Virginie is a materials engineer with a strong and diverse experience in materials characterisation, especially degradation and failure mechanisms.
Her first role was based at NIST, a US federal research centre, where she monitored the ageing of ballistic polymer fibres. Using FTIR (Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy), tensile testing and ballistic testing, she compared the performance of high-strength polymer fibres from used body armours to samples aged in the laboratory.
Later, she investigated the failure of various aircraft components for Airbus UK. This work ranged from the in-service failure analysis of large-scale corroded components to the fatigue analysis of test parts, including metallurgical and fractographic examination.
To study this topic further, she enrolled in a PhD program within the University of Manchester, where she analysed the environmentally assisted failure of high-strength aerospace aluminium alloys. This project involved the multiscale characterisation of brittle fractures combining X-Ray tomography and SEM-based chemical and crystallographic analysis, with the addition of hydrogen measurements using glow-discharge optical emission spectroscopy (GDOES).
Returning to industry, she joined Bentley UK to examine the degradation of a wide range of organic and inorganic materials. Besides the failure investigation of parts from customer’s vehicles or from the production line, she also helped develop components by advising engineers on materials selection, corrosion protection methods, and by testing different coatings, platings and adhesives.
Besides her work at Hawkins based in the Manchester office, Virginie is also a member of the External Advisory Board for the University of Manchester where she advises the Department of Materials on their curriculum, research and mentoring of students.