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Research

We are the premier provider of applied and exploratory engineering research and development in Tasmania, with industry connections reaching back decades.

Our strengths reflect the sustainable yet dynamic nature of our state, and lay in alternative and renewable energy systems, including hydro and wind-power, high-speed catamarans, and biomedical implants.

Research specialisations

  • Dr Hui Jiao: FRP application in metallic structures, Engineered wood products, high strength steel
  • Dr Damien Holloway: FEA, Structural dynamics, buckling, vibration, auditorium acoustics, High speed ship interactions with waves and related fluid-structure interactions

Research strengths and areas of expertise

The research areas in Civil Engineering include FRP application in metallic structures, engineered wood products, high strength steel, Boundary Element Methods: Applications with moving boundaries, Finite element analysis: dynamic Applications, Musical Aspects of engineering including room and auditorium acoustics, violin making, Structural vibrations and dynamic response, Wave and free surface flows, High speed ship interactions with waves and related fluid-structure interactions,

Strengthening aging metallic structures using FRP composites is one of the research schemes in the School of Engineering. This research program focuses on the fatigue life extension, strengthening techniques and debonding mechanism investigation of FRP and steel composite structures. Structures involving high strength steel is another research topic that is undergoing in the school. It concerns with issues of strength loss in the heat affected zone in the welded connection of high strength steel and failure under fatigue loads. Research on engineered wood products, such as nail laminated timber penal is also conducted in the school.

  • Prof JC Olivier: Communications theory, Remote Sensing, Graph Theory
  • Dr Danchi Jiang: Computer vision, neuro-computing for optimizations, and optimal decision computing and learning

Research strengths and areas of expertise

The School of Engineering and ICT and the Discipline of Mathematics at UTAS jointly operate a group performing research in Remote Sensing based on satellite time series data and images. The group has expertise in Stochastic models and Mathematics, graph theory and signal processing. We also have partners in CSIRO in Australia and South Africa collaborating and providing access to satellite data, as well as partners in the USA. Past projects that have been delivered and are in operation include Satellite Remote Sensing systems able to detect in real time bush fires, deforestation due to informal settlement expansion in the developing world as well as illegal logging, bush encroachment due to invasive foreign plant species, and land degradation due to farming and other human activity.

The research program also concerns with broad scope of theories and applications of intelligent computation in Intelligent Systems for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), with particular focus on interactive and intelligent signal processing, intelligent system optimization, and advanced system learning for digital visual and multimedia system, wireless and power-line communication systems, multi-input-multi-output antenna systems, robotics and control system, and sensor networks.

  • Prof. Michael Negnevitsky: Power system analysis, security control, power quality, distributed and renewable power generation, intelligent system applications.
  • Dr. Sarah Lyden: Renewable & Smart Energy Systems (Wind, Solar), Power Electronics applications in renewable energy, motor drives & electric/hybrid vehicle, Smart grid, Micro grid.
  • Dr Md Enamul Haque: Renewable & Smart Energy Systems (Wind, Solar), Power Electronics applications in renewable energy, motor drives & electric/hybrid vehicle, Smart grid, Micro grid.
  • Dr Ameen Gargoom: Distributed generators operation and control, Renewable energy systems, Power quality.
  • Dr Bernardo A. León de la Barra: Control, identification and dynamic modelling of systems for process control applications. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education

Research strengths and areas of expertise

Electrical Power Engineering

This program focuses on diverse and challenging problems facing the electric power industry. Current work is focused on technical problems associated with integration of distributed and renewable generation into existing power networks. Research areas include: Renewable & Smart Energy Systems, hybrid remote area power supply systems, network operation and security control, load modelling, and intelligent systems application to power systems, Microgrid. Smart grids, Power Electronics applications in renewable energy, motor drives & Electric/hybrid vehicle & power quality issues.

Control System Engineering

This program focuses on the control, identification and modelling of systems for process control applications. Current areas of interest include repetitive control and input design for low-order system identification.

  • Prof Andrew Chan: Numerical modelling of static and dynamic soil and pore fluid interaction for, earthquake engineering, earthquake and wave induced liquefaction, soil-structure interaction using finite element method and discrete element method coupled with Darcy's Flow, Lattice Boltzmann and computational fluid dynamics; Development and implementation of constitutive relations for boundary value analyses for soil, concrete and glass; Application of information technology and optimisation method to civil engineering, geotechnical engineering and railway foundation problems.
  • Dr Hongyuan Liu: Rock damage and fracture, tunnelling, mechanical excavation, enriched finite element & hybrid finite-discrete element modelling, laboratory test, rock blast, soil improvement, and soil-structure interaction.
  • Dr Michael Roach at Earth Science and CODES: Engineering geology, geophysics and computer application, marine geosciences, geological mapping, and ambient seismic energy
  • Dr Karin Orth: Engineering Geology

Research strengths and areas of expertise

The School of Engineering & ICT, Earth Sciences and CODES at UTAS jointly operate a geotechnical engineering group performing research in geomechanics and tunnelling. The group has expertise in rock damage and fracture under static and impact loading, tunnelling in hard rock and soft ground, and development & application of enriched finite element & hybrid finite-discrete element method.

We also have partners in local geotechnical consulting companies and world-class mines in Tasmania and mainland of Australia collaborating and providing access to real-time geotechnical data and deep underground excavation sites, as well as partners in UK, Sweden and China. Past projects that have been delivered and are in operation include mechanical boring tool optimisation system, design method for tunnelling through structures, geomaterial characterisation method, and in-house developed enriched finite element & hybrid finite-discrete software for predicting geostructure fracture and collapse, and ground - support interaction.

The research program also concerns with broad scope of rock mechanics, soil mechanics and tunnelling with particular focus on physical-mechanical testing of geomaterials, geostructure instability, tunnelling-structure interaction, rockburst prediction and mitigation, controlled rock blast techniques, soft soil improvement using wick drain and numerical methods in geomechanics.

  • Associate Professor Xiaolin Wang: Renewable energy, Air-conditioning and refrigeration, Desalination and Gas adsorption.
  • Emeritus Professor Michael R Davis: Heat and mass transfer, Gas dynamics and aerodynamics, High speed ship propulsion and dynamics.
  • Dr Alan Henderson: Experimental and computational fluid dynamics. Renewable energy, applied fluid mechanics, power generation, Turbomachinery (axial compressors, water current and hydraulic turbines).
  • Dr Jason Lavroff: Dynamic impact loading of structures, transient vibratory response, identification of impact loads, propulsion efficiency of high-speed catamarans, friction stir welding of extruded aluminium deck structures.

Research strengths and areas of expertise

Mechanical engineering research focuses on thermal systems, energy storage and conversion, and ship dynamics and extreme wave loads with wide collaboration with a variety of industries, including Hydro Tasmania, Tasmania’s largest energy company, and Incat Tasmania, the World’s biggest producer of large high-speed aluminium catamaran ferries, and international institutes in China, Japan, US and Europe.

Thermal systems aims at addressing the technique challenge in the application of low grade energy resources including geothermal energy, solar thermal, waste thermal energy and coal-seam gas through a new multidisciplinary fundamental science based approach. The research group is interested in technical problems related to heat pump technology; desalination; low grade energy power generation; conversion among three forms (thermal, cooling and electricity); energy storage in gas, thermal and electric forms; and energy efficiency in building, cooling and power systems. The research group has developed wide collaboration nationally and internationally.

A fluids and energy group aims at optimising the efficiency and overcoming challenges relating to energy transfer and conversion. Research areas include turbines and turbomachinery, energy storage and energy transport in mechanical forms to provide stability and ability to deliver base load generation to renewable generation systems. The research group has collaborated with companies such as Hydro Tasmania and institutes such AMC.

A 30+ year partnership with Incat Tasmania has in recent years focused on ship dynamics and extreme wave loads in large seas. Outcomes have contributed to the unique bow shape of the Incat ships and to the ride control systems, improving the comfort of passengers and crew and the operating envelope of the ships in heavy seas.

Other research areas include a biomedical group, which conducts multi-disciplinary research and development in respiratory medicine, medical devices, medical imaging, modelling and simulation and eHealth. There is also some current research on architectural acoustics.

Affiliated research centres

Centre for Renewable Energy and Power Systems