Dr Jack Hale

Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering

Department of Mechanical, Materials & Manufacturing Engineering
University of Newcastle
Stephenson Building
Newcastle upon Tyne
tel: 0191 222 6208
e-mail: jack.hale@ncl.ac.uk

Professional qualifications:
Chartered Engineer (CEng)
Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE)

Research interests

Smart materials and structures

This work is concerned with active vibration reduction in low damping structures. The genetic algorithm is used to determine optimal locations for a limited number of sensors and actuators about the structure in order to maximise the vibration reduction effect, within constraints imposed by limited access to the structure, etc.

An important aspect of this work is the development of piezoelectric thick film sensors. These are dynamic strain sensors which can be deposited on the surface of a structure using conventional paint spraying techniques and cured at room temperature. They are being developed under a major EPSRC funded research grant in collaboration with Morgan Electro Ceramics Ltd.

A new development in this field is about to start with a newly announced project funded by EPSRC and a consortium of oil companies for research into instrumentation systems suitable for use in oil and gas extraction plant on the sea bed and down-hole. This novel technology, to be developed in collaboration with Southampton University and UMIST, will make use of piezoelectric and conductive thick films to overcome the difficulties posed by the aggressive high temperature, high pressure environment.

Composite materials

I am involved in a long term programme of testing of glass reinforced plastics (GRP) in aggressive processing environments for the offshore industry, funded by EPSRC and a consortium of offshore companies (oil/gas extraction companies and their suppliers). We have established fatigue , tensile strength and acoustic emission properties in various GRP materials exposed to sea water at elevated temperatures.

Dynamics of high speed roller chain drives

Measurement of the loads in high speed roller chain has never been done successfully before because of the difficulty of taking the measurements and transmitting them to the outside world on such a light structure without upsetting its dynamics. We have found a technique, made possible by recent miniaturisation of telemetry devices, and have proven it in use with a double overhead camshaft IC engine - the General Motors "Quad 4".
This work is jointly funded by EPSRC and Renold plc.


My main teaching load falls on the freshers. On me lies the responsibility of laying the part of the foundation, sometimes solid, often wobbly, on which will be built the mighty edifice of an engineering education.

I give the new students their initial introduction to mechanics in their first semester, where they learn the basics of statics and dynamics, wrestle manfully with the complexities of the free body diagram and dip their toes into the murky waters of strength of materials.

In the second semester I stick with the surviving freshers, by now a good deal less callow. Strength of materials is taken over by my learned colleague Professor Johnson, while I deal with dynamics. By the end of their first year I have laid bare the mysteries of rotational dynamics and moment of inertia, free vibration of single degree of freedom systems, general plane motion and the implications of conserving energy and momentum.

I also organise the final year projects, cajoling my colleagues into thinking up interesting topics and then pairing them up with suitable students. Of course, I run my own projects as well, and these reflect my interests. A few recent examples are:

  • Development of a PC based engine management unit for a Ford DOHC2000 engine.
  • Use of the Genetic Algorithm to simulate leg muscle development.
  • Development of a rig to measure the bandwidth and dynamic range of thick film strain sensors.

    Previous experience

    I joined Newcastle University in 1991, having previously been Section Leader at the UKAEA Windscale Laboratory where I ran the Development & Projects Section in the Thermal Reactor Services Group. The section consisted of seven engineers and technicians developing remote equipment for handling highly radioactive irradiated fuel elements, instrumentation for remote measurement in radioactive areas and optical equipment for use under conditions of moderate radiation. My own technical work was on computer control of remote equipment and optical systems development.

    My previous experience includes thermoplastics processing (development of extrusion and injection moulding tools) and design of instrumentation systems for use in geophysics applications (measurement of blast induced underground pressure waves and shear waves, in-situ measurement of dynamic shear modulus of soils, etc).

    My PhD at UMIST concerned nondestructive testing of glass reinforced plastics (GRP), investigating progressive loss of integrity due to fatigue. I established a statistical relationship between reduction in tensile strength and increase in ultrasonic attenuation which could be used to determine loss of strength of a component in service.

    Click here for a full publications list.

    Some recent publications

    A Simplified Dynamic Model for High Speed Roller Chain Drives
    R Colls & J M Hale
    Proc. International Conference on the Integration of Dynamics, Monitoring and Control
    Manchester September 1999

    A Novel Thick-Film Strain Transducer Using Piezoelectric Paint
    J M Hale & J Tuck
    Proc. IMechE Part C: J of Mechanical Engineering Science vol.213 no.C6 1999

    A method of Measuring the Dynamic Loads in High-Speed Timing Chains
    R Stephenson, D Glennie, J N Fawcett & J M Hale
    Proc IMechE Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering vol.214, 2000

    Paint Based Thick-Film Piezoelectric Sensors
    J M Hale & B de Poumeyrol
    Proc. Ferroelectrics 2000 Conference
    Institute of Materials, April 2000

    Environmentally Enhanced Fatigue Damage in Glass Fibre Reinforced Composites Characterised by Acoustic Emission
    G Kotsikos, J T Evans A G Gibson, & J M Hale
    Composites A, 31A, vol 9, pp969-977, 2000

    High Temperature Failure Envelopes for Composite Tubulars
    J M Hale, S.D. Speake and A G Gibson
    Proc. 3rd International Conference On Composite Materials For Offshore Operations
    Houston, Texas, October 31 November 2, 2000

    Fatigue of Marine Laminates in Aqueous Environments
    A G Gibson, J T Evans, G Kotsikos, S D Speake and J M Hale
    Plastics, Rubber and Composites Vol.29 no.10, 2000

    Characterisation of Paint Based Thick-film Piezoelectric Strain Sensors
    B de Poumeyrol, J R White, R Stephenson & J M Hale
    Proc. Ferroelectrics 2001 Conference
    Sheffield, April 2001

    This page maintained by jack.hale@ncl.ac.uk
    Last modified April 2001

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