Staff Profile

Dr Francis Franklin




PhD in Mechanical Engineering (Tribology) from Sheffield University, 1999
MSc Industrial Mathematics from Strathclyde University, 1995 (Joint course between Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian)
BSc (Hons) in Mathematical Physics from Edinburgh University, 1994

Previous Positions

Research Associate at Sheffield University 2000-2004
Research Associate at Newcastle University (NewRail) 2004-2007


Research Interests

  1. Metaheuristic methods for structural optimisation, e.g., of domed roofs.
  2. Computer modelling of materials and microstructural.
  3. Damage evolution in rail steels leading to wear and/or crack initiation.
  4. Laboratory analysis of low-adhesion leaf film (i.e., the notorious 'Leaves on the Line').

Other Expertise

  1. Computer programming, mainly in C/C and Python; including Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
  2. Python scripting in ANSYS Spaceclaim for 3D geometric modelling.

Postgraduate Supervision

1 current & 3 completed PhD students, studying:

  1. Analysis and optimisation of ship structure.
  2. Structural optimisation of dome roof structures.
  3. Effect of heat generation at the wheel-rail interface on wear and crack initiation.
  4. Bridge dynamic response to trains passing.


Undergraduate Teaching

  • Stage 4 (also PGT) Railway component of Drives & Dynamics
  • Stage 4 (also Stage 3 / PGT) Arduino basics
  • Stage 3 Structural optimisation: Bending, buckling, Castigliano; further introduction to Static Structural ANSYS
  • Stage 2 Mechanics: Failure of Materials (Stress in 3D; Contact Mechanics; Crack Growth); Can/Ski lab supervision
  • Stage 2 Arduino Lab: Introduction (Previously the PIC lab)
  • Stage 1&2 Matlab (The basics, up to animations and ODEs) [Not recently, although now for new PGT students]