Our research and teaching combine strong theoretical foundations with a practical real-world focus. The department's research creates impact in specialised topics critical for Australia and similar nations to transition to a sustainable, innovation-based future. These include new materials and manufacturing processes, renewable energy and transportation systems, and human-centred product design. 

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Our research

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Product Design Engineering conducts research across a range of fields, displayed below by subject area.

The department is focused on leading edge and high-impact research to transform industries in the areas of fluid dynamics/mechanics, fluid structures, thermodynamics, materials and energy transformation, high temperature chemical and materials processes. 

The research is being undertaken by the Fluid and Process Dynamics Research Group.

Additive Manufacturing of metals and plastics

Additive Manufacturing (AM) research includes development and characterisation of novel structures and components using metal-based AM technologies of Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Direct Metal Deposition (DMD) and plastics based technologies of Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) and Stereolithography. Research projects have also been conducted in collaboration with CSIRO AM facilities including Electron Beam Melting (EBM) and the Cold Spray process. Work has focussed on the development of composite materials, process optimisation, and material behaviour and properties characterisation of AM produced parts. Recent and current projects include: 

  • development of metal-polymer composites for fused deposition modelling 
  • functionally graded materials and wafer structures by DMD 
  • conformal cooling development for injection moulding application 
  • mechanical characterisation of high strength alloyed by DMD 
  • mechanical performance of titanium alloys processed by EBM 
  • process optimisation of FDM by novel design of experiments 
  • three dimensional multi-component model for Cold Spray additive process 
  • high strain rate behaviour of alloyed processed by SLM 
  • topological optimisation of parts processed by SLM 
  • mechanical behaviour of auxetic structures manufactured by 3D printing 

Professor Syed Masood

Advanced metal refining and impurities removal

Our research focuses on the development of new high-temperature processes for refining, impurities removal, and production of metals with lower carbon footprint. Previous projects include:

  • impurities removal from Al melt for electronic/electrical conductor applications

  • novel solar grade silicon refining, electrically enhanced refining

  • novel multistage Al production through carbosulphidation process

  • removal of impurities from weathered Ilmenite through selective sulfidation

Contact: Associate Professor M Akbar Rhamdhani

Alternative and urban resources processing

Urban ores, industrial wastes/by-products and low-grade ores can be alternative sources for metals, particularly for high value, precious and rare metals. Our research focuses on different aspects on the recovery of metals from these resources. Our recent projects include:

  • precious and rare metals recovery from electronic waste: thermodynamic modelling, technoeconomic and LCA studies

  • metals recovery (Zn, Pb, Ni) from industrial waste

  • high-temperature recycling of NdFeB magnet: oxidation of magnet at high temperatures

  • rare metals recovery from lighting and automotive applications

  • processing of weathered ilmenite: separation of chromite impurities

  • processing of weathered laterite as a source of nickel

Contact: Associate Professor M Akbar Rhamdhani

Aluminium smelting fundamentals

World aluminium production is dominated by the Hall Heroult process which is a high-temperature electrolytic process. Research at Swinburne, in collaboration with CSIRO and major aluminium companies, is focused on reducing energy usage by studying fundamental aspects of the process. Research at Swinburne has made contributions in developing new refractories and understanding how gas is evolved under the anodes (which has a large effect on the resistance losses in the process).

Contact: Professor Geoffrey Brooks

Energy absorption, deformation and mechanical behaviour of materials

This research includes a study of the behaviour of CFRP (Carbon fibre reinforced plastic). CFRP tubes are strong and lightweight and have been used in industry for years. Other material structures include honeycomb and foam, lightweight materials which can absorb a large amount of energy when they are deformed. They have been used as core materials in hybrid structures. We are also studying auxetic materials/structures. Current research includes:

  • deformation mode of CFRP tubes with various heights

  • mechanical behaviour of CFRP tubes with pre-cuts

  • deformation mode and energy absorption during axial crushing of hybrid aluminium tubes (ie. aluminium tubes filled with honeycombs/foams with different configurations)

  • deformation mode of inflated aluminium tubes subjected to axial loading

  • mechanical response of auxetic materials/structures (fabricated using 3D printing) subjected to dynamic loading

Contact: Associate Professor Tracy Dong Ruan

 Lime-enhanced carbothermic reduction of chalcopyrite 

This research involves laboratory scale tests to investigate lime-enhanced carbothermic reduction of chalcopyrite under controlled conditions (temperature, time, particle size, etc), extensive characterisation of the products and intermediates using XRD and quantitative electron microscopy, as well as thermodynamic and kinetic modelling. 

Contact: Adjunct Professor John Rankin 

Oxygen steelmaking 

Swinburne has an international reputation for its modelling of the oxygen steelmaking process. Oxygen steelmaking is an important metal production process and the dominant route for producing steel, however, the extreme conditions in the process (above 1600°C) make it difficult to study. Various models developed at Swinburne (in collaboration with major steel companies) have been successful in predicting the rate of carbon removal, slag foaming and phosphorous removal, but there are still challenges in understanding the early part of the process which have a large effect on effective control of the process. Physical, kinetic and CFD modelling techniques have been used to study critical details of the process. 

Contact: Professor Geoffrey Brooks

Solar metallurgy and solar thermal research 

This research is focused on lowering the carbon footprint of metal production by utilising concentrated solar energy to process minerals to produce metals. Swinburne has a 42 kW solar simulator that allows intense solar fluxes to be duplicated under controlled conditions and carry out experiments above 1000°C. Of particular interest is the chemical kinetics and heat transfer characteristics associated with solar furnaces. Current and recent work includes: 

  • developing new routes to iron production through solar thermal processing of iron ore composites

  • high-temperature properties of molten nitrite for solar thermal storage application

Contact: Professor Geoffrey Brooks

Structure and properties of magnetic materials

This research area focuses on understanding the structure and magnetic properties of magnetic materials. Current research includes the study of permanent magnet Strontium Hexaferrite (SrFe12O19) particles produced using sol-gel method which is well known for its high coercivity due to its magnetocrystalline anisotropy. Other research includes the effect of magnetic cluster and magnetic field on polishing using magnetic compound fluid. The understanding of effect of magnetic field on magnetic fluid and its application to improve surface finish is very important for industrial applications.

Contact: Dr Yat Wong

Surface treatment for biomedical applications

This research focuses on developing new routes to enhance biological performances, and long-term mechanical stability of titanium alloy implants with sufficient bioactive and antibacterial ability, as well as tissue integration capacity. Current research involves design, fabrication and surface modification of titanium alloys with desired characteristics, and evaluating biocompatible coatings incorporated with antibacterial agents in terms of their biocompatibility and bacterial toxicity. A fundamental understanding of the structure-property relation is essential for developing new materials and new biomedical devices.

Contact: Dr James Wang

Sensors for Ladle Metallurgy

Ladle metallurgy plays a critical role in the production of high-quality steel. The control of the process is difficult because of the extreme conditions in the vessels. At Swinburne, we have placed emphasis on developing new sensors for the process, including vibration, sound and vision systems. These systems have been tested in industrial trials and new techniques developed for analysing the signals produced, to provide useful control signals for industry.

Contact: Professor Geoffrey Brooks

Wearable protective equipment

This research area aim is to research and develop wearable safety gear to help mitigate the severity of injury. It covers designs, materials and smart structures for wearable protection equipment/gear for persons at risk of injury due to impact or other potential hazards likely to cause personal injury. The research incorporates engineering science and design, materials research such as 3D printing, 3D modelling and simulation, and experimental design and testing. It also encompasses surrogate design, test methods and test equipment design and development, the application of threshold injury criteria in the design process, and demonstration of performance. Recent projects include:

  • facial impact protection for cyclists

  • wearable impact protection for persons at risk of injury from falls

Contact: Associate Professor Pio Iovenitti

Our facilities

Our people

Academic staff

Dr Amir Abdekhodaee
Senior Lecturer

+61 3 9214 5263


Dr Andrew Ang
Senior Research Engineer

+61 3 9214 4964


ATC 817
Distinguished Professor Christopher Berndt
Professor of Surface Science and Interface Engineering

+61 3 9214 8706


Mr Aaron Blicblau
Senior Lecturer

+61 3 9214 8531


Professor Geoffrey Brooks
Director Research Centre (China)

+61 3 9214 5672


AMDC 908
Professor Xiaoqi Chen

+61 3 39214 5089


Mr Swapnadip De Chowdhury
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Kourosh Dini
Lecturer (Teaching Intensive)

+61 3 9214 3734


Dr Yvonne Durandet
Associate Professor - Advanced Manufacturing

+61 3 9214 5720


Associate Professor Boris Eisenbart
Course Director - Product Design Engineering

+61 3 39214 6509


AMDC 904
Dr Nishar Hameed
ARC DECRA Fellow and Senior Research Fellow

+61 3 9214 5


Professor Xiaodong Huang
Professor of Engineering Mechanics

+61 3 9214 5633


Dr Durul Huda
Lecturer (Teaching Intensive)

+61 3 9214 3731


Novana Hutasoit
Lecturer (Teaching Intensive)
Dr Mats Isaksson
Senior Lecturer

+61 3 9214 4743


Dr Ambarish Kulkarni
Senior Lecturer in Computer Aided Engineering

+61 3 9214 8097


Associate Professor Justin Leontini
Associate Professor

+61 3 9214 4708


Distinguished Professor Guoxing Lu Associate Dean Research

+61 3 9214 8669


Richard Manasseh
Professor of Fluid Dynamics

+61 3 9214 8929


Dr Llew Mann
Director of STEM Practice Academy

+61 3 9214 5194


Professor Syed Masood
Professor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

+61 3 9214 8260


Professor Guy Metcalfe
Professor Yos Morsi
Professor of Biomechanical Engineering

+61 3 9214 8646


Associate Professor Jamal Naser
Level D

+61 3 9214 8655


Dr Mostafa Nikzad
Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow (B.Sc., M.Sc. & Ph.D.)

+61 3 9214 4830


Associate Professor Suresh Palanisamy
Deputy Chair - Department of Mechanical and Product Design Engineering

+61 3 9214 5037


Dr Rizwan Abdul Rahman Rashid
Research Engineer

+61 3 9214 4955


Professor M Akbar Rhamdhani
Professor of Extractive Metallurgy and Metals Recycling

+61 3 9214 8528


Professor Dong Ruan
Department Chair, Professor

+61 3 9214 8258


Dr Abul Bashar Saifullah
Lecturer (Teaching Intensive)

+61 3 9214 5701


Associate Professor Igor Sbarski
Associate Professor

+61 3 9214 4338


Mr Cristobal Sierra Celis
PhD Candidate

+61 3 44734281


Dr Kwong Ming Tse

+61 3 39214 5137


Dr Nisa Valiyaveettil Salim
Research Fellow - Vice Chancellors Initiative
Associate Professor James Wang
Associate Professor

+61 3 9214 8657


Yat Wong
Senior Lecturer

+61 3 9214 8735



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For general enquiries, call 1300 794 628 to speak with our friendly team. You can also email us at Dean-SchoolofEngineering@swinburne.edu.au.

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