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Research capabilities

The Mechanical and Process Engineering (MPE) Research Group focuses on fundamental and applied research.  Academic staff work across six main research sub-groups which are designed to reflect the team's areas of research interest and activity.

Academic staff also work closely with other academic colleagues inside and outside the University and with industrial partners. This plays an important role in developing content for taught programmes where students benefit from a research-led environment.

Automotive and competitive design

The group works closely with industry on a range of projects including competitive development of many complex devices, such as turbochargers, active filtration systems, regenerative braking and control devices that underpin low-carbon transport policy.

To find out more about our research in this area visit the Automotive Research Centre.

car being tested in workshop

Chemical and process engineering

Process Systems Engineering (PSE) and Computer Aided Process Engineering (CAPE) are leading-edge research topics in chemical and process engineering.

The group strongly encourages national and international collaboration on short and long term projects on the development and use of computational tools in all aspects of chemical and process engineering activities.

Minimisation of energy consumption and environmental impact are the key driving factors in novel design, operation, and control and enhanced productivity in a number of process engineering application such water desalination, refinery hydrotreating and heat exchanger network, distillation, etc.. 

Also model-based experimental analysis, modelling and optimization of complex process engineering and energy systems with large structural diversity and a high number of elements are being considered.

Particular attention is been paid to the holistic view of the involved processes phenomena, micro and macro processes, process design and the final experimental verification including improved monitoring. Resource efficiency thrust is employed for industrial fluids process modelling including particle science.

chemical engineering test taking place

Dynamics and control

Dynamics and control of powertrains and drivelines of mechatronic systems with specialisation in mathematical modelling, identification and validation using short distance telemetry and condition monitoring for energy recovery.

Current activities include:

  • Turbocharger blade tip timing
  • Powertrain testing and calibration
  • Model based electric vehicle controlmechanical

 

student working in mechanical engineering laboratory

Manufacturing and materials

Manufacturing and Materials group is researching into the broad system’s aspect of manufacturing: strategy, planning, control, maintenance, supply chain, process improvement and scheduling through the use of AI tools (Knowledge-Based systems, Expert Systems, Artificial Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms), with particular emphasis in the automotive manufacturing environment.

The materials aspect of the research group focuses on powder metallurgy processing of ferrous-based materials with specific interests in optimising material compositions to enhance processibility, microstructure and end-use properties.

academic guiding student in engineering laboratory

Risk and reliability modelling

This research sub-group explores new methods for modelling complex risk and reliability applications in large installations in the Nuclear, Military and Aerospace industries. New models are being developed to determine Minimal Cut Sets of complex Fault Trees and extended further to handle advanced Markov Modeling with particular application to Protective Systems - to properly account for different failure, repair and testing regimes.

The research has already yielded a hardware-oriented solution (as opposed to software-oriented solution), using Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) and Programmable Logic Device (PLD) simulation software to store and analyse the failure logic of large and complex systems.

person working with biological liquid in a laboratory

Advanced engineering systems optimisation

The aim of this group is to improve the design process and designed products by effectively exploiting the combination of computational modelling and optimisation algorithms and tools to support and enhance the creativity and decision-making of engineering designers.

Female student using mechanical engineering laboratory equipment