Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


Dr Mark Brend PhD

Photo of Dr Mark Brend

Head of Optical Diagnostics

Research Fellow in Optical Diagnostics.

Member of the Rolls-Royce UTC in Combustion System Aerothermal Processes since 2010.  

I currently lead optical methods development and applications within NCCAT and support industrial uptake of advanced optical methods.


  • My research is experimentally focussed, developing and applying optical techniques to develop fundamental understanding of the aerothermal processes relevant to gas turbine engine operation.


  • PhD, University of Warwick, 2009
  • BEng, Mechanical Engineering, University of Warwick, 2004

Research Projects:

  • £3M FEC research income over the last 2017-2022. Approx £2M as P-I. Industrial funding: £2.2M ATI, and EPSRC: £0.8M.

Research Group: 
Applied Aerodynamics

Research Interests:
Experimental focussed research, developing and applying optical techniques to develop fundamental understanding of the aerothermal processes relevant to gas turbine engine operation

My primary research interest lies in the application and development of optical measurement techniques to address contemporary challenges associated with gas turbine development. This is both to support improvements in component/subsystem design and to develop fundamental understanding of the underpinning multiphysics. Typically this involves laser imaging techniques, customised to enable application in challenging environments, for example:

  • Velocimetry techniques (PIV/LDA)
  • Fluorescence approaches (PLIF/ERLIF)
  • Elastic scattering techniques (shadowgraphy, PDA, Rayleigh scatter)

To date much of my effort has been applying these techniques to understand fuel and air delivery to gas turbine combustors, attempting to optimally shape of the combustion reaction at the heart of modern aerospace propulsion systems. Current active research projects consider the mixing, atomisation and combustion of both liquid and gaseous fuels. I am particularly interested in the mixing and combustion of hydrogen fuel, which offers a potential route to achieving net-zero carbon aviation. Optical measurements offer significant potential to advance the next generation of combustion systems by unpicking the complex physics shaping aviation compliant hydrogen combustion systems. Additionally, I am running several projects related to liquid fuel atomisation, evaporation and combustion, this includes projects understanding the influence of the move to net-zero carbon “sustainable aviation fuels” on modern gas turbines.

Fully funded PhDs are available in these areas, if you are interested in joining the NCCAT optical team, please get in touch.

I regularly run final year projects considering hypersonic propulsion systems. These projects are extremely challenging, but very rewarding. If you enjoyed high speed aero and are interested in a particular aspect of ramjet/scramjet combustor design, feel free to contact me to discuss your ideas.

Publications for Mark Brend