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Photo of Prof Christopher Smith

Prof Christopher Smith

Professor of Mechanical Engineering


Telephone: 01392 723652

Extension: (Streatham) 3652

Prof Chris Smith is Professor of Mechanical Engineering, deputy Assoc Dean for Research (Industry) for the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, and Director of the Centre for Future Clean Mobility.

He graduated from the University of Leeds in 1992 and remained there completing a PhD in Biomaterials in 1995. He then worked as a post doctoral research fellow at the Universities of York and Exeter. He was appointed Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering in January 2000.

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Google Scholar h index = 45


Research interests

Use and development of new simulation tools for challenging problems in industry is the primary focus for Professor Smith. Most of this work concerns simulation as a driver for cost reduction in design, and better performance of components and systems. This is usually done in collaboration with companies.

He is interested in model cost reduction (e.g. surrogates, emulators, and model order reduction), multiphysics problems, novel simulation methods incl meshless, contact problems and vibration damping.

He often collaborates with computer scientists and mathematicians in use of optimisation, and machine learning in general, applied via techniques such as finite element modelling. This often involves build and test of prototypes.

He also leads work on clean powertrains, primarily at the Centre for Future Clean Mobility. At its core this work uses simulation to optimally design the core elements of powertrains, be they entirely battery electric or hybrids with internal combustion engines or turbines or fuel cells providing power. Of course it is important to consider powertrains as part of a wider system, i.e. vehicle or vessel they will work in. Hence work has now extended into wider aspects of whole vehicle/vessel design, the control strategies and systems, and the surrounding infrastructure. His good colleague Prof Prathyush Menon is a control expert and leads activities on control and autonomy.

This work is done in conjunction with industry partners.

Industry partnerships

Serving as deputy Associate Dean for Research (Industry), he is the College’s lead for industry engagement. The College now takes an 'open innovator' stance and work as part of the innovation supply chain. It strives to be flexible, cost efficient, responsive, and ultimately provide real value to its industry partners' businesses.

He serves as Quattro Group's Chief Technology Advisor.

He is proud to be working with Ecomar Propulsion, OS Energy, SC Group, Babcock International, Quattro Group, EVParts, BMT, Lynch Motors and the Marine Business Technology Centre.

Examples of recent work with businesses include:

  1. new hybrid FE-DE simulation codes for fretting wear (sponsored by Rolls-Royce and in collaboraion with UTC in Solid Mechanics led by Prof David Hills),
  2. development of a new hybrid powertrain for high mobility vehicles (with Supacat),
  3. development of new electric motors (with Lynch Motors)
  4. design of a new electric ferry (with Plymouth Boat Trips and EVParts)
  5. rapid robust stochastic design tools (with Centek Group),
  6. electrification of road-rail vehicles (with Quattro Group)
  7. passive vibration damping devices for fan blades (with Rolls-Royce)


Teaching interests

Prof Smith has taught/teaches the following modules:

ECM1107 Materials & Manufacturing: Core Engineering II,

ECM2114 Solid Mechanics,

ECM3116/7 Manufacturing,

ECM3173 Structural Dynamics

ECMM107 Mechanics of Materials,

ECMM127 Advanced Materials Engineering

He supervises lots of individual and group projects every year.

Other relevant information

He has given invited lectures at the University of Wisconsin "The Mohs Lectures by Placon" series at the Rheology Research Center and at The University of Jilin (China), The Technical University of Ilmenau (Germany), The Jozef Stefan Institute, Physics (Slovenia), and several UK universities.

He was Conference Organiser for the "1st International Conference on Auxetics and Related Anomalous Systems" Exeter, Sept 2006 - and has served on several conference scientific committees, incl national committee member for the ICCM 17 conference in 2009. He is the local chair for the 2016 BSSM conference in Exeter.

Prof Smith was Associate Dean of Postgraduate Studies (05-07), Admissions Officer for Engineering Programmes (04-10), chaired a 'task and finish' group on new qualifications incl Diploma and Cambridge Pre-U

Prof Smith was the HE Advocate for the Engineering Diploma in the Peninsular region from 07- 09.


BSc, PhD