Mechanical Engineering

Dr Rachel Pawling

Dr Rachel Pawling

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Ship Design

Dept of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2004

Research summary

My principal research interests lie in two main areas;developments in design methodology; and solutions to engineering problems ofinterest in the maritime domain. My future research plans build on pastactivities in these two areas. The methodological research focuses on thedevelopment of processes and tools for computer aided ship design in thepreliminary stages. This includes the use of simulation in ship design and thedevelopment of new user interface concepts for exploratory design processes.Future studies will follow on from my PhD research, particularly in the areasof; computer-aided sketching approaches to preliminary ship design; theapplication of knowledge-rich computer tools and improving the use of systemsengineering approaches in ship design. This methodological research is seen asan area for potential collaboration both with other design domains, such asarchitecture and a range of engineering disciplines, and also with otherresearch areas such as human computer interaction and virtual reality. Thisresearch is also seen to have potential longer term impacts on the teaching ofdesign at university level. The methodological research, specifically in theapplication of risk and probabilistic based methods to computer aided designcontinues to be developed through collaborative EC FP7 funded projects. Mysolution-oriented research interests include; emissions reduction and energyefficiency in ship design; and the application of new and emerging technologiesin marine systems. Examples of the latter include; novel hullforms such asmultihulls, all-electric weapons systems and uncrewed vehicles for a range ofnaval and civilian tasks. Future research plans are centred around two mainproblem sets; those of the de-carbonisation and improved energy efficiency ofmarine systems (including marine renewable energy), and the design, performanceand utilisation of uncrewed vehicles.

Teaching summary

I am module co-ordinator for two ship design courses: The Maritime Design component of the IEP Marine Minor (MECH0030), and the MSc group Ship Design Exercise for Marine Engineers and Naval Architects, (MECH0069 / 0084). These are project-focussed modules where students recieve a range of talks on technical and proceedural aspects of ship design, then develop a design solution to a broad requirement.

My teaching reflects my research interests in design methodology and concept exploration. These modules have a focus on design decision making and the application of analyses techniques learnt in other modules.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2004
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Engineering | 2001


I completed the MEng in Naval Architecture and MarineEngineering at University College London in 2001 and then joined the UCL Design Research Centre asa research student investigating the application of the Design Building Blockapproach to innovative ship design. Gaining my PhD in 2007, I have continued myresearch both in the Marine Research Group and via a secondment in industry. I am the recipientof the 2008 RINA Samuel Baxter Prize, 2009 RINA WHC Nicholas Prize, and 2012COMPIT GL Award for papers describing my research.