Department of Mechanical Engineering


Welcome from the Head of Department

Associate Professor Krishnan Jayaraman provides a brief overview of what's happening in the department and offers a warm greeting to all visitors.

Phtograph of Professor Brian Mace

Cars, medical robots, aircraft and DVD players: all are examples of how mechanical engineering impacts on our lives. We offer two majors: Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics Engineering, although there is a substantial overlap between them. Mechanical engineering concerns forces, motion, energy and their interaction: machines, mechanisms and engines, their design and manufacture. Mechatronics is the integration of mechanical and electrical systems, computers and machines. Examples abound: motors, robots, DVD drives.

The car is a good example of a modern mechanical and mechatronic system. Thermodynamics and fluid dynamics are concerned with the engine, the fuel, efficient conversion and the minimisation of emissions. Dynamics is involved in the handling, while noise and vibrations must be kept to acceptably small levels. The proper use of materials involves issues such as wear, high temperatures, and the use of sophisticated composite materials to reduce weight. Mechatronics is central to the design, with the modern car containing hundreds of sensors (e.g. oxygen, pressure, crash sensing etc), many actuators, and computers for many reasons, such as engine management, ABS and increasingly the use of drive-by-wire technologies. Finally the manufacture, machining and assembly process is becoming increasingly automated and sophisticated, involving numerically controlled machinery, robots and optimised manufacturing environments. The whole process is heavily influenced by computers for analysis and design and requires collaboration between teams of engineers working on different facets of the process.

Mechanical engineers require a solid background in mathematics and physics to analyse and solve complex problems. Our programmes have strong design and project elements and encourage problem solving and teamwork.

We also offer a diverse and active community for research at and above postgraduate level, and we are proud of our strong international reputation for the quality of our research outputs. We have collaborative links with research groups within New Zealand and across the world. Our research activities broadly concern mechanics of materials and composites, manufacturing systems, mechatronics, thermodynamics, dynamics, control, yacht and sail design and more – please explore our web site and see our staff profiles for more detailed information.

Welcome to the Department – we look forward to you joining or engaging with us, whether this be as a student, a researcher or an industrial collaborator.

Associate Professor Krishnan Jayaraman
Head of Department