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Research activity

Research at the School of Engineering encompasses a broad range of engineering disciplines and allied sciences. This breadth positions us well to undertake research in sustainability engineering, which is multidisciplinary in nature.

Our research focuses on three main themes:

  • Energy, resources and the environment
  • Communication, monitoring and control
  • Materials, manufacturing and infrastructure

Our school has an outward looking research and development perspective. We endeavour to proactively identify and develop innovative solutions to real-world engineering problems, particularly those relevant to Australian industry and the community.

Centre for Communications and Electronics Research

The Centre for Communications and Electronics Research (CCER) is a dynamic and engaged Level II Research Centre located within the School of Engineering. Since its inception as the Communications Research Group in the 90s and later evolving into a Level II Research Centre, CCER has consolidated its research profile and its research staff have focused their efforts towards developing a productive environment for the pursuit of research excellence in the fields of communication systems and networks, sensing and monitoring technologies and smart energy systems. The purpose of the Centre is to develop research solutions and capabilities for the benefit of local communities and beyond, with a strong focus on industry engagement.

The Centre has a solid track record of research activity through externally funded projects, successful research training resulting in many higher degrees by research graduates, and a large volume of quality publications and patents. CCER has particular interest in such applied research areas as quality of service in wireless communications, wireless sensor networking, environmental monitoring, smart energy systems, sensors and devices, frequency selective surfaces, broadband networking, visual communications, optical fibre instrumentation and sensing, biomedical technology, and structural health monitoring. CCER has a growing reputation for industry collaboration as it recognises the need to further develop opportunities for industry collaboration and to leverage these to be more competitive in securing research funds from both industry and government sources. CCER also includes the Smart Energy Systems Research Group.

Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering Research Group

At the Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering Research Group, we work on providing practical solutions to the problems in the broad area of civil engineering practice dealing with geomaterials (soils and rocks), wastes (coal ashes, mine tailings, etc.) and geosynthetics.  Our current research focuses on several specific topics such as geosynthetic applications in civil and mining engineering projects, fibre-reinforced soils, rock slope stability under static and dynamic loading conditions, soil and geosynthetic arching, stress distribution within mine stopes, static and dynamic earth pressures, highway and runway pavement deflection, pile foundation analysis, elastic constants for compressible and incompressible materials, utilisation of mine and other wastes, landfill liners and covers, and geophysical prospecting.

In recent years, we have developed many new engineering concepts as published in many international research journals for applications in field projects dealing with rock slopes, retaining structures, buried structures, improvement of weak ground, highways and runways, mine stopes, and foundations.

Materials Research Group

The Materials Research Group conducts research in the design, synthesis, microstructure characterisation and properties evaluation of advanced materials for various engineering applications.

The Group uses advanced tools and techniques to characterise and understand materials properties and performance.  We specialise in advanced materials characterisation techniques, such as transmission electron microscopy, atom probe tomography, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis, mechanical testing (mechanical properties evaluation, fatigue and three-point bending test) and corrosion resistance. The Group has highly specialised facilities, such as Instron mechanical testing machines (5569 static and 8801 dynamic), atomic force microscope, nanoindentation system, OSMO membrane cell, and Princeton PARSTAT 2273 advanced electrochemical system.

Our Group is currently undertaking research in the following key areas of interdisciplinary material research: design, synthesis and advanced characterisation of materials; mechanical behaviour and deformation mechanisms; light-weight alloys (titanium alloys, aluminum alloys) and their composites; high-strength steels; functional nano-materials and membranes for water/wastewater treatment; biomaterials and composites; corrosion behaviour and electrochemistry.

Natural Resources Modelling and Simulation Research Group

Our focus at the Natural Resources Modelling and Simulation Research Group is on time series forecasting and the development and application of geostatistical simulation and estimation methods for mathematical and statistical modelling in the areas of mining, environmental pollution and fisheries. 

Smart Energy Systems Research Group

Existing power grids, which form the backbone of electrical power infrastructures, are expected to undergo a period of rapid change in the near future, mainly driven by the emergence of smart grids, as intelligent, digitally enhanced, two-way power delivery and control networks.

The activity of the Smart Energy Systems Research Group is directed towards developing smart grid technologies for microgrids, as innovative small-scale power generation networks. Specific aspects of this work include integration of renewable energy sources, demand forecasting by using artificial intelligence, development of decision making and generation scheduling methods by considering the economic and environmental implications, integration of microgrids into the electricity market by developing smart and adaptive pricing mechanisms, which include ancillary services, and the development of intelligent control techniques for power quality.

Thermofluids Research Group

Thermofluids research is the application of experimental and/or modelling techniques with the aim of understanding the interactions between thermodynamics, heat transfer and fluids. Thermofluids is the basis for many everyday technologies and physical phenomena and governs numerous activities where energy is converted, exchanged or changes form. Through multi-disciplined areas of expertise for group members, our research interests include energy conversion systems, renewable energy, alternate fuels, fluidic behaviour as well as physical process modelling and optimisation.

Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Research Group

The Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Research Group conduct research in the fields of hydrology and water quality, hydraulics and environmental engineering. The Group has advanced facilities including long open channel flume, 3D Laser Doppler Velocimeter, 3D Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter, 3D handheld Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter, automatic water quality sampler, weather station, dissolved air floatation unit, adsorption system, anaerobic water treatment system, advanced oxidation system, biofilm process system, depth filtration system and precipitation and flocculation system. Our focus is on water related hydraulic testing and modelling, catchment system and modelling, urban water and wastewater treatment, and integrated water resource management.

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