Research seminars

The School of Engineering and the Built Environment is holding a series of lunchtime research seminars. Below you will find details of the seminars and view the presentations:

Tuesday 16th March 2022

Dr Greg Fountas on “The impact of COVID-19 on transport in Scotland: Should it stay or should it go?”

In this presentation, empirical evidence from two research projects that were conducted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will be discussed. The first project is associated with the evaluation of the new 20mph limit across villages and towns in the Scottish Borders area, which has been recently set to become permanent. The second project focuses on the changes that were observed in travel choices of Scottish residents during the various waves of the pandemic as well as on intentions for travel choices in the post-pandemic era. The findings of a nationwide survey will be presented with a view to understand the interventions that may be needed in the future to ensure that the long-term impact of COVID-19 will not undermine the long-standing efforts for sustainable and inclusive mobility. 

Tuesday 22nd March 2022

Dr Gokula Vasantha on “Predictive Engineering CAD Design: An Effective Approach to Rapid Design and Reuse”

This research seminar will cover the latest research work on predictive engineering CAD design. ‘Predictive text’ systems complete words by matching fragments against dictionaries. Similarly, a ‘predictive CAD’ system would complete models using ‘shape search’ technology to interactively match CAD features against component databases. An interactive, predictive design interface would allow engineers to more effectively design new components that incorporate established, or standard, functional, and previous manufacturing geometries. This talk covers the following techniques developed to support predictive CAD:

  • Discovery of common design structures in a design CAD database
  • Identify substitutable design features in a component design
  • Rank shape similarity between design components

Tuesday 29th March 2022

Dr Carol Marsh on “The Future of Electronics”

Whether you know it or not, you use electronics everyday of your life and without electronics the world would be a different place, but what is electronics and what’s the future for electronics? In this presentation, Dr Carol Marsh, will give a brief history of electronics, what she thinks life will be like in 2050 and the challenges facing electronics to meet future demands.

Tuesday 5th April 2022

Dr Daniel Barreto on ““Geomechanics from micro- to macro. From grain characteristics to engineering behaviour of soils” 

Mechanical properties of soils such as strength, permeability and compressibility are highly variable and depend on density, stress level, intrinsic material properties, etc. It is also well recognised that these macro-scale properties are affected by micro-scale properties, such as particle shape, particle size distribution, roughness, friction, etc. Despite this, conventional soil models assume the soil to be a “continuum”. Over the last few decades, and aided by significant increase on computational power,  numerical techniques that consider soil particles in an individual manner have become more common. Based on research performed at Edinburgh Napier, this presentation demonstrates the benefits of using a particulate modelling approach, the Discrete Element Method (DEM) for the numerical simulation of various “problematic” soils. How our understanding may be enhanced by using statistical approaches to describe their micro-scale properties is also discussed. Despite focusing on soil behaviour, the presentation aims to demonstrate how DEM could be used to model many other materials and therefore encourage additional multi-disciplinary research collaborations. 

Tuesday 26th April 2022

Dr Behrang Vand on “Energy management system for a community of buildings”

Currently, the energy crisis and environmental pollution are two key issues that limit the improvement in the quality of life of human civilization. In this path, buildings are one of the largest energy consumers and greenhouse gas emitters.

Beyond individual building energy management systems, expanding the control to a community level is worth studying and analysing. The advantage is to mitigate the peak load from the grid at a higher level since a number of buildings in a community can minimize the total energy consumption and/or cost. Also, mitigation of carbon dioxide emission is augmented in many buildings. Therefore, it is required to investigate the benefits of sharing generated energy in a microgrid within a community of buildings.

Tuesday 3rd May 2022

Dr Masoud Sajjadian on “Climate Change, Building Performance Simulations and Artificial Intelligence”

Climate change and its consequences are of a great concern. It is widely known that the UK may face hotter summers and milder winters. Besides, according to age UK, the cost of cold homes for NHS is £1.36 billion per year. Overheating and overcooling are both harmful to human health and the likely shifts in temperatures and weather patterns will affect building performance. However, the implications on energy use and thermal comfort can be quantified and some risks for users are avoidable. This seminar presents one decade of research on how simulation technology can be used effectively to improve building performance for existing buildings and future developments, how to minimise the risks and how the power of artificial intelligence can be utilized for more accurate predictions. 

Tuesday 17th May 2022

Dr Petros Karadimas on “Wireless Channel Modeling and Wireless Systems Design” (Antenna Arrays and Cryptographic Key Generation Case Studies)

A simplistic wireless communication system comprises of the transmitter, the wireless transmission medium, and the receiver. The wireless transmission medium, i.e., the wireless channel being the free space around us, bonds the transmitter and receiver facilitating information exchange between them. Mathematical modeling of the wireless channel is thus of great importance as means of predicting the performance of wireless transmissions and devise reliable wireless systems and techniques, e.g., antennas, modulation and signalling schemes, diversity techniques, multiple input-multiple output (MIMO) systems, etc. Wireless channel modeling is class of tools and techniques to mathematically characterize wireless channels as input-output systems associating the transmitted and received signals. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the audience to the very basics of wireless channel modeling and its usefulness in devising wireless systems and techniques. The cases of antenna array design for MIMO communication systems and cryptographic key generation for information security will be demonstrated.

Tuesday 24th May 2022

Dr Zhilun Lu on “Advanced Functional Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage”

This talk covers the following topics:

  1. Thermoelectric oxides for energy conversion and harvesting

Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) can convert heat into electricity directly and vice versa and have emerged as a promising new technology for energy conversion and harvesting.

  • Dielectric materials for energy storage capacitors

Ceramic capacitors can store and release electrical energy reliably and rapidly, and thus are the most widely made and used capacitors, with trillions produced each year, and have countless applications, such as smart grids, electronic circuits, electric vehicles, wearable electronics, etc. It is critical to develop high performance dielectric ceramics for capacitors to meet humanity’s expanding energy storage requirements in modern electronics.

  • Advanced characterization technique-neutron scattering

Neutron scattering is one important probe to “see” materials with research on a range of scientific topics including quantum magnetism and superconductivity.

Tuesday 31st May

Dr Stathis Tingas on “A novel zero-carbon hydrogen fuelled thermal engine technology for heavy duty transport applications”

Two types of transport which are currently challenging to decarbonize and electrify are heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) and ships. HDVs and ships are predominantly powered by compression ignition (CI) engines fueled with diesel. Hydrogen use in CI engines has not been particularly attractive mainly because of hydrogen’s large resistance to autoignition. The most popular approach to this regard has been a dual fuel strategy, where the ignition of the in-cylinder charge is achieved by the direct injection of a more reactive fuel, e.g., diesel. In CI dual-fuel operation, hydrogen has been mainly used with carbon-based fuels, thus, cancelling or reducing the efforts for drastic greenhouse gases reduction. Recently, an alternative approach was proposed which relies on the use of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for the ignition promotion of H2/air mixtures, accompanied by steam (H2O) dilution for NOx reduction purposes, at CI-relevant conditions. To this regard Dr Tingas and his collaborators  have been demonstrating the feasibility and the limitations of the proposed technology using numerical CI engine setups with a main focus on engine performance and NOx emissions. The decarbonisation technology proposed in the current technology aspires to combine carbon-neutrality with the simplicity and the high efficiency of a CI engine without requiring any engine redesign.