All Research Themes

All Research Themes at the School of Engineering.
  • Environmental engineering is focused on developing sustainable processes to improve the natural and built environment for all living beings.

    Loch Tay, Central Highlands of Scotland
  • The University of Edinburgh established research in the field of Fire Safety Engineering in the early 1970s and today has the largest group of postgraduate researchers and academics specialising on fire science and fire safety engineering research in Europe.

    The Edinburgh Fire Research Centre was formed over a decade ago and has forged strong links with a number of industrial partners in the UK, Europe and further afield.

    Teaching and research in fire safety at Edinburgh
  • The Granular and Geomechanical Processes Group conducts fundamental research on the mechanics of dry and wet granular materials and their interaction with industrial infrastructure, with broad applications in silo design, bulk solids handling, paste rheology, fluidisation and natural hazard mitigation.

    Pilot Silo Facility
  • Research within this theme focuses on developing non-destructive testing, infrastructure sensing and monitoring methodologies and on evaluating and adapting promising new sensor technologies for tomorrow's smart infrastructure designs.

    Modal analysis based on vibration measurement.
  • The multi-award winning Edinburgh Railway Group is focused on undertaking world leading research and delivering solutions to the international railway industry.

    Ground borne vibrations modelling
  • Structural Engineering is about employing scientific principles and methodologies tempered by engineering pragmatism and judgement to conceive, analyse, design, construct, maintain, rehabilitate and decommission civil infrastructure components and systems, ensuring the safety of users and occupants over their design life, especially during times of extreme demand (fire, blast, earthquake, impact, storms, etc.).

    Aberfeldy all-composite bridge
  • Communications systems are increasingly pervasive in all aspects of our lives. The institute carries out research to support the next generation of technologies that will meet the challenges of ubiquitous and seamless data connectivity. Our research addresses fundamental and industry driven research advances and practical integration of optical fibre, radio frequency (RF)/microwave, antenna and optical wireless, including Light Fidelity (Lifi) systems.

    Analog Devices (AD) FMCW Radar
  • Tomography is the method that underlies medical scanners, which are mostly large, fixed installations, e.g. for X-ray CT scanning and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Fundamentally, the portability and adaptability of any tomography system depends on the nature of the measurement process that it exploits, and it turns out that many tomography systems are "agile" in these respects

  • Signal and image processing algorithms lie at the heart of almost all of today's digital technology, from the mobile phone to advanced satellite imaging. IDCOM's expertise in signal and image processing spans fundamental theory through to algorithm design, with applications in a wide array of sectors across science and technology.

    Syntheitc Aperture Radar (SAR) image using fast back projection
  • The technologies comprising the full Carbon Capture and Storage chain have the potential to significantly reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide and help tackle climate change as Europe and the rest of the world moves towards a low-carbon future

    Example of CO2 capture and storage shown in illustration
  • Digital Manufacturing refers to a convergence of complementary computing technologies that, in combination, have the potential to create an industrial revolution whose impact is comparable with introduction of steam power or the adoption of mass production. The fundamental technologies underpinning digital manufacturing are sensing, automation, control, additive manufacturing, simulation and modelling whose combined use is facilitated by AI, data-mining, image recognition, network communications and geometric modelling.

    A graph showing data mining of CAD databases, red and blue dots in a circle on a white background
  • Our research combines fundamental physical understanding with advanced numerical methods to design better products and processes. Key to this research are techniques for modelling at each appropriate scale, and for scale-bridging so that the properties of systems at different scales can be linked, optimised and controlled.

    Amine adsorption in silica
  • Superconductivity is broadly recognised for its contribution to solving key research and societal challenges in Energy and Healthcare sectors. This theme includes research into the synthesis, characterisation and understanding of superconducting materials, as well as the design, modelling and testing of superconducting devices.

    Magnetic levitation of superconductor
  • The Energy Policy, Economics and Innovation theme addresses the economic and policy aspects of energy systems, combining together expertise on applied economics, innovation theory, energy system organisations and institutions, and the wider policy and regulatory context of energy.

    The energy trilemma
  • The aim of the group is to develop cost-competitive technologies for electricity and thermal energy storage. The work ranges from the development of the storage technologies to their integration into the wider energy system.

    Adiabatic Compressed Air Energy Storage (ACAES)
  • Understanding the interactions between energy generation and climate is crucial to providing a resilient and secure energy supply in the future.

    The role of power generation in driving climate change is well accepted and a significant amount of the work in this research theme aims to develop not only low carbon energy sources like marine, wind and hydropower but also enhance their contribution by managing variability through network-friendly machines and energy storage.

    Scotland's Wave Resource (Scottish Executive Matching Study, 2006)
  • Our research in fluid mechanics aims at developing new knowledge and technology to decarbonise our society; to combat climate change and its impacts; to enable secure, affordable and clean energy; and to conserve and sustainably use the oceans and seas. 

    Separated vortex ring in the wake of a porous disk
  • This research theme focusses on offshore renewable energy research and development ranging from resource assessment and prediction, to converter design, optimisation and control.

    Salter Duck wave energy converter test rig
  • Privatisation and deregulation of the electricity industry together with increasing penetrations of renewable and gas-fired generation have created a variety of technical and economic issues that must be addressed. These issues are separated into 5 research areas.

    Transmission Tower
  • This research theme focusses on the research and development of both onshore and offshore wind energy. Our wind energy research covers topics such as powertrain and generator design and modelling, grid integration, aerodynamics and hydrodynamic modelling and testing of floating turbines, blade design and analysis, power-to-X methodologies, condition and structural health monitoring of turbines and life cycle assessments of wind energy.

    Image of offshore wind turbines at Rampion Wind Farm
  • The materials and structures research theme encompasses the development of novel materials and their integration with electronics to make smart sensors and systems.

    Figure 1 Graphene resonators released by XeF2 etch and integrated with contact electrodes
  • Photonic materials, displays, light sources, and other systems and devices, engineered to provide the manipulation of light from micro- and nano-structured materials.

    Liquid Crystal Laser
  • The integration of novel materials and devices with electronics to sense a range of physical properties such as heat, light, sound, radiation or chemical signatures such as pathogens or gases.  This also includes integrating sensors with CMOS to increase their functionality (More than Moore) which involves both design and technology development.

    450 micron focal plane unit fro SCUBA-2 micromachined at the SMC
  • Bioengineering is a highly interdisciplinary research area that forges connections between Engineering, Physical Sciences, Biology and Medicine

  • In this theme the work balance leans more towards experiments, but computations are also performed. This theme has an emphasis on mixing and reacting jets, phase and thermodynamic state changes, mixing dynamics (e.g. spray-induced turbulence), chemical reaction, and the effect of these process on performance of technological devices. A very large experimental effort is devoted to the use, adaptation, and development of entirely new laser diagnostic techniques for sprays and chemically reacting flows. The theme leader is Professor Mark Linne.

  • This theme targets a range of multi-scale flow problems that target essential engineering challenges of the 21st century in health, transport, water and energy. Our research spans fundamental engineering science at the nano/micro/meso/macro scales, multi-scale method development, highly parallel software development that runs on supercomputers, and industry-focused engineering applications.

    Image of Cavitation induced collapse of surface nanobubbles
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