Research Focus Areas & Facilities

The Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department at the University of Pretoria houses a number of world-class research groups, staffed by leaders in their field conducting bleeding-edge research into a variety of fields.

Aerospace Group Centre for Asset Integrity Management Clean Energy Research Group Vehicle Dynamics Group

The Department's core business is its academic endeavours – excellent teaching and education of students and relevant research of the highest standard. The pursuit of excellence, quality, international competitiveness and local relevance are the prevailing hallmarks of these primary tasks.

The Department is one of the major research departments in mechanical and aeronautical engineering in South Africa and occupies a leadership position in tertiary education in South Africa. The Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering places a high premium on research, and considers the creation, application and transfer of knowledge as one of its major tasks.

Over the last few years, we have once again produced more audited research publications than any other tertiary institution in the country. The number of research outputs per academic also compares favourably with the best in the country. These sustained achievements are the result of a long-term commitment to research and to be one of the best departments in the world. The University, Department and its researchers can justifiably be proud of these achievements.

It is, however, not only the quantity of research, but also the quality that counts. Our quest for quality – and quality of research in particular – stems from our mission to be locally relevant and internationally competitive. Local relevance is manifested inter alia in our choice of the academic disciplines offered, and also in the areas in which research is performed. The Department responds to the needs of the country and the demands of the time by proactively contributing to the shaping of the future. Our research efforts spearhead this drive.

The Department considers a contribution to the competitiveness of the country and the improvement of the quality of life of its citizens, an important part of its mission. It is not surprising then that we have chosen to focus our research efforts in areas that have a direct impact on the well-being of the industry. For this reason we have recently reaffirmed our focus on research and research excellence with three research groups:

With the research conducted in these research groups we continually strive to improve and expand our interaction with industry. In the links above we provide a glimpse of our research programmes. The programmes are a natural extension of the Department's academic performance and we believe it is the primary driver for academic excellence and international competitiveness.

Research Facilities

The Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering has a range of experimental facilities to aide in undergraduate teaching and to allow for cutting edge postgraduate research.

The facilities include a number of specialised facilities used in the measurement and testing of a variety of technologies, such as wind tunnels, advanced heat and mass transfer facilities, solar concentrators, laboratory and field testing units for vehicle suspensions and state of the art vibration testing facilities.

The department is also very involved in computational modelling of fluid mechanics (namely computational fluid dynamics – CFD) and solid mechanics (using methods such as the Finite Element Method – FEM).

The Department also houses a large mechanical workshop and supporting laboratories, where undergraduate and postgraduate students can manufacture items needed for the various projects they undertake. These workshops house CNC lathes and milling machines, welding equipment, surface and bench grinders and other typical workshop equipment.

View our Research Facilities gallery to see a selection of our facilities on offer.

To view more information on the various laboratories we house, as well as contact information for staff members involved, please visit our various laboratory pages:

A selection of the world class equipment in our laboratories

- Author BD Bock

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