Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering laboratory facilities
This lab is used to understand material behaviour under different loading conditions and contains a tensile test machine and static loading experiments. Typical laboratory sessions would include tensile testing of materials and investigation into the bending and buckling behaviour of beams.
Dynamic vibration experiments can also be carried out as there are a whole range of actuators which are available for dynamic excitation of rigid structures. The lab also houses work carried out for morphing wing experiments related to flight dynamics. Actuators which can be embedded into the skin of aircraft wings include one-way and two-way shaped memory alloys (SMAs) and Macro Fibre Composites (MFC) actuators.
There are available a wide variety of wind tunnels ranging from subsonic to supersonic. Tests are carried out on scale models for items such as wing sections, as well as larger objects such as parts of motor cars. Scale models of buildings built to architects designs can be used to assess wind loading, wind-induced structural vibration, the wind environment around buildings, and pollution dispersion. Full size items can be tested such as roofing materials, vents and wind turbines. The lab contains the following facilities:
*Environmental Tunnel - open ended, working section 2140 mm x 1530 mm x 10000 mm, velocity up to 10 m/sec, Models 1/50 or 1/100 scale.
* Number 1 Wind Tunnel - closed return, working section 850 mm x 1150 mm, velocity up to 36 m/sec. Six component beam balance with electrical read out from load cells.
*Number 2 Wind Tunnel - open ended, working section 850 mm x 1150 mm, velocity up to 30 m/sec. Six component weight beam balance.
*Number 3 Gust Tunnel - open ended, working section 450 mm x 450 mm, velocity up to 36 m/sec.
* Small Supersonic Wind Tunnel - working section 100 mm x 100 mm x 250 mm, Max 1.8 Mach, max pressure up to 10 bar, Schlieren optical system, mirror dia 100 mm.
*Low Speed Tunnel - working section 100 mm x 100 mm, constant speeds fan with tapered or sudden expansion diffusers.
In addition to the force balances within the test section, flow visualisation equipment are also available such as a Dantec Dynamics Particle Image Velocimetry, hot wire anemometry and smoke generators to complement tuft and paint visualisation techniques.
Composite material lab
This lab contains wet lay-up and pre-preg facilities for fabrication of composite material test sections. Fabric available includes glass fibre (all forms from chopped stand mat to fine and coarse weave), carbon fibre and Kevlar based fabric. Autoclave, vacuum bagging and mould making facilities are also available on site.
Rapid Prototyping facilities
The department houses a variety of equipment for rapid prototyping and reverse engineering. There are 3 standard 3D printers, a large 3D printer with 1m X 1m X 1m working space, a coordinate measuring machine with 9 axis measurement for enclosed space measurement of parts and a laser cutter. In addition, a CNC styro hot wire foam cutter to produce foam cores to 5m length also exists to complete our suit of in-house fabrication capability.
Control and dynamics lab
The lab contains embedded control equipment such as Arduino and Pixhawk based autopilot systems, telemetry units for flight dynamics, thermal and infra-red cameras, and LIDAR systems. The laboratory also houses the unmanned aerial systems facilities for fixed wing sUAS platforms such as Bormatech Vamp and Pixlar battery operated platforms.
Together with the Gas and Petroleum section, it carries out studies and analysis for performance upgrades of two and four stroke IC engines using after-market EFI control for sUAS platforms.
In addition, it houses the MP520-T Merlin engineering aircraft simulator.
Merlin MP520-T Engineering Simulator
This simulator is used to support engineering design modules that involve aerodynamics and control systems by giving a more practical experience of aircraft design than a traditional theory and laboratory approach. Students design and input their own aircraft parameters into the simulator before then assessing the flight characteristics.
The simulator is a fully-enclosed single seat capsule mounted on a moving 2-degree of freedom platform which incorporates cockpit controls, integrated main head-up display and two secondary instrumentation display panels.
It is capable of simulating a whole range of aircraft types include jet trainers, piston engine aircraft, hybrid airships, UAVs and commercial airliners.
An external instructor console also accompanies the simulator and is equipped with a comprehensive set of displays, override facilities and a two-way voice link to the pilot.