Faculty of Engineering

Image of Mark Alston

Mark Alston

Assistant Professor in Environmental Design, Faculty of Engineering



  • Assistant Professor in Environmental Design, University of Nottingham, 2018 -
  • Salford University , Lecturer 2010-2018
  • Member of COST-Action, COST TU 1403, European Cooperation in Science and Technology, Adaptive facade network Europe, 2015/16/17/18.
  • US TODAY , report for media on Grenfell tragedy; (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/07/31/grenfell-fatal-fire-london-high-rise-blaze-exposes-hazards-worldwide/471162001/?hootPostID=2374bb6dfba6cdf25bb9a367bcd37a33
  • .MRS Advances, manuscript assessor, 2017 for MRS Fall Meeting Boston.
  • Ne-xT Facades, Desired morphology in energy capture and storage advanced facades, Architekturmuseum M√ľnchen, TUM,2017.
  • Poster presentation, MRS - Boston Fall Meeting, Symposium Sessions: NM4-Nanomaterials-Based Solar Energy Conversion, 2016.
  • iMatSci ,presentation and exhibition of research to the MRS Fall Meeting , Boston, 2016.
  • Poster presentation, EUROSUNMED Symposium GG: Advanced Materials and Technologies for Renewable Energies (AMREN-2), EMRS - European Material Research Society - EMRS , Conference, Lille, France, 2016.
  • Presentation to Sustainable Materials Inspired by the Living World for Energy (SMILE 2016) organised by IFP Energies endorsed by the French Academy of Science , 2016
  • Advanced Building Skins, presentation, Leaf Vasculature Patterns to Regulate Translucent Exothermic Material, 11th Conference, 2016
  • Guest speaker, 3nd International Workshop on Natures Inspired Manufacturing (NIM) part of the Living Machines: biomimetics and bio-hybrid systems, Conference, Barcelona, 2015.
  • Programme director + module leader / lecturer-University of Salford Manchester, 2010-2018

Dr Mark Alston is a member of the Fluids and Thermal Engineering Research Group.

Expertise Summary

My research is progressing optic materials that are currently energetically weak to deliver lower down transition temperature and minimize effective power outputs. To determine what is current expected performance to what could be; a static element to a dynamic element , since performance requires changes in real-time. This has been demonstrated by the structural assembly of a polymer device into a thermally switchable material.

The research is inspired by nature vasculature formations to modulate irradiance absorption by laminar fluidic flow, for dehydration and autonomous self-healing surfaces as a photoactive system. This bi-inspired engineering aim established and quantify thermal flow across the interface of a material with precise hydrodynamics. Through thermal switching that acts to control the flow on or off (or variation of) to manipulate the effects of heat transport for new avenues in optic materials for high cooling application.

Teaching Summary

My teaching is orientated towards structural fabrication assemblies to address the needs for controlled processing of functional materials to an environment . To advance student knowledge through… read more

Research Summary

Materials play a major role in operational structural optimization and energy consumption as they are defined by boundary conditions. These materials functions sets the operational performance… read more

Recent Publications

My teaching is orientated towards structural fabrication assemblies to address the needs for controlled processing of functional materials to an environment . To advance student knowledge through understanding of material parameters , component assemblies to act as the boundary condition in a creative teaching environment. This I have experience of, through my present teaching and research into the integration of engineering through material understanding of functionality. This direction is achieved through the philosophy of TOM.

TOM, Testing Observation and Making I use in my teaching to advance student knowledge through investigation and progression of moving from mere material entities to becoming energy systems by transformation of component level intelligence. In order to meet the demands of elevated high temperature materials to regulate solar radiation, to sync with environmental conditions. This is the mechanism to understand detailed properties to robust technology. By the need to measure and consider the nature of effects at a material layering approach level for real time functionality.

To investigate material selection by understanding of performance and methods of application by process assembly of observation, analysis and quantification. By technology integrations through component assemblies , assessment for investigating innovation in sustainable solutions. Through 3D CAD modelling as tools to progress from design to prototyping (3D printing) of standard and non-standard techniques to study phenomenon. Material connection and interfaces are research for thermal functionally in the exploration of composite structural assemblies.

Current Research

Materials play a major role in operational structural optimization and energy consumption as they are defined by boundary conditions. These materials functions sets the operational performance requirements for structures through heat flow modulation and interfaces. This research primarily is to advance material adaptiveness in response to boundary conditions changes defined by environmental conditions.

Research results determined a polymer can be aligned and oriented during assembly into an energy system for desired transition temperature functionality. Through modulating volumetric flow rates in a device to manipulate the fluid - material interface within a microfluidic platform. By switchable control for conductance states to make the material switch on for high conductance or switch off for low conductance as a heat seeking targeting system for nanoscale heat flow characterizations.

Past Research

Past and Present; Mark has been investigating synethetic polymer research ,through the mechanism for energy capture and storage. To address the need for the controlled processing of functional materials..

Future Research

This research is to advance the current static responce in material behaviour to a dynamic one. By materials that will be in real time sync with the pattern changes in their environment as an energy, matter connection. A dynamic relationship that is achieved through material composite function and material connectivity to surface geometry. In order to manipulate the environment in which they are placed. By rules of minimum energy loss and minimized effective power outputs. An energy and matter system of material layers, that are nested together to form the overall emergent composition.

By a multi-layering approach at a number of levels of resolution with different spatial and temporal scales. Through understanding of material performative specific tasks, that can be classified in the control processing of functional materials, achieved by a bottom up trajectory.

To advance new approach, that can be defined in principle, by filtering out NIR by selective absorption. The underlying effects, spectrally selective NIR absorption of solar gains associated with incoming daylight by filtering of near IR (NIR) range of the electromagnetic spectrum. This would transform a material structures into a thermally functional approach, a permanent IR absorber, to adapt to changing environmental conditions through microfluidics.

A controllable switching device to lower phase transition temperature, by planar extensional flow generated in cross-slot geometry architecture, with integrated temperature monitoring. This heat loss-monitoring layer is a system of sensors and actuators developed as a network. The circuit acts as a communication signal network to actively control the thermal conductance for advanced cooling of the device, as a heat transport targeting system. For the development of energy harvesting, photovoltaic devices, semiconducting materials ,catalytic processes and fusage structural design.

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD candidates from Home, EU and international countries who are interested in the following research areas: NIR filtering, Absorptivity, Microfluidic, Thermal transport, Solar radiation, Material Cooling, Bio-inspired engineering, optics materials, structural fabrication assemblies, thermal functionality, synethetic polymer research, energy capture and storage, material composite function, multi-material layering.

Faculty of Engineering

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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