Stiletto stealth technology demonstrator, and craft such as the Baltic 152 Pink Gin.

Design feasibility assessment

Gas turbine engine, image courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc.
Gas turbine engine, image courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc.

In September 2006 Jennifer took up a post at the University of Southampton in the Research Institute for Industry to expand her knowledge in computational engineering methods, working initially on two projects sponsored by Rolls Royce plc. over two years: a study into the achievability of a bolted joint design for increased load bearing capability using Altair HyperMorph, and a research project looking into the feasibility of a knowledge-based system to develop the design process for laser-cut sheet metal fixtures with patented features.

Computational engineering

Measurements of a high pressure turbine blade
Measurements of a high pressure turbine blade

Following these two initial projects, Jennifer has since been involved in a number of further research projects funded through the Rolls-Royce plc. university technology centre at the University of Southampton, including demonstrating use of the Value Driven Design methodology for aircraft engine components and, since 2009, on the Strategic Investment in Low-carbon Engine Technology (SILOET II) programme and its predecessor, supported by Rolls-Royce plc. and the UK Government Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, managed by the Technology Strategy Board. This programme has supported Jennifer’s work on measurement processing for uncertainty propagation and robust design.

Jennifer is also an active member of the Equality and Diversity Committee within the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, working to ensure that any faculty-specific inequalities are highlighted and addressed and that processes are implemented to maintain the ATHENA SWAN Bronze Award, with application for Silver during 2016.

Research interests

Jennifer has the following research interests:

  • Application of uncertainty propagation and robust design
  • Computational engineering design
  • Structural design engineering
  • Composite engineering

Current research

Safety factors are no longer sufficient means of catering for the uncertainty, or inaccuracies, in design analysis. ‘Total care’ packages and other economic and environmental drivers require aerospace designers to have a grasp of not only the typical performance of their products but the expected variation as well. Building ‘robust’ products is integral to building ‘better’ products … faster, lighter, cheaper, quieter, lower emissions, …, and more robust. Although stochastic methods are well established in the academic literature, their use in industrial design rarely goes beyond sensitivity studies. Jennifer researches means by which these methods can be integrated with existing structural analysis codes to enable the use of probabilistic black box approaches for robust design.

Her latest project focuses on the use of coordinate measuring machine data to enhance decision making in dovetail joint design, where components are subject to geometric variation from manufacturing. The goal is to design components with a less variable, and therefore more predictable, fatigue life. Jennifer uses Matlab® to integrate geometry creation and manipulation using NX™ and its Open application program interface capability with ABAQUS® meshing and contact analysis automated using Python™ scripting.

For consultancy activities at the Research Institute for Industry please see Responsibilities.

‘Firtree’-type turbine blade to disc attachment
‘Firtree’-type turbine blade to disc attachment

Research group

Computational Engineering and Design

Computational engineering design research projects for aerospace partners

Consultancy activities at the Research Institute for Industry

Faculty of Engineering and the Environment Equality and Diversity Committee member


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Mrs Jennifer Forrester
Computational Engineering and Design Group Engineering Centre of Excellence Building 176 University of Southampton Boldrewood Campus Burgess Road Southampton SO16 7QF

Room Number : 176/5017

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