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Spring 2013

Newsletter of the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick


Welcome To the ninth edition of the School of Engineering Research Newsletter. It’s been a very busy time since the last edition of Research News, which is reflected in a bumper crop of new grant awards. This edition focusses on a selection of newly funded projects, which cover a wide-range of engineering disciplines - plus updates on our postgraduate successes.

Introducing... The School of Engineering welcomes Dr Xiaowei Zhao, an IAS Global Research Fellow. He spoke to Research News about his work and aspirations. Welcome to Warwick! Where were you based before you moved here? I was a postdoctoral researcher in Control Engineering at the University of Oxford for 3 years, and before that I obtained my PhD at Imperial College. What made you want to join Warwick? I thought it was time to develop my academic career and to build my research team in another good university. Warwick is a beautiful and famous institution and I like the Global Research Fellowship scheme here. Furthermore the School covers all the major areas of Engineering, which is a perfect place for me to establish internal collaborations for my multi-disciplinary research. What does being an IAS Global Research Fellow mean to you? This Fellowship gives me five years to focus on my research with funding to achieve global mobility. With the strong support of IAS and the School of Engineering, I can now start to build my research team. In addition, IAS provides a multi-disciplinary environment. The 13 Global Research Fellows, and the early career fellows and postdoctoral research fellows are from different fields, so I can gain a lot of knowledge in other subjects. What area of research are you working on? My research is multi-disciplinary research, which is mainly about advanced control theory (infinitedimensional Stop Press!systems), and control applications in fluid-structure interaction (in civil engineering and aerospace engineering), and control of wind power generation. What are your main goals for your fellowship? To build a team specialising in control of fluid-structure interaction, and control of wind power generation. What advice would you give someone wanting to apply for an IAS Fellowship The most important things are education record, publications, and novelty/importance of the research proposals. Presentation skills are very important as well because the fellows will be required to present about their proposed work during interview. Personally, I think a multi-disciplinary research topic is welcome.


Grants, awards and news It has been a hugely successful term for research funding – here are details of a few of the new awards. A Novel Approach to Kidney Transplants

Transforming the future of energy Professor Bob Critoph has achieved an EPSRC grant of over £5M to fund an exciting new research centre. The Interdisciplinary Centre for Storage, Transformation and Upgrading of Thermal Energy (iSTUTE) brings together a consortium of academic partners with proven track records in electric and gas heat pumps, refrigeration technology, heat storage, as well as policy/ regulation, end-user behaviour and business modelling. The Universities of Warwick, Loughborough, Ulster and London South Bank will be supported in their research by advice and resources from a number of major stakeholders including Asda, British Gas, National Grid and E.ON. An advisory board made up of representatives from industry, government, commerce and energy providers, as well as international representation from centres of excellence in Germany, Italy and Australia, will provide guidance for the researchers. The vision of the interdisciplinary centre is to develop a portfolio of technologies that will deliver heat and cold cost-effectively and with high efficiency, and to create well planned and robust Business, Infrastructure and Technology (BIT) roadmaps to implementation.

Congratulations to Dr Natasha Khovanova on the award of her EPSRC First Grant. The research project is entitled ‘Novel approach to clinical data analysis: application to kidney transplantation’ and will commence in September 2013 for two years. This multidisciplinary research has been developed in collaboration with Warwick Medical School and UHCW and aims to build a model of the pathogenicity of donor-specific antibodies directed against transplanted kidney in patients treated for end stage renal failure. The PhD study of a talented student, Miss Yan Zhang, whose research associates with the research program, is fully funded by the School. Dr Khovanova’s 3rd year Engineering student Miss Torgyn Shaikhina has also been successful, receiving the Chancellor's International Scholarship worth over £95,000, for 3.5 years of full-time PhD study. This prestigious scholarship recognises exceptional achievement and potential in research students and is awarded to only the most outstanding academic candidates. Torgyn’s PhD research project entitled ‘Artificial Neural Network Modelling of Physical Properties and Cellular Interactions for Bone Tissue Engineering’ will be supervised by Dr Natasha Khovanova and Dr Kajal Mallick (WMG) and aims to use machine learning techniques to model, predict and address tissue engineering problems faced by healthcare professionals.

Testing Times for Composites Professor Toby Mottram, has achieved an EPSRC grant of £1.7M for DURACOMP (Providing Confidence in Durable Composites). Advanced composites have potentially transformative properties compared to other construction materials that offer unparalleled structural solutions. Composites have impacted the aerospace and automotive industries, resulting in lighter, energy efficient solutions. Partners include the universities of Leeds, Bristol, Newcastle, Glasgow and Bath, plus Aquamarine Power Ltd, Formax UK, the Highways Agency and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The consortium aims to translate this paradigm to the construction industry, by tackling the single largest factor limiting their uptake durability. This will be achieved through the development of methodology/tools for durability assessment/ design. Investigations into the long-term degradation processes of construction composites will be undertaken to enhance confidence in their durability.

Research News | Spring 13 | Pg 3


Grants, awards and news Turning on power for developing countries Professor Li Ran is co-investigator for the new £1.2M EPSRC project, Reconfigurable Distribution Networks, with leader Imperial College. The consortium includes industrial partners from the UK and India, such as UK Power Networks and Amrit Bio-energy and Industries Ltd. Large numbers of people in developing countries suffer from an intermittent electricity supply. Supply companies use "rota disconnection" schemes to ration the limited energy available in some regions. Having electricity for just 4 hours a day adversely impacts education, health care and economic development. "Micro-grids" able to run "off-grid" with local solar or micro-hydro energy are interesting in this context. The project aims to design "on-off grids" in which supply companies adjust their rota disconnection to account for local resources in the micro-grids. These grids are configured with power electronic interfaces that can manage the frequent transitions between on-grid and off-gird operation. The consortium members in India will build a demonstration version of such a micro-grid to allow control and optimisation ideas to be explored and assessed. The use of energy storage technology will be a key part of this scheme.

Investigating Pond Potential

Energy Efficient Design

Prof. Ian Guymer is to lead two new projects; one funded by EPSRC worth £430k, and the other by DEFRA/Lonza for £300k.

Dr. Terry Thomas is PI on an exciting new £750k project investigating ‘Energy and low-income tropical housing’, funded by EPSRC/DFiD . This research will identify, and then begin to propagate, methods of reducing the energy consumption of low-income housing in tropical countries. The topic of ‘energy efficient’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco’ housing has attracted huge interest in Europe and rich countries generally since about 1990. However for tropical housing, whose energy usage is not dominated by winter heating, very little has been done to make them more energy-sustainable. Therefore the consequences of its often-poor design are beginning to bite.

The complimentary projects look at different aspects of mitigating water pollution and run-off. The DEFRA project is entitled ‘Evaluating the potential of constructed wetland features for mitigating the impact of pesticide losses from agricultural land’. Working with Warwick School of Life Sciences, and Cranfield University, Ian will investigate the potential for reducing pesticide transfers from land to surface waters using field- and ditch-scale mitigation features. Previous studies have indicated that constructed wetland systems have the potential to dissipate a range of soluble pesticides, and this new project aims to quantify the effect of different features, such as ponds and vegetated channels Stormwater ponds collect run-off from urban areas, roads and agricultural land during times of high rainfall discharges. This water can then be managed effectively to prevent flooding and to improve water quality. ‘Residence times in vegetated stormwater ponds’ is funded by the EPSRC, and aims to expand the understanding of effects of different types of vegetation for the use of water quality in these increasingly important ponds. This research will be undertaken in collaboration with the University of Sheffield.

Starting with recent European experience many designs will be assessed, short-listed ones analysed in greater detail and a few selected for more detailed testing and dissemination/ demonstration. The programme is divided into separate studies of how good design can reduce ‘use’ energy and reduce ‘embodied’ energy. Energy savings in turn generate cost savings and global greenhouse gas savings.


Grants, awards and news Proving Civil Concepts

Free Flowing Futures

Dr Theo Karavasilis has achieved two grants totalling £90k from the Warwick Strategic Impact Fund, for proof-of-concept work. The first project is for the 'Integration of smart structural design, passive control and damage detection to achieve sustainable and resilient highway/ railway bridge infrastructure’, with co-investigator Dr Stana Zivanovic. Additional support has been secured from the Warwick CUSP demonstrator fund. The project will also get significant benefit from collaboration with Emeritus Prof. Roger Johnson; a world-leader in steel-concrete composite construction.

Over the next 30 years, the engineering of non-continuum flow systems will play a critical role in responding to global challenges in health, climate and energy. For example, in designing desalination plants with nano-filtration systems to make seawater drinkable for water-stressed populations, and embedding micro and nano devices on aero/hydrodynamic surfaces to improve the efficiency of passenger jet aircraft, container ships and supertankers.

Speaking of the project, Theo says: “Surveys in the UK revealed signs of deterioration even for bridges with less than 25 years of service. Repairing existing bridges is extremely time and cost consuming and most of the time, not a realistic option, since it results in long traffic (and so, business) interruption. This project will develop a novel framework that integrates smart structural design, passive structural control and damage detection for steel-concrete composite bridges. The project involves influential industrial partners and has a great potential to develop synergies with partners involved in the CUSP initiative in NYC.” The second project is 'Hybrid energy dissipative brace for performancebased wind and seismic design of structures’. “Major stake holders have realized the enormous socio-economic risks related to strong earthquakes, such as injuries, repair costs, business interruption, and impact on the global economy (imports/ exports). This proposal targets the need for structural resilience”.

Dr Duncan Lockerby (right), is the lead on a £1.14M EPSRC project which aims to explore better ways of handling flow system design. ‘The First Open-Source Software for Non-Continuum Flows in Engineering’ brings together academic collaborators from Warwick, University of Strathclyde and Daresbury Laboratories; and industrial partners including AkzoNobel, Jaguar Landrover and TotalSim. The project aims to produce the first open-source software capable of the accurate and efficient simulation of non-continuum flows for transformative engineering technologies. In the past, the main barrier to realising this aim has been the vast computational cost of applying a coupled continuum-particle multi-scale methodology on a simulation domain of a scale of engineering relevance. Such flows are vital to the performance of a number of potentially transformative future but they cannot be simulated using conventional continuum-fluid simulations. This project will provide the software to enable engineers to simulate and design these future transformative technologies, and will provide clear benefit to both academic and industrial partners.

Sound bullets for enhanced biomedical ultrasound systems Professors David Hutchins and Peter Thomas are PI and Co-I respectively on a new £1.3M EPSRC project, which aims to look at new technology for biomedical ultrasound. Recent work in acoustics has demonstrated that a new type of acoustic signal can be generated via non-linear effects in chains of particles. Working with experts in biomedical ultrasound at the University of Leeds and UCL, the Warwick team will aim to create wave technology with applications in such areas as ultrasound-enhanced drug delivery, High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound (HIFU) for the treatment of tumours, and harmonic imaging. Research News | Spring 13 | Pg 5


Postgraduate news Winners of the First Annual Postgraduate Symposium Congratulations to Navroop Mathru, who took the award for Best Oral Presentation at the inaugural School of Engineering Postgraduate Symposium. Mr Mathru is in the 3rd year of his PhD study with Prof. Mottram. 2nd year student Madison McDonald was awarded the best poster prize. Her summary of work on ‘Measuring Dynamic Force during Jumping and Bouncing’ was well received by judges and peers alike. She is supervised by Dr. Živanović. The symposium, which took place in March 2013, offered 2nd and 3rd year PGR students the opportunity to present their research to peers and academics. It also provided an unique forum for discussion and information sharing for the School. The one-day event was a great success and will be continued in future years to give all students the valuable opportunity to practise key skills. PhD Student Tien Thuy Nguyen participated in the 6th International Conference on Coupled Instabilities in Metal Structures 2012. Here is his report from the event: “Attending CIMS 2012 was a great personal success for me. More than 60 delegates from 24 countries joined and presented at the conference. This two and a half day event was held in Glasgow and was run jointly by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Strathclyde University and the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering at Loughborough University. The theme of the conference is coupled buckling and post-buckling interactive failure mechanics of metallic structural systems, which has received a great deal of attention among researchers over the years . The studies in this field have made a great many contributions to the evolution and development of present codes of practice pertaining to safe and reliable structural designs. And while the coupled buckling behaviour of steel structures has been investigated thoroughly in the last twenty years, Pultruded Fiber Reinforced Polymer (PFRP) material has not been receiving such attention and is still quite limited. The main reason I chose to participate in this conference was to widen my understanding on this particular field, to be able to apply my research of PFRP material. I delivered my presentation on the second day - this was my first time ever presenting at a conference! My talk was about the interaction buckling of PFRP beams, and the need of taking the influence of coupled buckling into design of PFRP beam in bending. It was given great attention as for some audiences PFRP is a completely new material.

The second day ended with the gala dinner which provided a great chance to make friends and links between researchers - people seem to be more open during the evening! I made friends with some researchers from Korea, Germany and France (pictured above) and still keep in touch with them. Participating in the conference has widened my understanding on the coupled buckling field by learning from other’s talks and by obtaining comments and suggestions from the leading expert in the field, which I found very helpful for my research. I also made friends with international researchers and hope to have co-operation with them in future. I gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this trip from my supervisors and School of Engineering.”


Postgraduate news PhD Student Zahir Ahmed attended the 7th International Conference on Systems & Network Communications (ICSNC) in Lisbon. “I am really grateful to the School for their financial support which gave me the opportunity to make my first trip in continental Europe. At the conference I presented the paper “Link Design for Multi-hop Underwater Optical Wireless Sensor Network”, which received a ‘Best Conference Paper’ award. As this was my first conference attendance this award was a great confidence boost for me. In the paper, I reported on an underwater optical wireless sensor network which mainly uses visible light as a communication carrier. My approach to increase the communication range using multi-hop technique was appreciated by the audience and I received valuable feedback during my presentation. As a fairly new technology, many people were curious to know more about it and wanted to know the possibility of using light as a communication carrier in other applications. My presentation was on the second day of the conference. During the coffee and lunch breaks, I met with experts from different countries and exchanged my views with them. I think conferences are the best way for PhD students to network with other people in related fields. I also managed some time on third and fourth day of the conference to see some nearby tourist attractions! Portugal is very rich in history and culture, and I enjoyed the food and traditional snacks. In summary, the visit was a good experience for me and I am grateful to my supervisor Prof. Roger Green for his support.”

Congratulations to our postgraduate research students who have recently been awarded their PhDs  Dr Vipin Seetohul - supervisor Dr Duncan Billson Dr Carlos Duque Daza – supervisor Dr Duncan Lockerby Dr Hussam Alhagagi – supervisors Prof. Roger Green and Prof. Evor Hines Dr Xiao Pan – supervisors Prof. Peter Bryanston-Cross and Dr. Brenda Timmerman Dr Hui Huang – supervisor Prof Philip Mawby  Dr Tzu-Yung Lin – supervisors Prof. Roger Green and Prof. Peter O’Connor (Chemistry) Dr Salvio Chacko – supervisor Dr Yongmann Chung Dr Yuning Zhang – supervisor Dr Shengcai Li Dr Rhys Gareth Jones – supervisor Dr Ken Mao Dr Adrian Shipley – supervisors Prof. Philip Mawby Dr Liang Tang – supervisors Dr Yunfei Chen and Prof. Evor Hines Dr Ruth Sanderson – supervisors Dr Duncan Billson and Prof. David Hutchins Dr Amanda Griffin –supervisors Prof. Elizabeth Burton, Prof. Wanda Lewis & Dr Lynne Mitchell (SHSS) Dr Gary Misson – supervisors Prof. Peter Bryanston-Cross and Dr. Brenda Timmerman Dr Hua Cheng – supervisors Prof. Peter Bryanston-Cross and Dr. Brenda Timmerman Dr Martin Westmoreland – supervisors Prof. Philip Mawby and Dr James Covington

We wish all our graduands the very best in their future careers!


Funding Opportunities Here is a selection of upcoming funding opportunities. Brief introductions can be found below; see the funding calendar online for more information, as well as details of other new additions: go.warwick.ac.uk/engcalendar

Clean Water for All This call invites proposals for collaborations between academic groups in the UK and the USA in the area of Water Engineering. The call is placed within the context of the global grand challenges of Resilience and Sustainability identified at a recent international summit. Closing date: 30 May 13

Long Term Care Revolution The Technology Strategy Board is inviting applications for participation in a revolutionary sandpit workshop in the autumn looking for novel thinking to blow apart conventional thinking about institutional long-term care. Closing date for registration: 05 June 13

Visiting Professorships The objective of these awards is to enable distinguished academics based overseas to spend between three and twelve months inclusive at a UK university, primarily in order to enhance the skills of academic staff or the student body within the host institution. Closing date: 09 May 13

International Exchanges Scheme A new flexible travel scheme, for scientists in the UK who want to undertake a collaboration with scientists overseas through either a oneoff visit or bilateral travel. Maximum grant of ÂŁ12,000 available. Closing date: 26 June 13

IAS Incubation Awards 2013-14 Incubation Awards are intended to provide initial funds for identifying and pump-priming new, Warwick-based collaborative research networks that are interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary in their methodology, agenda and personnel. Closing date: 20 May 13

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship This fellowship provides a unique opportunity for the most promising newly qualified postdoctoral researchers to make an early start in developing their independent research careers, working in the best laboratories in the UK and overseas. Candidates will be expected to identify an important biomedical research question and to develop and deliver a personal programme to achieve their research aims. Closing date: 20 May 13

Research Office F306, extension 23610 eng.research@warwick.ac.uk


Research News Edition 9  

Research Newsletter of the Warwick School of Engineering

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