Dr Alexander D. Norman PhD MA MEng Hons Cantab
This page relates to my time at the University of Cambridge: I am currently (from October 2011 to date) working as a consultant engineer and product designer at Sagentia, an R&D and product design consultancy based in Harston, near Cambridge.
Until June 2009, I was a research student in the Structures Group at the Cambridge University Department of Engineering, and a member of Christ's College. Within the Department, the work came under the division of Civil, Structural, Environmental and Sustainable Development, and I was supervised by Drs Keith Seffen and Simon Guest, and work in the ReconStruct, the Laboratory for Reconfigurable Structures Research. As of January 2009, until July 2009, I was also employed by the Engineering Department as a teaching assistant.
Contents of this site
Since October 2005, we have been investigating multistable corrugated shell structures. Multistable structures can adapt to a wide range of operating forms without the complexity or maintenance needs of hinges, bearings &c. The shells that we are studying are multistable due to the interaction between internal prestresses created during forming and non-linear geometrical changes during deformation. All further details are being kept confidential at the moment, while industrial negotiations continue.
- Norman, A.D., Seffen, K.A. and Guest, S.D., "Morphing of curved, corrugated shells", International Journal of Solids and Structures, vol. 46, pp.1624-1633, 2009 (pdf)
- Norman, A.D., Golabchi, M.R., Seffen, K.A. and Guest, S.D., "Multistable textured shell structures", Advances in Science and Technology, vol. 54, pp. 168-173, 2008
- Norman, A.D., Golabchi, M.R., Seffen, K.A. and Guest, S.D., "Multistable textured shell structures", Cimtec 2008 3rd International Conference of Smart Materials, Structures and Systems, Acireale, Sicily, 8-13 June 2008
- Norman, A.D., Seffen, K.A. and Guest, S.D., "Multistable corrugated shells", (2008) Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A, vol. 464, pp. 1653-1672, doi:10.1098/rspa.2007.0216 (pdf)
- Norman, A.D., Seffen, K.A. and Guest, S.D., "Large-deflection multistable shells", McMat 2007, ASME Applied Mechanics and Materials Conference, University of Texas at Austin, USA, 3-7 June 2007
- Norman, A.D., Guest, S.D. and Seffen, K.A., "Novel Multistable Corrugated Structures", Proceedings of the 46th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference, Waikiki, Hawaii, USA 23-26 April 2007 (pdf)
- Seffen, K.A., Guest, S.D. and Norman, A.D., "Multistable Structural Member And Method For Forming A Multistable Structural Member", Patent Pending, July 2006, GB 0612558.7
- Roll-up screens 'moving closer', BBC news online article, 21st September 2006
- Norman, A.D., "Analysis & design of multistable corrugated open shell structures", First-year PhD report, Cambridge University, August 2006
Faith: being certain of what we hope for (Hebrews 11:1)
The underlying principle of my life: trust in God. Find out why I can have so much confidence in Him at 'Two Ways to Live' or come along on Sunday at 10am, 11:30am (during undergraduate terms only) or 5pm to the Round Church (currently meeting at St. Andrew the Great, just opposite Christ's College; the Round Church itself, whilst the oldest church in Cambridge, is alas not big enough for us all).
I'm part of the ministry team for people in their 20s & 30s at that church; feel free to contact me (adn24) if you have any questions.
I build cars and drive them for a hobby! In the past, I've created a Pembleton Super-Sports, an immensely fun 3-wheeled sportscar which weighs only 350kg. With a high-revving 602cc engine, it was great fun to drive... Next project was my 1930 M-type MG Midget, which I restored over about 3 years. I bought it as a chassis and a series of boxes containing all its parts, with all the bodywork missing! I made a copy of the original body (fabric over plywood over an ash-wood frame). Here is a tail shot. I also have a set of construction photographs online. This car has now been sold, becuase life has become busier to the point that I just can't use it, nor will I be able to for the foreseeable future. My last road-rally steed was a 1963 Saab Sport (with a 2-stroke, 3-cylinder 850cc engine). Our best award in the Saab Sport: 2nd in class in the 2008 Hughes Historic Rally.
I'm ex-President of the Cambridge University Automobile Club, the oldest motorsport club in the world (founded in 1902), older than the AA and one of the foremost organisers of motorsport throughout much of the last century (that was before Cambridge students had to take things like exams). Nowadays, we organise rallying and go-karting (besides a number of motorsport-related social events), and compete in the British University Karting Championship, as well as 'Production Car Trials', rallies and autotests run by other clubs.
Well, I love sailing, skiing and hiking. I'm half Swiss, which should be very good for all of these, but you need more than a PhD student's wage to ski in Switzerland...
Principle means of relaxing: piano and harmonica. The latter is a much-maligned instrument - listen to someone like Howard Levy to find out how it should sound! Any type of music, played well, gets my approval, from classical to jazz to blues to folk to country.
If you're after a good read, I cannot recommend G. K. Chesterton and P. G. Wodehouse enough, given how little people seem to read them these days. There's a nice collection of Chesterton's work online thanks to Martin Ward.
My Master's project was an analysis of the energy needs of the Lisu tribe, a remote peoples in inland China. Their current energy needs are being met by burning collected wood, at the expense of deforestation (the problems of the late stages of this have been observed in Nepal and other areas). Therefore, I developed a simple turbine for power generation from small, high-head mountain streams. The focus of the project was on 'appropriate technology', i.e. ensuring that any solution fitted the cultural issues as well as the technical challenges.
After the project, a poster was produced (available as a high-definition Portable Document Format here - size 2MB). This came joint-second in a national poster competition run by the Royal Academy of Engineering in July 2005.
- PhD, Cambridge University, 2009
- MEng, Cambridge University, 2005
- BA, Cambridge University, 2005