Dr Rehan Shah
BEng (UCL), MSc (Oxf), PhD (UCL), FHEA, MIMA, MInstP
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Current Funded Research Projects
Dynamics of swing pumpingFunding source: QMUL Faculty of Science and Engineering
Start: 12-06-2023 / End: 04-08-2023
The project involves modelling a playground swing system as an elaborated pendulum to investigate the mechanism of frequently adopted swing pumping strategies that are used to increase the amplitude of swinging through the input of additional energy into the system. An example of this, is the standing pumping strategy in which the rider’s repeated standing-squatting motion causes a change in the rider’s position relative to the suspending rope, which in turn leads to an energy boost and gain in swing amplitude. The aim of this study is to construct a mathematical model to analyse the effect of the standing pumping strategy on the amplitude of oscillation using a combination of both analytical and computational methodologies, to better understand the dynamics of swing pumping.
Community-based placements in higher education: framework, impact and outlookFunding source: UCL Centre for Engineering Education
Start: 30-01-2023 / End: 31-07-2023
Community-based placements in engineering education have the potential to generate benefits for students, universities and communities alike and are increasingly being formally included into the curriculum, particularly at universities like UCL and QMUL that have campuses within underrepresented geographical areas in East London. This project aims to generate a comprehensive state-of-the-art review of all aspects of community-based placements at undergraduate and postgraduate taught levels to benefit engineering education: how they are initiated and in what contexts, what their advantages and limitations are and their impact on employability and student experience.
Other Research Projects
Variational analysis of rods subject to surface constraints
Slender, elastic rod-like structures on or inside constrained rigid surfaces are prevalent in a wide range of engineering (drill strings in borewells, pipelines under the seabed, ocean cables), medical (stents in angioplasty of arteries), biological (DNA toroidal condensates, bacterial flagella), electronic (carbon nanotubes) and robotic (soft robots for in-pipe inspection) applications. This project seeks to employ a comprehensive variational theory of elastic two-strand braids to investigate the post-buckling behaviour of elastic rods lying on rigid tubular surfaces. Methods comprising the calculus of variations and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics are utilised to procure more general types of solutions to various nonlinear boundary value problems, using both analytical and numerical approaches.
Threshold concepts in mathematics education
This project aims at identifying and recognising key threshold concepts inherent within undergraduate mathematics-based courses at university. Following this, it seeks to examine the pedagogical implications that knowledge and awareness of these concepts can lead to for teachers and educators, both with regard to curriculum development and assessment design.
Teaching ethics in mathematics
For the last 20 years it has become increasingly obvious, and increasingly pressing, that mathematicians should be taught some ethical awareness so as to realise the impact of their work. This extends even to those more highly trained, ranging from graduate students to academic staff. But what should we be teaching mathematicians and how should we do it? This project is dedicated to understanding the need for the consideration of ethical aspects within mathematics and to outlining some of the ways in which we can incorporate the teaching of ethics within mathematics courses at university. The aim is to design and compile a teaching resource toolkit containing a set of varied mathematical problems across different topics with key ethical aspects embedded within them for use by lecturers for tutorial worksheets for individual modules.
Sustainability in higher education
A number of universities are offering exciting new degrees as part of their vision to tackle the biggest challenges facing the planet. Education for sustainable development is a core curriculum theme across most of these innovative degree programmes. In this project, we aim to present a summary of our own research into the state of sustainable education practice conducted at a large university campus in East London. We used raw data from a catalogue of over 800 modules and established a thematic coding scheme based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to delve into more than 60 nearly degree programmes. We showcase the range of existing sustainability modules as well as suggest areas for development and interesting ways to develop modules to better embed sustainability ideas.
Mechanics of the growth and curvature of slender plant roots
This projects utilises multi-scale analytical and numerical modelling techniques to describe the process of cell and tissue growth occurring as part of the elongation and 3D bending and twisting of plant roots.
Diversifying the curriculum through community-based learning and teaching: an institution wide study
Community-based learning and teaching in higher education, and other versions of it such as service learning, are now part of many syllabi worldwide.Diversification of the curriculum in this way can allow students to be exposed to different groups of people as well as develop a greater sense of confidence, sensitivity to issues of diversity and an increased capacity to manage issues of diversity positively. It also enables learner engagement and success through the potential to develop inclusive pedagogy. This project represents an institution wide study to discover the potential barriers and opportunities to community-engaged learning and teaching approaches. It uses a ‘students-as partners’ approach, where students interested in community-based learning take the leading role in the qualitative study. It is aimed at revealing the values and expectations, formal learning benefits and infrastructural considerations to implement this type of learning as part of future-facing curricula and provide recommendations for universities seeking to develop their own approaches towards facilitating community-based learning and teaching.
A systematic literature review of university-industry partnerships in engineering education
Over the last few decades, a wide range of works have featured case studies documenting successful pedagogic collaborations in the form of university-industry partnerships in the field of engineering education. In light of this, this project is aimed at conducting a systematic literature review of these studies centred around five key research questions: (a) purposes of university-industry collaborations, (b) theories used to motivate such work, (c) types of methods employed, (d) evidence-based best practices identified and (e) areas of future work to be explored. The findings are expected to yield recommendations for education practitioners to embed industry involvement within the undergraduate engineering curriculum.