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UOA 25 - General Engineering and Mineral & Mining Engineering
University of Durham
RA5a: Research environment and esteem
Hereafter [4.3] refers to section 4.3, asterisks indicate ECRs and RA2:3 refers to output 3. Boldface names indicate Category A/C staff.
Durham University's School of Engineering is recognised as one of the country's leading General Engineering departments. Our multidisciplinary research embraces Mechanical, Aeronautical, Civil, Electronic, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering as well as Bioengineering, Renewable Energy and Environmental Engineering. The 6000m2 School building occupies a prominent position on the Science Campus close to the departments of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Operating within the Science Faculty, the School comprises 32 academic staff (10 Professors, 4 Readers, 4 Senior Lecturers and 14 Lecturers), 4 teaching staff and 36 technical and administrative support staff. We derive particular benefit from close collaboration with academic colleagues in the Science Faculty (exemplars of collaboration are given in [4.1] and [4.5]). The School has an effective research structure with academics residing in one of the three Groups (Energy, Electronics, Mechanics [4.1]).
Since 2001 the School has focussed its strategy firmly on research, increasing the number of research students from 31 to 45 FTE and publishing 982 refereed journal (421) and conference (561) papers. The School now enjoys far greater collaboration with leading international companies. Over the period of assessment, we have increased our annual industrial research grant capture from £106k to £465k, obtained five engineering patents [6.3] and strengthened engagement with regional industry through 28 KTP projects and 4 new spin-out companies. Regional funding (£2.59M) has enabled us to enhance School research facilities [4.3].
The School has a world-class research record in (i) development of novel nano-structured organic materials and miniature electro-mechanical devices, (ii) joint design and bio-medical tissue engineering, (iii) computational and theoretical fluid/solid mechanics and (iv) the sustainable generation and distribution of electricity. The cumulative total of research expenditure on 311 grants (from January 2001 to 31st July 2007) was £17.7M.
As examples of outstanding research activity since RAE2001 (graded 5B) we highlight
- (i)Important advances in the design of artificial human joints within the Bioactive Chemistry laboratory (Unsworth FREng, recipient of the 2005 James Alfred Ewing Medal, Energy, RA2:1-4)
- (ii)Design of novel polymeric micro-electro-mechanical actuators and nano-structured organic films in our new MEMS clean room (Petty, RA2:2-4, and Wood, RA2:1-2, Electronics)
- (iii)Breakthroughs in analytic-numerical work on dynamic fluid-structure-interaction to analyse and improve aero-engine design (He, Energy, RA2:3)
- (iv)Creation of enhanced finite element and boundary element algorithms for computational simulation of the propagation of very short waves (Bettess FREng, recipient of an EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship 2000-04, RA2:1-4 and Trevelyan, Mechanics, RA2:1-4)
2 Research Students, Studentships and Research Associates
On the census date of 31st July 2007, 25 Research Associates (RAs) and 54 PhD students (PGRs) were studying in the School. The 79 RAs and PGRs include 9 researchers funded through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership. These KTP schemes have provided valuable research collaborations with industry. The School has held 28 such awards over the RAE2008 assessment period.
Since January 2001 we have awarded 50 doctorates and 12 research MScs. Each year we match EPSRC DTA studentships with equal School funds from industrial sources to provide support for PhD researchers, in addition to those engaged on projects directly funded by the national/European research councils or industry.
3 Research Strategy
Our strategy involves
- (i)providing a highly stimulating intellectual environment within the School, where staff can pursue exciting valuable research, and publish at the highest levels
- (ii)focussing on the research areas in which we excel (Molecular Electronics, Biomechanics, Computational Fluid/Solid Mechanics and Renewable Energy) in order to achieve international recognition as leaders in those fields
- (iii)increasingly applying our specialist engineering knowledge to the many challenges within the biosciences [4.5]
- (iv)developing effective research partnerships with leading engineering companies [3.2] and encouraging greater collaboration with other world-class research groups.
3.1 Key Advances since RAE2001
In our RAE2001 submission, we identified areas where we intended to expand our research. This we have done. Our three most important developments since the last RAE have been
- (i)the expansion of our Molecular Electronics and Microsystems (MEMS) laboratory (Petty and Wood)
- (ii)the strengthening of our computational mechanics research (through the recruitment of Seaid*, Osman* and Crouch)
- (iii)the creation of a new research team in the area of Renewable Energy, with a chair appointed in that field (Tavner). This has already led to important developments in the theory, design and construction of novel (patented) permanent magnet machines (Bumby) and the systematic engineering assessment of wind turbine reliability (Tavner).
3.2 Research Objectives 2007-2012
Over the next 5 years we will
- (i)recruit and support new world-class academics in the areas of molecular electronics, theoretical/experimental tissue engineering, computational aeronautics and energy engineering.
- (ii)extend our research partnerships in energy, aerodynamics, structural and bio-engineering with BAE, British Energy, Rolls-Royce, Pratt-Whitney, Cummins, Smith & Nephew, Arup, Eon UK and CE Electric.
- (iii)strengthen our collaborations with leading international research teams (including Professor Borja's material instability unit at Stanford, Professor Pandolfi's finite deformation theoretical mechanics groups at Politecnico di Milano and Caltech, Professor Yannas' tissue engineering team at MIT and Professor van Bussel's wind power group at TU Delft).
During this period we will enhance our laboratories (in particular, the fabrication and imaging facilities for bioengineering in the MEMS clean room) and further develop our large-scale non-linear dynamic parallel computational biomechanics capabilities through increased use of National High-End computing facilities (HECToR) and collaboration with other Durham Science Faculty academics. We will also grow our Small Scale Energy Zone (SSEZ) and Renewable Energy experimental facilities.
4 Research Structure
4.1 Research Groups
The Head of School (Tavner) is supported by a Director of Research (Crouch) and the three Research Group Chairs (Energy: Bumby; Electronics: Petty; Mechanics: Trevelyan). The role of each Group is to foster intellectual curiosity, exchange research ideas and assist in seeking funding opportunities. The Groups meet regularly, reporting to the School's Research Committee.
The Energy Group comprises Dr Bumby (Chair), Dr Dominy, Dr Green, Professor He, Dr Ingram*, Dr Mahkamov, Dr Ran, Dr Sims-Williams, Dr Taylor*, Professor Tavner, Professor Unsworth and Dr Wu.
This interdisciplinary team researches on a range of energy systems; from engine, motor and generator design and analysis, to the bio-tribology of artificial human joints. Over the period of assessment, the Group has published 203 refereed conference papers and 144 refereed journal papers. During the same period, the Group supervised 48 research students (with 23 PhDs having been awarded). Although the Group operates as a single unit, their research covers three sub-themes.
The team of Unsworth, Green and Wu together with orthopaedic and plastic surgeons, rheumatologists, physicists, materials scientists and chemists from local hospitals and the University (see [4.5]), have gained international recognition of their work on artificial and human joints (Unsworth, RA2:1-4). Their studies range from understanding how human joints work to designing new joints and evaluating existing designs tribologically. Details of this highly collaborative research and the exploitation of the findings by industry are provided in [6.11] and [6.13].
The Biomechanics team were the first to publish an orthopaedic wear investigation using a low angle laser scattering particle analyser; others have followed. Use of our scanning probe microscope, microhardness indenter and white light interferometric contactless profilometer, together with a new coordinate measuring machine enable the team to evaluate the tribological surfaces. All these advanced instruments were bought with substantial industrial support [4.7].
Wu recently introduced new research to the Group in the form of characterising polymer and collagen scaffolds to support stem cells for use in tissue engineering.
The School has maintained its strong tradition of turbomachinery research. The analytical/numerical work of He, Dominy, Ingram*, Sims-Williams and Gregory-Smith, coupled with the laboratory facilities, have earned the School European (EU FP5) Industrial Gas Turbine Centre of Excellence status. Examples of collaborative research in this area are given in [6.11].
EPSRC-funded work by He led to a novel Fourier solution methodology for unsteady flow computations. This highly attractive computational scheme has seen growing applications and advancement by groups including NASA and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). The Nonlinear Harmonic Method (He, RA2:3) has been developed for flow-induced blade vibration in an EU FP5 project (DITCAD). The new prediction system has been used by Siemens for gas turbine design.
Durham's dedicated automotive wind tunnel (with moving ground plane, computer controlled model positioning system and fully automated probe traversing system) offers one of the most advanced of its kind in the world. It is equipped with a stereoscopic, Particle Image Velocimetry system. Sims-Williams recently completed a superconducting magnetic levitation system which makes it possible to test models with no support-strut interference. A pilot study of the nature of the atmospheric turbulence experienced by road vehicles has been supported by the Nuffield Foundation. Such effects will become more important as manufacturers produce low drag designs to meet ever-tighter emissions legislation.
New and Renewable Energy
In 2003 Tavner, Bumby, Ran, Mahkamov and Taylor* formed a multidisciplinary team taking a holistic approach to challenges presented by energy engineering; in particular the conversion of energy from new and renewable sources and integration into energy networks. This fits well with current national strategies, following the 2003 and 2007 Energy White Papers. Over the past 3 years, the unit has expanded from 3 to 13 researchers. The focus is in 5 areas: (i) large-scale wind turbines including the application of indirect and direct-drive technology, condition monitoring and reliability, particularly offshore (Tavner, RA2:3,4), (ii) embedded generation at the distribution level, including micro-combined heat and power, solar heating and micro-wind (Mahkamov, RA2:2,4), (iii) generator topologies and power electronics for embedded generation (Ran, RA2:4), (iv) electrical network research to accommodate the rise of embedded generation and (v) the integration and control of new and renewable energy sources into distribution networks (Taylor*, RA2:1,2). Since its formation, the team has secured 2 DTI awards, 4 EPSRC research grants (including the prestigious Supergen Wind award for which Tavner is the PI) and joint leadership (Tavner) of a 5.2M Euro FP7 Energy Consortium project (RELIAWIND). Taylor* is work-package leader for the £2.5M EPSRC/Industry strategic alliance research project. Research programmes related to electrical machines also include electrical assistance for turbochargers with funding from Cummins Turbo Technologies (Holset) and from the EU FP5.
Research highlights include: (i) the establishment of a SSEZ laboratory incorporating wind, solar and conventional generation sources in a model distribution network plus a Modelling and Research Suite to accommodate researchers and their simulation packages (ii) the research, design and manufacture of the largest direct-drive linear generator for a wave energy converter in UK, now installed at the New & Renewable Energy Centre, NaREC, Blyth (iii) the development of the first consistent reliability data for large wind turbines and establishment of a wind turbine condition monitoring rig, (iv) the patenting [6.3] and industrial licensing of new direct drive PM generator technology for small scale wind and water turbines and (v) becoming a node for the European Academy of Wind Energy and a member of the European Microgrids Consortium.
The Electronics Group comprises Professor Bennett, Dr Johnstone, Professor Petty (Chair), Professor Purvis, Professor Salous, Professor Wood and Dr Zeze. Over the period of assessment, the Group published 125 refereed conference papers and 96 refereed journal papers. During the same period, the Group supervised 34 research students (with 13 PhDs having been awarded).
The staff have formed strong research links with the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Mathematical Sciences and Biological and Biomedical Sciences. For example, the recent (2007) award of a £1M EPSRC Challenging Engineering grant to Johnstone has enabled an exciting cross-disciplinary study to begin. This work (involving collaboration with the Departments of Chemistry and Biological and Biomedical Sciences) is pioneering an investigation into electrical interactions with the human nervous system to realise a sixth sense; a sixth way of getting information to and from our perception.
Current research within the Electronics Group falls in one of five areas.
Petty's research in the field of Molecular Electronics has recently been supported by a Royal Society/Wolfson grant (jointly with Wood) to enable the installation of a MEMS cleanroom which was officially opened by Sir David King in 2004. The laboratory provides 150m2 of Class 1000 clean room space and is aimed particularly at work at the interface between silicon and organic materials. Interaction with the Departments of Physics Chemistry and Biological and Biomedical Sciences has enabled us to look deeper into the science leading to, for example, a patent application by Wood (see [6.3]) and papers by Johnstone (RA2:4) and Petty (RA2:3). An award of £250k from One NorthEast, established the University Innovation Centre in Nanotechnology. Ongoing work is focused on organic electronic devices, including transistors, memory and display devices, and chemical sensors.
Wood's work in Microsystems Technology has also been recognized through the award of the Royal Society/Wolfson grant together with other research council and industrial funding. Recent interdisciplinary projects include: (i) RF micro-electro-mechanical systems for mobile telephony, (ii) SAW sensors for the food process industry, (iii) a polymeric microgripper for single cell manipulation, (iv) a monolithic probe card for testing integrated circuits and (v) filters for THz radiation. In addition, £2.1M has been obtained from County Durham sub-Regional Partnership for research directed towards industrial exploitation. Part of this grant provided pump-priming for a new Electronics Lecturer, Zeze, who is working on carbon nanotube devices (RA2:1) in collaboration with Durham's Physics and Chemistry Departments.
Salous' work in the area of communications has allowed the development of two unique systems (channel sounders) for mobile radio propagation studies. The systems have the ability to perform measurements at multiple frequencies (2-6 GHz and 60 GHz) with single or multiple transmit and multiple receive channels (MIMO). The architecture of the sounder permits the monitoring of the spectrum to study its occupancy. Results of propagation measurements performed for Third Generation Mobile Radio Systems have been incorporated in three documents of the International Telecommunications Union. The sounders are listed in the COST 273 book on Mobile Broadband Multimedia Networks (Salous, RA2:1-3). The Communications team recently purchased an 80m3 radio frequency anechoic EMC chamber and signed a research agreement with Sinon for the use of a mobile radio vehicle for propagation studies.
Bennett's research in memory usage and data sharing provides an interdisciplinary computing focus within the School. Internationally leading research is being undertaken in service-oriented architectures (permitting easier modification and evolution of both software and data). Successful demonstrators have been built in the field of medical patient record systems (Bennett, RA2:4) and these are being extended to mental health epidemiological applications in collaboration with the North East Public Health Observatory. A similar design approach is being used in the integration of distributed power generation control for large scale renewable energy resources.
Here research concentrates on the design and validation of new electronic systems spanning through computation, capture and control, to the conversion of data. The team has over £1M of equipment dedicated to analysing and synthesising electronic and optical signals between DC and 20GHz; from picovolts to kilovolts. Purvis' collaboration with Sheffield University has secured £378k EPSRC funding with industrial sponsorship in 3D electronics using holographic lithography (RA2:2). A Durham University patent has been filed for this work [6.3]. A strong design team is also investigating massively parallel digital signal processing systems to design a new generation of smart instrumentation.
The Mechanics Group comprises Dr Augarde, Dr Coates*, Professor Crouch, Dr Johnson*, Dr Kotsialos, Dr Long, Dr Matthews, Dr Osman*, Dr Scott, Dr Seaid*, Dr Trevelyan (Chair), Professor Vitanov and Dr Wang.
Over the period of assessment, the Group has published 233 refereed conference papers and 181 refereed journal papers. During the same period, the Group supervised 34 research students (with 14 PhDs having been awarded). Research activities encompass two main themes.
Research in this area concentrates on developing parallel computational code simulating nonlinear transient behaviour. The work involves seeking fundamental solutions to computational plasticity problems and extending Finite and Boundary Element and meshless technologies by devising efficient schemes capable of handling singularities and simulating the far-field.
Augarde was successful in winning European funding for the 11-partner Marie Curie RT network (MUSE) investigating the three-phase behaviour of soils. Related work includes an EPSRC-funded investigation into the interpretation of pressuremeter results in unsaturated soils. Augarde is also advancing a meshless version of the Scaled Boundary method in an EPSRC study (£338k) with Crouch, who is researching into finite deformation anisotropic inelasticity.
Through EPSRC funding, Crouch is coupling a lattice Boltzmann approach to a multi-phase thermo-hygro-mechanical nonlinear Finite Element scheme to investigate transient thermal creep in nuclear reactor pressure vessels. In 2005 Crouch set up a Nonlinear Mechanics Research Seminar Series with Professor Straughan in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. This led to a 2006 EPSRC award for a joint Mathematics Summer School and the start of a collaborative research study into the nonlinear mechanics of porous media.
Trevelyan received EPSRC funding for devising numerical algorithms to predict elastodynamic and electromagnetic wave propagation (RA2:1-4). He has created innovative methods for solving the Helmholtz equation. Finite element, infinite element and boundary element implementations have been developed. Trevelyan has also undertaken research into methods for rapid interactive stress analysis in mechanical design [6.5]. The work has been funded by BAE Systems and EPSRC.
Johnson*'s appointment in 2005 led to new geo-environmental research into the treatment of contaminated water and land, using waste products. £96k funding from EPSRC/BHP Billiton and Assmang led to novel research into the use of manganese oxides as waste and their potential deployment as remediation products for brownfield sites. Prior to arriving in Durham, Crouch was responsible for the computational aspects of a £400k EPSRC Grant (Groundwater Protection) at Sheffield University. The study provided a 4-year extension (2004-2008) to a previous £400k Platform Grant (2001-2004) where Crouch collaborated with Heidelberg University to further develop an adaptive parallel multigrid reactive transport code [4.6]. Seaid*’s recent work has led to important advances in the numerical simulation of pollutant transport (RA2:1) and the rigorous treatment of radiative transfer when modelling hydrodynamic flow (RA2:3). Seaid* has published 37 journal papers since 2001 in the area of computational engineering thermo-mechanics.
Long is supervising two Engineering Fellow projects sponsored by NEPA to develop the design of lightweight suspension components by frictional stir welding (2003-2007). She is co-investigator on an EPSRC Interact project (involving five UK universities) to develop international collaborations with China in advanced metal forming (2006).
EPSRC funding has supported Scott's development of novel techniques to measure reinforcement strain and bond stress distributions in reinforced concrete structures. He has accurately calculated long-term structural deflections (RA2:1,4) and is now investigating shrinkage effects in cracked elements.
Engineering Design and Manufacturing
Vitanov and Long are developing new methods for modelling and optimisation of micro friction surfacing, friction stir welding and high speed machining (Vitanov, RA2:1-4). The experimental work conducted for this research requires development of appropriate condition monitoring, data mining and data fusion techniques which are supported by Matthews' work on machine learning. Design research features in (i) the innovative work of Coates* on agent-based real time design co-ordination, (ii) Kotsialos' transportation simulation systems (with emphasis on road network traffic management, RA2:1-3) and (iii) Matthews' stochastic inference engine for design decision support, in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, funded through the Nuffield Foundation. Coates* and Wang collectively manage three KTP grants with NE companies. Vitanov has also developed methods for simulation-optimisation of different manufacturing scenarios. This has been funded by BAE Systems, Hepworth and Airbus. Many of these activities are enabled by the state-of-the art equipment for laser metrology and rapid precision engineering.
4.2 Mechanisms for Promoting, Sustaining and Developing Research
Although day-to-day research management is delegated to the academic investigators, collective research matters are managed by the School's Research Committee chaired by the Research Director (Crouch). This comprises 8 academics who meet quarterly. Minutes are taken and the committee's decisions and recommendations reported to Board of Studies. Committee tasks include (i) coordination of large funding bids, (ii) management of the research fund to provide pump-priming support for new staff and to support PhD studentships, (iii) approving selection of examiners for higher degrees, (iv) monitoring research student's progress and (v) organization of: regular research seminars, an annual research day (where all PhD students and RAs present their work-in-progress) and the prestigious annual Sir Gordon Higginson Lecture (past lecturers include Ian Fells, Kevin Warwick, John Burland, Mike Sterling, Nick Cumpsty, Heinz Wolff and Julia King).
The School runs weekly research seminars where presentations alternate between internal staff and external speakers. Individual research groups also organize paper-analysis/discussion sessions and exploratory research opportunity meetings.
4.3 Enhancements to the research infrastructure 2001-2007
In addition to the new SRIF-funded facilities in the clean room and in the Bioactive Chemistry laboratory, we have benefited from (i) £400k from HEFCE for new manufacturing equipment (rapid prototyping machine, 3D profilometer and vertical machining centre), (ii) £100k from industry for a new 80m3 radio frequency anechoic chamber, (iii) £500k from industry and the Region for modifications to our wind tunnel (enabling magnetic levitation of test vehicles), (iv) £200k from HEFCE for continuous up-grades to the 800-processor distributed-memory and 32-processor shared-memory computers used jointly with the Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics Departments and (v) £400k from industry and the Region for the establishment of Renewable Energy laboratories and an SSEZ [3.2].
4.4 Provision of training for Research Students
Support and monitoring of graduate students is provided in the Department (through the Postgraduate Studies Committee) and the University’s Graduate School. Each postgraduate student (PGR) is a member of one of the University’s Colleges or Societies. The University provides a comprehensive programme of skills development for PGRs. A flexible approach is adopted, based on Training Needs Analysis which students undergo, in discussion with their supervisors, during the first month of their programme. This is then reviewed annually. Skills development is based on the Research Council’s Joint Skills Statement. The Graduate School run extensive Induction and Training Programmes tailored to PGRs in the Faculty of Science. An in-house preliminary session is also held at the start of each academic year, where new researchers are (i) introduced to the School's research aims and the ethos of academic curiosity (ii) advised on how to organise their studies, how to make best use of library and computing facilities and (iii) informed of the management structure of the school as well as instructed in laboratory safety procedures.
All students have a lead (and co-) supervisor specialising in their investigation area. Monitoring and feedback systems include an annual interview with the Research Director, an annual research report (presented to the academic sub-Dean) and a transfer interview at the end of the first year of study. Throughout the year students attend research seminars and are required to present their findings at group meetings. PhD students are supported to participate in national symposia and at least one major international conference during their studies.
4.5 Interdisciplinary Research
The cooperative multi-disciplinary environment in Durham has enabled development of research specialisms in interface areas where partnerships are essential. As examples we refer to (i) Unsworth, Wu and Green who joined with the Departments of Chemistry and Biological and Biomedical Sciences via £1M SRIF funding to establish dedicated laboratories housing state of the art joint simulators and biomaterial testing equipment and (ii) Petty, Wood and Zeze who collaborate with the departments of Physics and Chemistry through the Future Technologies project, which has financial support from County Durham sub-Regional Partnership, industry and the University.
A major new initiative within the Science Faculty at Durham is the establishment of the Biophysical Sciences Institute. This has been formed from the departments of Mathematical Science, Physics, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry and Engineering (Crouch is a founding member). The BSI began in 2007 with a £1.5M Wolfson Foundation award to refurbish laboratory and office space. Research in this institute responds to the growing need for developing inter-disciplinary approaches to complex biological problems. Joint seminar programmes and co-supervision of PhD students has already led to new research in the areas of bioelectronics (Johnstone) and tissue engineering (Wu and Crouch).
4.6 International Collaboration
All three Groups have been successful in attracting a stream of international visitors. We have benefitted from 61 scholars on sabbatical leave (staying with us for more than one month) during the review period.
The Energy Group has joint research underway with overseas academics and engineers from Goldwind, China; Opole University, Poland (British Council); Chongqing University, China; Cassino University, Italy; Tashkent Technical Institute, Uzbekistan (Royal Society, Mahkamov RA2:1-2); Warsaw University, Poland; MIT (Royal Society); Osh University Kyrgyzstan (NATO), and TU Delft, Netherlands. In the Electronics Group, formal collaboration agreements have been established between the School and the NTU Athens (supported by the British Council), the Polymer Institute in Dresden (British Council), the Institute of Chemical Physics in Chernogolovka, Russia (Royal Society), Tianjin University of Technology, China (Royal Society, Petty RA2:2) and Sogang University, Seoul (Korea-UK S&T Fund). In the Mechanics Group, active research collaboration takes place with Politechnico di Milano, UPC Barcelona, TU Prague, Singapore TU (Toll, RA2:2,4) and the Universities of Nantes, Padova, Trento, Rome, Leuven, Heidelberg (Crouch, RA2:3) and Western Australia (Augarde, RA2:3).
4.7 Industrial Support
Industrial collaboration is most important to the School of Engineering; stimulating our research and providing funding for projects. Examples include (i) investigations supported by Rolls-Royce in experimental turbine endwall profiling, (ii) the biomedical engineering studies supported by DePuy-Johnson & Johnson, Stryker, Biomet-Merck, Morgan Advanced Ceramics, Zimmer Orthopaedics, Smith and Nephew and Invibio and (iii) work with the Cummins Group on micro-generator and turbocharger drives. Further details are given in [6.11] and [6.13].
5 Staffing Policy
The number of academic staff has remained roughly constant throughout the review period. Three senior staff left to develop their businesses (Appleton, Spooner and Steven) and three were appointed to chairs outside Durham: Bialek (Edinburgh), Maropoulos, (Bath) and Dyer (Strathclyde). The retirement of Bettess and Gregory-Smith and departure of Spooner has not prevented all three from continuing to make important contributions to the School (see RA5C). The recruitment of new staff has created a more balanced age profile, with many exceptional young lecturers (6 ECR) joining us. We have increased the number of female academics from 1 to 7. When seeking new appointments, the Research Group Chairs advise on the staff balance and assist in developing succession plans for those approaching retirement.
All research-active academic staff are encouraged to apply for paid sabbatical leave every seventh term. Teaching and administrative duties during such research leave are shared between academics or re-arranged during preceding/following terms.
The School supports new members of staff in their first lecturing position by: (i) involving them in an ongoing research project, (ii) allocating half the average staff lecture load and reducing administrative duties to a minimum while on probation, (iii) assigning a senior academic mentor and (iv) providing a start-up grant of up to £5000 to enable them to attend conferences and purchase laboratory equipment. Upon successful completion of probation, junior staff are given priority when awarding School PhD scholarships. Promotion committees meet annually to recommend nomination of academic staff to the University review panel. Over the review period we have promoted 4 staff to Senior Lectureships, 3 to Readerships and 1 to a Professorial position.
The team of 22 technical staff have enabled us to build and expand our specialist research facilities, including the large wind tunnel, MEMS clean room, renewable energy laboratories, biomechanical testing laboratories and the EMC anechoic chamber.
6 Esteem Indicators
6.1 Prizes and Honours
Unsworth FREng was awarded (on the recommendation of the Presidents of the Royal Society and the ICE) the 2005 James Alfred Ewing Medal for his outstanding contribution to the application of science in engineering research. Scott was awarded the 2001 Variohm prize of the British Society for Strain Measurement and Sims-Williams received the 2006 Colwell prize from the Society of Automotive Engineers.
6.2 Award of Fellowships
Bettess won an EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship (2000-2004).
6.3 Awarded Patents
During the assessment period five patents were awarded: Appleton, Conduit Traversing Vehicle, US6,769,321 (2004), Appleton, Surface Traversing Vehicle, EP1047899B1 (2003), Appleton, Vehicle for Traversing External Curved Surfaces EP0916561 B1 (2005), Appleton Surface Traversing Vehicle, US 6,431,079 B1 (2002), Spooner, Rotor and Electrical Generator EP1393426B1 (2005). A further six patents are pending: Purvis, Holographic Lithography WO2006/021818, Wood, Electromechanical Activator Device and Apparatus Incorporating Such Device PCT/GB2007/001901, Wood, Improvements in or Relating to Probe Cards WO2005/121813, Bumby, Axial Flux Permanent Magnet Electrical WO2005/119886, Purvis, Apparatus and Method for Real Time Validation of Cargo Quality for Logistics Applications, US60/828,466, Petty, Switch Memory Element-Multistable Memory Element and Array, UK0703864.9.
6.4 Election to Fellowship of Professional Institutions
He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2006 and Trevelyan elected a Fellow of the IMechE in 2007. Fellowships already held by School staff are as follows: Bennett (FIET and FBCS), Petty (FInstP and FIET), Scott (FIStrutE), Tavner (FIET) and Unsworth (FREng, FICE and FIMechE),
6.5 Keynote Addresses at Major Conferences
Bennett presented invited keynote papers at the IEEE Conference on program comprehension, Toronto (2001) and CSMR03 IEEE conference. Crouch gave keynote lectures at International Conferences in Nantes (Concreep VII, 2005) and Prague (Engineering Computational Technology, 2001). Tavner was a keynote speaker at the International Conference on Electrical Distribution, Turin 2005. He was the 46th Hunter Memorial Lecturer of the IEE 2004. Unsworth was the 2002 Woolmer Lecturer for the Institute of Physics and the 2004 Smith & Nephew Lecturer for the IMechE.
6.6 Learned Society Engagements
In 2007 Unsworth was appointed Chairman of the Royal Academy of Engineering's UK Focus for Biomedical Engineering (2007). He sits on the IMechE Council and was recently appointed to the IMechE Prizes and Awards Committee. Tavner sits on the IET Council.
6.7 Editorial Board Membership
Unsworth is the Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the IMechE Journal of Engineering in Medicine. Augarde is a member of the Advisory Panel for the international journal Geotechnique. Vitanov is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Internet Manufacturing and Services. Trevelyan is on the Editorial Board of the journal Advances in Engineering Software. Scott is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the European Association for Experimental Mechanics. Kotsialos is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Transportation Research (Part C: Emerging Technologies). Petty is the UK Editor of Materials Science and Engineering C (Elsevier).
6.8 Leadership of Consortia
Scott is chairman of the Sterling Group of 24 UK research-led university engineering departments. Crouch chaired the UK Association of Computational Mechanics (2004-5) and now sits on their executive committee. Augarde led an EPSRC-supported delegation to Chinese universities in 2006 to develop research collaboration in geotechnical engineering. Tavner is PI on the EPSRC SuperGen Wind Consortium.
6.9 Participation in Advisory Review or Assessment
Bennett is an advisory board member of RCOST Research Centre, Sannio University, Benevento. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the National Text Mining Centre, based at Manchester University. Zeze was invited as a specialist assessor in the field of carbon nanotubes for the Hong Kong Research Council (2005). Unsworth has been appointed as a research advisor to Modena University. Coates* is an assessor for the Universities Programme Approval Scheme of the UK Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. Petty is a referee for EU and NSF (USA) grant applications and has been invited to review research grants on behalf of the governments of Canada, Israel and Italy. Scott is a member of technical committees 435 and 444 of the American Concrete Institute. He is also an associate member on ACI committees 352 and 440 and a member of the international committees for conventions organised by the Indian Chapter of the ACI in 2007 and 2008. Taylor* is an elected member of the European International Council on Large Electric Systems working group C6.11 and a member of the IEEE Power Engineering Society's Multi-Agent Systems Task Force. Tavner is Chairman of the advisory panel of NaREC. Salous is a technical expert for the French research council, CNRS. Bennett, Crouch, Dominy, Green, Johnson*, Petty, Salous, Tavner, Taylor*, Toll and Unsworth are all EPSRC College members.
6.10 Contribution to Government Committees
Petty was an advisor to the Ministry of Defence on nanotechnology and was an appointed Member of an Advisory Group on Nanotechnology, in the Office of Science and Technology. The latter resulted in a report on UK Nanotechnology, delivered to Lord Sainsbury in 2002. Taylor* was appointed by Sir David King as an assessor for a DTI State of Science review. Tavner provided the Wind Foresight Report to the Office of Science & Technology.
6.11 Collaborative Research
New electronics and photonics research was established between Durham and l'Ecole Polytechnic Federal de Lausanne, Switzerland, by Purvis during his 2004 Royal Society supported visiting professorship. In 2005 Ran was the recipient of a Royal Academy of Engineering Global Research Award for joint research with MIT.
The Biomechanics research of Unsworth, Green and Wu involves collaboration with most major orthopaedic manufacturers (listed in [4.7.ii]), all of whom have recently funded research in the Group. Compliant layer hip and knee joints were invented in Durham and developed in conjunction with Stryker Orthopaedics. They entered clinical trails in February 2007.
The long-term collaboration of Gregory-Smith with Rolls-Royce, on secondary flow in turbines, has continued with the development of profiled endwalls [6.13]. A second area of experimental and computational thermofluid work is in the study of large tip clearance effects that are found in the later stages of industrial compressors for power generation (supported by Alstom Power). Combustor temperature distortion effects on new contra-rotating turbines have also been investigated (funded by Siemens). Development of an advanced unsteady flow and aeromechanics method is funded by Pratt and Whitney. In two research projects on multi-disciplinary design optimization (funded by Siemens), a novel structural-aerodynamic modal design parameterization methodology and an efficient Adjoint Approach to frequency-domain FSI are being developed by He. MG-Rover and Ford have provided technical support and test facilities for the investigation of the effects of atmospheric wind upon the performance and stability of passenger cars in the Durham Wind Tunnel (Dominy and Sims-Williams).
Since starting 4 years ago, the Renewable Energy team (Tavner, Bumby, Ran, Mahkamov and Taylor*) has undertaken collaborative research with Scottish Power, AREVA, EdF Energy, ABB, PB Power, Econnect, Imass, Cummins Generator Technologies (Bumby, RA2:1,4), Cummins Turbo Technologies, Whispertech, EON UK Ltd, CE Electric, Garrad Hassan and NaREC on the penetration of renewable energy, hybrid energy solutions and reliability of renewable systems.
Crouch has been undertaking research with British Energy and the Nuclear Inspectorate (HSE) for over 10 years. These studies led to the development of a unique multiaxial test apparatus (featured on BBC R4's Material World 01.03.07, RA2:4).
Research in Salous' Communications team has been funded by Government and industry (DTI, Ofcom, Aegis, CCLRC, BT, BBC, HMGCC, Sinon, Sensus Analytic and Oxford Pulsar Sources). Collaboration with Leicester University on HF MIMO propagation is supported through an EPSRC grant.
Purvis' and Johnstone's work forms part of the EPPIC Faraday Partnership. Researching alongside four other Electronic Engineering Departments (Cambridge, Sheffield, Leeds and Heriot Watt) the Group has built an interdisciplinary team with assistance from TWI in Cambridge. In this area, a total spend of £2.4M has accrued. Key contacts between the School and the electronics corporate community have been pioneered with this funding involving sponsorship from Sharp Electronics and Goodrich/TRW/Lucas Aerospace.
In computational geomechanics, Augarde (RA2:4) is pursuing research into pre-conditioners for finite element modelling of soil-structure interaction (in collaboration with Strathclyde University's Numerical Analysis Group) and parametric studies of multiple tunnelling using the national High Performance Computing resources. His research is funded by EPSRC grants and industrial support from Halcrow Ltd.
Collaborative research in the DMM group includes a novel automation and robotics project funded by EADS and the EU Space Agency. DMM academics have also developed methodologies for lean and agile manufacturing (funded by Dassault Systems, Boeing and Astrium) which has led to the creation of a Virtual Enterprise Research Laboratory. Coates* is collaborating with American Air Filters Ltd and Thompson Manufacturing and Engineering Ltd and Long’s research is undertaken in conjunction with GKN Autostructures (design of vehicle sub-frames), CAV Aerospace and Metal Spinners Group. Vitanov has led 18 research projects funded by Rolls Royce, BAES, Airbus, Frictec, GRIEF, Eaton Corporation, DSTL, BOC Edwards, Nissan, NEOS Robotics and BMW.
We derive substantial benefits from research collaboration between development agencies/industries in the NE region and the School of Engineering. This is not only in the form of KTP schemes ( and ), many of which are directed towards nearer-market solutions, but also more fundamental research. For example, the support from County Durham [4.5] enabled Zeze to develop his research on carbon nanotube devices by jointly working with Durham's Physics and Chemistry Departments.
6.12 Consultancies and Company Directorships
Since 2004 Petty has been Non-Executive Director of the NE Regional Centre of Excellence for Nanotechnology, Micro and Photonic Systems. Tavner is Technical Director of FKI Energy Technology, a Director of NaREC and an advisor to Marelli Motori SpA.
6.13 Research Exploitation by Industry
Many research findings from the School find immediate application in industry. Output from the Biomechanics team offer good examples of this [4.1] and [4.5] (Unsworth, RA2:1-4). Tribological input to the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing system (now manufactured by Smith & Nephew) was supplied by Unsworth. This is the first, and currently the only, resurfacing system approved by the FDA in the USA. Unsworth presented the scientific case to the panel in Washington DC in September 2005. The Biomechanics team also designed and built state of the art friction and wear simulators to enable advanced research to be carried out. Some of the Durham rigs have now been commercialised by SimSol. The Biomechanics team also recently completed a DTI Foresight/EPSRC LINK project to develop intelligent urinary catheters, in conjunction with the universities of Bristol and Cardiff and 8 SMEs. One of the partners (Mediplus) is keen to market the new microprocessor-controlled catheter valve system once clinical trials are completed.
A further example of rapid up-take of research findings by industry is in the area of aero-engine design. Development of a test and analysis programme on arbitrary 3D geometries in the Durham Cascade by Gregory-Smith (RA2:1,4) and Ingram* enabled endwalls to be deployed across the Rolls-Royce engine range (for example, Trent 900). Reliability models for wind turbines, investigated by Tavner, are now being used by consultants Garrard Hassan and operator Airtricity.
6.14 EU Collaborative Research
Crouch led a 9-partner European FP5 research project in collaboration with British Energy and EdF (2001-2004) to construct a comprehensive coupled thermo-hygro-mechanical FE analysis code to assess the structural integrity of nuclear pressure vessels. The team lead the world in their understanding of transient thermal creep within pre-stressed reactors. Augarde heads the Marie Curie MUSE network investigating unsaturated soil behaviour. Salous is a member of EU programmes COST 273 and COST 296, ITU Study Group 3 which forms the International Standards in Telecommunications. Wang, Matthews and Vitanov are members of the FP6 EU network of excellence: Knowledge Communities in Production. Bumby contributed to the EU programme on diesel engine turbocharger improvement. Tavner works with TU Delft on modelling wind turbine reliability. This led to collaboration with European manufacturers Gamesa and Ecotecnica and participation in the large FP7 RELIAWIND project.
6.15 Spin-out Activities
Four spin-out companies have emerged from the research work of Durham academics during the review period. These are: (i) Material State Ltd, established to deliver multiaxial material characterisation for British Energy, HSE, BNFL, QinetiQ and Hilti, Crouch (RA2:4) (ii) Concept Analyst Ltd which develops and markets rapid stress analysis software based on the Boundary Element Method, Trevelyan (iii) Durham Pipeline Technology, which supplies automated tractors for the inspection and cleaning of pipe networks Appleton (iv) Evolving Generation Ltd which produces novel light-weight generators for wind and tidal turbines, Bumby (RA2:3) and Spooner.
6.16 Research Dissemination
Wood published in Nature (21/02/02) and New Scientist (23/02/02) on new discoveries in superconductivity, details of which also appeared in the national press, on television and on radio. Wood was a member of the One NorthEast technology visit to Nanotech, Japan (2004) and a member of the DTI trade mission on Minifabs, Japan (2004). Sims-Williams gave 2 television interviews and 4 radio interviews in relation to the Durham University Solar Car Project (2004). Crouch appeared on BBC radio and in the national press in 2007, providing a research context to the Ulley Dam partial collapse and Minneapolis bridge failure. Taylor* and Tavner have appeared on BBC TV advocating the benefits of offshore wind turbines.
6.17 International Symposia Organising Committee Membership
Durham academics have been on the organising committees of over 30 international conferences during the assessment period. Here we list just those conferences where staff played a significant role in the management of such research gatherings. Augarde is the organiser of the first European Conference on Unsaturated Soils (Durham, 2008). He was the invited Session Chair on pre-conditioning Krylov solvers at the 2007 SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering in LA. Coates* was Session Chair for the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work in Design, 2005. Crouch was a session organiser and chair at the 8th International Conference on Computational Plasticity in Barcelona (2005) and session chair at the Advances in Nonlinear Mechanics conference in Aberdeen (2005). Mahkamov was Chairman of the 12th International Stirling Engine Conference (2005) and session chair at the 11th International Stirling Engine Conference, Rome (2003). In 2007 Matthews organised and chaired the 9th International Conference on Agile Manufacturing. Petty is on the International Advisory Committee for the European Conference on Organised Films (ECOF). Salous was on the organising committee of the 6th and 7th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (2002 and 2003), the European Conference on Propagation and Systems, Brest (2005) and the International Conference on Wireless Information Networks and Systems, Portugal (2006). Scott was a session organiser and chair at the ACI Convention in Phoenix (2002). He was a member of the Scientific and Technical Committee and session chair for the 5th , 6th and 7th International Congresses on Global Construction at Dundee (2002, 2005 and 2007). Tavner was chairman and member of the organising committee for the IEE International Conferences on Power Electronics, Machine & Drives (2002, 2004, 2006). Trevelyan was the principal organiser of the 6th UK Conference on Boundary Integral Methods held in Durham in 2007. Unsworth was on the organising panel at the International Knee Arthroplasty Conference IMechE, London (2005) and took on that role at the 2007 IMechE International Hip Conference. He was also Chairman of the Royal Academy of Engineering's Futures conference in 2006. Wang was a Session Chair at the International Conference on Agile Manufacturing (2003).
6.18 Invited Presentations
Crouch delivered invited lectures on dynamic soil-structure interaction at the ICE (2001), Computational Plasticity at IMechE (2003), FE Methods at the LMS Mathematics Seminars at Queen Mary (2002) and Loughborough (2003), Material Stability at the Centre for Nonlinear Mechanics, Bath (2004) and Large Scale FEA at the Structures Colloquium, Cambridge (2005). In 2007 he was awarded full funding by the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Alta Matematica to deliver his invited presentation in Cordona. In 2002 Green presented an invited paper to the Institute of Physics. He gave invited presentations at the NASA Glenn Research Centre, Cleveland (2001), the Gas Turbine Lab, MIT, Boston (2001), Pratt-Whitney Aircraft Engines, Connecticut (2003, 2005), and NUMECA International, Brussels (2003). He was also session organizer for the ASME Gas Turbine Conference, Amsterdam (2002), a review organizer for the 5th European Turbomachinery Conference, Prague (2003), and a Vanguard Chair for the ASME Gas Turbine Conference, Barcelona (2006). He presented an invited paper at the 43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Conference, Reno (2005), was an invited speaker at the Grand Review of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), IMechE, London (2002) and an invited lecturer for the Cambridge Turbomachinery Lecture Series (2001 and 2004). Johnson* was invited to speak at the Council for Geosciences, South Africa in 2003 and at the International Land Reclamation and Mine Drainage conference, West Virginia, US (2004). Johnstone was an invited speaker at the ANSOFT 2001 Seminar on Electromagnetic FE modelling. Long was an invited speaker (2003) and a visiting fellow at Chongqing University, China (2003-06). Mahkamov gave an invited presentation at the International European Stirling Engine Forum, Germany (2002) and at the UK Domestic CHP: Turning Technology into Profit Conference, London (2003). Osman* gave an invited presentation to the British Geotechnical Association in 2006 and has twice given invited research presentations to Arup Geotechnics. Petty has presented invited lectures at the 12th Molecular Electronics and Devices Symposium, Pusan, Korea (2001), the 6th Annual International Conference on Sensors & Transducers in Birmingham (2001), the International Conference on Thin Organic Films in Smolenice, Slovak Republic (2002), and the 12th International School on Condensed Matter Physics, Varna, Bulgaria (2002), the 2006 Asian Conference on Nanoscience in Pusan, Korea and Nanotechnology and at the 2006 International Crystal Valley Conference and Exhibition in Asan, Korea. Salous was an invited speaker at the General Assembly of URSI, India (2005) and EUSIPCO 2005 in Turkey. Following invitation, Scott gave a research presentation at the ACI Symposium in New York (2005). Sims-Williams was an invited speaker for the European Car Aerodynamic Research Association at Torino in 2001. Tavner was an invited speaker in China in 2004 at the GE Technical Centre, Shanghai, the Dong Feng Electric Machinery Company, Deyang and at Chongqing University, the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands (2005) and is an annual speaker on energy at the Royal College of Defence Studies. Trevelyan gave an invited presentation at the Computational Electromagnetics and Acoustics meeting at the prestigious Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach, in 2007. He was an invited lecturer for the 2007 ICFD international meeting (highly oscillatory problems) at the Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge. Unsworth has been an invited speaker at the 2nd International Symposium on Hip Resurfacing, Dubai (2004), 1st International Dutch Symposium on Hip Resurfacing, Netherlands (2005), International Society of Technology of Arthroplasty, San Francisco (2003), MEDTEC 2003 and the 1st Resurfacing Forum, Malaga, Spain (2003). He was an invited speaker at the Hand and Wrist Biomechanics Symposium, Bath (2005) and the Biomechanics lecture series organised by the Royal Society of Medicine (2004). Vitanov has given invited research presentations to the BMW Group (Munich, 2003 and 2004 and Leipzig, 2007) and Singapore's Institute of Manufacturing Technology (2004). Wang was an invited speaker at the 11th International Conference on Concurrent Engineering: Research and Applications (2004). Wood gave an invited presentation on New Sensor Technology, for the DTI (2001). He also gave a Royal Society of Chemistry invited talk in 2005, and in 2006 was an invited speaker at the UK NanoForum Roadshow, organised by the Centre for Excellence for Nanotechnology, Micro and Photonic Systems. Wu gave an invited presentation at the Institute of Physics, London in 2005.