Aeronautical Research Group | African Centre for Cities | Blast Impact & Survivability Research Unit | Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research | Centre for Catalysis Research | Centre for Materials Engineering | Centre for Minerals Research | Centre for Research in Computational & Applied Mechanics | Centre for Research in Engineering Education | Centre for Transport Studies | Centre of Excellence in Broadband Networks & Applications | Comminution Group | Concrete Materials & Structural Integrity Research Unit | Crystallisation & Precipitation Research Unit | Digital Image Processing Group | Energy Research Centre | iCOMMs | Radar Remote Sensing Group | Sasol Advanced Fuels Laboratory | Structural Engineering & Mechanics | Water Research Group
The Department of Mechanical Engineering has in recent times embarked on a number of research projects in the field of aeronautical engineering. Although the BSc(Eng) in mechanical engineering at the University of Cape Town is a general degree without specialization and the Department had not been doing much aeronautical research in the past, the appointment of Professor Chris Redelinghuys a few years ago has led to the establishment of such a research focus. Chris's formal postgraduate education has been in the field of aeronautical engineering and he has substantial local and international industrial experience in flight vehicle simulation and design, particularly related to flight mechanics and applied aerodynamics. He is currently the Western Cape Representative of the National Aerospace Centre of Excellence, sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry and hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Contact: Professor Chris Redelinghuys
The African Centre for Cities is an exciting new development that is currently gathering significant momentum in the Faculty. The Centre was established in 2007 to serve as a platform for interdisciplinary research on urban issues - both theoretical and applied - across the University of Cape Town. The primary focus is on applied research to address complex, intractable urban problems and challenges. This is undertaken in a manner that advances novel ways of thinking about and understanding urbanism across the global South, yet its rooted in the realities of African urban spaces.
Director: Professor Edgar Pieterse
In 2003 the Blast Impact and Survivability Research Unit was accredited as a formal research group. This was as a result of a combination of issues - primarily driven by a request from industry to form a Centre of Excellence in Blast Protection and Survivability. The stated objective of BISRU is Engineering Research That Saves Lives - in particular in scenarios where humans are subjected to blast and impact situations.
Director: Professor G. Nurick
The Bioprocess Engineering Research Unit was formally constituted in 2001 cementing a long history of research in this field. It aims to underpin the growth and exploitation of biochemistry in South Africa through a national centre of expertise in bioprocess engineering. As such, the Unit maintains a productive balance between research centred on the application of biological principles through process development and on the fundamental understanding of biological processes at the mechanistic level and of the interaction of these processes with their environment.
Director: Professor S.T.L. Harrison
The Centre for Catalysis Research concerns itself with both fundamental and industrial research and development in the general field of heterogeneous catalysis, encompassing all of catalyst synthesis, physico-chemical characterisation and performance evaluation for industrially interesting chemical conversions. The main fields of investigation within the centre are Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, zeolite/acid catalysis especially as applied to hydrocracking, to phenols and derivatives, and catalysis by gold. Moreover, the Centre for Catalysis Research is the host laboratory for the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis.
Director: Professor J.C.Q. Fletcher
The Centre for Materials Engineering strives to educate and train students in techniques and fundamentals in the broad field of Materials Engineering. It also seeks to serve a wide range of engineering activities, giving advice concerning material processing, properties and performance whilst maintaining an international profile for its research. The research activities of the Centre are aimed at addressing national needs in terms of both the provision of technological solutions and the development of skilled graduates.
Director: Professor R.D. Knutsen
The Centre for Minerals Research is a multidisciplinary, interdepartmental research centre based in the Departments of Chemical, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. The focus of research is on the processes of froth flotation and comminution, arguably two of the most important unit operations in mineral beneficiation. Inefficiencies in these processes translate into both an enormous loss of revenue and an unnecessary waste of the world's valuable and steadily declining mineral reserves.
Director: Professor C.T. O'Connor
The Centre concerns itself with basic research, industrial research and development, and postgraduate education in computational and applied mechanics. Its activities are multidisciplinary, involving the participation of persons qualified in a number of branches of engineering, applied mathematics and scientific computing. The research interests of the Centre involve the broad field of non-linear problems in solid, structural and fluid mechanics, with a particular emphasis on the application and development of the finite element method.
Director: Professor B.D. Reddy
The Centre for Research in Engineering Education aims to promote and develop research in engineering education that informs the development of the learning environment and the educational process, in order to improve student learning. It is now regarded as the key player in the promotion of engineering education research and development across the whole country.
Director: Associate Professor Brandon Reed
The Centre for Transport Studies offers postgraduate qualifications in the field of urban passenger transport planning and management. Curricula are modular and flexible in structure, enabling full-time students and those in employment to enrol. Courses are structured on a 'block release' basis in which lectures are concentrated into one week and sandwiched between periods of self-study. It is possible to start with any course at any time of the year.
Director: Associate Professor Roger Behrens
The Centre of Excellence in Broadband Networks and Applications at the University of Cape Town is an interdiscplinary Centre for research in advanced networking systems with an emphasis on industry relevance. The collaboration among research groups in the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Computer Science takes place across the University with little regard to organizational boundaries.
Contact: Neco Ventura
The Comminution Group was formed in 1997 by Dr Malcolm Powell as a new research thrust in the MPRU. The study of rock breakage has drawn in fundamental mathematical modelling, computational modelling, physics students using medial X-ray equipment, and lots of applied work on operating plants to collect the real data and learn our science. This cross-over of applied and fundamental sets us up as leaders in moving the science a major step forward over the next few years. We are in an exciting development phase with 4 major thrusts to focus our efforts and hopefully maximise our contribution.
Contact: Professor Dave Deglon
The Concrete Materials and Structural Integrity Research Group at the University of Cape Town has been developing technologies and procedures for the design and assessment of concrete structures for more than 20 years. Within the group, there has been a marked focus on infrastructure performance and renewal, largely in response to industry needs. The key areas of interest are service life prediction, deterioration science, assessment technologies and repair/rehabilitation strategies for concrete structures.The CSIRG provides consultancy and postgraduate teaching in the areas of concrete material technology, concrete durability, structural health monitoring and repair/rehabilitation.
Contact: Associate Professor Pilate Moyo
The primary focus of the research facility is metal precipitation. This is a separation process used in mineral processing operations as well as for the treatment of metal containing effluent. The only significant difference between process and effluent streams is the metal concentration. The unit enjoys broad support from local mineral processing industry and collaborates with international institutions in the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and the UK.
Director: Professor Alison Lewis
The DIP laboratory at UCT does research into computer vision, which involves using and developing computer algorithms for extracting information from images and video sequences. Much of the current work is in multi-view 3D reconstructions and subsequent use of these for classification and optical sensing. The group also has interest and capacity in medical imaging and computer tomography. There is a strong emphasis on industrial applications, and the group receives funding from De Beers, Anglo Platinum, Rio Tinto, Lodox Systems, the National Research Foundation, and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Contact: Dr Fred Nicolls
The Energy Research Centre is the result of the logical merger of activities of the Energy Research Institute and the Energy Development Research Centre. The staff of the ERC have qualifications in engineering, natural and environmental sciences, urban and regional planning, economics, law, politics, sociology and anthropology. The multidisciplinary ERC conducts high quality, targeted and relevant research as well as offering postgraduate opportunities at the Masters and PhD levels.
Director: Professor K.F. Bennett
The South African government has embarked on an ambitious National Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technologies Flagship project, branded as Hydrogen South Africa, HySA. The aim is to establish South Africa as one of the few nations that export high-value products into the growing international hydrogen and fuel cells markets. As custodian of some 80% of the world's Pt and Rh reserves, South Africa's future role is no longer exclusively as the supplier of raw materials but as a manufacturer of value-added components. This is one important step in the transformation from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy.
HySA/Catalysis, co-hosted by the University of Cape Town and Mintek, is one of three Centres of Competence tasked with the establishment of a technical and scientific base for distinctly South African contributions to the global hydrogen and fuel cell technology know-how. Its mandate includes the components in the early part of the value chain, catalysts and catalytic devices.
Director: Dr Olaf Conrad
The acquisition of spatial data is a challenge in an environment that is geographically dispersed and has limited resources. Our focus lies in using converging technologies that are based on local needs and offer an alternative to the usual "off the shelf" approach to data acquisition and the management of spatial information.
Research Team Leader: A/Professor Ulrike Rivett
Progress in space science over the last 40 years has been spectacular. Advance satellite technology has in turn spawned remote sensing technology, allowing observation of the earth from space using a wide range of sensors. Satellite remote sensing has become an indispensable tool in man's quest to understand global ecology before we manage to inflict too much damage. The Radar Remote Sensing group at UCT has been operating since 1988. It receives its funding entirely through contract research from industry and postgraduate bursaries from the NRF (National Research Foundation.
Contact: Professor Mike Inggs
The Sasol Advanced Fuels Laboratory is a collaboration between Sasol and the University of Cape Town. The objective is to promote synthetic-fuel applications research with a focus on South Africa's foreign oil dependency and to build capacity for Sasol's future growth.
Director of Research: Adjunct Professor Andy Yates
The Structural Engineering and Mechanics research group conducts both basic and applied research in the broad areas of structural engineering, and engages in postgraduate teaching and thesis supervision. Members of the group actively participate in various scientific and technical committees at both the national and international level, provide consultancy expertise to local industry, and arrange short courses, workshops, seminars and conferences from time to time. Funding for research and related activities has amounted to R2.5 million over the past 5 years, with the principal sources having been the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, the University Research Committee of the University of Cape Town and the local construction Industry.
Contact: Professor Alphose Zingoni
The main thrust of the research in this area is environmental systems engineering which seeks to develop an understanding of the fundamental chemical, physical and biological processes at work in various water related systems such as water storage (impoundments), transport ( rivers, pipes, sewers) and treatment plants (potable and wastewater.)
Contact: Professor George Ekama