The Faculty of Engineering’s world-class facilities bring together our research strengths and enable the integration of engineering ‘theory’ and ‘experiment’.
These expertly-run facilities are available to students, internal and external researchers across the engineering disciplines, and international industry. Our researchers and industrial partners benefit considerably from the interdisciplinary environment provided by these facilities, where theory leads to practical application.
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Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Laboratories
Some of the best and most unique wind tunnel facilities in the country, including an Aeroacoustic wind tunnel, a low-turbulence wind tunnel, a pressure-neutral acoustic wind tunnel for propeller research, a high-speed subsonic and supersonic jet facility, and a large 7’x5’ close-circuit wind tunnel.
Automatic control and testing laboratory (ACTLab)
This laboratory is about designing and testing advanced control systems and it is primarily used for research and the occasional undergraduate project work. The laboratory has an international reputation in the specific areas of adaptive control, dynamic substructuring, multivariable control, nonlinear control and hydraulic system control. A unique feature of ACTLab is a large modular servohydraulic test system.
Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL)
An internationally recognised Centre of Excellence in Robotics, BRL’s state-of-the-art laboratory covers an area of over 3,000 square metres, and houses specialist workshops and wet labs, and two flying arenas with multiple 3D motion capture systems. It is a unique collaboration that harnesses the collective strengths of its university partners, and brings together the best expertise from industry and the academic community to spearhead Britain’s efforts to be a world leader in modern advanced robotics.
- Web: brl.ac.uk
The Communications lab contains state-of-the-art hardware and measurement facilities for experimental and measurement work, including an anechoic chamber; an analogue (40GHz, two channel) wafer probing facility connected to a 65GHz VNA; a computer cluster; RF and wireless instrumentation; an ultra high bandwidth, real-time oscilloscope and logic analyser; a Medav multi-element wideband channel sounder with full remote MIMO operation; and a MIMO test-bed and channel emulation facility.
Composites manufacturing, test and characterisation facilities
The Faculty provides a full range of state-of the-art facilities that house composites-specific equipment for mechanical and high strain rate testing, manufacturing research, visualisation, composite processing and the measurement of process critical properties. In addition to our degree programmes, we also offer composite materials training and consultancy to our industrial partners.
Computing resources and High Performance Computing
The University hosts Bluecrystal Phase 4, one of the fastest and most advanced supercomputing facilities in the UK, capable of up to 600 trillion calculations per second.
The Faculty has several locally-managed distributed memory parallel computer clusters, with larger simulations run on a University central resource. For High Performance Computing, the University also hosts the UK's most powerful academic computer cluster.
- Web: Bluecrystal.
Dynamics and vibration laboratory
The dynamics and vibration laboratory is part of the faculty’s advanced dynamic engineering facilities. It is equipped with leading cutting-edge measurement and testing technologies to serve a large group of researchers with a focus on many aspects of dynamics, such as composites and nonlinear vibrations of mechanical structures.
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This is the largest earthquake engineering facility in the UK and one of the larger facilities in Europe. The main piece of equipment is the six axis shaking table.
We welcome enquiries from industrialists who might wish to use our test facilities and we can offer access to these through a University owned company Bristol Earthquake and Engineering Laboratory Limited ("BEELAB").
Electrical energy management facilities
The Faculty has a number of electrical and electronic laboratories and newly refurbished facilities to support research and development in electrical energy management. Labs such as the Power Electronics lab, the Electrical lab and the Electric Drives lab are used for undergraduate and postgraduate training in areas such as electric vehicle drive trains, energy harvesting, smart grid components, power electronics and machine design.
The geomechanics and geotechnics laboratories are temperature controlled facilities with equipment for research, project work and class teaching in fundamental geomechanics.
Granular flow laboratory
Earth Sciences laboratories facilitate the study of viscous, explosive and granular flows, a cold room (for flows that require a temperature gradient), and facilities for rheology and multiphase materials characterisation, while a number of large flumes (for watery flows)are based at the Hele-Shaw laboratory in Queen's building.
Volcanological research shares long standing interests with Engineering fluid mechanics in gravity currents and bubbly flows, some aspects of these activities are performed in the Hele-Shaw laboratory.
Engineering also have strong links with the School of Maths, who have long held interest in experimental fluid mechanics.
High Performance Networks
The High Performance Networks Group (HPNG) has a strong experimental focus in the development of advanced technologies for future high-capacity, flexible and dynamic communication network infrastructures. The group’s facilities are comprised of several different feature rich testbeds, offering a wide variety of capabilities such as transmission capabilities up to 1 Tbit/s per channel, full photonic elastic switching, Carrier Grade Ethernet, IP routers, optical and layer 2 SDN enabled (OpenFlow) switches and transponders complemented by visualisation and Cloud infrastructures. The underlying research network connectivity facilities contain: a national dark fibre network connectivity (NDFIS), 1 and 10 Gbps dedicated wavelength services over the JANET network as well as high speed dedicated connectivity over GEANT and GLIF to many research institutions in the UK, Europe, North and South America, Japan and Asia.
High temperature centre: Creep laboratory
The creep laboratory is a dedicated facility, in a temperature controlled environment, used to support research on understanding the behaviour of metals operating at high temperature, permitting tests on metals at temperatures up to a thousand degrees centigrade.
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Dantec Dynamics 3D Laser Doppler Anemometer: Fibre-optic linked 5W argon-ion laser, 600 mm or 1600 mm focal length; high precision 3-axis traverse; processing by 3 Burst Spectrum Analysers.
- 2 dimensional 2 component Dantec Dynamics Particle Image Velocimetry system. 11Mega-pixel camera, 200mJ Laser with 15Hz repetition rate.
- Schlieren imaging.
- 2 digital, 3 component force balances (overhead and under floor).
- Smoke generation for flow visualisation.
- Pitot pressure tubes and pressure scanning.
The metallurgy lab is used to perform forensic analysis of metal, ceramic or composite samples generated during research projects. Frequently this involves microscopic analysis of the samples to determine what is going on and to explain behaviour seen during other tests. Examples include diagnosing the fracture mechanism in carbon-fibre composites and how high temperature deformation changes the structure of power plant steels.
- Contact: email@example.com
National Composites Centre (NCC)
The NCC facilities include but not are not limited to clean rooms, a curing area, a machine shop, materials laboratory and thermal analysis equipment.
- Contact form: www.nccuk.com/contact-us/
Non-destructive testing laboratory
The non-destructive testing lab houses facilities to support internationally leading research into ultrasonics and acoustics.
NSQI Low Noise laboratories (LNL) and cleanroom
The Centre for NSQI houses the low noise laboratories (LNL) are a suite of purpose-built low vibration research spaces. Designed to the highest standard they are some of the quietest laboratories in the world. Additional radio frequency and temperature stability measures make these laboratories ideally suited for experiments where background interference is a barrier to sensitive research, e.g. we will soon house Bristol NanoESCA Laboratory.
The LNL is open to project applications from across the nanoscience and quantum research communities.
Optical microscope facilities
- Zeiss Jenavert incident light research microscope
- MeijiTechno Stereo Microscope
- Basic incident light metallurgical microscope
- Digital image capture via 475,000 Pixel CCD camera and Image Pro Plus V4.5.1 software. This device can be mounted on any of the above to provide high quality digital images at various magnifications
- Dedicated high performance, large capacity PC based imaging suite, incorporating audio/visual analogue/digital conversion (VHS, 35mm slides, 48 bit colour scanner) and DVD storage
The University has excellent facilities for this field of research, including a very well equipped clean room, a focused ion beam etching (FIBE) machine, advanced measurement and experimental kit, state- of-the- art equipment for optical communications testing and measurements, and fundamental research facilities particularly in the Quantum Photonics area.
- Web: bristol.ac.uk/photonics
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Our goal in the Centre for Quantum Photonics (CQP) is to explore fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics, as well as work towards future photonic quantum technologies by generating, manipulating and measuring single photons as well as the quantum systems that emit these photons.
CQP and the wider Quantum Engineering Technology (QET) Laboratories span the School of Physics and Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. QET Labs is a global centre for research, development and entrepreneurship in the emerging quantum technology industry.
Relative motion robotics rig
The Relative Motion Robotic (RMR) facility is designed to simulate relative motion and interaction between two bodies. The facility is being used primarily to develop automated air-to-air refuelling techniques. The Bristol Composites Institute is also using this facility for manufacturing research with advanced composite materials.
Residual stress laboratory
This laboratory is a facility for measuring residual stresses within engineering components. It is a laboratory jointly created by the Solid Mechanics group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Veqter Ltd and is used to develop and apply novel research tools to interrogate locked-in stresses in components. Veqter Ltd is a company spun-out from the University of Bristol and undertakes projects for industrial clients. The Solid Mechanics group focuses directly on research. Many of the projects are associated with determining residual stresses in high integrity nuclear welded components. More recently research has been undertaken to measure residual stresses in non-metallic components such as fibre composites for aerospace applications.
Our structures facilities allow for testing a variety of structural forms, from large frames to smaller machines for more standard testing. Our laboratories offer heavy and light test facilities, a 100 tonne capacity frame for pilot testing and a large-scale fatigue testing facility for road bridges. This composite bridge is supported by industry such as the Highways Agency, Network Rail and the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Visual information laboratory
This laboratory exists to undertake innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary research resulting in world leading technology in the areas of computer vision, image and video communications, content analysis and distributed sensor systems.
- Web: bris.ac.uk/vi-lab
We have excellent workshop facilities that are used by both students and staff. They are also able to get significant components made here on site for projects. Facilities and equipment includes Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, lathes, Electro Discharge Machines (EDMs) and rapid prototype machines among others.
- Web: Student workshop
Some of the best wind tunnel facilities in the UK, including the unique aeroacoustic wind tunnel.
Expert teams support our laboratories and technical spaces.
See what tools are available for you in our student workshop.