Dr Nicola Symonds

Unit Head


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Find out about our latest capabilities and activities. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn for more updates.

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Merry Christmas from nC²!
We put our teamwork and problem-solving skills to the test at a team building event at ClueCapers escape room, completing the mission with plenty of time to spare, in 54 minutes out of 75. We look forward to continuing our real-world engineering detective work in 2024 – in the meantime, a very merry Christmas from all at the nC2 team! 🎄🎅 🎁 🎉
Introducing Dr Meisam Jalalvand

Meet Dr Meisam Jalalvand, a recent addition to our network of experts who specialises in the characterisation and analysis of fibre-reinforced composite materials. If your company is seeking to understand how these complex materials perform in service, predict potential failure mechanisms, or gather robust data for design modelling, we can call on Meisam to help. Find out more about Meisam.

On-site problem solving

Professor Nicola Symonds and Dr Benjamin Cunningham recently went on a client site visit, with a chance to see a northern icon en route! They visited a customer’s assembly plant, where they applied their detective and engineering skills on the factory floor to get a better understanding of an in-service failure issue. They also agreed next steps which include shipping parts to our lab for further failure investigation analysis. It’s a great example of our flexible, tailored problem-solving approach.

Networking with local businesses

Rachel Triggs and Dr JB Bello staffed our stand at last week’s Southampton Business Expo at the Hilton Aegas Bowl.

It was great to meet representatives of so many different industries – we look forward to collaborating with some of you in the future.

Meet Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong

Introducing Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong, a specialist in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and a recent addition to our network of experts. Lindsay’s specialist knowledge is invaluable for any industry challenge where fluid dynamics are at play, from understanding the behaviour of liquid moving through a pipe to modelling complex chemical processes. It’s a cost-effective way to test different parameters for problem solving, product development, prototype testing or design optimisation. Read Lindsay’s profile to find out more about her expertise.

Sharing our passion for STEM

Sam Hambrook, Dr JB Bello and Dr Spencer Court represented nC² at Wyvern College’s careers fair, where they shared their passion for science and engineering with year 10 and 11 students who are thinking about A level choices. We’re always keen to let young people know about the range of exciting career options in STEM – hopefully we’ve inspired some scientists and engineers of the future.

Spotlight on… corrosion and environmental testing

If you need to find out how materials, paints or coatings perform when they are exposed to the elements or to fluid flows, Dr Spencer Court is your man. He is an expert in corrosion and environmental testing, and can help you gain the insights you need to select the right coating or material for your product. Find out more about our corrosion/electrochemical and paint/coatings testing, or contact Spencer for a free initial consultation.

The Engineering Design Manufacturing Centre

We’d like to introduce the Engineering Design Manufacturing Centre here at the University of Southampton. Their expertise and state-of-the-art equipment ensure that our clients receive a top-notch service at every stage of their projects. Watch the video for highlights.

Whether it’s handling delicate samples with utmost precision or crafting bespoke parts to exact specifications, our technicians go above and beyond to deliver excellence. We take pride in our commitment to understanding and meeting our clients’ unique project and sample requirements, providing not just services, but true partnerships in success.

Celebrating success

Makes a change from lab coats! The nC² team had a fabulous time at the University of Southampton Vice-Chancellor’s Awards event. We were proud to have been nominated in the Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise category, which recognises activities that result in societal, economic and environmental impact. It was great to celebrate with colleagues from across the University and hear about the innovative, inspiring work that’s happening here.

Connect with a subject matter expert

Do you need some scientific expertise, but don’t have an in-house specialist? Our subject matter experts can bridge the knowledge gaps in your company in a cost-effective way. Visit our new page to find out how we can tailor a package to suit you, whether you need a helpline for ad hoc scientific queries, in-depth technical support throughout a project’s lifecycle, or something in between.

Improving maritime safety

We are proud to have supported the International Maritime Pilots’ Association with an important piece of work to improve maritime safety. Through rigorous mechanical testing, we’ve provided an evidence base on the safe use of pilot ladders which we hope will influence practice and standards around the world and save lives. Read the case study to find out more.

Dr Benjamin Cameron joins our network of experts

As a university-based consultancy we are able to draw on a wealth of expertise to support our clients’ projects. A recent addition to our network is Dr Benjamin Cameron, who specialises in digital image correlation (DIC). This advanced technique gives in-depth insight into mechanical strain and deformation, to inform product development or generate rich datasets for machine learning. Find out more about Benjamin’s expertise.

nC² nominated for Vice-Chancellor’s Award

We are thrilled to be among the finalists for a University of Southampton Vice-Chancellor’s Award in the Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise category, which recognises activities that result in societal, economic and environmental impact. We look forward to celebrating our achievements with the other finalists at a special event in October, when the winners will be announced.

Promotions announced for two nC² staff

We’re delighted to report that two members of the nC² team have received well-deserved promotions. Rachel Triggs has been promoted to Senior Consultant, recognising her ever-growing expertise, experience and responsibility in corrosion and environmental testing and chemical analysis. Ilaria Corni is now Principal Consultant, reflecting the additional responsibilities and leadership she has taken on as she expertly manages the running of nC²’s operations.

Congratulations to them both!

nC² to continue working with HMS Victory’s conservation team

We’re celebrating! We’ve secured the contract for a further 5 years on the HMS Victory conservation project and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with the team from The National Museum of the Royal Navy. So proud to play a role in preserving this icon of Britain’s maritime history – we’ll be testing paints, caulking and rigging to identify the best materials to keep Victory shipshape for years to come. Find out more about the project here.

Ben wins award for top downloaded article

Congratulations to Dr Ben Cunningham who has received an award for top downloaded article from publishing house Wiley, for his paper on fatigue crack initiation and growth in steam turbine blade material. His second paper on the topic has also recently been published.

The papers, which appeared in the journal Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures, are available here and here.

Action! Rachel and Nicola share their knowledge on camera

Our expertise is in demand! We were approached by a production company seeking input from experts in material fracture and corrosion for a potential documentary. Rachel Triggs and Professor Nicola Symonds shared their specialist knowledge – here they are being interviewed in our mechanical testing lab. 

Learn more about our corrosion and failure testing and analysis services.

Nicola named one of the UK’s top 50 women engineers

We are thrilled to announce that our Director, Professor Nicola Symonds, has been named as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering (2023) in the UK.

Organised by the Women’s Engineering Society on International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), the awards this year are focused on engineers involved in safety and security.

Watch the video to hear Nicola talk about the award and why it’s so important, and read the full story here.