Gordon Williams, Head of Mechanical Engineering 1990-2000, FREng, FRS


In 1992 a new teaching Undergraduate programme was introduced, a four year course including a Design, Make & Test module in the first year and Literature Review and Design projects in the third year.


The Rolls-Royce Vibration UTC (University Technology Centre) was founded in 1990, focusing on vibration issues in aerospace and power generation. The Medical Robotics group created the first robot to move human tissue in an operating theatre, in 1991. New approaches for non-linear and elastic-plastic fracture-mechanics were identified and applied to a range of materials from adhesives, polymers and composites for automotive applications to titanium and steels for aerospace applications. The Internet started to be used as a means of sharing ideas and transferring information; early developments used by the Department included an interactive motorised camera with live video feed and Virtual Reality Modelling Language.

Early email systems such as Telenet, NUPop and Eudora were in use by the early 1990s. 

Meanwhile, in London...

London’s skyline was changed forever by distinctive buildings such as Canary Wharf, the Millennium Dome, and the London Eye. England hosted the European Football championships in the summer of 1996, with the final at Wembley Stadium. In 1994 the Channel Tunnel was completed, described by the American Society of Engineers as one of seven Modern Wonders of the World.


Academics from the department in front of the Queen's Tower, 1990s

Brian Davies

Professor Brian Davies with an automated manufacturing cell for real-time control of the bonding of Jaguar sports cars, Centre for Robotics and Automated System (CROBAS), 1990

CAGB concourse fan

Fan donated by Rolls-Royce in 2007 to the department to celebrate the Rolls-Royce VUTC and the Imperial centenary

Student poster exhibition

Students in front of the Queen's Tower, 1990s

Strength of Materials Research: Plastic strains in the vicinity of a crack at a bimaterial interface

Computer Aided Systems Engineering Research: vehicle simulation

Photo credits:

Biomechanics Research image from Review 1992-1994

CROBAS photo courtesy of Professor Brian Davies

Photo of the CAGB Level 2 concourse fan by Nadia Barbu

Student poster exhibition photo from the 1989-1991 Review

1990s photos of academics and students from the departmental archives

Strength of Materials Research image from Review 1995-1997 p 40

Computer Aided Systems Engineering Research image from Review 1995-1997 p15