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Design and Manufacturing Research Group

The Design and Manufacturing Research Group conducts research in the fields of vehicular design and manufacturing techniques of composite structures for various engineering applications. The Group is currently investigating research in the following areas: hydraulic valve development, non-intrusive experimental flow visualisation, composite manufacturing techniques, design optimisation, automotive design and development.

The research group adopts advanced equipment and specialist techniques in order to conduct research within the abovementioned fields. Our highly specialised facilities accommodates various test equipment, such as Dantec Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) laser flow visualisation, Roehrig electromechanical and electromagnetic damper dynamometers, water-brake engine dynamometer, Instron (5569 static and 8801 dynamic) for mechanical and fatigue testing, rheometer and viscometer for characterising fluid properties, SuperFlow flow bench (SF-600E) and numerous simulation software. We encourage enquiries from students and researchers wishing to pursue research activities in our research group. We also welcome  enquiries from industry seeking solutions or collaborations in relevant research areas through research and development.

Research Themes

Hydraulic Valve Development

Research into hydraulic valves allows for better understanding of the fundamental behaviour of fluid as it flows through restriction orifices. Through better understanding of the fundamental behaviour, simple cost effective valves can be developed to meet various design objectives. This includes investigation into acceleration and velocity effects on fluid forces. Testing is conducted using both force measurements and experimental flow visualisation.

Composite Manufacturing Techniques

Composite materials offer lightweight, high strength and high stiffness. Typical manufacturing techniques require significant time and equipment investment. By investigating simple cost effective solutions for manufacturing using composite materials, more industries are able to benefit from the mechanical properties that composites offer. Research in this area is in both the investigation of the techniques and their post validation through destructive testing.

Design Optimisation

Heuristic search algorithms provide a method to find acceptable solutions to complicated problems in short time frames. The application of these techniques becomes more important as the time required for analytical analysis is high, as is the case for many structural and flow simulations.

Automotive Design and Development

Improved performance of vehicles is studied with a focus on improving traction and reduce energy use. improved traction through aerodynamic and suspension development is of interest for the improved safety it offers for land vehicles. Whereas reduced energy use improves economy and reduces negative effects on the environment. The areas of research discussed above have direct applications into automotive design.


If you are interested in applying to ECU and want to discuss a specific project proposal in mechanical design and manufacture, contact:

Dr Kevin Hayward
T: (61 8) 6304 5711    E:

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