Chemical Engineering and Renewable Energy


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BioFluids Laboratory

Fluid mechanics analysis of blood flow in a pump.
Fluid mechanics analysis of blood flow in a pump.

Research in the biofluids and cell mechanics laboratory focuses on the interactions between physiological fluids and biological tissues. At the macroscopic level, we work on blood circulation in bypass grafts, aortic valve mechanics and stress and strain distributions in the atrial wall. At the microscopic level, we investigate flow and solute transport in extracellular matrices and interactions between flow and endothelial cells, with a particular interest in the endothelial glycocalyx. All these studies aim to reveal fundamental mechanisms involved in vascular and soft tissue function in health and disease.

Combustion Laboratory

Research in combustion science concentrates on engine performance testing and emissions. The Internal Combustion Engine laboratory contains five test beds. These include a four cylinder diesel engine with optical access to the combustion chamber and a variable compression ratio Ricardo engine. Current projects include duel fuelling and the development of biodiesels as alternative fuels for compression ignition engines. In addition the school possesses an almost unique, high pressure, steady-state combustion rig for studying the fundamental physics behind the combustion process.

Computational Modelling Facilities

Prediction of flow around :
1- A Multi-Element Wing
2-A Jet Engine Gas Turbine Blade
using Computational Aerodynamics.
Prediction of flow around : 1- A Multi-Element Wing 2-A Jet Engine Gas Turbine Blade using Computational Aerodynamics.

Computational Aerospace Structure and Computational Aerodynamics have strong tradition in Queen Mary University of London, where models for flow separation, transition and structure fracture have been developed and are used world-wide including in leading aircraft manufacturers such as BAe. Today we develop and perform state of the art aerodynamics computations from high speed jets to flow separation using local and national computing facilities. This affects our teaching where fundamentals of computational fluid dynamics are already taught in the third year to be followed by advanced computational techniques addressed in the fourth year of study.

The Aerospace Group also has access to the National Supercomputer Facilitiy (HECToR), QMUL Computing Cluster and Distributed Advanced Work Station at the School of Engineering and Materials Science.

In addition, our undergraduate students are being taught Computational Methods and use Industry Based Computing packages such as (ABAQUS) for Aerospace Structures and FLUENT for Computational Aerodynamics. These packages are currently being used by Aerospace Industries such as Airbus and BAe systems.

Confocal Laser Scanning and Super Resolution Microscopy Lab

Confocal fluorescence 3D reconstruction of tendon cells (nuclei labelled blue, primary cilia cytoskeleton red)
Confocal fluorescence 3D reconstruction of tendon cells (nuclei labelled blue, primary cilia cytoskeleton red)

The School of Engineering and Materials Science hosts a confocal microscopy containing two laser scanning confocal microscopes - a Perkin Elmer spinning disc system and a Leica SP2 with multiphoton laser and lifetime imaging system.

In addition the Institute of Bioengineering will soon be purchasing a new confocal microscope associated with a super resolution system. The unit enables live cell fluorescence imaging (GFP, calcium imaging etc), 3D reconstruction and morphological measurement, photobleaching assays such as FRAP and FLIP and fluorescence lifetime microscopy(FLIM). The microscopes also interface with sophisticated mechanical loading systems for tissues, individual living cells (micropipette aspiration) and artificial constructs.

Prof Martin Knight

Confocal Microscopy Lab »

Electrochemistry Facilities

The School has a wide range of electrochemical and photoelectrochemical facilities for testing of energy materials. These include:

(1) Xe lamp 400W with solar simulator filter, potentiostat and electrochemical cell: for photocurrent measurements of photoelectrodes in multiple electrolytes, in a three-electrode (half cell) configuration, under 1 sun simulated conditions (with IR filter to avoid overheating of lamp and sample).
(2) Zahner photoelectrochemistry station: fully integrated photoelectrochemical workstation for high accuracy QE/IPCE measurements. Also with a tuneable LED light source that allows to measure photocurrent response at different wavelengths and possibility of measure electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, too.
(3) Rotating Disc Electrode (RDE) and potentiostat (with FRA for measuring electrochemical impedance spectroscopy): RDE in three-electrode electrochemical cell configuration with potentiostat to measure the electrocatalytic activity of new materials towards the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR)
(4) Potentiostat Biologic (+/- 5V -10A) and redox flow battery system: for measuring the performance of electrode materials in full cell configuration for redox flow cell applications.

Facility for Materials Engineering in Magnetic Fields

MagMat is a unique capability in the UK for the synthesis and processing of materials in strong magnetic fields (SMF)

Prof Michael Reece (

MagMat »

Materials Characterisation Lab

Contact Angle Goniometer
Contact Angle Goniometer

The Materials Characterisation Lab provides a full analysis service in materials science and contains an impressive variety of analytical equipment to cover a broad range of tests and analyses, which are used for structural, thermal and mechanical analysis. The facility offers an analysis service to university-based and external users, both industrial and academic.

The Materials Characterisation Lab is located in the Engineering building (room 232) at the Mile End campus. There are a range of charges for using these facilities.

Materials Characterisation Lab »

Mechanical Testing Facilities

Students using mechanical testing equipment.
Students using mechanical testing equipment.

The School has a variety of mechanical testing equipment used to determine the mechanical properties of different materials and structures ranging from aircraft components to new implant materials or even biological tissues. These testing machines apply forces in compression, tension or torsion and can be used to find out material properties such as ultimate strength and modulus.

Nano Fluids Research Labs

The School has a rapidly expanding group working on heat transfer from nano-fluids which are liquids containing nano-scale particles that act to alter the fundamental thermo-physical properties of the fluid and so increase heat transfer rates. The specific research includes formulation of nanoparticles and stable nanofluids in a purpose built laboratory. In addition, a new test facility is being constructed to investigate flow and heat transfer behavior of nanofluids in micro-tubes. The research will include mechanistic analysis of micro/nanoscale energy transportation and enhanced heat transfer performance.

NanoVision Centre

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of human bone from a patient with osteoporosis.
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of human bone from a patient with osteoporosis.

The NanoVision Centre is a state-of-the-art microscopy unit which brings together the latest microscope techniques for structural, chemical and mechanical analysis at the nanometer scale (1/1000000 mm). The facility contains an impressive range of electron microscopes, scanning probe microscopes and associated analytical equipment for use in the cutting-edge research being conducted by students and staff.

NanoVision »

Photoelectron spectroscopy

A ThermoFisher Nexsa X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS) System enables a range of photoelectron spectroscopy measurements on a range of materials. It includes facility for:

- X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)
- Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS)
- Reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy (REELS)
- Ion Scattering Spectroscopy (ISS)

Richard Whitely (

Spectroscopy Facility

FTIR equipment for materials analysis.
FTIR equipment for materials analysis.

We have a variety of sophisticated spectrometers which are used to identify specific compounds and investigate composition of materials prepared as either a liquid, solid, film or powder.

These devices include:
- Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
- Raman Spectroscopy
- Near InfraRed Spectroscopy (uv-vis NIR).

The Makerspace

The Makerspace
The Makerspace

The Makerspace is an open access workshop for all SEMS and EECS students and staff. It is, as the name implies a space for making things: prototyping through practical model creation.

The Makerspace »

Thermal Analysis Facility

Differential Scanning Calorimeter.
Differential Scanning Calorimeter.

We have a variety of excellent techniques for analysis the thermal properties of materials such as melting temperature, glass transition temperature, viscosity, thermal expansion and thermo-mechanical properties over a range of temperatures (-150 to 1600C).

The techniques include:
- Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
- Rheometery
- Thermo Gravimetric Analysis (TGA)
- Simultaneous Thermal Analysis (STA)
- Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)
- Dilatometry.

Two-Phase Flow and Heat Transfer Labs

The School has an international reputation for research into two-phase flow with heat transfer. In particular it has five test rigs for investigating various aspects of condensation heat transfer which has direct application to steam power plant and refrigeration cycles. These include a full tube bank rig for investigating the complex interactions between tube geometry and vapour and liquid flow in real condensers. In addition several rigs are being used to investigate and optimise three-dimensional highly enhanced finned tubes for increasing heat transfer rates for both internal and external flows and so reducing condenser size.

Undergraduate Teaching Labs

We have recently invested £8M in major new teaching laboratories to provide state-of-the-art experimental facilities specifically for teaching of undergraduate students.
Opened in 2016 the lab provides a space on the ground floor with step free access and has a height adjustable bench installed for wheelchair users.

X-ray Diffraction Facility

PANalytical Empyrean diffractometer
PANalytical Empyrean diffractometer

The X-ray Diffraction Facility (XDF) offers a full diffraction analysis service in materials science, structural chemistry, structural biology and solid state science.

The facility is located in the Francis Bancroft building (room G.30) at the Mile End campus, and is operated by the School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Richard Whitely (

X-ray Diffraction Facility »