Engineering Facilities

Specialist equipment includes:

  • Acoustic emission instrumentation
  • Small Beowulf cluster
  • Up to date software, for example Matlab, Labview, Fluent and ANSYS
  • CNC machining
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Combustion, Vibration, Materials and Control and Instrumentation laboratories
  • Fuel Cell Research Laboratory
  • Concrete Testing Laboratory
  • Optoelectronics and RF facilities

Acid/Alkali Flame Modelling Facility

The acid/alkali flame modelling technique simulates the mixing in the flame by using dilute solutions of acid and alkali to represent the air and fuel respectively. The alkali contains a coloured indicator which becomes clear on neutralisation after mixing with the dilute acid. The result is a visual representation of the diffusion flame. Research team within the Engineering Research Centre (ERC) has, over the years, acquired this unique skill and successfully applied this modelling technique to a wide range of industrial furnaces. Key objectives were to study factors affecting the flame length and general mixing behaviour of fuel/air which could impact both the combustion efficiency and NOx emission. Research in these areas entails strong collaboration with the glass industries, in particular, and has attracted major funding from Carbon Trust and the EU Seventh-Framework programme.

60kW Pilot-Scale Gas-Fired Furnace

This ceramic fibre lined pilot-scale furnace was commissioned for “SMARTFIRE” project funded by the European Commission’s Research Fund for Coal and Steel. It was used as a test rig for design and testing of a prototype low-cost flame monitoring and analysis system which is able to provide useful diagnostic information about the combustion flame such as its air/fuel ratio and stability. The furnace also provides useful validation data for development of simulation models to predict heat transfer performance in high temperature furnace (upto 1500°C). Apart from research, the facility has been used to support postgraduate taught module in the area of heat transfer and combustion where students take measurements from different sensors and conduct a complete energy balance for the rig.