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Mechanical and Aerospace Graduate Wins Science Shop Student Award For Renewable Technologies Project.


Mohd Fikri Badrul Hisham completed an MEng in Mechanical Engineering in July 2015 and has just been awarded a Science Shop Student Award.  The awards are made by an independent panel of student and community organisation representatives and are made to students who have carried out the most useful research projects in the Science Shop in that year.  Fikri carried out an investigation of small scale renewable energy technologies on behalf of the Servite Trust in Benburb.  Both the organisation and the Science Shop panel were very impressed by both the quality and the applicability of the work and Jason from the organisation said “the research had really assisted in reviewing strategic approaches to energy efficiency and renewables in the area”. 

The Science Shop works with community and voluntary sector organisations to help them develop small scale research needs into projects that are suitable for students to undertake through the curriculum.  You can find out more about the work of the Science Shop here and information on previous awards can be found here.


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L-R: Professor Brian Falzon (Head of School), Mr Jason Hoy, Mr John Kissick, Mr John Hull, Mr Silbert Wilson (Technicians) and Professor Mark Price (Faculty PVC).

‘Pastures New’ for Technical Staff from the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.

Staff and students of the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering gathered in the Great Hall on Friday 22nd January 2016 to bid farewell to the technical staff who left the School at the end of December last year.  In total Silbert, Jason and the ‘Two’ Johns delivered approximately 100 years of service to our teaching and research activities, and will be missed by students and staff for their positive attitude and many words of wisdom.  We would like to wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.

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Sir Bernard Crossland Poster & Presentation Prize Winners, School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering QUB 2015 Back Row, Left to Right: Gowain McKenna, Jonathan Acheson, David McKelvey. Front Row, Left to Right: Richard Morrison, John O’Connor, Hannah Little

2015 Sir Bernard Crossland Poster & Presentation Prize Winners Announced for the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Queens. 

December 16th 2015 saw the announcement of the Sir Bernard Crossland Poster & Presentation Prizes for the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Queens.  The quality of the entries spanning the Advanced Materials & ProcessingAerospace & Manufacturing and Clean Energies research groups was higher than ever!  The winners are listed below and they will go forward to represent the School at the 19th Sir Bernard Crossland Symposium and Postgraduate Workshop which will be held at Riddel Hall, Queens University Belfast on 27th & 28th April 2016.


Poster Competition:                  Presentation Competition:

Joint 1st Richard Morrison             1st David McKelvey

Joint 1st John O’Connor                2nd Jonathan Acheson

Joint 2nd Charles Stuart                3rd Gowain McKenna,

Joint 2nd Hannah Little


For more information on our School please visit our website.  If you are considering completing a PhD in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering, further information on current studentship vacancies can be found here.

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Image of Mayfly scale model
Scaled Model of Lilian Bland’s MAYFLY

PhD Students at SMAE Construct Working, Scaled Model of Lilian Bland’s Mayfly

A film crew recently visited the School of Mechanical Engineering at Queens to film a feature on Lilian Bland for the BBC’s One Show.  In 1908 Lilian Bland was the first woman in the world to design, build and fly her own aircraft.  PhD Students at the School - Imelda Friel, Cara Harley, Roisin McConnell & Emer McAleavy constructed a working, scaled model of Lilian Bland's aircraft for the feature which will be aired late 2015 / early 2016.

Back in 1908, Lilian Bland really challenged contemporary views on where a woman’s place was in society. At a time when women could not even vote, she rolled her sleeves up and built her own aircraft overcoming significant technical challenges in aeronautical engineering - a discipline for which the books had yet to be written.  Although her aeronautical interests started and finished with the Mayfly, her greatest legacy is as a role model to any female considering a career in aerospace.

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Image of Laura McElhinney

Laura McElhinney awarded Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship

Congratulations to Laura McElhinney who was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Range Rover Evoque WISE Undergraduate Scholarship.  Laura is currently in the first year of a Mechanical Engineering degree in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast.

WISE inspires girls and women to study and build careers using science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).  It advises organisations on how to create environments where those women can do their best to work and thrive.  The WISE Awards celebrate female talent in science, technology and engineering from classroom to boardroom.

The Range Rover Evoque WISE scholarship is supporting more young women in the UK to access the opportunity to enjoy the rewards of an engineering career.  This is the third year of an exciting collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and WISE offering sponsorship to women who are starting an engineering degree course at a UK University or starting an engineering apprenticeship.  Laura was one of only four students shortlisted for this award.  You can see details of the successful students here.

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Image of Jonathan Cole at opening ceremony
Dr Terence McIvor (Curriculum Manager for Science and Mathematics, NWRC), Dr Jonathan Cole (Queen’s University Belfast), Dr Ciarán Mac an Bhaird (Maynooth University) and students from NWRC.

Opening of North West Regional College Maths Centre

Dr Jonathan Cole was one of the guest speakers at the official launch of the new Mathematics Support Centre in the North West Regional College (NWRC), Londonderry on 16 October 2015.  The maths support centre offers students across NWRC the opportunity to develop their skills and improve their understanding of the application of maths in their particular field.  Furthermore, it is intended that the centre will act as a conduit to drive mathematical innovation within the college curriculum and outreach to the local community.  It is believed that NWRC is the first further education college in Northern Ireland to provide a dedicated maths support centre.  The launch was attended by NWRC students, staff and governors and guest speakers included Leo Murphy, NWRC Principal and Chief Executive, Dr Danny Laverty, Head of School for Science & Technology, Dr Jonathan Cole, Queen’s University Belfast, and Dr Ciarán Mac an Bhaird, Maynooth University (both of whom are committee members of the Irish Mathematics Learning Support Network).  The NWRC Mathematics Support Centre coordinator is Dr Terence McIvor,Curriculum Manager for Science and Mathematics.

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Charles Stewart, Wins ABB Essay Competition!

Congratulations to Charles Stuart for winning an ABB essay writing competition on ‘How 110 Years of Turbocharging Changed the World’.  

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has named Charles Stuart, a 24-year-old PhD student researching compressor aerodynamics and 1-D design tools at Queen’s University Belfast as the overall winner of the competition’s $2,500 first prize essay. His entry on ‘How 110 Years of Turbocharging Changed the World’ brought to life the critical impact turbocharging has had on engine development in general, and on shipping efficiency and costs in particular.

Charles from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, is 24 years old and a PhD student, researching centrifugal compressor aerodynamics and 1-D design tools (with a focus on the unique challenges posed by turbocharging) at the School of mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Queens. As a keen motorcycle racer (and three time Irish Champion), Charles harbour’s that competitive spirit to endeavour to succeed not only in sports but also in education, having received awards for achieving the highest academic performance in each of the four years of his undergraduate Master of Mechanical Engineering degree. Furthermore, the project work undertaken during his final two years of undergraduate study as a member of the Queen’s University Formula Student team garnered best project awards on both occasions. These achievements ensured that he graduated at the top of his class with a 1st class Honours degree in 2013.

Charles was thrilled by the win and for his efforts he was awarded $2,500.

You can read Charles enlightening and informative paper here.


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Image of the new robotic rotomoulding machine

New Robotic Rotational Moulding Machine Arrives at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queens

The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has recently installed a new state of the art, robot based rotational moulding machine. Named ‘Robomould’ the installation is the result of a collaboration between QUB, French multi-national ‘Total’ (and its research centre based in Feluy, Belgium) and Automation & Manufacturing Services (AMS) also based in Belgium.

Queens Academics along with colleagues based in the Polymer Processing Research Centre (PPRC), will work on the development and optimisation of this unique, rotomoulding technology. Using state of the art computer simulation models and sophisticated process monitoring techniques, this automated polymer processing technology will be tested and improved over the next 18 months. 

The PPRC is recognised as a centre of excellence for the global rotational moulding industry where they have contributed to a number of world leading technical developments in the area. Researchers in QUB developed the first commercial process control system (Rotolog) and simulation software (RotoSim) for the Rotomoulding Industry and there has also been recent commercialisation of a new energy-saving system, the Rotocooler. The fundamental understanding of the rotomoulding process that was developed at QUB also enabled the moulding of new materials for new application areas, notably motorcycle fuel tanks which are now in use by BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson and Honda.

For more information contact Mark Kearns at:

Details on current and past research projects at the Polymer Processing Research Centre can be found at:

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Engineering Parents' Evening – 5th November 2015

Are you, your son or your daughter, in Year 12 to14 and considering a career in either Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering or Product Design? Then please come along to the annual Engineering Parent’s Evening in the Whitla Hall at Queen’s University Belfast on Thursday 5th November 2015 from 7.00 to 9.30pm to meet the staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students from the School of Mechanical & Aerospace of Engineering!

We will be there to answer any questions that you might have regarding our School or the broader University experience at Queens. You will also be able to see what we do and find out about the degree programmes that we offer.  Information related to career opportunities will also be available including where a degree in either Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering or Product Design can take you and what local, national and international companies we work with.  So please take this opportunity to come and see firsthand how the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queens can open-up an exciting and rewarding career for you, your son or your daughter.


To attend, please register online at:

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2015 graduates meet Queen’s Honorary Graduate, Prof Dame Ann Dowling, First Female President of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Six of the School’s 2015 graduates who were recipients of the Royal Academy of Engineering  Advanced Leadership awards received a special congratulations by Professor Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Professor Mark Price, Head of School.  Professor Dowling had earlier been conferred with an Honorary Doctorate  from Queen’s University at the School’s Summer Graduation Ceremony on 6 July 2015.   

Currently serving as President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor Dame Ann Dowling embarked on a distinguished career by becoming the first female Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where she also studied. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and is a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering and of the French Academy of Sciences.  She has held visiting posts at MIT and Caltech in the USA and continues to research and teach at Cambridge.

She is best known, however, as an international authority on aircraft acoustics, combustion and vibration, and leads research into how to cut down on noise levels at airports, especially for people living in the immediate vicinity.

Speaking of her honorary DSc Eng, Dame Ann said: “To receive this recognition from such a prestigious university, and a university with such a fine heritage, that’s known for its engineering pedigree going back 160 years, is a considerable honour. I very much look forward to sharing this special occasion with students who will be graduating on the same day.”

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The School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering celebrates the renewal of its Athena SWAN Silver Award

The school celebrates its success in a staff/student breakfast event held in Ahsby canteen. Professor
Tom Millar, Dean of Engineering and Physical Sciences attended the event to mark the significance
of the award and also to indicate the university wide support for promoting women in STEM.

Commenting on the Award, the Head of School, Professor Mark Price said "we are fully committed to combating underrepresentation of women in the field of engineering and are delighted to have had our Award renewed by the Equality Challenge Unit. The Award recognises our ongoing efforts to increase the talent pool by encouraging more young women to study engineering and supporting our female research and academic colleagues through their career progression. Engineering is a fantastic career that is interesting and deeply rewarding, and we want this to be an open pathway through life for all who want to follow their dreams. Our door is open and we extend a warm welcome for everyone to come and join us."

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A testing fun day for our students on own designed and manufactured folding bikes!

Third year MEng Mechanical Engineering students tested their innovative designs for folding bicycles on Saturday 2 May.  Nine groups were put through a series of dynamic tests to evaluate manoeuvrability, acceleration and usability; as well as being measured for weight and folded size.  It was an enjoyable day for students and staff alike as theory was put into practice in an environment of competition among peers.

Paul Hermon, Programme Director of the Product Design Engineering degree and coordinator of the design challenge, talks about the rationale for the project:  “The group design-build-test project offers the students a different experience and challenge compared to a more traditional lecture based education. Increasingly the School is creating better engagement and a richer student experience as we constantly develop and innovate how we deliver engineering education through our involvement in the international CDIO Initiative. The folding bike challenge is a good example of how additional personal and professional skills such as team working and communication can be developed at the same time as technical knowledge and theory are applied in the design and manufacture of a functional prototype device.”

The nine QUB teams were joined on the competition day by a team from the University of Strathclyde, who were working to the same design brief. Next year it is planned to open the competition further and have several more universities from the UK and Ireland competing to be even smaller, lighter and faster.

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"In-flight refuelling for airliners will see non-stop services shrink the globe."

 Author: Juliana Early, Lecturer in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen's University Belfast

The Conversation

10 April 2015, 3.43pm BST




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