Research Excellence

Transport Technologies Beacon

Transport technology is woven into our society and culture and will continue to provide some of the greatest challenges in engineering as we strive to deliver efficient, accessible, sustainable and clean transport systems.

Our activities span a number of the Loughborough Schools and Departments, covering a vast range of areas with a portfolio of current research valued in excess of £90 million and approximately 110 academic staff active in transport technology related research.

We work closely with Original Equipment Manufacturers, suppliers and smaller companies. Partners include, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Ford Motor Company, BAE Systems, Jaguar Land Rover, Caterpillar, RSSB, London Underground, Network rail and many others. These strong industrial links bring major benefits to our research, keeping us aware of industry developments and needs and ensuring that our work has benefits for our partners and society.

A new Transport Technology Research YouTube playlist features our academics talking about topics in their research, including Understanding the Tyre-road Interface, Electric Aircraft Propulsion Technology, Challenges for Autonomous Vehicles and Driver Behaviour Studies for Safer and More Efficient Vehicle Technologies.

Our research priorities

Applied aerodynamics

We undertake both experimental and computational research to improve our understanding of industrially relevant flow problems, with a particular emphasis on aeronautical and automotive applications.

The aim of research conducted within the Loughborough UTC is to use experimental and computational techniques to understand the complex aerodynamic processes occurring within gas turbine combustion systems and other related engine components.

Our Centres of Excellence include:

Human factors

Led from within the Design School, the long established Loughborough activity in human factors contributes to a wide range of transport technologies research. Our three main research areas include:

  • Behavioural safety and injury prevention - helping to improve road safety through design using expertise in human factors, engineering, psychology, health sciences, education and social science.
  • Transport collisions - investigating how road traffic collisions and injuries occur to improve safety for road users, including their vehicles and roads.
  • Design ergonomics - concerned with a broad range of transport areas, particularly inclusive design and vehicle ergonomics.

Whiplash Effects Reduced By New Car Seat System

A reactive head restraint and car seat system designed to reduce whiplash in rear-end vehicle collisions has been unveiled by engineers at Loughborough University.

Our research pinpoints the most dangerous HGV designs

Loughborough University Design School & SAMMIE CAD Ltd: TfL - Modelling HGV blind spots

Energy management and propulsion systems

The energy management and propulsion systems research is actively pursued across a number of schools and departments with many collaborative projects and shared powertrain test facilities.

We have a strong focus on whole-vehicle and IC engine fuel efficiency and emissions reduction (including CO2) as well as on fluid flow and combustion modelling.

Our research includes exhaust after-treatment systems, ultra-low emission combustion systems and combustion of sustainable fuels, but also extends into the development of powertrain calibration methodologies and hardware in the loop methodologies.

Find out more about the Caterpillar Innovation and Research Centre 

Dynamics and control

Our research addresses a broad range of questions in road, rail and aerospace including, vehicle dynamics, noise and vibration protection, lightweight structures, tribology and transmission systems, control systems engineering and system monitoring and reliability.

We have particular strengths in autonomous and intelligent vehicles particularly unmanned aircraft systems supported by long term industrial collaborations.

Find out more about our research in this area 

Lightweight structures 

We are concerned with a range of research areas from the micro-scale modelling of composite materials to whole vehicle design for minimum weight.

The majority of our research is concerned with composite materials, such as carbon fibre reinforced plastics, and how to get the most out of this class of material. This is achieved through a combination of analytical and numerical modelling and experimental test, and we have a range of facilities at our disposal to conduct high quality research such as a comprehensive composites manufacturing lab, static and dynamic testing machines, non-contacting full-field measurement equipment such as a thermo-elastic stress analysis system and digital image correlation equipment, and a low velocity impact testing facility.

Digital engineering and test

Based at Loughborough University London as part of the Here East development on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park the Centre of Excellence in Digital Engineering and Test was the first spoke of the APC hub and spoke model.

Our work is driven by industry needs, including some of the automotive industry’s biggest names, such as Ford, McLaren, Cosworth, Ricardo and AVL and the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI). The academic partners led by Loughborough University and including University College London, Bath and Nottingham universities, bring internationally-renowned research capability in low carbon technologies and deliver the talent pipeline for propulsion and powertrain development.

Further information