Professor Graham Hargrave


  • Emeritus Professor of Optical Diagnostics
  • 2014: Awarded the Royal Society's Wolfson Research Merit Award.
  • 2007 to present: Professor of Optical Diagnostics in Wolfson school of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University. Established the Optical Engineering Research Laboratory and the Loughborough Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) validation Team with Caterpillar.
  • Previously: Senior Lecturer (2000 to 2007) and Lecturer (1996 to 2000) in Thermofluids in Department of Mechanical Engineering, Loughborough University. Lecturing in Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Optical Engineering.
  • 1993 to 1996: Head of Optical Diagnostics, British Gas R&D, Loughborough. Established of the BG Optical Research Laboratory and the BG Environmental Wind-tunnel, facilities designed to apply optical diagnostics for fluid flow and combustion research relating to gas safety and utilisation.
  • 1986 to 1993: Principal Scientist-Engineer, British Gas R&D, Midlands Research Centre, Solihull. Worked with the International Working Group for Gas Research to establish new standards for low emission gas burners.
  • 1984 to 1986: Research Fellow in Department of Fuel and Energy at Leeds University, applying optical diagnostic techniques to the analysis of flow, combustion and heat transfer in pulse combustors.
  • Achieved PhD (1984) from Leeds University, titled “Forced Convective Heat Transfer from Turbulent Flames” and elucidated turbulent flow and combustion processes through the application of novel optical-diagnostic techniques to the analysis of turbulent flow/flame/body interactions.

Research Interests

Research interests are concentrated in the highly active area of optical diagnostics, with emphasis on their coupling with predictive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for the analysis of multi-phase and turbulent reacting flows.

Strong collaborations with industrial partners that emphasise the importance of developing an understanding of the fundamental physics of flow and combustion processes and, most importantly, encapsulating the knowledge gained from experimental studies in predictive mathematical models to aid future design processes.

Highly active links with academic and industrial partners world-wide and research projects have gained significant industrial support including Caterpillar, Jaguar Cars, Shell, Perkins Engines, E.ON, 3M, Astra-Zeneca, Arvin-Meritor, Hardstaff Group and Chiesi Pharmaceutici.

Development and application of optical diagnostics for fluid dynamics and combustion, including:

  • Digital high-speed imaging system for fluid and solid mechanics,
  • Digital, high-speed and stereo particle image velocimetry,
  • Laser induced fluorescence for speciation and mixing field analysis,
  • Raman Spectroscopy for concentration and temperature,
  • Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy for flow field temperature.

Research topics include

  • Turbulent combustion processes in explosions and automotive applications,
  • Two-phase flows: fuels sprays, inhalers, SCR,
  • Fluid dynamic processes in hillside erosion studies.

Notable successes include:

  • The design of new inhalation devices for pulmonary drug therapy which are now being developed asthma drug delivery,
    -  Kakade, P, Versteeg, HK, Hargrave, GK, Genova, P, Williams III, RC, Deaton, D (2007) Design Optimization of a Novel MDI Actuator for Systemic Drug Delivery, Journal of Aerosol Medicine, 20(4), pp.460-474, ISSN: 0894-2684. DOI:10.1089/jam.2007.0595.
  • Development of novel fuel injection systems for natural gas vehicles which produce optimised in-cylinder fuel distribution. A substantial development program has produced a growing on-highway truck fleet and considerable CO2 saving; a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide and a 30% reduction in harmful nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions. For this work Loughborough won the prestigious Lord Stafford Award in 2010 for “Innovation for Sustainability,”
  • Optical analysis of cavitation processes in real-sized diesel fuel injectors operating at realistic pressures.
    -  Reid, BA, Hargrave, GK, Garner, CP, Wigley, G (2010) An investigation of string cavitation in a true-scale fuel injector flow geometry at high pressure, Physics of Fluids, 22(3), pp.1-3, ISSN: 1070-6631. DOI: 10.1063/1.3372174.
  • Novel high-performance, class-leading low emission diesel engine phase separator systems to meet new aerosol emissions legislation that is now in volume production,
    Analysis of injection, mixing and combustion processes during cold-start operation of SI engines,
    -  Efthymiou, P, Davy, MH, Garner, CP, Hargrave, GK, Rimmer, JET, Richardson, D (2013) “Insights into cold-start DISI combustion in an optical engine operating at -7°C”,SAE International Journal of Engines, 6(2), pp.1059-1074.
  • The acquisition of unique data in propagating turbulent flames that has led to the development of new CFD code, incorporating novel reacting large eddy simulation (LES), which has produced world-leading results in predicting flame propagation and over-pressure in explosions.
    -  Di Sarli, V, Di Benedetto, A, Long, EJ, Hargrave, GK (2012) “Time-Resolved Particle Image Velocimetry of dynamic interactions between hydrogen-enriched methane/air premixed flames and toroidal vortex structures”, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 37(21), pp.16201-16213.
  • A new study of mass transfer in rain splash and overland flow in the NERC project DRAEM “Dynamics of Runoff and Erosion Modelling.” (NERC NE/F021763/1) in collaboration with Sheffield, Durham and Liverpool Universities NERC project. Soil erosion by rain impaction and overland flow and is leading to an accelerated loss of the world’s food-producing lands, threatening global food security. The project uses advanced multi-camera particle tracking technology to monitor particle transport processes during splash and runoff erosion to aid the development of models that are a vital component in our attempt to understand the impact of agricultural processes, land-use and climate change on soil erosion.
    -  Long, E., Hargrave, G.K., Cooper, J., Kitchener, B., Parsons, A., Hewett, C. and Wainwright, J., (2013) “Investigation into the momentum transfer between an impacting raindrop and a granular bed using 3-dimensional particle tracking.” EGU General Assembly Conference, Vol. 15, p. 11164.

External Activities

Journal editorships

Guest Editor for IMechE Part D, G.K.Hargrave: Journal of Automobile Engineering, special issue “Optical Diagnostics”, 2007.

Conference activity

  • Session Chair SPIE/VSJ Int. Conf. On Advanced Optical Diagnostics in Fluids, Solids and Combustion, Tokyo, Japan, December 2004.
  • Organiser of the IOP “Young Researchers in Combustion” meeting, 2001 and 2003.
  • Chairman and Organiser and for IOP conference “Combustion for the 21st Century: A UK Perspective.” IOP Headquarters, London, 2002.
  • Chairman, Organiser and Session Chair for UKALA meeting “Laser anemometry for fluid flow and combustion”, 1999.

Invited lectures

  • Invited Lecture on “Application of Optical Diagnostics” – Process Engineering Research Seminars – Leeds University, 2002.
  • Invited Lecture on “Optical Engineering for Flow and Combustion” – Energy Conversion, Kyoto University, 2000, 2002, 2008.

Collaborative Research

  • Research collaborations with European Synchrotron Research Facility, Grenoble – SAXS for soot inception in hydrocarbon flames.
  • Successful academic collaborations with universities in the UK (Aberystwyth, Leeds, Sheffield, Durham, Nottingham, UCL, City University and Oxford University) and internationally (CNR, University of Naples and Kyoto University).


  • Member of the Optical Engineering Group that won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Innovation in Research and Teaching in Optical Engineering, 2000.
  • Winner of the Lord Stafford Award in 2010 with Hardstaff Group for “Innovation for Sustainability,” for advanced dual fuel engine technology.
  • Students Edward Long and John Rimmer won the Best Presentation Prize at the IOP Young Researchers meeting for papers in application of optical diagnostics for flame propagation analysis in turbulent flows.
  • Student Petros Efthymiou winner of SAE Best Presentation Prize for “Insights into cold-start DISI combustion in an optical engine operating at -7°C”, SAE Journal of Engines.
  • Winner of the IMechE Dugald Clerk Prize for the paper:
    -  Rimmer, JET, Davy, MH, Garner, CP, Hargrave, GK, Richardson, D (2012) Fuel spray structure, flame propagation and charge motion at fuel impingement locations within a DISI engine, Fuel Systems for IC Engines, pp.199-214, DOI: 10.1533/9780857096043. (Winner of IMechE Dugald Clerk Prize)