David Apsley

Lecturer in Civil Engineering, Energy and Environment

Offshore energy and coastal engineering theme

David Apsley

The most enjoyable aspect of my job is new challenges – a lot of useful results have arisen unexpectedly when trying to solve other problems. I enjoy working in the very broad area of fluid dynamics, and learning all the time.

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Research

My research involves mathematical and computational modelling of fluid flow, with applications to renewable energy, waves, aerodynamics, dispersion of pollution, ventilation of buildings.

Particular areas include advanced turbulence models, sediment transport and morphology, moving grids and sliding interfaces.

The School includes lecturers and students from a good mix of backgrounds, from aerospace engineers to geotechnical and materials specialists. There are many multi-disciplinary projects and there are many links with industry and with other institutions.

The most enjoyable aspect of my job is new challenges – a lot of useful results have arisen unexpectedly when trying to solve other problems. I enjoy working in the very broad area of fluid dynamics, and learning all the time. And obviously overseas conferences are a bit of a plus!

Teaching

Every day is different and there are always new things to do. For a teacher I still seem to be doing a lot of learning!

I enjoy both front-of-class lecturing and the less-formal one-to-one contact with students. Teaching every single year group for at least one unit allows me to get to know most student names by the time they graduate.

Fourth-year classes are probably my favourite as they are smaller and more familiar; teaching tends to be quite informal in contrast to the highly choreographed lectures for first and second years.

I teach in a fairly traditional manner using a mix of talking, overheads, PowerPoint, worked on-board examples, labs and computer software.

I think it is important to vary presentation methods during the course of a lecture, and asking students to go through worked examples is probably the best way of doing it.

I try to incorporate some cutting-edge research where possible, particularly to project students, and link as much as possible to real-world examples.

Success

I have won prizes for teaching; receiving a student-voted Manchester teaching award in 2012, and for research (a share in an ASCE prize for one of my journal papers). However, often the most important indicator of achievement it is just that feeling at the end of a lecture when students have received it well and are going to make good use of the material you've given them.

Obviously the degree class a student achieves is important, but it is better if they graduate having enjoyed their course, got good marks in a wide range of units, are confident in applying the material they have learnt, and have experience in directing their own project as well as giving presentations.

I hope students remember me fondly. Most of them seem to remember my name and they go on using the material I have taught. Quite a lot of past students are on the Industry Panel and many attend Institute of Civil Engineers lectures in Manchester – it is good to meet up as old friends!

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