Professor Paul Meehan

Professor

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
meehan@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 54320

Overview

Paul Meehan's research interests are in: Smart Machines; Railway Engineering and Technology, Analysis and Control of Nonlinear Instabilities and chaos in rolling processes, spacecraft systems and biological/human body processes, advanced manufacturing modelling and analysis.

Paul Meehan is an expert in modelling, analysis and control in non-linear mechanics applied to engineering systems. He has over 20 years experience in engineering research, development, commercialization and consulting in the areas of non-linear dynamics, vibrations, controls, rolling contact, elastoplastic and wear phenomena, with applications to manufacturing, mining, railway, spacecraft and biomedical systems. He has initiated and led many successful large collaborative R&D projects in this area.

Paul is currently leading major projects in prediction and control of non-linear phenomena in railway, mining and manufacturing systems, including novel Chatter Control, Advanced Duty Detection and Millipede Technology. He has organised three international conferences in various areas of non-linear mechanics and has authored over 80 internationally refereed publications and three international patents in this area. He also teaches several intermediate and advanced level courses in mechanics at the University of Queensland, and consults regularly to high technology industries.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Hons I), The University of Queensland
  • PhD, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Present project will explore the use of recently developed datamining techniques for use as software sensors. A software sensor can predict critical output variables from process inputs and other measured variables without incurring measurement delay and maintenance costs. Such prediction is necessary for implementation of precise feedback and control in many processes. The major objective of the present project will be to develop and test advanced duty detection models based on the dutymeter concept implemented by the Smart Machines Group on draglines. The project will involve the implementation of advanced datamining techniques such as wavelet based methods and or neural networks in order to classify and identify operator practices causing higher levels of duty on the machine.

  • The purpose of this project is to design and build physical models to demonstrate nonlinear phenomena in dynamics.

    In particular, it is firstly aimed to develop one or more simple but demonstration sized models for demonstrating stability and conservation concepts in 3D rigid body motion. Possible models include the tippetop (a spinning top that inverts itself), the rattleback stone (a rigid body of unidirectional spin) and Chalygin's ball (a spherical but inertially asymmetric spinning ball).

    Secondly, it is aimed to develop a simple demonstration model for showing chaotic instabilities in a spacecraft, dragline or another rotating multibody system.

    The design parameters will be based upon theoretical predictions of phenomena in available literature. The thesis will be expected to contain a thorough review of this literature and theoretical calculations predicting the phenomena in the physical models.

  • The inner ear is an extremely sophisticated instrument for converting mechanical vibrational energy to neural energy that our brain interprets as sound. The operation of this system has been shown to rely on highly nonlinear dynamics. This project will investigate simple nonlinear models for the dynamics of the inner ear and identify important phenomena associated with it.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

  • Martin Veidt, Faris Albermani, Bill Daniel, John Griffiths, Doug Hargreaves, Ross McAree, Paul Meehan and Andy Tan eds. (2007). Proceedings of the Fifth Australasian Congress on Applied Mechanics. Fifth Australasian Congress on Applied Mechanics (ACAM 2007), Brisbane, Australia, 10–12 December, 2007. Brisbane, Australia: Engineers Australia.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Present project will explore the use of recently developed datamining techniques for use as software sensors. A software sensor can predict critical output variables from process inputs and other measured variables without incurring measurement delay and maintenance costs. Such prediction is necessary for implementation of precise feedback and control in many processes. The major objective of the present project will be to develop and test advanced duty detection models based on the dutymeter concept implemented by the Smart Machines Group on draglines. The project will involve the implementation of advanced datamining techniques such as wavelet based methods and or neural networks in order to classify and identify operator practices causing higher levels of duty on the machine.

  • The purpose of this project is to design and build physical models to demonstrate nonlinear phenomena in dynamics.

    In particular, it is firstly aimed to develop one or more simple but demonstration sized models for demonstrating stability and conservation concepts in 3D rigid body motion. Possible models include the tippetop (a spinning top that inverts itself), the rattleback stone (a rigid body of unidirectional spin) and Chalygin's ball (a spherical but inertially asymmetric spinning ball).

    Secondly, it is aimed to develop a simple demonstration model for showing chaotic instabilities in a spacecraft, dragline or another rotating multibody system.

    The design parameters will be based upon theoretical predictions of phenomena in available literature. The thesis will be expected to contain a thorough review of this literature and theoretical calculations predicting the phenomena in the physical models.

  • The inner ear is an extremely sophisticated instrument for converting mechanical vibrational energy to neural energy that our brain interprets as sound. The operation of this system has been shown to rely on highly nonlinear dynamics. This project will investigate simple nonlinear models for the dynamics of the inner ear and identify important phenomena associated with it.

  • Typical spacecraft have a lifetime determined almost solely dependent on the amount of fuel (used during attitude manoeuvres) remaining in its tanks. The existing system of estimating the fuel remaining onboard is via recording a theoretical value of the amount of fuel used in each manoeuvre and summing this over the spacecraft's lifetime. This process allows for the propagation of significant errors in the estimate of the fuel remaining at the end of life.

    This project will continue previous research that has proposed that has proposed a method by which a better estimate of fuel remaining may be obtained. The aim of this project is to further develop and tune analytical and numerical models of the spacecraft fuel slosh behaviour in order to accurately predict the amount of fuel remaining. The project has major interest from Cable & Wireless Optus and the satellite communications industry in general.

  • A number of investigations of spacecraft stability have been performed in the recent past, motivated by the observation of abnormalities occurring in the attitude dynamics of satellites. Attitude instabilities are highly detrimental to the high pointing accuracy required by communication satellites for antennas to provide the desired coverage. These observed instabilities have usually been found to arise the inherent nonlinearity of the system dynamics.

    This project will investigate the occurrence and suppression of attitude instabilities in tethered spacecraft via analytical and numerical techniques. Tethered spacecraft systems are used to reduce fuel consumption and increase mission efficiency and safety. It is expected that this project will involve a significant amount of dynamic modelling, analysis, simulation and application of novel design/control techniques.

  • A widespread and apparently increasing phenomenon which has persisted in the railway industry for more than a century is the problem of rail corrugation. Rail corrugation is characterised by the formation of periodic light and dark bands along the tracks and is highly undesirable as it induces severe vibrations in the bogie. Much research has been performed in this area over the past decade however a cure remains elusive. The phenomenon involves the interaction between the dynamics of the vehicle (bogie), the contact mechanics occurring in the wheel/track interface and wear mechanics.

    This thesis involves the advancement and testing of existing numerical models for rail corrugation via testrig and field measurement data.

  • The occurrence of nonlinear instabilities is investigated in the swing motion of a dragline bucket during normal operation cycles. A simplified representative model of the dragline is developed in the form of a fundamental rotating multibody system with energy dissipation.An analytical predictive criterion for the onset of chaotic instability has been obtained using Melnikov’s method in terms of critical system parameters. These chaotic instabilities could introduce irregularities into the motion of the dragline system rendering the system difficult to control by the operator and/or would have undesirable affects on dragline productivity and fatigue lifetime. The sufficient analytical criterion for the onset of chaotic instability is shown to be a useful predictor of the phenomenon under steady and unsteady slewing conditions via comparisons with numerical results. It is aimed to validate these preliminary results by the development of a more realistic numerical model and/or experimental model.

  • A relatively new cross-disciplinary field of research is the identification and modelling of dynamic phenomena in biological systems. In particular, evidence of chaotic dynamics has been identified in the heart and brain and has surprisingly been associated with normal healthy functioning. In fact recent evidence suggests that abnormalities such as heart attacks and epileptic seizure are associated with linear periodic behaviour. It is of interest that pacemakers, in general, are designed to provide periodic behaviour, however, a better performance may be achieved if they can be designed to mimic the natural chaotic behaviour of a natural heart.

    This project will involve an analytical and experimental investigation of nonlinear phenomena in the human cardiovascular system. In particular, a nonlinear controller will be developed and investigated using analytical, numerical and existing experimental models of the human cardiovascular system for use as a pacemaker.

  • This project involves the analysis and design of modifications to a robust flying shear. The shear is integral to the continuous cold roll forming process utilised by Smorgon Steel Tube Mills a local (and international) manufacturer of tube products. At present Austrlia is one of the world leading producers of these products.