Karl Dearn


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Karl Dearn's research combines mechanical design and tribology and focuses predominantly on making mechanical components and devices achieve higher levels of efficiency and performance. His work uses design methodologies founded in fundamental principles of mechanics. This is catalysed by the development of tribological methods and techniques and experience in materials science and mathematical tools to understand problems.

Dr Dearn welcomes new students who have excellent potential for PhD research to tackle new scientific and engineering challenges in his research areas.


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Mechanical design, friction, wear, lubrication, condition monitoring, particle analysis 


Dr Dearn served his engineering apprenticeship with Yale Security Products and spent a further 6 years with Assa Abloy as a research and development engineer specialising in low energy high-security product development. He obtained his MEng (2005) and PhD (2009) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Birmingham.  His PhD research concerned the tribology and performance of polymer gears.  In 2008, he was appointed to a lectureship in Mechanical Engineering.  



  • Reader in Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham (since October 2016).


  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham, August 2016 - October 2016
  • Lecturer, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham, August 2008 - August 2016
  • Doctoral Researcher in Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham, August 2005 – October 2008
  • Design, Research and Development Engineer,  Assa Abloy (formerly Yale Security Products) Sept 2000 – Sept 2005
  • Technical Engineering Apprentice Assa Abloy (formerly Yale Security Products)
    Sept 1996 – Aug 2000


  • National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC) Foreign Research Scholar, Hefei University of Technology (2015)
  • Visiting University Fellow, Cranfield University (2012 – 2015)


  • PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 2012
  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham,  2009
  • MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering 2009

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, An Investigation into Tribological and Performance Related Aspects of Polymeric Gearing, University of Birmingham

Award Date: 1 Jan 2009

Master of Engineering, Heat Transfer in Dry Running Polymer Gears, University of Birmingham

Award Date: 1 Jan 2005


  • TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
  • design
  • friction
  • wear
  • lubrication
  • tribology
  • automotive
  • biomedical
  • polymer
  • polymer composite
  • TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
  • TS Manufactures


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