Vibration and Control MPhil/PhD

Major code: EGPR/EGMR


The Centre for Engineering Dynamics in the University of Liverpool is world-renowned for its research in the broad field of Vibration and Control. Research on modal testing and inverse analysis, moving-load dynamics, and vibration and engine control is particularly strong. 

Subject Overview

Modal testing allows frequencies and modes of a structure to be obtained, which are used to identify material and geometric properties, in particular for joints. Model updating is systematic ways of correcting a theoretical model that has errors due to inevitable uncertainty and assumptions, using test data.

Structures can be modified to restore the original health or acquire desirable performance. A receptance-based inverse methodology that uses pure test data and does not need a theoretical model of the structure is developed for passive and active control of eigen-structures and has been implemented on laboratory rigs and real engineering structures (e.g., a Lynx helicopter)

Moving loads can excite large-amplitude vibration of a wide frequency range. Modelling and control of moving-load-excited vibration are under constant development with background in automotive and railway engineering. Friction-induced vibration is studied for quite brake design.

Modern I.C. engine technologies involve an increasing number of control actuators to realise efficiency benefits under legislated emission constraints, particularly in transient dynamic conditions. New optimal control techniques are being developed with industry partners Ford and Jaguar Land Rover. Another recent development is laser ignition for realising improved combustion control in next generation gasoline direct injection engines.

Key Facts

Excellent Research funding
Research in Vibration and Control has been funded by a number grants from Research Councils and Industry. Funding from EPSRC is in the order of several million pounds. Funding also comes from the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and in particular European Union.

Industrial funders include Airbus, BAE, Augusta-Westland Helicopter, Atkins, Jaguar and Land Rover, Ford, DLA, US Air Force, TRW.

There have been research collaborations with Australia, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Portugal, Spain, and the USA.

Why Vibration and Control in Liverpool?

World-leading Experts as Supervisors

The present Director of the Centre for Engineering Dynamics is Prof John Mottershead. He is best known for his work in finite element model updating and other inverse methods such as structural modifications and active control. He is Editor of Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing. Prof Huajiang Ouyang is an expert in moving-load dynamics and friction-induced vibration. He is a Subject Editor of Journal of Sound and vibration. Dr Tom Shenton has studied IC engine control in partnership with the automotive industry for many years. He also has strength in other control general control topics. The Centre's academic staff have received a continuous stream of research grants and published prolifically.

Excellent facilities and Working Environment

Experimental facilities in the Vibration Laboratory are among one of the few best equipped vibration laboratories in the country. It has three LMS systems for vibration testing and two dSPACE systems for control. There is also a four-span road bridge for moving-load tests and a proper brake dynamometer. The Engine Control Laboratory also has dSPACE systems interfaced to electric engine dynamometers to allow on-line engine control experimentation. It also has a rolling road rig for instrumented vehicle testing with close to road conditions. Research students sit near their supervisors’ office and are close to their laboratories. They have their own space and yet sit close to one another. There is an atmosphere of team spirit and collegiality. Senior researchers sit among them and are ready give advice.

Scope of Projects

Although projects are focused on vibration and control, the scope is very broad and can involved several disciplines, for example, mechanics of solids, aeroelasticity, material science, manufacturing, and so on. Creation and development of fundamental concepts and methods are combined with practical applications in automotive, aerospace, civil and mechanical engineering.


The academic staff collaborate with colleagues in the country and world-wide. They often travel to various countries to present academic papers, give speeches and take part in international projects. They receive academic visitors from overseas for research collaborations every year. Some colleagues from other disciplines within the School of Engineering and even outside the university serve as joint supervisors. Most of graduated and current PhD students are from abroad. They continue to collaborate with their former supervisors after graduation.