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Celebrating National Science Week with Qing Wu

Celebrating National Science Week with Qing Wu

Published:11 August 2017

Dr Qing Wu is passionate about the research opportunities that have been brought about by super computers.

CQUniversity is celebrating National Science Week by highlighting some our amazing scientists who are making a real impact on society with their research.

Here we chat with Dr Qing Wu, a Senior Research Officer with the Centre for Railway Engineering.

What is your area of expertise or research?

My area of expertise is heavy haul trains with all my qualifications awarded in this area: a Bachelor of Engineering in heavy haul wagons, a Master of Engineering in heavy haul locomotives and a PhD from CQUniversity in heavy haul trains. With 11 years of studies and research in this area, my research interests have covered almost all mechanical systems of heavy haul trains.

Could you sum up your research in layman’s terms?

Currently, I’m working on a significant industry project where we look into the implications of using different heavy haul locomotives for railway track life. It is a multidisciplinary project in which we use advanced computing and modelling skills to capture the interactions between locomotive traction systems (electrical engineering), train dynamics (mechanical engineering) and track structures (civil engineering). The knowledge that will be delivered from this project will be able to help both train owners and track owners make better operational decisions with lower operational and maintenance costs.

How do you see your research making a real impact in our world?

Railway is one of the most important transport modes, for both passenger and freight services. In my research, I usually focus on how to make trains run safer, faster and at lower cost. For example, my research in vehicle suspensions can make trains run safer and faster; my research in vehicle connection systems can make trains run safer and have lower maintenance costs; my research in hybrid locomotives can decrease train fuel costs and make the world ‘greener’. There are many ways my research can impact the world.

"I believe railways will always be a love of my life."

What has brought you to this point in your career?

I very much agree with the saying that “You have to love it to be able to be good at it!” I love and am always proud of being a railway man. And I already count myself as one of the luckiest people in the world to be trained in something that I love and to work for something that I love. It is my love of railways that has encouraged me to pursue my railway degrees and brought me to this point of my career. I believe railways will always be a love of my life and the railway love will take me much further in my career.

What are you passionate about?

Over recent years, I’m very passionate about the research opportunities that have been brought about by super computers. Super computers have been widely used in some other research areas. However, their utilisation in railway research is still low. The utilisation of super computers can unlock many research topics that we could not handle previously. For example, with super computers, we can now do super scale optimisations for the whole railway system so as to improve the system with minimum modelling limitations. We can also set up super models to represent a whole railway system and review the performance of individual parts with minimum modelling limitations.

Did you always think you’d become a scientist/researcher? If not, what was your childhood dream?

My primary and secondary education were finished in a system where books and theoretical knowledge were very much emphasised. I always thought I would become a researcher. Since college, I have basically locked my career into the path of being a railway researcher.

How important is it for Australia to support home-grown science and research?

No country can prosper without home-grown science and research. In the case of Australia, the mining sector accounts for the largest proportion of industry value; and the mining sector heavily depends on railways for transport. Therefore, it is easy to understand that home-grown railway science and research are vital to the Australian economy and many other aspects. However, the numbers of Australian railway researchers and government funded railway projects are still relatively low compared with other countries with heavy haul railways.