Transport and Smart Cities Research Cluster

We pledge the development of future smart and decarbonised cities. More than half of all public space is dedicated to roads, car parking and infrastructure. Urban dwellers are exposed to noise and pollution because of car-centric planning. 15-minute city transition pathways aim to get cities free of urban emissions; they are based on the implementation of smart integrated solutions of sustainable forms of transportation. 

Our aims

We aim to explore and apply our vast experiences on innovations for integrated solutions to transform the cities by adopting new mobility systems that support urban climate neutrality and flexible strategic policies. 

Our research focuses on the following areas:

Research Cluster Team

  • George Dixon, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Dr Yiling Lu, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Dr Marzena Pawlik, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
  • Jenny Clementson, Senior Project Manager/Postgraduate Research student, CoSE and IISE, Chartered Engineer
  • Dr Ahmad Kharaz, Reader in Intelligent Instrumentation
  • Dr Sabuj Mallik, Head of Discipline of Engineering within the College of Science and Engineering
  • Dr Shahed Motaman, Lecturer in Motorsport, Engineering
  • Dr Jianfei Xie, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
  • Professor Zhiyin Yang, Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical/Motorsport Engineering, Chair of College Research Ethics Committee
  • David Hindmarsh
  • Helen Bailey, Lecturer in Mineral Products, Enterprise centre
  • John Austin, Senior Lecturer in Mineral Products Technology
  • Chris Rowan, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer Mineral Extractives Technology, Enterprise Centre, 
  • Marcello Lepore, Mechanical Engineering, (Associate Professor at University of Trieste)
  • Dr Fei Shao, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and visualisation
  • Awa Nkole, Surveying and Construction Management Lecturer
  • Shan Rambukwella, Project Manager – Innovate 4 Rail at University of Derby
  • Dr Tarek Jomaa, Senior Lecturer in Motorsport Engineering
  • Dr Becky (Rebecca) Rawson, Lecturer in Sustainability and Environmental Management

Our research

Structural health monitoring for wind turbine blades via graphene self-sensing adhesive layer joining fibre-reinforced plastics

By Dr Marzena Pawlik (University of Derby), Dr Maozhou Meng (University of Plymouth)

Project period: January 2020 – September 2021.

This joint project explores the manufacturing process of electrically conductive graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) reinforced adhesive for fibre reinforced plastics (FRP) composite and develops a wireless structural health monitoring system. Infusion epoxy was chosen as the structural adhesive in this project due to the low viscosity and bonding capacity. Various GNPs dispersion processes were investigated, and percolation threshold was identified at 0.75wt%. Arduino and low power Bluetooth were chosen as the microcontroller and wireless transceiver due to their low energy consumption and modest transmission distance. We have chosen single-lapped joint FRP composite laminate to demonstrate the performance of the system.

ERDF project Innovate 4 Rail 

By Shan Rambukwella, Project Manager

This three-year project started in July 2020 with the aim of developing new products and solutions for the rail industry. This is through through supported access to facilities at the Universities of Derby and Birmingham and facilitated themed events/workshops.

The Innovate 4 Rail project has been created to stimulate and support innovation and drive productivity among small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Rail Sector Supply Chains. Our researchers in this area support collaborative research and innovation projects with rail supply chains. The objective is to drive up productivity, sustainability and growth. We do this by stimulating the adoption of new technologies and techniques within the rail industry, providing a local support infrastructure and enhancing investment.

Technology areas: 

Join us

If you are interested in our research, would like to join the research cluster or are considering applying for a PhD in this area, please contact Dr Eleni Tracada.


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  • Charles, T., Yang, Z. & Lu, Y. (2019). ‘Numerical Analysis of Flow in the Gap between a Simplified Tractor-Trailer Model and Cross Vortex Trap Device’. International Scholarly and Scientific Research & Innovation, International Journal of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, 13(11) 2019. Pp 707-711.
  • [HJ1] [BM2] Wood, P., Boud, F., Carter, W., Varasteh, H., Gunputh, U., Pawlik, M., Clementson, J., Lu, Y., Hossain, S. & Broderick, M. ‘On the Lubricity and Comparative Life Cycle of Biobased Synthetic and Mineral Oil Emulsions in Machining Titanium Ti-6Al-4V at Low Cutting Speed’. J. Manuf. Mater. Process. 2022, 6, 154. MDPI at
  • Pawlik, M., Le, H. & Lu, Y. (2019). ‘Effects of the graphene nanoplatelets reinforced interphase on mechanical properties of carbon fibre reinforced polymer – A multiscale modelling study’. Composites Part B: Engineering, Volume 177, 15 November 2019, 107097, ISSN 1359-8368,
  • Elazreg, Abdulghani M. & Kharaz, Ahmad H. (2020). ‘Mitigating interference and reducing detection complexity in asynchronous cooperative relay network utilising new distributed space time block coding’. IET, Wiley, DOI: 10.1049/cmu2.12045
  • Alargt, Farag S., Ashur, Ahmed S. & Kharaz, Ahmad H. (2022). ‘Multiphase Interleaved SEPIC Converter Using ADM Control loop Suitable for Hybrid Energy Source Integration. 2022 Second International Conference on Sustainable Mobility Applications, Renewables and Technology (SMART) | 978-1-6654-7146-6/22/$31.00 ©2022 IEEE | DOI: 10.1109/SMART55236.2022.9990097
  • Depiver, J, Mallik, S, Harmanto, D. (2020), ‘Solder joint failures under thermo-mechanical loading conditions–A review’, Advances in Materials and Processing Technologies, 1-26
  • Qadir, S., Nguyen, V., Hajirasouliha, I., Ceranic, B., Tracada, E., & English, M. 2022. ‘Shape optimisation of cold roll formed sections considering effects of cold working’. Thin-Walled Structures, 170, 108576.
  • Tracada, E. (2022). ‘Revitalising Urban Spaces to the Needs of the Aging Population - Biophilic Healing Index Supporting Active Aging in Inclusive Cities’. EGen 2022 The 2nd European Conference on Aging & Gerontology Official Conference Proceedings Japan. The International Academic Forum (IAFOR). pp. 51-62. DOI: 10.22492/issn.2435-4937.2022.5
  • Xie, J. (2020). ‘A mean free path approach to the micro/nanochannel gas flows’. Advances in Aerodynamics, 2(1), 1-15.
  • Ahmadi, M., Yang, Z. (2022) On wind turbine loading induced by non-uniform approaching flows at high Reynolds numbers. Physics of Fluids, Vol. 34(12), Article 125110.
  • Charles, T., Yang, Z. (2022) Comparison of the effectiveness of drag reduction devices on a simplified truck model through numerical simulation. Modelling, Vol. 3(3), pp. 300-313.
  • Ahmadi, M., Yang, Z. (2022) Wake structure in yawed approaching flows for an axial-flow wind turbine. Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power, Vol. 144(11), Article 111016.
  • Onwuegbu, S., Yang, Z. (2022) Numerical analysis of shock interaction with a spherical bubble. AIP Advances, Vol. 12(2), Article 025215.
  • Ahmadi, M., Yang, Z. (2022) On loading fluctuations induced by energetic large-scale motions for horizontal axial wind turbines. Physics of Fluids, Vol. 34(7), Article 075107.
  • Charles, T., Yang, Z., Lu, Y. (2021) Computational study of flow around 2D and 3D tandem bluff bodies. Journal of Applied and Computational Mechanics, Vol. 7(2), pp. 528-534.
  • Ahmadi, M., Yang, Z. (2021) On wind power fluctuations induced by large-scale motions. Applied Energy, Vol. 293(10), Article 116945
  • Ahmadi, M., Yang, Z. (2020) Numerical study of the coupling between the instantaneous blade loading/power of an axial wind turbine and upstream turbulence at high Reynolds numbers. Energy, Vol. 207, Article 118167
  • Abikan, A., Yang, Z., Lu, Y. (2020) Computational analysis of turbulent flow over a bluff body with drag reduction devices. Journal of Applied and Computational Mechanics, Vol. 6(SI), pp. 1210-1219
  • Li, H., Yang, Z. (2019) Separated boundary layer transition under pressure gradient in the presence of free-stream turbulence. Physics of Fluids, Vol. 31, Article 104106
  • Yang, Z., Abdalla, I.E. (2019) On secondary instability of an unforced transitional separation bubble. Computers and Fluids, Vol. 179, pp. 595-603
  • Yang, Z. (2019) On bypass transition in separation bubbles: a review. Propulsion and Power Research, Vol. 8, pp. 23-34
  • Langari, M., Yang, Z., Dunne, J.F., Jafari, S., Pirault, J-P., Long, C.A., Thalackottore Jose, J. (2018) Multi-phase CFD-conjugate heat transfer for spray cooling in the non-boiling regime. The Journal of Computational Multiphase Flows, Vol. 10, pp. 33-42
  • Langari, M., Yang, Z., Dunne, J.F., Jafari, S., Pirault, J-P., Long, C.A., Thalackottore Jose, J. (2018) Conjugate heat transfer predictions for subcooled boiling flow in a horizontal channel using a volume-of-fluid framework. Journal of Heat Transfer, Vol. 140, pp. 104501.
  • Kotera,Y., Rawson, R., Okere, U., Brooks-Ucheaga, M., Williams, A., Chircop, J., Lyte, G., Spink, R. & Green, P. (2022). ‘Teaching sustainability to online healthcare students: a viewpoint.’ International Journal of Higher Education and Sustainability, Vol. 4, No 1.
  • Rawson, R., Okere, U., & Tooth, O. (2022). ‘Using Low-immersive Virtual Reality in Online Learning: Field Notes from Environmental Management Education.’ The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 23(4), 211-221.
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