Building on the General Engineering context, the School has strong multi-disciplinary links across the entire range of our research. Our vision is to foster an environment that is internationally leading and among the best in the UK, reflected in the quality of our fundamental research and its knowledge exchange with industry.
Engineering research at the University of Aberdeen extends from theoretical mechanics through computational modelling to advanced engineering experiments. The current research structure has evolved since the last RAE in 2008 in response to recruitment of a significant number of new academic staff and a substantial growth in research activities in both well-established and new emerging research directions. The new structure reflects the School’s needs for further enhancement of fundamental and applied studies, post-graduate students, and research income. It now incorporates a two-layer structure: subject-focused Research Groups (Layer 1) responding to academic interests; and problem-focused Research Programmes (Layer 2) responding to areas of application. Layer 1 underpins activities in Layer 2, which integrates disciplines’ expertise and serves as the main interface with stakeholders and end-users.
The Applied Dynamics Research Group is focused on (i) modelling and analysis of engineering systems exhibiting non-linear responses, and practical applications of dynamics, control and condition monitoring; (ii) impact and explosion mechanics, including fundamental understanding of energy absorption and deformation characteristics of materials and sandwich structures with metal foams and truss cores subjected to blast, shock or ballistic loading.
The Power Systems, Communications and Optics Research Group enjoys an international reputation and profile for its activities in holographic imaging, power systems analysis, and network protocols. Research spans the development of new techniques, advanced modelling algorithms, new semiconductor devices and the development of standards working with industry.
The Environmental and Industrial Fluid Mechanics Research Group studies two major interconnected areas: (i) hydrodynamics of free-surface flows, and (ii) mechanics of fluid-particle interactions and transport. Both areas cover natural and industrial flows at multiple scales, from sub-mm to kilometres. Studies of the free-surface flows focus on open-channel flows, coastal processes, eco-hydraulics, flow-porous-bed interfaces, and liquid-solid impacts. Research on fluid-particle interactions concentrates on sediment transport in unidirectional and oscillatory flows, low Reynolds number multiphase flows, and molecular fluids.
The Solid and Granular Mechanics Research Group models real-world problems that require a precise mathematical description of the mechanical behaviour of materials, such as advanced new materials (functionally graded materials, micro- and nano-composites), ceramics, and elastomers. This is achieved through analytical and numerical methods, with experimental verification, to generate models whose predictions are tested against the behaviour of real components or structures. Two main areas are studied (i) the statics and dynamics of materials and components with pronounced internal heterogeneity, (ii) the constitutive modelling of granular materials. Features at a nano- or micro-scale (e.g. fibres, thin layers, fractures, grains, holes, and contact) are modelled with a view to elucidating and enhancing the macroscopic linear, non-linear and fracture behaviour.
The Materials and Chemical Engineering Research Group has an international profile in many aspects of activity in the area of functional materials (preparation, characterisation and application) and includes research in the areas of: cementitious materials, biomaterials, magnetic/electronic materials and materials for catalysis and photocatalysis.