The Instrumentation team has established a strong international reputation in developing innovative sensors and instrumentation systems for the power generation, healthcare, manufacturing and food processing industries. The team's current research programmers cover a number of application areas, including:
- Monitoring and characterisation of combustion flames
- Flow measurement of particulate solids in pipelines and stacks
- On-line particle sizing and characterisation of granular and pulverised materials
- On-line tracking of pulverised fuel
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for healthcare applications
- Fibre optic sensors and their industrial applications
- Miltiparameter assessment of upper limb motion in neurorehabilitation
- Piezoelectric tri-axial force transducers for biomechanical applications
- Instrumentation-aided multiparameter assessment of speech
Most of the research programmes are being conducted in collaboration with leading industrial organisations such as EON UK, RWE npower and Doosan Babcock Energy. The team is expanding its activities in the area of embedded systems particularly for the miniaturization and performance enhancement of flame imaging systems, flow sensors, force transducers and other monitoring systems. Considerable external funding has been obtained in recent years from a wide range of sources including the EU, DTI, EPSRC, BCURA, the Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Society.
As a result of a number of interrelated projects, the team has developed a flame imaging technology capable of providing the measurement of flame characteristics such as temperature distribution, oscillation frequency and overall flame stability. The impact of this research is recognized by the fact that the team won the IET Global Award for Engineering Innovation in 2006. The team has also developed novel solutions to the long standing industrial problems of mass flow metering of pneumatically conveyed solids and on-line particle sizing of pulverised fuel. Another pioneering contribution made by the team is in Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) producing the first OCT en-face images from the retina which led to the first fusion instrument combining OCT and scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO). Optical fibre sensors and their applications have been a well established area of research.
The team has a well equipped Instrumentation Research Laboratory in which there are two computerised combustion test rigs and purpose-built particle flow test loops. In addition to substantial experimental work on the test rigs in the laboratory, the team has been undertaking extensive field trials on industrial-scale combustion and flow test facilities and coal fired power stations.