Science and Engineering

Mechanical systems and asset management


What is mechanical systems and asset management?

Our research involves understanding the design, manufacturing, operation, maintenance and management of mechanical systems including machines, infrastructure and engineering assets. Our work overlaps in all areas of engineering, and is increasingly relevant in other fields including:

  • computer modelling and simulation
  • advanced materials
  • 3D printing
  • food processing
  • biomechanics.

We use experimental, numerical and theoretical approaches and methodology based on datasets from government and industry to solve problems in mechanical systems and other fields including medicine and biology.


Our discipline is comprised of researchers in:

  • computational mechanics
  • computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • applied mechanics
  • renewable energy
  • manufacturing
  • mechanical design
  • engineering asset management
  • acoustics and vibrations
  • structural health monitoring
  • biomechanics
  • advanced materials development
  • Nano-materials and Nano-devices
  • food processing
  • thermal storage.

Our research contributes to fundamental understandings in each of these areas, and offers novel approaches to tackle a variety of important, real-world problems. We've established broad and long-term linkages with industry partners from different sectors. We also collaborate with national and international research institutions.


We've built our excellent reputation on groundbreaking research, which has also led to our success in securing research grants, publication in high-quality journals, and professional and academic appointments. We've also received national and international awards for our work.

We received a 4 (above world standard) for mechanical engineering (FoR 0913) in the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ratings.

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) evaluates the quality of research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks.

Featured research

Our researchers collaborate on projects in specialised research groups and facilities across disciplines and institutions:


Our researchers work with QUT's High Performance Computing facilities and in laboratories based at the world-class Central Analytical Research Facility.


Our academics design and deliver the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical) and Master of Engineering Management programs, which include sub-disciplinary streams in:

  • mechanical design
  • mechanics
  • advanced materials and manufacturing
  • dynamics
  • fluid mechanics
  • thermofluids engineering management.


The Category 1 funded research projects we are currently leading are:

Novel multiscale model to investigate mechanical properties of cartilage

Professor Yuantong Gu, Professor Kevin Burrage, Associate Professor Travis Klein
Grant scheme
ARC Discovery Project
Project summary

This project aims to develop a new multiscale model to investigate anisotropic and inhomogeneous mechanical properties of cartilage. It has been found that the mechanical properties of cartilage highly depend on its microstructures and components. The new model is proposed based on a new constitutive relation in the macroscale and a novel algorithm to obtain local stress distributions in the microscale as well as through rigorous experimental validations.

This model will be a powerful tool to understand cartilage mechanical properties. It will accelerate the design of mechanically viable artificial cartilage biomaterial, which will provide significant economic benefits and place Australia in the forefront of modelling and biomaterials.

Antibacterial impact assessment of nanopillar surfaces on titanium implants

Professor Prasad Yarlagadda, Associate Professor Hongxia Wang, Dr Indira Prasadam
Grant scheme
ARC Discovery Project
Project summary

This project aims to further understand the bactericidal properties of nano-pillared/textured surfaces, onto orthopaedic implants. It will do so by mimicking the nano-pillar structures derived from cicada wings by using Helium ion microscopy (HIM) and also Hydro Thermal techniques. The project also aims to study the physical mechanisms of the fracture of bacteria using numerical modelling.

This project will result in new generation implants with minimal bacterial infection that could result in cost savings to the Australian healthcare, improved quality of life in aged population, and may lead to the establishment of new implant industry sector in Australia.


Xe-plasma dual beam for advanced future materials

Professor Nunzio Motta, Professor Dmitri Golberg, Professor Yuantong Gu, Professor Cheng Yan, Professor Kostya (Ken) Ostrikov and external collaborators
Grant scheme
ARC Linkage infrastructure, equipment and facilities
Project summary

This project will establish a state of the art Xe-Plasma dual-beam facility providing characterisation and fabrication capabilities to Australia’s research community. The project will use two beams - one Xe, the other electrons - to mill the surface of bulk materials which are subsequently analysed by electron or ion beam techniques to determine atomic-scale microstructure(s) and compositions.

Anticipated outcomes are advanced materials engineering and new knowledge about ancient and future materials. This is expected to provide significant advances across a variety of fields including material science, engineering and geology and enhance trans-disciplinary collaborations.

A multiscale modelling framework for mechanical properties of ECM

Professor YuanTong Gu, Professor Kevin Burrage, Professor Yin Xiao and external collaborators
Grant scheme
ARC Discovery Project
Project summary

This project aims to develop a novel hierarchical multi-scale modelling framework to understand factors that influence the mechanical deformation behaviour of the extracellular matrix (ECM) such as cartilage, whose mechanical performance is critical to human wellbeing. Modelling ECM presents significant challenges due to the need to incorporate effects at scales from atomic interactions up to the fibre network in a continuum model.

The proposed framework follows ECM's natural hierarchical structure and integrates efficient models for each key structural scale based on rigorous experimental validations. It is expected to provide a powerful tool for designing successful artificial ECM materials and understanding the mechanisms of the ECM degradation.

Imaging-based fluid-structure interaction modelling of carotid atherosclerotic plaque

Professor Zhiyong Li
Grant scheme
ARC Future Fellowship
Project summary

This project aims to combine computational modelling, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), mechanical measurement and pathological analysis to investigate carotid plaque progression, and quantify the critical blood flow and plaque stress/strain conditions under which plaque rupture is likely to occur.

MRI-based 3D computational models with multi-component plaque structures and their interaction with blood flow will be developed and solved numerically to identify suitable plaque rupture risk indicators. Mechanical properties of plaque components will be measured ex-vivo and fibre orientation-based constitutive rules will be developed. This project aims to lead to quantitative understandings of plaque progression and rupture.

Improving productivity and efficiency of Australian airports - A real time analytics and statistical approach

Professor Prasad Yarlagadda
Grant scheme
ARC Linkage Project
Project summary

Aviation is a major economic driver both within Australia and overseas, but the aviation industry faces growing challenges from the increase in passengers and changing regulations. To meet these challenges, airports, airlines, government agencies and others need to maximise their efficiency and productivity; however, complex dependencies and differing operational objectives complicate this task.

This project aims to develop a real-time, whole-of-system operational performance framework that can help operators in finding and evaluating solutions to maximise throughput, reduce wait times and mitigate flow-on effects. Innovative new video analytic and Bayesian Network based tools are integrated to address the challenges of adaptability and uncertainty.

Student topics

Are you looking to further your career by pursuing study at a higher and more detailed level? We are currently looking for students to research with us.

Contact our staff to find out more about research opportunities, or take a look at our student topics.


School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

  • Level 7, O Block, Room 703
    Gardens Point