SEMS Research Facilities
The School benefits from an excellent range of experimental and computational facilities and resources, which support research activity in all five divisions:
- Aerospace Engineering and Fluid Mechanics
- Chemical Engineering and Renewable Energy
- Materials Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering, Robotics and Design
The facilities are and are also used for industrial contract testing and external collaborations. In addition researchers within the school have access to other specialised research facilities elsewhere in the college, such as Nanoforce, Nanovision and the Blizzard Institute for Cell and Molecular Science.
On this page:
- BioFluids Laboratory
- Cell & Tissue Engineering Laboratories
- Centre for Advanced Robotics at Queen Mary (ARQ)
- Combustion Laboratory
- Computational Modelling Facilities
- Confocal Laser Scanning and Super Resolution Microscopy Lab
- Design Studio
- Electrochemistry Facilities
- Facility for Materials Engineering in Magnetic Fields
- Flight Simulator
- Gait Analysis Laboratory
- Hip Wear Simulator
- Mechanical Testing Facilities
- Mechanobiology and BioAFM Laboratories
- Medical Electronics Lab
- Nano Fluids Research Labs
- NanoVision Centre
- Photoelectrochemical Imaging
- Photoelectron spectroscopy
- Polymer processing
- Spectroscopy Facility
- Thermal Analysis Facility
- Thermoelectric Suite
- Two-Phase Flow and Heat Transfer Labs
- Undergraduate Teaching Labs
- Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory
- Wind Tunnels - High Speed
- Wind Tunnels - Low Speed
- Wind Tunnels: Acoustics Research Rig
- Workshops for Engineering Manufacture
- X-ray diffraction
Fluid mechanics analysis of blood flow in a pump.
Research in the biofluids and cell mechanics laboratory focuses on the interactions between physiological fluids and biological tissues. At the macroscopic level, we work on blood circulation in bypass grafts, aortic valve mechanics and stress and strain distributions in the atrial wall. At the microscopic level, we investigate flow and solute transport in extracellular matrices and interactions between flow and endothelial cells, with a particular interest in the endothelial glycocalyx. All these studies aim to reveal fundamental mechanisms involved in vascular and soft tissue function in health and disease.
Cell & Tissue Engineering Laboratories
Students doing a lab practical as part of the the Tissue Engineering module.
The cell and tissue engineering laboratories provide extensive facilities for tissue engineering, mechanobiology and biomechanics research and teaching. The facilities include five dedicated cell culture laboratories, a molecular biology facility and general purpose and biochemistry laboratories. The labs house machines for mechanical testing of biological tissues or implantable materials as well as equipment for a wide range of biochemical/cell biology analysis.
Centre for Advanced Robotics at Queen Mary (ARQ)
The laboratory of the Centre for Advanced Robotics at Queen Mary (ARQ) is equipped with robotics-arms, mobile platforms, mechatronic and control systems, swarm robots, human-like robotic systems, virtual reality and haptic interfaces, human motion tracking system. The laboratory is managed by ARQ and is located on the ground floor (G16) of the West wing of the Engineering building. Details are available here: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/robotics/facilities
Research in combustion science concentrates on engine performance testing and emissions. The Internal Combustion Engine laboratory contains five test beds. These include a four cylinder diesel engine with optical access to the combustion chamber and a variable compression ratio Ricardo engine. Current projects include duel fuelling and the development of biodiesels as alternative fuels for compression ignition engines. In addition the school possesses an almost unique, high pressure, steady-state combustion rig for studying the fundamental physics behind the combustion process.
Computational Modelling Facilities
Prediction of flow around : 1- A Multi-Element Wing 2-A Jet Engine Gas Turbine Blade using Computational Aerodynamics.
Computational Aerospace Structure and Computational Aerodynamics have strong tradition in Queen Mary University of London, where models for flow separation, transition and structure fracture have been developed and are used world-wide including in leading aircraft manufacturers such as BAe. Today we develop and perform state of the art aerodynamics computations from high speed jets to flow separation using local and national computing facilities. This affects our teaching where fundamentals of computational fluid dynamics are already taught in the third year to be followed by advanced computational techniques addressed in the fourth year of study.
The Aerospace Group also has access to the National Supercomputer Facilitiy (HECToR), QMUL Computing Cluster and Distributed Advanced Work Station at the School of Engineering and Materials Science.
In addition, our undergraduate students are being taught Computational Methods and use Industry Based Computing packages such as (ABAQUS) for Aerospace Structures and FLUENT for Computational Aerodynamics. These packages are currently being used by Aerospace Industries such as Airbus and BAe systems.
Confocal Laser Scanning and Super Resolution Microscopy Lab
Confocal fluorescence 3D reconstruction of tendon cells (nuclei labelled blue, primary cilia cytoskeleton red)
The School of Engineering and Materials Science hosts a confocal microscopy containing two laser scanning confocal microscopes - a Perkin Elmer spinning disc system and a Leica SP2 with multiphoton laser and lifetime imaging system.
In addition the Institute of Bioengineering will soon be purchasing a new confocal microscope associated with a super resolution system. The unit enables live cell fluorescence imaging (GFP, calcium imaging etc), 3D reconstruction and morphological measurement, photobleaching assays such as FRAP and FLIP and fluorescence lifetime microscopy(FLIM). The microscopes also interface with sophisticated mechanical loading systems for tissues, individual living cells (micropipette aspiration) and artificial constructs.
For more information contact: Prof Martin Knight
Design studio class in progress
The Design Studio is a creative space where students receive tutorials, share ideas, collaborate on projects or work on their own. It acts as a focus throughout the creative life of the students. By the end of 2018 a new design studio facility will be opened within the Creative Hub. The Creative Hub will be a student maker space containing all the facilities one might need to prototype and build amazing projects.
The School has a wide range of electrochemical and photoelectrochemical facilities for testing of energy materials. These include:
(1) Xe lamp 400W with solar simulator filter, potentiostat and electrochemical cell: for photocurrent measurements of photoelectrodes in multiple electrolytes, in a three-electrode (half cell) configuration, under 1 sun simulated conditions (with IR filter to avoid overheating of lamp and sample).
(2) Zahner photoelectrochemistry station: fully integrated photoelectrochemical workstation for high accuracy QE/IPCE measurements. Also with a tuneable LED light source that allows to measure photocurrent response at different wavelengths and possibility of measure electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, too.
(3) Rotating Disc Electrode (RDE) and potentiostat (with FRA for measuring electrochemical impedance spectroscopy): RDE in three-electrode electrochemical cell configuration with potentiostat to measure the electrocatalytic activity of new materials towards the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR)
(4) Potentiostat Biologic (+/- 5V -10A) and redox flow battery system: for measuring the performance of electrode materials in full cell configuration for redox flow cell applications.
Facility for Materials Engineering in Magnetic Fields
MagMat is a unique capability in the UK for the synthesis and processing of materials in strong magnetic fields (SMF)
Find out more at:
Prof. Mike Reece (email@example.com)
The School has recently acquired a state of art flight simulator with a cockpit, fully moving-base platform and virtual vision simulation for a range of visual cueing systems. The simulator is within the Whitehead laboratory and is being used for undergraduate teaching and students' courseworks and projects. The School is also currently developing research activities in the area of flight simulation.
In addition to in-house practical work Queen Mary, Aerospace students attend a one-day flight laboratory course at a National Flying Laboratory. It involves flight laboratory exercises aboard a twin turboprop JetStream aircraft. Each student will normally be on two flights each of about 50 minutes duration. Students will assess the drag, performance and the static and dynamic stability margins of the aircraft.
Gait Analysis Laboratory
Undergraduate students using the force plate for their 4th year project.
The Kidman (Gait Analysis) lab allows us to analyse motion and forces in people during walking, running and many other activities. These state of the art facilities allow us to assess normal subjects, elite athletes, patients who have had an operation, or individuals with some disability. The wide range of equipment available includes a force plate in the ground, a treadmill that can accommodate wheelchairs and motion analysis facilities, as well as sensors for indicating when muscles are activated and an oxygen consumption monitor. All of these are used for undergraduate, clinical and research projects.
Hip Wear Simulator
Student testing total hip replacement implants using the hip wear simulator.
The wear testing lab is able to assess the likely success of developments in total hip replacements. We work with a range of companies, including Johnson & Johnson Orthopaedics, Corin and Finsbury to evaluate designs before they are implanted into patients. Exciting research ideas are tested such as coatings which make the prosthesis last longer. These coatings are evaluated in our hip joint simulator and the biological response to the particles that are created is also studied.
Mechanical Testing Facilities
Students using mechanical testing equipment.
The School has a variety of mechanical testing equipment used to determine the mechanical properties of different materials and structures ranging from aircraft components to new implant materials or even biological tissues. These testing machines apply forces in compression, tension or torsion and can be used to find out material properties such as ultimate strength and modulus.
Mechanobiology and BioAFM Laboratories
Micropipette aspiration of a living stem cell
The School of Engineering and Materials Science in association with the Institute of Bioengineering has extensive multi-user mechanobiology facilities.
This includes a range of bioreactor systems for subjecting living cells to dynamic mechanical loading in the form of tensile strain (Flexcell), compressive strain (Bose) and fluid shear (Osciflow & Bose). These loading systems are mounted in cell culture incubators for long term loading studies.
We also have equipment for measuring cellular mechanical properties and mechanically stimulating individual cells using biological atomic force microscopy (bioAFM), micropipette aspiration or custom built scanning ion conductance microscopy.
In addition we have a range of mechanical test machines for measuring the mechanical properties of biological tissues and biomaterials under dynamic, uniaxial and biaxial loading conditions.
For more information contact: Prof Martin Knight
Medical Electronics Lab
Students working in the Medical Electronics Lab
The medical electronics laboratory is a customised workspace for undertaking electronics work, with specific expertise in the medical field. The wide range of medical equipment includes ECG monitors, ultrasound probes and pulse oximeters. The laboratory also contains a wide range of electronics components and prototyping boards, as well as microprocessor software, to make your own circuitry. The facility is used for a range of taught laboratories that focus on circuit design, and is also available for MSc projects.
Nano Fluids Research Labs
The School has a rapidly expanding group working on heat transfer from nano-fluids which are liquids containing nano-scale particles that act to alter the fundamental thermo-physical properties of the fluid and so increase heat transfer rates. The specific research includes formulation of nanoparticles and stable nanofluids in a purpose built laboratory. In addition, a new test facility is being constructed to investigate flow and heat transfer behavior of nanofluids in micro-tubes. The research will include mechanistic analysis of micro/nanoscale energy transportation and enhanced heat transfer performance.
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of human bone from a patient with osteoporosis.
The NanoVision Centre is a state-of-the-art microscopy unit which brings together the latest microscope techniques for structural, chemical and mechanical analysis at the nanometer scale (1/1000000 mm). The facility contains an impressive range of electron microscopes, scanning probe microscopes and associated analytical equipment for use in the cutting-edge research being conducted by students and staff.
Light-Addressable Potentiometric Sensors (LAPS) and Scanning Photo-induced Impedance Microscopy (SPIM) are imaging techniques based on photocurrent measurements at electrolyte/insulator/silicon (EIS) field-effect structures. They are capable of measuring local changes in the surface potential (LAPS), which can be used to image ion concentrations, and of measuring the local impedance (SPIM).
LAPS and SPIM have great potential as tools for functional electrochemical imaging of the attachment area of cells, providing information such as ion concentration, extracellular potentials and cell impedance. The techniques are particularly attractive for analysing responses of cells with planar polarisation or cell types that separate one compartment from the other as the cell-surface attachment area is not accessible to conventional electrophysiological and electrochemical imaging.
A ThermoFisher Nexsa X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS) System enables a range of photoelectron spectroscopy measurements on a range of materials. It includes facility for:
- X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)
- Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS)
- Reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy (REELS)
- Ion Scattering Spectroscopy (ISS)
Richard Whitely (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Extensive polymer processing facilities are available, with details found at:
FTIR equipment for materials analysis.
We have a variety of sophisticated spectrometers which are used to identify specific compounds and investigate composition of materials prepared as either a liquid, solid, film or powder.
These devices include:
- Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
- Raman Spectroscopy
- Near InfraRed Spectroscopy (uv-vis NIR).
Thermal Analysis Facility
Differential Scanning Calorimeter.
We have a variety of excellent techniques for analysis the thermal properties of materials such as melting temperature, glass transition temperature, viscosity, thermal expansion and thermo-mechanical properties over a range of temperatures (-150 to 1600C).
The techniques include:
- Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
- Thermo Gravimetric Analysis (TGA)
- Simultaneous Thermal Analysis (STA)
- Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)
The school houses a suite of instruments for the accurate measurement of thermoelectric materials in bulk or thin film form, including:
- Laser Flash Analyzer (Netzsch 453 LFA)
- Electrical conductivity and Seebeck measurement (Linseis LSR3)
- Thin film electrical and thermal conductivity, and Seebeck measurement (Linseis TFA)
Prof. Mike Reece (email@example.com
Dr. Oliver Fenwick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Two-Phase Flow and Heat Transfer Labs
The School has an international reputation for research into two-phase flow with heat transfer. In particular it has five test rigs for investigating various aspects of condensation heat transfer which has direct application to steam power plant and refrigeration cycles. These include a full tube bank rig for investigating the complex interactions between tube geometry and vapour and liquid flow in real condensers. In addition several rigs are being used to investigate and optimise three-dimensional highly enhanced finned tubes for increasing heat transfer rates for both internal and external flows and so reducing condenser size.
Undergraduate Teaching Labs
We have recently invested £8M in major new teaching laboratories to provide state-of-the-art experimental facilities specifically for teaching of undergraduate students.
Opened in 2016 the lab provides a space on the ground floor with step free access and has a height adjustable bench installed for wheelchair users.
Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory
The Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory.
The Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory contains a large number of wind tunnels which are being used for teaching, undergraduate projects and research activities. In addition to the wind tunnels themselves these laboratories contain a large variety of flow measurement and visulisation tools including:
- Pressure probes
- Flow Visualisation tools such as smooke, oil and schlieren system
- State of art image processing techniques for obtaining qualitative and quantitative information about the flow field
- Hot-Wire Anemometers for turbulence measurements
- Advanced optical flow diagnostic tools such as Particle Image Velocitemetry (PIV) and Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV)
- Direct force and moment measurement using three and six-comonent balances
- Noise measurement devices.
Wind Tunnels - High Speed
Schlieren Photograph of Supersonic Flows over a Wind Tunnel Model of a Rocket.
The Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory is equipped with three high speed wind tunnels covering a range of Mach numbers from M=0.3 to three times speed of sound , M=3.0. The high speed facilities are used for undergraduate teaching, laboratory practicals and reserach projects in aerospace engineering.
These wind tunnels are also being used for research in areas such as:
- Aerodynamics of Jet Engine Turbine Blades at Transonic Speeds
- Control of Shock-Boundary Layer Interactions at Transonic-Supersonic speeds
- Cavity Flows, base drag etc.
Currently several PhD students are working in the areas realted to high speed aerodynamics.
Wind Tunnels - Low Speed
Students discussing the mounting of an Airship Model in one of our Low speed Wind Tunnels.
The Whitehead Aeronautical Laboratory contains a large number of the Low Speed Wind Tunnels which are being used for teaching, undergraduate projects and research activities in aerospace related topics.
There are four low speed wind tunnels which are regularly used by undergraduate students working on topics such as aerodynamics of: airships, wings, road & sport vehicles, flow control for the reduction of drag, jet engine compressor, turbine blades and wind energy, etc.
The cross sectional areas of the low speed wind tunnels ranges from 0.52m x 0.38 m to 1.2 m x 1.2 m with a maximum speed of 40 m/s.
The fifth wind tunnel is a unique research facility in UK which is used for understanding the stability of laminar flows and its active control. Several external organisations such as Airbus, US airforce, etc are involved in using this facility.
Wind Tunnels: Acoustics Research Rig
Supersonic Acoustics Facility.
This facility was designed and built for conducting reserch in the noise production of supersonic jet engines and nozzles. The existing nozzles are designed for transonic and supersonic operations. Aspects of flow control methods in reducing the noise signature of a jet engine exhausts are also being studied. Our aneohotc chamber is equipped with sensitive noise measurement microphones, and optical flow measurement systems.
Workshops for Engineering Manufacture
The School has a purpose built, fully equipped teaching workshop where students learn the basics of workshop practice in line with the degree accreditation requirements of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In addition, it contains fully automated CAD/CAM controlled milling machines and two rapid prototyping machines for high speed production of complex components. The workshops are also used during students design build and test projects as part of their Engineering Design modules.
The X-ray Diffraction Facility (XDF) offers a full diffraction analysis service in materials science, structural chemistry, structural biology and solid state science.
The facility is located in the Francis Bancroft building (room G.30) at the Mile End campus, and is operated by the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
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