Mechanical Engineering

Dr Ali Abolfathi

Dr Ali Abolfathi

Associate Professor (Teaching)

Dept of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st May 2016

Research summary

My research covers a range of topics on structural dynamics and nonlinear vibrations.

Flying insects: I am interested in energy transfer in flying insect with indirect flight muscle. Such insects utilise the elasticity of their thorax to form a resonant system to reduce the energetic requirements of flight by cancelling the flapping inertia forces with the thorax elastic forces. It also provides them with a unique wing kinematic that enables them to exploit complex aerodynamics. My research aims to understand how the nonlinearity in the flight mechanism reduces the flight energetic requirements.

Nonlinearity in built-up structures: Currently, I am investigating the effect of friction in rotational hinges. Such hinges are commonly used in complex structures, such as satellite deployable panels or a vehicle bonnet hinge. I am interested in understanding how the dynamic response of such structures would be affected by hinge friction.

Vehicle suspension: We have developed a self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension strut. The suspension stiffness is tuneable and possesses quasi-zero stiffness characteristics. This provides us with a unique opportunity to examine how nonlinearity can be utilised to improve vehicles ride and handling. 

PhD students (Primary supervisor): Mrs Resmi Kochalathu Sarala, Mr Moonsoo Park, Mr Igoke Major


I have joined UCL Mechanical Engineering in 2016. I completed my PhD in Sound and Vibration (2012) at ISVR, Southampton University, on nonlinear vibration isolators. Following my PhD, I joined Strathclyde University where I taught on their undergraduate and postgraduate programme. In 2014, I moved to Loughborough University where I researched the variability in noise and vibration of automotive vehicles in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover.

I received my MSc in Aerospace Structure from Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran (2003) and my BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology, Iran (2001). I worked as a Senior Development Engineer for a few years before returning to academia for my PhD.