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Engines and Turbines

Engines and Turbines research within the energy initiative is carried out across a number of departments and research groups at the University of Cambridge.

Research areas include:

Internal combustion engine research includes:

  • investigations into the modelling and control of combustion and its products
  • novel gas and particle sensors for IC engines
  • control of highly downsized engines
  • the characteristics of exhaust gas after-treatment devices (catalysts, particle traps)
  • modelling and optimisation of alternative fuel next generation IC engines which may be fuelled by biofuels and other low energy hydrocarbons.


Sensors for air pollution measurement and control research includes:

  • particle sensors for IC engines and atmospheric measurements
  • measurement and assessment of particulate matter and aerosol effects in the atmosphere
  • the characteristics of exhaust gas after-treatment devices (catalysts, particle traps)


Research on gas turbines for electrical power and aeronautical applications focuses on:

  • turbomachinery aerodynamics
  • combustion: lean combustion, ignition, new fuels
  • acoustics and thermoacoustics
  • modelling of spray breakup


Wind turbine research includes:

  • a 20 KW demonstrator turbine with novel electricity generation by brushless doubly-fed generators, which have increased reliability that will be particularly important for offshore wind farms. 
  • The aerodynamic design and control of vertical axis wind turbines is another area of interest. 
  • Several projects are investigating the design and construction of superconducting turbines for wind, wave and tidal power.


Some key research centres include:

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics - a partnership between universities and industry that provide a unique turbomachinery training and research experience for graduate students.

The Whittle Lab - Specialising in research into the fluid dynamics and thermodynamics of all types of turbomachinery, the laboratory has excellent contacts with industry and other research organisations.

The Rolls Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) investigates the optimisation of the composition, processing and performance of nickel-based alloys and other material candidates for aeronautical turbines.

We collaborate with industrial partners and are also actively involved in increasing both energy awareness and public understanding of the opportunities and challenges in engines and turbines.

Please visit individual faculty profiles to learn more about their research in the Engines and Turbines theme.  The lead for Engines and Turbines is Professor Simone Hochgreb.

People specializing in this area

Principal Investigators

Dr. Nick Atkins

The flow and heat transfer within the internal or secondary air systems of both  aero propulsion and energy based gas turbines.

Professor Holger Babinsky

Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines

Professor Malcolm Bolton

He is concerned with the material origins of soil deformability, and its expression both in element tests and in the geo-structural deformation mechanisms that control the design of safe and serviceable facilities on and in the ground, onshore and offshore.

Professor Stewart Cant

Gas turbine combustion CFD and modelling; thermoacoustic instability analysis

Professor Bill (W.J.) Clegg

My research, within the Gordon Laboratory, is on the processing and  thermomechanical behaviour of ceramics and composite structures.

Professor Bill Clyne

Our work is within the Gordon Laboratory, a framework for collaboration on  the development and improvement of structural materials in various types of  industrial and commercial usage.

Dr. Tim Coombs

Superconducting motors and generators: e.g. wind turbines, MHD, ship propulsion, traction

Ultra-compact ultra-efficient machines

Professor Bill Dawes

Turbine design

Professor Dame Ann Dowling

Efficient, low emission combustion for aero and industrial gas turbines

Modelling and control of combustion oscillations

Dr. Tim Flack

Electrical group

Professor Keith Glover

Control Group within the Information Engineering Division

Professor Bartlomiej Andrzej Glowacki

Bearings for superconducting generators

Dr. Stuart Haigh

Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Offshore Soil Mechanics, Soil Behaviour

Dr. Cesare Hall

Turbomachinery Group

Professor Simone Hochgreb
  • Reacting flows
  • Engine and gas turbine combustion
  • Fuels and alternative fuels
  • Pollutant emissions
  • Combustion instabilities
Dr. Matthew Juniper

Stability of gas turbine fuel injectors


Professor Clemens Kaminski

The development and application of modern laser spectroscopic methods to visualise and quantify dynamic chemical processes.

Professor Markus Kraft

Internal combustion engine optimisation

Emission modelling

Professor Epaminondas Mastorakos

Our research focuses on combustion and reacting flows.

Professor Robert Miller

Dr Robert Miller’s research interests include unsteady flows, compressors and turbine aerodynamics, transition, effects of manufacturing variation, pressure gain combustion for gas turbines, unsteady propulsion, energy and the environment.

Dr Geoff Parks

Simulation and optimisation of advanced cycles

Professor Nigel Peake

Noise  and  vibration

Dr. Catherine Rae

Mechanical Properties and Microstructure; Alloy development of fourth-generation single-crystal  alloys; Oxidation and coatings

Dr. Howard Stone

The development of novel metallic and intermetallic materials for high temperature service.

Professor Nedunchezhian Swaminathan

Energy and environment

Combustion modelling and physics

Impact of combustion on the environment

Dr. Digby Symons

The appropriate application of engineering science in the design of products. Technical areas of interest include solid, fluid and particulate mechanics. Domains of work have included centrifugal and cyclonic separators, renewable energy, timber construction, lattice materials and medical devices.

Professor Paul Tucker

Improving the efficiency of turbomachinery and the way this interacts with  aircraft in order to reduce the environmental impact of gas turbines

Dr. Alex White

Two-phase flow (especially  vapour-droplet flows), the thermodynamics of power generation,  Computational Fluid Dynamics, and heat pumps.

Professor Liping Xu

Turbo Group in the Acoustics, Fluid Mechanics, Turbomachinery and Thermodynamics Division.