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MSc within industry helps civil engineer on his career path


Former NSIRC student Sukit Nualchanchai was working for Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Ltd., which he joined in 2008, when he decided to undertake an MSc in Structural Integrity.  With a background in civil engineering, Sukit had already worked as a structural engineer on many projects, from the greenfield phase of design and installation of new offshore structures, to brownfield modification and construction to upgrade the existing facilities.

However, in recent years, the oil and gas industry had become a more challenging operating environment and staying ahead of improvements in asset integrity management was vital to Chevron Thailand maintaining a strong, competitive business.  Therefore, in 2018, Sukit selected the MSc Structural Integrity programme, awarded by Brunel University London, as the best-fit qualification through which to gain a more in-depth knowledge of structural integrity.  The course is delivered in partnership by TWI at its Cambridge centre, which enabled Sukit to undertake his studies within industry, and expand his knowledge of practical methodologies by learning from TWI’s international network of experts. 

Sukit’s MSc thesis: “Assessment of corrosive defects in aging steel bridges” was supervised by Dr Kevin Hughes, Brunel University London and Dr Guiyi Wu, TWI.  Research focused on the corrosion forms that could occur in steel bridges, and studied the effect on ultimate capacity using finite element analysis (FEA).  Results confirmed that the ratio of bridge ultimate capacity at intact condition to that at the corroded condition was in a range of 5.8 to 1.7, depending on the location and severity of corrosion.  The collapse mechanisms of bridges were also studied and used to identify the locations which required more frequent inspection.

After successful graduation, Sukit returned to continue working with Chevron Thailand where he found that the theory and practice he had learnt, through both course work modules and the extensive experience of producing his dissertation in complex FEA, could be applied in his current role as Subject Matter Expert in Structure Integrity.  Sukit explained “The MSc experience has strengthened my technical skills which I am now applying on complex projects such as platform life extension of aging structures, and managing the optimised risk-based inspection programme for hundreds of offshore structures.”  “I would like to thank my Brunel supervisors, and the TWI staff I worked with, for their support and guidance throughout my research which helped me to achieve the successful end result.”