Fluids and Thermal Engineering Research Group

Image of Mark Alston

Mark Alston

Assistant Professor in Environmental Design, Faculty of Engineering



Assistant Professor University of Nottingham, ABE, Faculty of Engineering, May 2018 - present.

Program director , lecturer-University of Salford Manchester,

2010-2018. Phd (2018), part time study commenced 2011, Synthetic polymer composite as a microfluidic based platform for NIR absorption modulation.

• 2016 - present ,UK Govt, Scientific Advisor, Innovate UKRI. • 2021 - Elected member, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Peer Associate College • 2022 - AIAA Thermophysics Technical Committee. • 2015/16/17/18, member of COST-Action, COST TU 1403, European Cooperation in Science and Technology, network Europe, • 2017- present Cost Action external expert in Thermophysics to evaluate Open Calls and panel review member for monitoring EU Cost Actions.

media outreach;

• American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) media interview, Polymer Composite can Regulate Its Own Temperature, February 1st, 2019. American Physical Society (APS), Physics Buss, Interview for media; These Fluid-Filled Tiles could keep the Buildings of the Future Cool, Nov 15th, 2018 Design News, Material & Assembly Aerospace Materials, media interview ; Bio-Inspired Materials Keeps Cool at High Temperature, December 5th , 2018. MRS Advances, manuscript assessor ,MRS Fall Meeting Boston,2017. iMatSci ,presentation and exhibition of fluldics research to the MRS Fall Meeting , Boston, 2016

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

Expertise Summary

Dr Alston technical work is solving multi-physics problems to modulate elevated high temperatures through fluidics to capture and storage of energy using embedded circuit networks within a material to modulate temperature to avoid the build up stress.

To advance fluidic circuits through the principles of generation of geometric flow system by sequence succession of optimum structures correlated to thermal mapping. An integrated system for examining and measuring conductivity, radiative heat transfer by spatially varying heat transfer coefficient using elemental material - fluidic structures. To address the challenges of heat seeking targeting materials to evaluate and manage heat transport flow autonomously. Using control of the thermodynamic state of a material defined by heat and mass transfer enhancement techniques as a closed loop system

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 synthetic 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 response 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 material structural design.

I welcome inquires 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.

Fluids and Thermal Engineering Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD