Dynamics Engineering research focuses on vibration, noise, fatigue and stability features in the performance of products across the entire spectrum of engineering – in machines (from domestic appliances to jet engines), in vehicles (for land, sea and air transport) and in the civil infrastructures of buildings and bridges. Research activities are based in the Bristol Laboratories for Advanced Dynamics Engineering (BLADE).
The dynamic behaviour of all structures that are subject to any kind of movement is a primary concern for a whole range of issues, including the safety and reliability of the products, their efficiency in performing their design task and the environmental side effects of the noise and discomfort that may result from their use or operation.
The Dynamics Engineering research theme is concerned with understanding and controlling these various issues through state-of-the-art design and through in-service monitoring and maintaining peak performance throughout the working lives of the products concerned. This involves machines – from the high-performance jet engines that power airliners to the engines, alternators and pumps that are found in every automobile and in our domestic appliances such as vacuum cleaners; the vehicles themselves; and the buildings that house them and which are themselves subjected to dynamic loads from the elements – including, occasionally, seismic events.
Much of the research within Dynamics Engineering is experimental, combining analytical expertise with state-of-the-art computation and prediction capabilities that are widely used in industry.
There are several research groups within BLADE specialising in key areas of dynamics engineering. Much of the research is experimental, matching the state-of-the-art computation and prediction capabilities that are now widely used in industry, integrated with the analytical expertise provided by the Engineering Mathematics Department at the University.
Research areas include:
- earthquake and large structures
- advanced control technologies
- aerospace structural dynamics
- non-destructive evaluation
- structural integrity
- composites and multifunctional materials
- electrical power drives.
Some 45 academic staff work on dynamics-related research associated with BLADE, alongside more than 75 research associates and research students. Groups also have strategic alliances with major industrial partners, especially in the aerospace and power sectors. These include:
- Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Composites
- AgustaWestland UTC in Vibration Reduction
- UK Research Centre in Non-Destructive Evaluation.
Future development of BLADE activities is under way with the establishment of two centres of excellence. One of these will draw together various individual research activities to form the Institute of Smart Technologies, while the Centre for High Performance Testing will co-ordinate a range of advanced testing technologies.