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Aerospace office space
Infrastructure_

Aerospace, mechanical and mechatronic facilities

Testing innovations and applications for students and researchers

From agricultural robotics and drones to advanced materials technologies, our extensive range of  laboratories facilitate teaching, research and industry service excellence.

The Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) has major facilities for development of autonomous systems including air, ground and subsea robots. Our field robotics laboratory includes a well-equipped electronics fabrication and assembly area; near-field and far-field anechoic test facility; environmental test chamber; individual robot assembly and testing bays; a flight-vehicle fabrication laboratory; a large-vehicle high-bay; 3T overhead crane; and a mechanical workshop. ACFR also has access to a 20,000 acre remote site, complete with 1000ft runway and aviation danger zone activated by NOTAM for full field testing.

UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles are also known as remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) by global aviation regulators, and commonly referred to as drones. Our UAV laboratory is equipped with rapid-prototyping tools and facilities to develop novel UAV flight systems and support flight operations. We have a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved UAV flight test facility at one of our university farms in Marulan (a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney) where we have 20,000 acres of available airspace up to 2000ft AGL.

There is an indoor laboratory in the aeronautical engineering building with OptiTrack motion-capture cameras to facilitate small UAV flight experimentation. Active research projects undertaken include exploring innovations in design concepts to meet the increasingly demanding operational requirements relating to cruise efficiency, runway-independent launch and recovery; novel applications for autonomous flight systems; and pushing the limits on miniaturisation of practical flight platforms. In addition to the development of innovative flight platform systems, our expertise and experience in designing, optimising and operating UAVs remain invaluable in ensuring affirmative cross-disciplinary research outcomes to take advantage of autonomous remote flight capabilities.

A flight simulator is any system that attempts to reproduce the experience of flying as realistically and accurately as possible. Flight simulation is necessary because unlike many other vehicles aircraft are complex systems that are extremely hazardous to fly without the proper training. Moreover, every different type of aircraft is a unique system that can exhibit extremely different flight stability characteristics. Due to this diversity in aircraft stability characteristics, pilots are required to be specifically rated for various aircraft types, to ensure that they are adequately proficient in the handling of the aircraft in different meteorological conditions.

The current simulator's key features include:

  • a replica Boeing 747 glass cockpit
  • three degrees of freedom hydraulically operated motion system
  • hydraulic flight control loading system to load the yoke and rudder pedals
  • A/D converter system allowing conversion of analogue inputs to digital information
  • 100 Mbit Ethernet network
  • variable stability module allowing the flight characteristics of the system to be altered
  • two collimating monitors for external visuals
  • several networked PC's for running the simulation software.

The Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Australia (FSAE-A) Lab services the world's oldest automotive society. Sydney Motorsport is the University of Sydney's FSAE-A Team. Each year, FSAE students design, manufacture and test the team's small open-wheeled race car, which is to be conducted and completed within a twelve month period. Upon completion of the project, the team competes in a three-day event, which includes teams from Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, Europe and the USA. At this event, teams are given scores based on design, financial and marketing skills as well as dynamic events which include acceleration, autocross, skid pad and endurance. 

The DSMC (Direct Molecular Simulation - Monte Carlo Method) gas flow simulation technique was pioneered by Emeritus Professor Graeme Bird. The method was originally used for simulation of rarefied gas flow around rentry vehicles, but has now progressed to the stage of being a useful tool for solving a large range of aerodynamic and aerospace problems. The Visual Wind Tunnel DSMC demonstration program is restricted to the number of simulated molecules that permit real-time animation of the moving molecules to illustrate selected two-dimensional and axially symmetric flows at the molecular level.