Mechanical Engineering

Prof PJ Tan

Prof PJ Tan

Professor of Applied Mechanics

Dept of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2007

Research summary

PJ’s research deals with the structural and functional (mechanical performance) characterisation of engineering materials and structures across a broad range of scales. He is particularly interested in understanding how light-weight materials (foams, micro-architectured lattices, composites, etc.) and structures (sandwich panels, bonded structures etc.) respond to unconventional loadings, and how they may be designed, or used in combination, to withstand more arduous operating conditions; including dynamic loading, thermal and mechanical stresses, enhanced resistance to spall and shock without structural degradation. A major driver of his research work concerns the application of engineering solutions to improving the physical resilience of built systems to extreme load cases arising from malevolent actions, accidents or natural hazards. His work has been funded through research grants and fundings from the EPSRC, EU, QinetiQ, Lloyd's Register, UK-MOD and BAE Systems. In addition, he also undertakes collaborative research with medical and life science colleagues to address biomedical-related problems; for example, with ENT physicians/surgeons to develop predictive in-silico tools for aiding surgical intervention in NAO (Nasal Airway Obstruction), and on aerosols (carrying pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2) transport and deposition through the nasal gateway.

His research is pursued using a combination of techniques - by exploiting computational, experimental and theoretical methods - and often in a collaborative arrangement with colleagues, locally (Cambridge and Manchester) and internationally (Italy, China and Australia). The majority of his research work is impact-driven; they can range from blue skies research, leaning towards fundamental modelling and computational work, through to translational research involving practical implementation issues and/or the production of design guidelines for practicing engineers. 

Teaching summary

PJ is currently teaching the following module:

(1) Engineering Dynamics (Level - 1st year BEng/MEng)

and, previously, on

(2) Finite Element Method - Advanced Computer Applications in Engineering (Level - 4th year MEng and MSc)

(3) Fracture and Fatigue (Level - 4th year MEng and MSc)

(4) Applied Electricity and Instrumentation (Level - 2nd year BEng/MEng)

(5) Engineering Mechanics (Level - 1st year BEng/MEng)


University of Manchester
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2006


PJ Tan is currently Professor of Applied Mechanics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCL. He received his PhD and MSc degree, both in Applied Mechanics, from UMIST/The University of Manchester, and his BEng (Hons.) degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National University of Singapore (NUS). He joined UCL as a lecturer in September 2007 and heads the High Strain Rate Laboratory where he leads an active research group working in various aspects of materials modelling and dynamic structural mechanics. He was a visiting academic fellow at the University of Cambridge and at NUS in 2018.  

He is currently an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering (Speciality: Solid and Structural Mechanics) and sits on the editorial advisory board of the International Journal of Impact Engineering