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Accepting PhD Students

1986 …2018
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Personal profile

Research interests


Nigel Johnston is a Reader in Mechanical Engineering. He specialises in the areas of fluid-borne noise measurement and reduction in hydraulic fluid power systems, active noise control, numerical modelling of hydraulic components, unsteady turbulent flow, pipeline and hose dynamics.

Nigel Johnston studied the measurement and prediction of pressure ripple in hydraulic systems for his PhD. This work has since been used as the basis for an ISO Standard for the measurement of pump pressure ripple characteristics. He was appointed Lecturer in 1990 and Senior Lecturer in 2003.

He has supervised 18 PhD students to completion.

He regularly teaches on industrial fluid power courses in the UK, Europe and USA. He is Organiser and joint Editor for the Bath/ASME International Fluid Power and Motion Control Symposium.


Nigel Johnston has over 30 years’ experience in hydraulic fluid power research and teaching. He obtained his PhD for research into fluid-borne noise characteristics of hydraulic systems. This work has since been used as the basis for an ISO Standard for the measurement of pump pressure ripple characteristics.

He has also been involved in research into: active noise control, cavitation, numerical modelling of fluid power components, unsteady turbulent flow, pipeline and hose dynamics, pump condition monitoring, vehicle steering dynamics and aircraft fuel systems. He has published about 100 refereed journal and conference papers and has collaborated with several companies including Delphi Steering Systems, General Motors, Airbus, John Deere, Sun Hydraulics, Parker Hannifin and BMW.

He recently led a large research project looking into efficient fluid power systems, funded by EPSRC with industrial collaboration. In most hydraulic fluid power systems, valves are used to throttle the flow and reduce the hydraulic pressure. This is a simple but extremely inefficient method as the excess energy is lost as heat, and it is common for more than 50% of the input power to be wasted in this way. Novel methods are being investigated for increasing the efficiency of hydraulic systems whilst maintaining performance, cost-effectiveness, reliability and low noise. The potential for improvement is huge. Reducing power consumption will contribute to the UK Government's commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emissions. However there are significant challenges.

Willing to supervise PhD

Interested in supervising students studying;

  • Efficient fluid power systems, including digital switching valves
  • Aircraft and automotive hydraulic systems
  • Fluid-borne noise in hydraulic systems: measurement, analysis, active control
  • Hydraulic component and system dynamic modelling
  • Unsteady laminar and turbulent flow in pipes and hoses

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Bath

Bachelor of Science, University of Bath

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2004 2018

Adeptive Control of the WaveSun WEC using a Romax Electromechanical PTO

Hillis, A., Johnston, D., Plummer, A. & Sell, N.


Project: Central government, health and local authorities

Predictability bounded control of the Mocean WEC

Hillis, A., Johnston, D., Plummer, A. & Sell, N.


Project: Central government, health and local authorities

Global Mobility Scheme - Digital Fluid Power Systems and Fluid-Borne Noise

Johnston, D.


Project: Research-related fundingInternational Relations Office Funding

KTA - Piezoelectric Aero Engine Control Systems

Plummer, A., Bowen, C., Johnston, D. & Schlotter, M.


Project: Research council

KTP with Moulton Bicycle Company Limited

Darling, J., Hicks, B. J., Johnston, D. & Nassehi, A.


Project: Central government, health and local authorities

Research Output 1986 2018

An electro-hydrostatic actuator for hybrid active-passive vibration isolation

Henderson, J-P., Plummer, A. & Johnston, N., 1 May 2018, In : International Journal of Hydromechatronics. 1, 1, p. 47-71

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Gear pumps
Brushless DC motors

Comparison of methods for measuring pump flow ripple and impedance

Bramley, C. & Johnston, D., 17 Oct 2017.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Networks (circuits)

Linear PID control design

Du, C., Johnston, N., Manring, N. D., Plummer, A., Semini, C., Yang, M. & Yu, T., 1 Jan 2017, Nonlinear Control Techniques for Electro-Hydraulic Actuators in Robotics Engineering. Guo, Q. & Jiang, D. (eds.). U. S. A.: CRC Press, p. 17-44 28 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Three term control systems
System stability
9 Citations
Open Access
Motion Control
Motion control
Energy Efficient
Performance Analysis

Piezoelectric actuation of an aero engine fuel metering valve

Bertin, M., 2017, 201 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Open Access
Torque motors