Masters of Mechanical Engineering
Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering
Federation University Australia
Country of origin
FedUni has become a new home for Truong Phung, who arrived in 2012 as a postgraduate student and is now a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering awaiting the assessment of his PhD.
Truong, originally from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, was attracted to FedUni because of the small class sizes and student-focused style of teaching. ‘It’s a really friendly and open environment,’ says Truong. ‘The advantage of smaller classes is that students can spend extra time with their lecturers, tutors and research supervisors. I benefitted from that as a student, and now I’m happy to help others succeed.’
When Truong finished his Masters, one of his lecturers, Professor Ibrahim Sultan, encouraged him to take on a PhD. Ibrahim had previously conducted significant research into the design and application of the limaçon expander, a form of technology that enables improved efficiency in power production by recovering wasted heat and reconverting it into mechanical energy. Truong’s project would be to develop a new type of limaçon expander to maximise thermodynamic performance.
‘It was a really challenging but fun few years. The limaçon machine has massive potential to modify current practices in the energy industry so that less energy is wasted at power stations. Obviously, efficiency is the key to making the technology viable and attractive, so it was an important project to investigate the optimum dimensions.’
Truong’s research soon opened opportunities for him to pass on his knowledge to others. ‘Not long after starting the PhD, I was lucky to have the chance to tutor subjects that were related to my research, which allowed me to gain teaching experience and confidence. I quickly felt included among the staff, and other academics often come into my office for chats. Even my wife’s now started her PhD at Federation Business School, so I have the pleasure of her dropping in, as well.
‘Having lived in big cities all our lives, it wasn’t an easy decision to move to Ballarat, but we’re really glad we did. The environment here’s so good; the air’s fresh, the travel’s easy and there are plenty of things going on. I’m also really into photography, and I love capturing the beauty of the local scenery and wildlife.
‘When I decided to start my journey as a mature-aged student, I told myself to try hard, stay focused and commit myself to my study. I submitted my PhD thesis in January and, since then, I’ve had papers published in two international journals. I also presented at the Australian Congress on Applied Mechanics in Sydney last November.
‘It all feels like a massive achievement. If you work hard and rise to the challenge, opportunities will open up.’