Laser expert wins Royal Academy of Engineering medal

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University of Manchester laser expert, professor Lin Li, is to receive the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Sir Frank Whittle medal for his outstanding achievements for manufacturing innovations.

Professor Li is head of the University’s manufacturing research group and director of the laser processing research centre and he pioneered the development of laser and materials processing technologies. Collaborating with Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, Li’s team developed a laser cleaning technique that has been deployed in the aerospace industry to replace conventional chemical cleaning for a range of component manufacture processes, resulting in reduced scrap rates and environmental impacts.

Dr Sue Ion has known Li’s work since he was a young research associate at Liverpool University. She said: ‘He has led some exceptional innovations in laser processing and applications, many of which have been taken forward to commercial use in multiple sectors. His work epitomises the excellent work that is being done in UK universities and companies, which the Academy is currently highlighting in its Engineering for Growth campaign.’

Named after the inventor of the jet engine, the Sir Frank Whittle Medal is awarded to an engineer, normally resident in the UK, for outstanding and sustained achievement that has contributed to the well-being of the nation. The field of activity changes every year and in 2013 the medal is being awarded for Engineering Innovations in Manufacturing.