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Dr Suntharavathanan Mahalingam
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Torrington Place
  • Research Associate
  • Dept of Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL Principal Supervisor,UCL Subsidiary Supervisor

Dr Suntharavathanan Mahalingam (SM) gained his BSc (Engineering) honours degree from the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka in 2004 and subsequently completed his PhD at University College London (UCL) in September 2008 after researching electrohydrodynamic processing of functional materials for optical and electronic applications. During his doctoral research he developed the key concepts of high voltage electric jet-assisted deposition of crack-free semiconductor thin films from precursor sols relating the process control parameters/jet characteristics to the microstructure and properties of the films (e.g. Journal of Physics D:41(2008)215406), novel work very relevant to the thin film industry. Subsequently, he worked as a research assistant at Applied Kilovolts Ltd in Brighton and developed a noise measurement system for high voltage power supplies. He was then appointed a research associate in the Interface Analysis Centre at Bristol University where he studied crack initiation and propagation in polycrystalline metals and alloys with a collaborative research team spanning Bristol-Birmingham (Prof John Knott FRS)-Surrey (Prof Alan Crocker FRS)- Swansea (Prof Valerie Randall FRS) universities. During this time he also developed the concept of in-situ mechanical testing of materials in the focussed ion beam microscope. Key publications from this work are featured in various journal papers (e.g. Materials Science & Engineering A564 (2013)342; Computers, Materials & Continua 31(2012)17-36).

Currently, he is a research fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University College London. SM has generated some world leading journal publications from his postdoctoral work, several of which have been recently featured as front covers in high impact journals. His work on novel polymer nanofiber forming processes has attracted a wide audience and was published in Macromolecular Rapid Communications (July 2013) featured as a front cover page, and currently has more than 60 citations. It also received a record "Am" score of 10, and the journal website testifies that "article is amongst the highest ever scored in this journal".  In addition, his discovery of novel formation of optically tunable microbubbles has been published in ACS Langmuir (Jan 2015) and featured on the front cover page of the journal. The potential use of those microbubbles in bacterial scavenging and biosensing has been just uncovered and is now also published in ACS Langmuir. Infusion gyration fibre forming has also been discovered due to his efforts and also featured in Macromolecular Rapid Communications as the front cover paper in July 2015. He also created the first mathematical model to explain pressurised gyration and this was published in Chemical Engineering Journal (Nov 2015). Moreover, SM received the Materials Science & Engineering C, Young Research Investigator Award (2014). He is a Member of Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and also a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ambassador. He also holds the associate chartered management accountant title with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).  

Research Summary

- Developing novel manufacturing techniques to generate advanced functional materials & structures

- Advanced functional materials & structures (polymer nanofibres, mats, scaffolds, composites and particles)

- Focused Ion Beam microscopy

- Deformation and fracture characteristics of materials

- Electrical, magnetic and biological functions of materials 

Teaching Summary

- Teaches quality technology for 3rd year undergraduates

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