Sikiru Adepoju Mohammed

Why did you choose to study for a PhD at the University of Leeds?

The University of Leeds is unique in that everything about the campus is linked together in the same area, yet it is in the heart of the city with an array of accommodation options, standard sports facilities and other amenities just around the University such that I, like many other students, never bother about the cost of transportation. The University is research intensive, international friendly and well-resourced with the state of the art facilities and staff. I was particularly motivated going through the staff profile and seeing someone like Professor Anne Neville, OBE, FRS, FREng, FRSE, FIMechE, FIM3 who heads my supervisory team of 2 senior professors (Anne Neville and Nikil Kapur) with 2 doctors (Richard Barker and Yong Hua). Anne’s interdisciplinary skills, dedication and passion for engineering is rare. I consider my self being at the best University and studying under the best environment I can think of. 

Tell us about your research

My research is entitled: “Investigating pitting corrosion in low carbon steel in sweet environment”. The research was muted based the effect of material degradation / corrosion which occurs in the medical, aviation, supplies, oil & gas, military and virtually all facets of life. Corrosion accounts for 3.4% of the entire world GDP annually. Pitting corrosion is the most devastating form of corrosion attack and it often progresses undetected until catastrophe occurs. My research work was to understand pitting corrosion and how to avert its menace. Three key gaps were identified in the course of my research and are being addressed in my thesis. One of the gap identified was the need to generate stochastic stress-free pitting of predictable depth to be utilised for pitting propagation studies. A novel potentiostatic polarisation technique was proffered which entails the application of Faraday Laws of electrolysis and profilometry technique to reliably generate pitting and establish a relationship between general and pitting corrosion. The research is applicable to the military in areas of assets management and predicting time to failure of sensitive combat supplies such as ammunition shell and propellants in order to minimise the risk of unplanned detonation/explosion.

What is your favourite part of studying at Leeds?

My favourite part in Leeds is the training packages and seminars opened to staff and students. I have attended 23 seminars and over 50 training courses offered by the University at no extra cost. I don’t have words to express how those courses have aided my interdisciplinary skills and enable me to do my research efficiently and with great ease. Being a military officer with years of field experience, I have identified areas where training such as LabView, Matlab, LASER cutting, 3D-printing and CNC subtractive manufacturing concepts could be applied in my organisation back home. 

What activities do you take part in outside of your studies?

I am a member of the Hyde Pack Harrier runners club and I try running weekly with the team and I sometimes go swimming at the University sports complex. I engage in weekly voluntary teaching of mathematics to high school students in Leeds at no cost to the school. I was part of a volunteer team that demonstrated basic corrosion concept to some school kids in the United States as part of Corrosion 2017 NACE activities. I participate in several programmes held in the University to inspire UK kids in engineering. I have assisted some STEM ambassadors in preparing for STEM outreach projects. I have recently taken induction training as STEM ambassador in order to participate in far reaching STEM activities.  I take joy in demonstrating modules such as laboratory induction, thermofluids, fluid statics, engineering mechanics, design & manufacture, 3-D printing, LASER cutting and lots of others. I also took some teaching assistance role, arithmetic checking and marking. I have participated in several fund-raising events which includes cake sales for the Mosul Technical College that was destroyed by terrorists in Iraq. I took part in several social events such as the IFS away-day camps, happy-hour after every viva defence, Ikley-moore night orientation, IFS football matches amongst others. I strive not to miss advertised seminars across the faculty. I honoured an invitation to attend and assess candidates competing for selected teaching appointment in the Department of Mechanical engineering. I currently mentor a Year-3 corrosion student on his laboratory work and analysis. I also guide a PhD researcher on the application of my artificial pit model to conduct part of his research work. I take part in routine IFS focus group presentations and other presentations made to showcase the department research work to sponsors and visitors.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My decision to embark on a PhD research was to enable me to make a difference in engineering challenges confronting my country. I am passionate about Nigeria and earnestly look forward to returning to transfer my acquired skills to colleagues and officer cadets I hope to train at Nigerian Defence Academy. My ambition for the future is to see an Africa continent that is technological driven and where everyone can acquire basic education.

Any advice for prospective students?

My strong advice for prospective students is to place Leeds on top of their list if they aim for research excellence. I have visited some other Universities in Europe and the United States during conferences and I see my choice as the best in terms of resources, accessibility, safety, quality ease of doing research work and being international friendly. The international office has competent staff that are always happy to address students’ needs. The student union is quite active with several events to keep students going. The Grad system is a fantastic tool which I will advise researchers to follow diligently. I urge current students to manage their time well and never to assume with the first 2 years of their PhD. It is good to socialise moderately and to avoid events and that are time wasting.