Karl Dearn, Reader In Mechanical Engineering

Colleges, School and Institutes

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

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Birmingham

    An Investigation into Tribological and Performance Related Aspects of Polymeric Gearing

  • Master of Engineering, University of Birmingham

    Heat Transfer in Dry Running Polymer Gears

Professional Qualifications

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA

  • Whitworth Senior Scholar, Wh SSch

  • Associate Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers , AMIMechE

  • Whitworth Scholar, Wh Sch


Willingness to take 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.