Biomimetics and Biomimicry in Engineering

Posts Tagged ‘university’

Magnetic Fields to Aid the Manufacturing of hi-performing Composites

In Info, Jobs & Vacancies on 2019/03/04 at 2:36 pm

Bradley Mee has spent his Wolfson bursary in our lab developing a novel method to align reinforcing fibres within a polymeric matrix using magnetic fields. In this way, the mechanical properties of the composites can be tailored for specific applications and load requirements.

In his final report he wrote:

“Polyurethane composites are widely used due to their strength and light weight-ness, as well as the low cost and scalability in production. The PU material comes in two separate liquid chemicals that once combined in equal amounts rapidly expand to 200% of the original volume and cure hard, taking the shape of the mould it is placed in. There is an opportunity to shape and further increase the strength of these parts by forming a composite of PU and carbon fibres (added in the liquid/expanding stage), with localised reinforcements. It has previously been shown that these composite materials produced increase stiffness in both tensile and compressive testing.

The aim of the project is to test the hypothesis that [a magnetic field] aids the alignment of carbon fibres in a certain direction and will increase the strength of the material, compared to randomly located fibres. To achieve this; firstly, a literature review of electromagnetism and permanent magnets was carried out. Secondly, finite-element software was used in order to create a model of the problem and to visualise the magnetic fields created by the magnets. These two objectives provided the basis for a prediction on the direction and alignment that magnetised carbon fibres. Thirdly, lab-based experiments were carried out using a magnetometer to measure the actual magnetic field strength in air. The results were compared to those of the computer model and confirmed to be congruent. Finally, composites were produced in a bespoke mould and the specimens underwent mechanical testing.”


Bradley in the lab during sample production

Bradley has returned to his Electrical and Electronics Engineering studies and is aiming to pursue a career in the aerospace where these high performing composites could be in use in the near future.


EPSRC CDT in Embedded Intelligence – who we are

In Funding, Info on 2018/01/24 at 2:09 pm

Loughborough University hosts the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Embedded Intelligence since April 2013. This centre is training the engineers and scientists of the future in Embedded Intelligence technologies at post-graduate level before they join industry as high calibre employees.

We are proud to count on more than 50 industrial partners to be part of our Centre, co-sponsoring studentships or providing with industrial and research experience to our PhD candidates. Some of them are large companies such as Ford, Renishaw, GE, MOOG, JLR, Rolls-Royce, Taylor Hobson, AVL, Apical (part of ARM), etc. Some others are SMEs who believe that research in this topic can make the difference to their business. To name a few of our collaborators and supporters: FAR UK, Printed Electronics Ltd, Izon Science Ltd, Effect Tech ltd, Motion Robotics ltd, etc. Other organisations that support training and industry impact are also part of the Centre, e.g. MTC, NPLMTG research, HSSMI, Moredun, and TWI. The Centre keeps sight of employability and realistic prospects for our students once they graduate, so the ILM is also working with us. Our Centre is about applied science, technology and engineering. It is well known that we might be missing half of the population (i.e. females, who are ~5% of the eng-tech workforce in the country) to fill the technical and engineering posts in the next 5-15 years. The Centre’s Consortium is assisted by WISE (via the Scottish Resource Centre for Women in SET) so we can effectively encourage more women into engineering, trying to achieve gender balance that brings competitive benefits to UK’s plcs.

This is our story so far: full version can be read here


We are looking for bright students who would like to study and research the integration of ‘intelligence’ into products, machines, buildings, factories, work environments, transport systems, and supply chains.

If you are interested, find more info here.

We are recruiting a new member of the team

In Jobs & Vacancies on 2017/05/02 at 10:09 am

We are recruiting a Research Associate in Advanced Composites Manufacturing for the Automotive Industry.

The manufacture of lightweight composites for the Automotive Industry requires of transformative engineering and science with the academic rigour to address the challenges presented. The creation of cost-effective automotive structural components will be carried out with Sonication technologies as a new manufacturing process for multifunctional lightweight materials that exhibit bespoke mechanical properties. We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher with a background in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering and preferably with practical experience in Control and Instrumentation. We are passionate about developing our researchers so the post holder will benefit from a range of development opportunities.

The post will be based at the Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing Lab at the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University

For more details and to apply: and the university website

Manufacturing Functionality: from SFF to truly SFF

In Seminars and Keynotes on 2016/04/05 at 8:13 pm

Solid Free Form (SFF) fabrication, also known as Rapid prototyping (RP) or Layered Manufacturing (LM), creates arbitrary 3D shapes directly from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) data. It has been around for two decades now. From its early age it demonstrated tremendous advantages for the Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) industry compared to traditional manufacturing methods such as CNC machining or casting. The venues for exploration appeared endless until users started to hit a ceiling; the name ‘rapid’ became almost ironic because the layering process is a very slow one, the palette of materials to handle is limited and the advertised label ‘net-shape’ is ‘near-shape’ – on a lucky day-. We are now over the hype of SFF, RP and LM but still have needs to create heterogeneous structures that have intrinsic multifunctionality. The Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing Lab in Loughborough University works on new manufacturing methods that allows a truly free form fabrication and the engineering of composition and structure for the creation of materials that are smart, responsive to their environment and possess synergistic properties that enhance their behaviour. These types of high performance materials offer great promise in fields such as bioengineering and transport (i.e. automotive and aerospace).

Venue: Department of Physics, Universitá degli Studi di Milano, Aula Consiglio. Italy


Is DIY a western thing?

In Info on 2015/09/11 at 6:18 pm

Changxi Huang has been working on the bamboo hut project as part of his MSc project. His work has focused on the optimisation of the procedure for assembling the hut and looking for ways of best presenting the assembly instructions to those who can’t read instructions or have no previous knowledge on building huts.

He ran experiments with participants from different walks of life and, most importantly, from western and far east countries. One of the main points of discussion of his dissertation is based on his observations on the approach that western nationals have towards do-it-yourself products versus that of Far East countries citizens. In countries like China, assembling a product (a table or a chest of drawers) is left to those who perform that job for a living. On the contrary, the B&Q-isation or the IKEA-ising of western countries has made our exposure to self-assembly furniture and products an activity of our everyday life. Could this have an effect on our cognitive ability to understand instructions and our dexterity to carry out such assemblies?

Huang observing one of the tests in our study

Huang observing one of the tests in our study

Huang has successfully finished his MSc course and is going back to China for a most deserved rest. Well done, Huang!

MSc exhibition on 9th Sept (Loughborough University) and Farewell (or a ‘see you soon’):


CDT in Embedded Intelligence at Loughborough University

In Funding, Info on 2014/01/09 at 1:07 pm

Loughborough University has been awarded the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Embedded Intelligence. In collaboration with 23 external partners (large companies, SMEs and other organisations that support training and industry impact) and Heriot-Watt as academic partner, this centre will train the engineers and scientists of the future at post-graduate level before they join industry as high calibre employees.

The research activities in this CDT are around the integration of ‘intelligence’ into products, machines, buildings, factories, work environments, transport systems, and supply chains. And nature can inspire the best examples of Embedded Intelligence.

The 4-year programme includes: (i) technical training in key areas of Embedded Intelligence; (ii) non-technical training in the ‘Double Transition’, to equip our students with the skills to be effective researchers during their PhD (from undergraduate into postgrad studies), and to become suitably qualified employees (from students to graduates); and (iii) industry interaction from early days throughout in a myriad of applied research rich-impact activities.

For more information, click here and here.

For the job ad, click here

Pastures new

In Info on 2013/04/26 at 1:18 pm

I am so very excited about my good news. Today I take on a new role at Loughborough University. It is a mixture of excitement for the challenges ahead and also an emotional farewell to Heriot-Watt.

My trajectory at Heriot-Watt spans almost 10 years, as I have been there a postgraduate student, a researcher, a teaching fellow and a lecturer. I am very grateful to the institution for so many opportunities given to me throughout the years, to the extreme that I considered the campus my home and some of my colleagues as part of my own family.

Today I join the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, one of the flagships of engineering in the UK’s research and knowledge transfer arenas. I am very proud to become part of the Additive Manufacturing group, led by Professor Russell Harris. I will continue working in the areas of design & manufacture of engineered materials, on their biomimetic aspect, and on the sonication technology for the modification of structures and textures. My interactions with industry and carrying out ‘research that matters’ are a major drive for my academic activities. These will continue, and grow, with my move to Loughborough.

I am looking forward to working along with my new team, my prospective students and continue collaborating with my current and soon-to-be industrial partners.

And I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

With my warmest regards,


Looking to access engineering expertise for your next R&D project? :: A webinar

In Knowledge Transfer, Seminars and Keynotes on 2013/03/12 at 10:21 am

Join Interface –The knowledge connection for business and Heriot-Watt University on 21st March (2pm-4pm) for this live and online event for businesses which will highlight the range of engineering expertise, new technologies and funding available within Heriot Watt University that could help your business.


Interface – The knowledge connection for business

Discover how to access the world class facilities and expertise available within Scotland’s academic network to develop and grow your business.

Laura Goodfellow, Senior Project Executive  – Got a business challenge? The answer could be in Scotland’s academia!

Heriot Watt University

Discover the various ways in which your business can access the engineering expertise and resources at Heriot Watt University.

Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez – Industry-led engineering design projects for undergraduate students

Dr Dawn Beddard- Industry-led physics based projects

Dr David Flynn – KTPs: knowledge transfer goes both ways between university and companies

Professor Marc Desmulliez – Research projects with Industry in the UK and beyond

Dr Iain McEwan – Navigating your way in University for Research and Knowledge transfer

Company Spotlight

A company’s perspective! – Discover the success that three businesses have achieved from collaborating with Heriot Watt University on their engineering projects.

Mr Stephen Roberts of Nightingale Intensiv

Mr Roy MacDonald of Glenhanze

Dr Mark Zwinderman of Aboleo

Who should attend?
The event is aimed at any company in any sector, who is interested in discovering how Scotland’s academic network could support its next engineering challenge.

The online streaming will give you the opportunity to watch the presentations live, participate in the discussion forum and ask questions from the comfort of your own office.

Register here


Baker Hughes Diversity Awards Ceremony

In Info on 2013/01/17 at 12:17 pm

The Baker Hughes Diversity Award is a prize to those students who have shown a sustained remarkable performance in Engineering Design that fits with the company’s ethics and Core Values of integrity, teamwork, performance and learning.

The 15 shortlisted students were (in no particular order) Benjamin Rayer, Ross Bonallo, Stuart Heyman, Craig Morgan, Gareth Norquoy, Anthony Wainman, Christopher Balmer, Tom Peters, Gary Hepburn, Garry Steel, Mathias Dalli Gonzi, Ross Flavell, Iain Brown, Karl Blacker, and Scott Inglis.


It has been very difficult to pick only 3 names and put them forward for the prizes. The performance of each one of them has been excellent this semester. It was for many, if not all, the first time they were faced with a real life project, with a real client and a tight timeframe to deliver a solution, or a prototype, and they have risen to the challenge, and made the University proud. Feedback we are getting from their clients has been very complimentary and flattering. The three people selected for the prizes were: (Winner) Scott Inglis, (runner ups) Benjamin Rayer and Anthony Wainman.


Congratulations to all of them!

Special thanks to Caroline Baker (from Baker Hughes) for making this Award possible.

Company-led Engineering Design projects 2012

In Knowledge Transfer on 2012/08/22 at 6:19 pm

This year we have had 60+ enquiries and 40+ applicants for our Industry led Engineering Design projects at Heriot-Watt University. An unprecedented demand to work with us and our Mechanical Engineering students. We would like to thank organisations like Interface, _connect (the Knowledge Transfer Network), Energy Academy, South of Scotland Business Solutions and so many other individuals in companies who have already worked with us, for spreading the word.

If you would like to hear what companies who we worked with say about this scheme, watch the trailer (43s) with the perspective from the Companies

If you would like to hear about the student viewpoint on these projects, watch the trailer (43s) below

And if you have a few minutes to spare, the full length movie (4min59s) is here

For more information on the projects and how to take part next year, keep an eye on this section.