Division of Mechanical Engineering, Robotics and Design


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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

Combustion Laboratory

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.
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.

Flight Simulator

Flight Simulator
Flight Simulator

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.

Mechanical Testing Facilities

Students using mechanical testing equipment.
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.

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.