James Njuguna
Title: Dr
First Name: James
Surname: Njuguna
Position: Reader
Telephone: +44 (0) 122 426 2304

Professional Body Membership

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member, Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS)
  • Member of Institute of Nanotechnology (IoN)

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Member of Institute of Design, Environment and Sustainability (IDEAS)
  • Member of Departmental Research Committee

Academic Background

Dr James Njuguna is a Reader in Composite Materials and Structures at Robert Gordon University, a former Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK) Fellow (2005-10) and Marie Curie Fellow (2003-4). He presently leads the Materials and Structures research focus at RGU, Head of the Composite Materials and Structures Group. He holds both PhD and MSc in Aeronautical Engineering from City University, London. Before joining Robert Gordon University, he worked at Cranfield University (2005-13) where he was a Lecturer and Head of Composite Structures Research Group. Earlier on, he held different posts at Cranfield as an Academic Fellow, Director of Motorsport Engineering (2009-11), Course Director and Admissions Tutor for Masters Course in Advanced Motorsport Engineering (2008-11). He worked at Cracow University of Technology (Poland) for 2yrs during his Marie Curie Fellowship. At early stages of his career, James worked in aerospace industry for 5 years before embarking on an academic career.

Research Interests

Dr James Njuguna has a long-standing interest and extensive research experience in composite materials (and nanomaterials) for structural applications primarily focusing on transport lightweight structures and more recently into Oil and Gas sector. The research work has a singular goal to develop multifunctional and lightweight composites (and nanocomposites) with potentially superior properties such as mechanical, thermal, self-healing, impact, energy absorption and durability that can be translated to better dynamic performance of components. He has expertise on two fronts, i.e. (i) quantifying dynamic loading behaviour of structures such as fracture mechanics, impact and crash, and (ii) composites reinforcement to improve dynamic performance of composite structures.

To date, he has secured around £3 Million of research funding in cash as principal investigator from the European Commission, UK government grants, and industry. He currently works closely with DNV, Rolls Royce, Fugro, Eaton, Basf, Delphi, Cummins, Laviosa, GZE Aerospace, Thales Alenia Space, Altran, BrainLab, Inkoa, Tecnalia, EM Motorsport, ART Grandprix, Carlin and Silverstone Circuit Ltd. He has led several research projects to commercialised products (plastic engine components) in automotive industry.

So far, he has supervised 4 PhDs, 2 MSc By Research and 50 MScs Thesis to successive completion. He has published over 100 publications and 3 books, 11 book chapters; 1 EU Patent Application plus 50 Technical Working Reports in his composites research output. He is an Editorial Board member of 3 scientific Journal publications. James was awarded Research Councils UK Academic Fellowship (2005-10), Rector of Cracow University of Technology Award (2006) and Marie Curie Fellowship (2003-04).

Key Areas of Competence

  • Structural Integrity – (Durability, Damage, Ageing, Failure) characterisation
  • Mechanical testing and failure characterisation
  • Mechanical behaviour of materials
  • Ageing and performance prediction
  • Impact, crash and energy absorption performance
  • Polymer nanocomposites
  • Numerical modelling and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) using tools such as LS Dyna, Abaqus , ANSYS and HyperWorks

Examples of Recent Projects

  • EPSRC Project (EP/L505171/1) Carbon/biocomposite hybrid vehicle structures for reduced weight, cost and environmental impact (CARBIO). £118,445, Sept 2013- Aug 2015. PI Dr J Njuguna
  • EC E-Life+11 ENV/ES/596. Simulation of the release of nanomaterials from consumer products for environmental exposure assessment (SIRENA), total value € 1,140,942 (Awarded €385,375), Jan 2013 – Dec 2015. PI Dr J Njuguna, Co-I Dr S Sachse
  • EC FP7 Project (Project No.:309802) Continuous, highly precise, metal-free polymerisation of PLA using alternative energies for reactive extrusion (InnoREX), €273,566, Dec 2012 – Nov 2016. PI Dr J Njuguna, Co-I Dr S Sachse
  • EPSRC DTA Award PhD. Thermo-mechanical properties of polyamide nanocomposites for automotive applications. (EPSRC and EATON), £200,000 Apr 2012 - Mar 2015. PI Dr J Njuguna
  • Rolls Royce/ EC FP7 Project No.: 228536-2, PhD Project. Multiscale modelling of composites fracture. 2011-2014. PI Dr J Njuguna, Co-I Dr H Zhu
  • EC FP7 Project No. 265838. Development of new light high-performance environmentally benign composites made of bio-materials and bio-resins for electric car application (ECOSHELL); total value €4,129, 558 (Awarded €702,040), Jan 2010 - Sept 2013. PI Dr J Njuguna
  • EC FP7 Project No.: 228536-2. Nanomaterials related environmental pollution and health hazards throughout their life cycle (NEPHH), total value €3,186,530 (Awarded €728,368) Sept 2009 – Aug 2011. PI Dr J Njuguna, Co-I Dr H Zhu
  • EPSRC Case Award PhD. Real-time structural health monitoring nanosensing device, (EPSRC, EM Motorsport and East of England Development Agency, EEDA); £84,500, Nov 2009- Jan 2013. PI Dr J Njuguna
  • EPSRC Case Award PhD. Impact behaviour in thermoplastic automotive engine components, (EPSRC and EATON) EPSRC; £163,000, July 2007- Feb 2011. PI Dr J Njuguna
  • EPSRC Project (EPSRC/IMRC-137). Design and manufacturing of a novel energy harvesting device for self-powered sensors. £63, 500. Oct. 2008 - Nov. 2009. PI Prof. M Zhu, Co-I Dr J Njuguna
  • BrainLab GmBh, PhD project. Service and product-service requirement effects on device design. 2008-2014. PI Dr. J Alcock, Co-I Dr J Njuguna.

Key Publications

  1. Z. Mouti, K Westwood, D Long, J. Njuguna, "An experimental investigation into localised low- velocity impact loading on glass fibre-reinforced polyamide automotive product," Composite Structures, 2013, 104, 43–53.
  2. F. Silva, J. Njuguna, S. Sachse, K. Pielichowski, A. Leszczynska, M Gianocolli, "The influence of multiscale fillers reinforcement into impact resistance and energy absorption properties of polyamide 6 and polypropylene nanocomposite structures," Materials & Design, 50, 244-252.
  3. J. Njuguna, S. Michalowski, K. Pielichowski, K. Kayvantash, A. C. Walton "Fabrication, characterisation and low-velocity impact on hybrid sandwich composites with polyurethane/layered silicate foam cores", Polymer Composites, 2010: 32(1), 6–13. doi:10.1002/pc.20995
  4. Sophia Sachse, James Njuguna, Adeel Irfan, Huijun Zhu, Krzysztof Pielichowski, Olga Kazmina, Valentina Ermini and Maria Blázquez, "The effect of silica-based nanofillers on dust generation during drilling process of polyamide 6 nanocomposites", Journal of Nanomaterials, Article ID 189386, 2012.
  5. S. Sachse, A. Irfan, H. Zhu, J. Njuguna, "Morphology studies of nanodust generated from polyurethane/nanoclay nanofoams following mechanical fracture" Journal of Nanostructured Polymers and Nanocomposites, 2011; 7;5-9
  6. Z. Mouti, K. Westwood, K. Kayvantash, J. Njuguna, Low velocity impact behavior of glass filled fiber-reinforced thermoplastic engine components, Materials, 2010, 3(4), 2463-2473.
  7. D. Bandopadhya, J. Njuguna, "Modelling and Analyses of Ionic Polymer Metal Composite (IPMC) Rocker Based 4-bar for Variable Path Generation Using Euler-Bernoulli Approach," Proc. IMechE, Part C: J. Mechanical Engineering Science, 2009, 223(C10), 2405-2411.
  8. D. Bandopadhya, J. Njuguna, "A study on the effects of Kalman filter on performance of IPMC-based active vibration control scheme", IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, 2010; PP(99) 1-10.
  9. M. Zhu, E. Worthington, J. Njuguna, "Analyses of Power Output of Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Devices Directly Connected to a Resistive Load Using a Coupled Piezoelectric-Circuit Finite Element Method," IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 2009, 56(7) 1309-1318.
  10. J. Njuguna, K. Pielichowski, S. Desai, "Nanofiller-reinforced polymer nanocomposites", Polymers for Applied Technologies, 2008, 19(8) 947 – 959.
  11. A. Leszczynska, J. Njuguna, K. Pielichowski, J.R. Banerjee, "Thermal stability of polymer/montmorillonite nanocomposites: Part I: Factors influencing thermal stability and mechanisms of thermal stability improvement". Themochimica Acta, 2007; 453(2)75-96.
  12. A. Leszczynska, J. Njuguna, K. Pielichowski, J.R. Banerjee, "Polymer/clay (montmorillonite) nanocomposites with improved thermal properties: Part II: A review study on thermal stability of montmorillonite nanocomposites based on different polymeric matrixes", Themochimica Acta, 2007; 454(1) 1-22.
  13. K. Pielichowski, B. Janowski, J. Njuguna, J. Pielichowski, "Polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS)-containing nanohybrid polymers" Advances in Polymer Sciences 2006; 201:225-296.
  14. J. Njuguna, K. Pielichowski, "Polymer nanocomposites for aerospace applications: Properties", Advanced Engineering Materials, 2003; 5(11): 769-778.