Strathclyde Engineering News

FIRST for Engineering

Commonwealth: 'Game On' for Faculty Lecture

March sees the time of the Annual Faculty of Engineering lecture. On the 11th of this month, we are delighted that Lord Robert Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of Glasgow 2014 Ltd, the Organising Committee for the Games, will give the lecture, entitled, “Engineering the Commonwealth Games”, with special guests from the Organising Committee, Glasgow City Council, the Economic Forum, and industry.
The 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games will put the city on an international stage. The lecture promises to provide an insight into the development of games venues and athlete accommodation across the city, and the legacy it will leave for years to come.

Engineers are already making a significant contribution to the city’s infrastructure, and the Faculty is ready to play its part, by providing future competitors, engineering talent and advancing opportunities for everyday and elite athletes with a disability, via the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics SPEEAD project.

To reserve one of the few remaining places, please contact

Space Researchers Sweep the Board

Five research students from the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory swept the board in a competition to choose the UK's International Astronautical Congress postgraduate student delegate 2010. 
The finalists, Russell Bewick, Marta Ceccaroni, Jeannette Heiligers, Charlotte Lucking and Giuliano Punzo travelled to London to present their research projects and won all five finalists spots in the prestigious competition run by the British Interplanetary Society. 

Overall winner Jeannette Heiligers will go on to represent the UK in the postgraduate student research paper competition at the Congress in Prague. Charlotte Lucking was named as runner-up.

Dr Chris Welch, Chair of the Selection Committee at the British Interplanetary Society, said: "For the first time, all of the finalists come from a single university, Strathclyde, which reflects both the quality and the number of entries the institution submitted. We were very impressed by the range and depth of work presented."

Professor Colin McInnes, Director of Strathclyde's Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, added: "This is a truly outstanding result for our research students. Our finalists are from Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, which is a reflection of the extremely high calibre of research students the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory is attracting from all over the world."
The  Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory is based in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and is home to some of the UK's leading space engineers carrying out frontier research on visionary space systems. The €2 million laboratory opened in October and is already cementing its reputation as a world-leading space systems research centre. For more information, visit

EEE Researcher Recognised at National Awards

Abdullah Swissi Emhemed, a researcher based within EEE’s Institute for Energy and Environment, has received an award from the Libyan Minister of Education and Libyan Embassy in recognition of his excellent research work, and support and assistance for Libyan students within the UK.
Abdullah, pictured at the Awards Ceremony was Head of Student Affairs for the Libyan Students Union UK from 2006 to 2008 and during this time, helped build links between academic institutions in the two countries, and provided guidance and help for Libyan students whilst they were based in the UK. 

In addition to being an active senior committee member of the Libyan Students Union, Abdullah is completing his PhD in “Protection and transient stability of small scale micro-generation” as part of the EPSRC funded Highly Distributed Power System Project, led by Strathclyde.  

On receiving his award, Abdullah commented: “I am delighted and honoured to have been presented with this award.  Balancing my research commitments and Union activities is a challenge, but one that I relish. The University has an excellent reputation for engineering, and I am looking forward to promoting and encouraging more Libyan students to join Strathclyde.”

Engineering Students Splash Ahead at Championships 

There was double success for the Faculty as DMEM Sport Engineering student Robbie Renwick, and Civil Engineering student Rory Lamont both took a step closer in their bid to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.

Robbie (pictured) beat off tough competition to win the 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle awards. The Aberdonian is no stranger to success, having been part of the successful Scottish team which won a silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay in the Commonwealth Games in 2006.

He said, "My experience in 2006 was the best I've ever had and I would be so happy to swim for Scotland again. The team did really well in Melbourne and hopefully we can do even better this year.”

Robbie is supported by the Winning Students initiative, which provides athletes studying universities and colleges, including Strathclyde, with scholarships of up to £5,500 a year.

He added, "I'm really enjoying my degree and it gives me a better lifestyle than just swimming non-stop. And I'm very proud to receive a Winning Students scholarship - it's a great idea to support student athletes and I'm sure it will help to bring out our full potential."

Meanwhile, Rory, who was competing against much more experienced swimmers, recently won bronze medals in both the 50m butterfly and 50m backstroke at the Scottish Short Course Championships.

The news comes as the University recently unveiled plans for its 15-year estates development plan, which includes a £33 million centre for sport and health. The building, which will be completed by 2012, will house teaching and research as well as an impressive range of recreational and competitive sports facilities and a café.

EEE Prof to Swim 'the Channel' for Haiti 

In addition to medal winning students swimmers, staff are also getting in on the act.  

As a response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Deputy Head of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Professor Steve Marshall has found a splashing way to contribute to the cause.

He plans to swim the equivalent of the English Channel, around 24 miles, by completing 1,525 lengths of a 25m swimming pool for the Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Steve says, “David Walliams swam the Channel in a time of 10 hours 34 minutes in 2006, and I am hoping to complete it in around 24 hours of swimming. It’s quite a challenge.”
He plans to complete his feat by 21st March, although is currently on target to finish by 10 March. 

If you would like to sponsor Steve you can pledge per length, or donate a lump sum.  So far, he has raised £850 in pledges, and would love to reach £1000.  You can email him with your offer of sponsorship at

Steve thanks everyone for their kind donations so far towards a well deserving appeal.

Double Award Success for DMEM KTP Team

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project team from DMEM and Scottoiler Scotland Ltd have recently won a prestigious 2010 KTP Scotland Best Partnership Judges Commendation Award.
The project, titled ‘A robust mechatronic product platform based design methodology and its application’ is national recognition of knowledge exchange and transfer work and was undertaken by DMEM Senior Lecturer Dr. Xiu-Tian Yan and his team. The award was made from 14 nominations from across the country, which were selected from 25 eligible KTP projects completed in 2009.  Dr Yan has a long established collaboration with Scottoiler through a number of EPSRC, EU and KTP projects, and through these projects his work in mechatronic system design, modelling and prototyping has been well recognised by companies and other research colleges in the field through conference organisations and professional bodies’ activities.
In the same week, the KTP partnership had also received another excellent prize for the design and manufacture of an innovative mechatronic product. This time, the team won an industrially prominent Motorcycle News Best Product of the Year 2009 prize for a mechatronic system called eSystem.
Dr Yan said “I am delighted and honoured to receive two prestigious awards in the same week for my research and knowledge change work. This demonstrates a national recognition of Strathclyde achievements in knowledge exchange.”

Pictured: From left, Minister (Cabinet Secretary) for Education and Lifelong Learning Mr Michael Russell MSP, Fiona Thomson (company MD), Barry Stewart (KTP Associate) and Xiu-Tian Yan.

Power Generator Arrives at Tanzania Prosthetics School

Enterprising staff from the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics have recently helped to solve a mains supply problem at the Tanzania Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT) at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Tumaini University.

The problem, which was uncovered during several knowledge exchange visits between the two institutions, arose from lack of rainfall in the Kilimanjaro region leading to the loss of output from the hydroelectric power grid and a resulting intermittent electricity supply.
After a lengthy search, the National Centre located and refurbished a 30 year old generator from a decommissioned NHS hospital site. The original manufacturer, based in Glasgow, offered to test it free of charge and gave the generator a clean bill of health. 

With a sponsor for the crating and transport to Tanzania secured, the unit and control panel were shipped to Tanzania. The generator has been commissioned and is now living up to its full potential providing the reliable source of electrical power vital to the efficient running of the Training Centre.

The National Centre has developed close links with the Tanzania Training Centre since its establishment in 1981.

Project Nova - Powering a Renewable Future

One year since Project Nova (Novel Offshore Vertical Access) was announced, the project is already showing signs of success. Funded by the Energies Technology Institute, this collaborative project aims to assess the feasibility of a unique wind turbine with a pair of giant vertical wings.

The NOVA Aerogenerator design has been lead by OTM Consulting and includes Strathclyde, Cranfield and Sheffield Universities. Unlike conventional windmills the Aerogenerator has vertical rotating blades which designers claim make it easier to maintain therefore providing cheaper renewable energy.

The UK has the biggest wind resources in Europe and so harbours massive potential for renewable wind power. In order to meet government renewable energy targets it will be essential to utilise this resource.

The team aims to have a demonstrator Aerogenerator turbine built offshore by 2015 followed by 1GW of offshore vertical axis turbines installed by 2020. Each windmill will be designed to generate between 5MW and 10MW of power but, because each would be cheaper to build than an equivalent modern turbine, the overall cost of an offshore wind farm, and the electricity, should be lower.

First EWB Conference Success

Students from Strathclyde recently hosted the first ‘Engineers Without Borders’ international development conference.  The weekend was a roaring success attracting 140 students and professionals from across the UK.  The event kicked off with a key note speech from Dr Yusaf Samiullah, Head of Infrastructure for the Department for International Development (DFID) where he emphasised that “It’s not all about the engineering”. This theme continued throughout the weekend with many workshops highlighting the fact that engineering must play its part in an overarching solution.

Saturday’s workshops on infrastructure, sanitation, disaster relief and rural electrification were a great success, with activities including building bridges out of balsa wood and role playing in a disaster relief situation.

Sunday’s theme of ‘water’ was led by Professor Robert Kalin of the David Livingston Centre for Sustainability. Guy Howard from DFID also spoke about the importance of water in development and the difficulties of providing sustainable water sources.

Kyle, a student from Strathclyde said “As a new EWB member this weekend represented an opportunity to meet professionals, to make contacts and most of all to gain knowledge and hands on experience of development issues.”

CUE Forms KTP with Impact Solutions

The Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE) has recently been awarded KTP funding for a programme focussed on ultrasonic inspection of plastic pipe welds. The 2 year programme, in association with Impact Solutions Ltd and led by Drs Richard O’Leary and Tony Gachagan, aims to implement an on-site non-destructive inspection system for fusion welded plastic pipes. Plastic pipelines make up an increasing percentage of gas and water distribution infrastructure – in the UK and across the globe. During installation, numerous environmental factors can lead to variability in weld quality and overall pipeline integrity. Ultrasonic testing offers a route to assess each weld on-site, at the time of installation. The KTP program will translate CUE’s recent advances in ultrasonic transducers and arrays to enable a facile implementation of the technique.

Based in Grangemouth, Impact is a solutions provider to the petrochemicals and plastics industries, with a particular focus and competence in polymers. The company has a strong history of involvement in plastic pipe systems across the supply chain, from resin development through to in-service product evaluation. Kevin Ross, Business Manager at Impact Solutions, stated that this programme would complement Impact’s expertise in more traditional destructive testing and would open up several exciting opportunities for the company.

Civil Eng Students Visit Edinburgh Tram Depot

Twenty-five civil engineering students recently visited the Gogar Depot construction site, which is being built as part of the Edinburgh Tram project. The visit follows previous collaboration between the University and Edinburgh Trams and is aimed at giving the students firsthand experience of the day to day workings of a major construction project.

The day trip consisted of a tour of the site, followed by presentations from project managers involved in constructing the Depot. The first year students taking part had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with representatives from Edinburgh Trams including the Depot’s project manager, design experts and operational staff an insight into a section of Scotland’s biggest infrastructure project.

This was the first of two visits arranged with the second group going in March.

Civil Eng Lecturer Dr Mike Murray, said: "For many of the students, this visit was their first time on a construction site after a year studying the industry in lectures. Industrial relevance is a defining characteristic of the University of Strathclyde and we are pleased to be working with Edinburgh Trams to give our students firsthand experience of the country's biggest infrastructure project."

Once complete, the Gogar Depot will shelter and maintain the fleet of 27 tram vehicles which will carry passengers through the heart of the Capital, from the City’s airport in the west to Newhaven in the north east. The Depot will also act as the tram’s nerve centre from which the service will be controlled and monitored when operational.

Double Lean Six Sigma Success for DMEM

DMEM Professor Jiju Antony recently hosted the Second European Research Conference on Continuous Improvement & Lean Six Sigma.

The event incorporated academics and industrial sectors interested in deploying continuous improvement initiatives, such as Six Sigma, Lean and Lean Six Sigma, within their organisation. The central theme of this one day event was "Achieving Organisational Excellence through Continuous Improvement & Lean Six Sigma Strategy.” 

Eleven paper presentations were delivered by academics and practitioners from around Europe, with selected papers to be published in a special issue of the new International Journal of Six Sigma  (IJLSS), which Prof Antony recently commenced with one of the leading management publishers, Emerald. 

IJLSS is the first in its field and will cover research focused case study and view point based articles.  The purpose is to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of Lean Six Sigma (an integrated approach of Lean and Six Sigma) and to publish the latest trends and research developments in both fields. The journal will provide a great platform for further research development of Lean Six Sigma from its current status in organisations, publishing the latest issues and challenges associated with Lean Six Sigma implementation.

The Fourth International Conference on Six Sigma will take place in December.

In Brief

The Department of Mechanical Engineering's ZephIR LiDAR has just returned to the department after three months acceptance testing at the Danish Technical Universities Risoe test facility in northeast Denmark. The LiDAR has been funded by Mechanical Engineering's participation in the £4m EU FP7 NORSEWInD project which will create an atlas of wind resources in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas through a combination of ground based and satellite remote sensing devices. After three months based at the university where the LiDAR will measure flows in the Urban canopy the LiDAR will be shipped up to Shetland and from there it will be taken out to be mounted on an offshore platform where it will spend the next two years mapping the atmospheric boundary layer.  Furthe information can be found at, or contact

In further news for Mechanical Engineering, the department are hosting a guest lecture by the famous test pilot Eric Brown at 7pm on Friday the 26th of March. Eric was originally a Fleet Air Arm pilot during the second world war before becoming a test pilot. At the end of the war Eric was one of the first Allied pilots to enter Germany and fly many of their advanced rocket and jet powered fighters. After the war Eric carried out the first carrier landing using an aircraft equipped with a tricycle undercarriage and the first landing of a jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier. He also holds the world's record for the most carrier landings, 2,407. Tickets are available from Matt Stickland in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and cost £10 with a reduced rate of £5 for students. There will be an auction at the end of the lecture of aviation related equipment and flights in gliders and powered aircraft. All proceeds will go to the charity Walking On Air".  Further information is available at, and to order tickets contact

The UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC) is the Government’s lead organisation for the provision of advice, services and policy consultation regarding the under-representation of women in science, engineering, technology and the built environment (SET). It offers tailored services and support for women at all career stages, including getting started, returning after a break, seeking promotion and aspiring to leadership.

More information can be found by signing up to the newsletter.

Highly Cited Papers

Xiao B, Byrne PJ, Wheatley PS, Wragg DS, Zhao XB, Fletcher AJ, Thomas KM, Peters L, Evans JSO, Warren JE, Zhou WZ, Morris RE, Chemically blockable transformation and ultraselective low-pressure gas adsorption in a non-porous metal organic framework, NATURE CHEMISTRY, JUL 2009, VL 1, IS 4, Times Cited 4

Pellenc D, Bennett RA, Green RJ, Sperrin M, Mulheran PA, New insights on growth mechanisms of protein clusters at surfaces: an AFM and simulation study, LANGMUIR, SEP 2008, VL 24, IS 17, Times Cited 4

Nolan M, Elliott SD, Mulley JS, Bennett RA, Basham M, Mulheran P, Electronic structure of point defects in controlled self-doping of the TiO2 (110) surface: Combined photoemission spectroscopy and density functional theory study, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, Jun 2008, VL 77, IS 23, Times Cited 8

Chen B, Zhao X, Putkham A, Hong K, Lobkovsky EB, Hurtado EJ, Fletcher AJ, Thomas KM, Surface interactions and quantum kinetic molecular sieving for H-2 and D-2 adsorption on a mixed metal-organic framework material, SO JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, MAY 2008, VL 130, IS 20, Times Cited 53

Mulheran PA, Pellenc D, Bennett RA, Green RJ, Sperrin M, Mechanisms and dynamics of protein clustering on a solid surface, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, Feb 2008, VL 100, IS 6, Times Cited 9

oos M, Moussa AS, Ehrl L, Sefcik J, Wu H, Morbidelli M, Effect of shear rate on aggregate size and morphology investigated under turbulent conditions in stirred tank, JOURNAL OF COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, Mar 2008, VL 319, IS 2, Times Cited 14

Patwardhan S, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Volume: 105 Issue: 16 Pages: 5963-5968 Published: 2008, Times Cited 4

Forthcoming Events

Faculty of Engineering Annual Lecture - 'Engineering the Commonwealth Games'
Thursday 11 March, 6pm, McCance LT1
Delivered by The Right Honourable Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chairman, Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee.
Coffee and tea is available from 5.30pm. For more information and to get your free ticket, contact or visit

Strathclyde Engineering Class of 1985 Reunion
Friday 19 March, Barony Hall
The evening will begin at 5pm with departmental tours and the opportunity to meet current members of staff, followed by dinner in the Barony Hall at 7pm.  Tickets cost £35.00 per person. 
To resiter visit

Bioengineering Open Day
Wednesday 17 March, 12 noon to 6pm, Wolfson Centre
All Undergraduate Science & Engineering Students Welcome.  Click here for further information.

Smart Grids Research Symposium
13 - 16 April, John Anderson Building
The symposium will provide the opportunity to engage with the cutting edge research and discuss the key issues in smart grids.  See attachment for further information, and to register email


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     NEXT ISSUE : April 2010