Anna Weatherburn

Aura Centre for Doctoral Training

Work with industry, drive innovation, develop a sustainable future.

Cohort 3

Anna Weatherburn

Aura CDT Activities:

I won the Engineering category in the 2024 STEM for Britain Awards at the Houses of Parliament.

I am currently a Cohort 3 Student Rep on the Aura CDT Student Committee.

In 2023, I assisted with a community engagement project, where we helped pupils from Egglescliffe School, Teesside explore the science behind building a wind turbine. In my session, I  introduced the materials used in turbine manufacture and the aerodynamics of wind turbines, including the principles of lift and drag.

My research:

I am researching Multiscale Design of Fracture & Fatigue Resistant Bio-mimetic Composite Materials for Wind Energy Applications. The aim of my project is the creation and optimisation of a new material for wind turbine blades. As wind turbines get bigger, due to increased demand for renewable energy, we need more specialist materials for these new larger wind turbine blades. We have taken inspiration from natural materials, like mother-of-pearl, which have had millions of years to evolve excellent material properties and combined this with fibre-reinforced composite technology. By replicating the structures seen in nature within our material design we have created a material that is strong, tough and lightweight.

Find out more about this research.


I graduated with an MPhys in Experimental Physics with a Year Abroad from the University of York in 2021. During my degree, I undertook a year-long placement at the University of Münster in Germany. During this placement, I created a 3D model of a particle detector design, using a C++-based software, to be used in the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. For my Masters project research, I again used the same C++-based software to create a model of another particle detector design. During both projects, I used both Python and C++-based methods for data analysis. After graduating, I am now completing my Postgraduate Diploma in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment at the University of Hull.

Research Interests: 

I am interested in the application of simulation and modelling software to physics-based problems, such as modelling new materials or creating simulations of processes within offshore wind.

Why I applied to the Aura CDT: 

My interest in offshore wind energy began during a module on the physics of renewable energies in the first year of my undergraduate degree. I found the lecture on wind energy particularly fascinating and it remained as an interest for me throughout my degree. The Aura CDT gave me the opportunity to combine this interest in wind energy with my desire to participate in renewable energy research and the opportunity to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team.



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