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Aerospace Research At USQ Proving It Can Take The Heat

Mechanical and mechatronic engineers have built the modern world, and University of Southern Queensland (USQ) research continues to make strides in this space.

For example, the work of Professor David Buttsworth has reached around the world and, potentially, far beyond it.  Based in USQ’s School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Professor Buttsworth’s recent research projects have seen him collaborate with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

His area of expertise is thermofluids engineering, and it is playing a major role in work to improve NASA spacecraft heat shields.

Professor Buttsworth and his team are key players in an international project to record the spectra of radiation emitted by re-entry capsules at simulated re-entry conditions, doing the fundamental physics and engineering that will enable the development of improved designed tools.

USQ School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering’s Professor David Buttsworth
USQ School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering’s Professor David Buttsworth

Another project, HEXAFLY International, sees Professor Buttsworth work with ESA and other partners to develop high-speed aerospace vehicles.

Utilising USQ’s hypersonic wind tunnel and research laboratory, Professor Buttsworth and his research team are conducting test flights of vehicle models. It’s all in a bid to create a new generation of travel – civil high-speed transportation.  USQ’s engineering laboratories house state-of-the art testing facilities, including the University’s hypersonic wind tunnel – able to produce high speed flows (typically above Mach Five) for relatively long durations.

USQ’s success in this area was recognised in the latest Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) report which was released earlier this month.  ERA is a framework undertaken every three years which ranks research produced in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks, and the 2015 report evaluated USQ’s research in the area of mechanical engineering as above world standard.

For more information about USQ research, visit

Submitted by:
Rhianwen Whitney
email: [email protected]
Phone: 07 4631 2977

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