Our Research

The School of Mechanical Engineering’s world-leading, highly influential research is nationally recognised, with an Excellence in Research for Australia ranking of 5—well above world standard.

Our innovations have had numerous real-world impacts—from developing the fuel and combustion system used in the Sydney Olympic Torch, to designing low-drag helmets, wheels, frames and clothing to improve elite cyclists’ performance.

Mechanical engineering research

Higher degrees by research

We offer two postgraduate research degrees:

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is a two-year full-time (or part-time equivalent) commitment, and teaches you about applying research methodology to critically evaluate literature and results in your field.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is our flagship research award and is the standard qualification for a research career or academic position.

By studying a research degree with the School of Mechanical Engineering, you can undertake a research project in an area of interest.

In either degree you’ll be supported by one of our research supervisors.

Find out more about higher degrees by research

Postgraduate research seminars

Each year, postgraduate students from the School of Mechanical Engineering present their research findings for critical review. All are welcome to attend our postgraduate research seminars.

Find out more about our 2020 seminars

Our research impact

The School of Mechanical Engineering's research has led to the development of many technologies that have made an impact on society.

We conduct collaborative research with the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology focused on renewable energy, cutting emissions and reducing the cost of energy. We also work closely with the Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre in partnership with industry and other universities.

Sydney Olympic Torch

Our school’s Thermofluids research team developed the Sydney Olympic Torch’s fuel and combustion system in partnership with FCT-Flames. Compared to its predecessor, the new torch emitted 70% less greenhouse gas emissions and had 90% less flame-outs. 

FCT-Flames is now the official flame provider for the Olympic Games and continues to use our technology in games across the world. 

Research and teaching facilities

As part of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, the School of Mechanical Engineering has advanced research and teaching facilities, including: labs, workshops, equipment, the only industrial-scale wind tunnel in South Australia; acoustic reverberation chambers; particle image velocimetry lasers; water tunnels; digital image correlators, and a range of sports engineering facilities.


Our research capabilities

We undertake both 'blue sky' and applied research and have considerable experience in key areas of mechanical engineering. Our researchers provide consulting and commercial testing services to local and international companies and government agencies.

The school has particular expertise across the following areas:

Acoustics vibration and control

Our Acoustics Vibration and Control research group is focused on the management of sound and vibrations, including through automated control systems.

Acoustics Vibration and Control

Mechanics of materials and advanced manufacturing

Researchers from our Mechanics of Materials and Advanced Manufacturing group are working to improve understanding of structural damage accumulation and fracture failure phenomena, and investigate cutting-edge engineering materials’ mechanical behaviour.

Mechanics of Materials and Advanced Manufacturing

Robotics and automation

Research in robotics and automation involves developing and applying innovative software and technology to drive new-generation autonomous machines, and automate industrial and scientific processes.

Robotics and Automation

Sports engineering and biomechanics

Sports engineering and biomechanics relates to the design and development of sports equipment, along with the study of forces and their effect on living things.

Sports Engineering and Biomechanics


A key field in science and engineering, thermofluids focuses on heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and combustion.