Ananya Renuka Balakrishna

I am a third year PhD student at University of Oxford. I work in Solid Mechanics and Materials research group under the supervision of Prof. John Huber.

My research focusses on modelling a set of "smart" materials called the ferroelectrics. These materials possess immense potential as memory elements, transducers and energy harvesters. I have designed nanoscale devices such as actuators with enhanced performance (larger strains) using a phase-field model and am currently studying size effect on in nanoscale ferroelectrics.

Contact Details

Ananya Renuka Balakrishna
Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering
Parks Road, University of Oxford, OX1 3PJ



University of Oxford

DPhil student in Engineering ScienceFelix Scholar 2012 - 2015

National Institute of Technology Karnataka

Bachelor of Technology Mechanical EngineeringGPA: 9.22/10 2008 - 2012

Sindhi High School

CBSE (GCSE): 95% HSE (A levels): 92.8% 2006 - 2008


Felix Scholarship

£90,000 Graduate study at University of Oxford 2012-2015

Cambridge International and Commonwealth Trust Scholarship

Honorary scholar at University of Cambridge 2012

Brasenose Hulme Grant

Awarded to students with outstanding academic progress 2013-2015

Deutscher Akademisher Austausch Dienst

Internship at German university 2011


Falling Walls London Lab

1st place in presenting innovative research - U.K level 2014

Best student paper

ASME SMASIS conference held in Utah 2013

Best outgoing student

Recognised for excellent overall performance among 800 undergraduates 2012

Travel fellowship

CISC support for ESMC conference, Austria 2012

ISSS Undergraduate Award

5th National conference of MEMS, Smart materials & Structures 2012

Amul Shakti Vidyashree Award

Awarded to top 0.05% students appearing for CBSE exam 2006


Research skills

Finite element coding Phase-field modelling

Engineering/Mathematical tools

Abaqus Ansys Matlab Tecplot Feap Autocad

Computer languages

Java C++ C Fortran

DPhil Research

Application of phase-field model to ferroelectrics

Using phase-field model as a design tool to demonstrate nano-actuator concepts based on the idea of ferroelectric switching, exploring design parameters to enhance actuation strains

Studying surface energy, electrical boundary conditions effects on ferroelectric properties at nanoscale

Extending the phase-field model to 3D to explore domain topologies with periodic boundary conditions

Identification of ferroelectric nanoscale behaviour to facilitate application in industries

Gaining expertise in finite element modelling, phase-field methods and computer programming

Awarded ‘Best student paper’ at ASME-SMASIS 2013 conference, ‘1st place under innovation category’ at Falling Walls London Lab 2014

Awarded Brasenose Hulme Scholarship for outstanding progress in research

Bachelor Research

Modelling and Optimisation of resonant micro-beam pressure sensor

Designing a resonant micro-beam pressure sensor in Ansys, analysing the stresses developed during packaging/performance using finite element methods and optimisation to enhance performance

Investigating physical parameters such as temperature and pressure which effect device working

Extending the phase-field model to 3D to explore domain topologies with periodic boundary conditions

Gaining expertise in using Ansys, Matlab and finite element techniques

Awarded ‘ISSS Undergraduate Award - 2012’ at the National Conference on MEMS & Smart Materials

Journal Papers

Nano-actuator Concepts Based on Ferroelectric Switching

Renuka Balakrishna,A., Huber,J.E., and Landis,C.M., Smart Materials and Structures, Aug. 2014

Scale effects and the formation of polarisation vortices in tetragonal ferroelectrics

Renuka Balakrishna,A., Huber,J.E., Manuscript in preparation

Conference Papers

Design Optimisation of a Ferroelectric Nano-actuator Using Phase-Field Modeling

Renuka Balakrishna,A., and Huber,J.E., proceedings of the MRS Conference, San Francisco, USA, 2014

Working Principle of a Nano-actuator Based on Ferroelectric Switching

Renuka Balakrishna,A., Huber,J.E., proceedings of 6th ECCOMAS Conference on Smart Structures and Materials, Turin, Italy, 2013

Sound Energy Harvesting Using Macro Fiber Composites

Renuka Balakrishna, A., and Harursampath, D., proceedings of 8 th European Solid Mechanics Conference, Graz, Austria, 2012

Modelling and Analysis of Resonant Beam Micro Pressure Sensor

Renuka Balakrishna, A., Sridhar, A., Gurukar, S., Ekambaram, P., and Kulkarni, S., proceedings of 5th National Conference on MEMS, India, 2012

Under construction Testimonials

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