Highlife Magazine

Professor David Buttsworth of the USQ School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is demonstrating the international impact of regional research, as the institution conducts ground breaking aerospace research. The front man of the operation, Professor David Buttsworth, is the shining exemplar of the university’s presence in global research, with his current and recent projects involving collaboration with international space agencies such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA).

Based in the USQ School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Buttsworth specialises in thermofluids engineering which proves an indispensible asset in his work with NASA to improve spacecraft heat shields. The international venture sees the Professor and his team employing fundamental physics and engineering that would baffle any average individual, recording the emission of spectra-radiation by re-entry capsule.

An additional project, HEXAFLY International, once again boats an impressive global collaboration, far beyond the bounds of the South-East Queensland, this time with the ESA, amongst others. The project aims to develop high-speed aerospace vehicles, but despite its literal out-of-this-world nature, an integral keystone of the experimental design requires utilisation of USQ’s very own hypersonic wind tunnel. The tunnel provides the means for conducting test flights of vehicle models, all in the bid to create a new generation of travel- civil high-speed transportation.

These strides come as USQ is recognised by the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). Administered by the government, the triennial evaluation ranks Australian universities against national and international benchmarks. Their latest report gave a nod towards the tertiary institution, indicating their research to be, on-average, above world-standards.

Words by Arabella Creagh
Image courtesy of the University of Southern Queensland