Contact Dr Muhammad Khan

Areas of expertise

  • Aerospace Structures
  • Sensor Technologies
  • Smart Materials
  • Through-life Engineering Services


Upon receiving his Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from NEDUET Karachi in 2002, he joined Technology Promotion Internationals (Head Quarter: Maryland USA) for more than 3 years in the capacity of a Research Engineer. In these years, he was involved in fault diagnosis of defence applications mainly funded by General Dynamics including US Marines Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) and Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). In 2006, he went to The University of Manchester for his master's leading to doctoral studies and completed his PhD in 2008 with more than 12 publications and 2 patent applications in the area of fatigue of gear assemblies. Later, he joined the University of Hertfordshire as a post-doctoral research associate in 2009 for two years. Where he worked on a UK MOD project related to aerospace transmission fatigue diagnosis and partnered with the University of Manchester, the University of Warwick and QinetiQ, he briefly taught Mechanical Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (Malaysia) as a lecturer in 2011 and the same year he then joined National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Pakistan as an Assistant Professor. At NUST, he established a Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA) centre and being the Head of the Postgraduate Programme started a new Master's in Computational Mechanics.

Dr Khan has experience in teaching UG and PG courses at leading universities in the UK, Malaysia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. He received an ‘Outstanding contribution’ award from the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University in 2020 and was nominated in the categories of best teacher and supervisor. The MSc in Maintenance Engineering and Asset Management (MEAM) was written, approved and launched under the leadership of Dr Khan as Course Director at Cranfield. The course has attracted both fresh graduates and professionals from the industry. National and International Companies including Boeing, BAE systems, Network Rail, MOD UK, MOD Turkey, Garuda Indonesia Airways, Pertokimia Gresik Indonesia, Shell Nigeria and OQ Oman have sent their employees for the course in the last two years.  

He has been involved in industrial and academic research for the last 20 years. He has successfully supervised 8 PhD, 60 MSc and 100+ Undergraduate students. His focused areas of research interest are: Crack propagation in metallic, 3D printed polymeric structures and machine components, Experimental evaluation of damage and prediction of useful life, Non-destructive testing methodologies and Tribological phenomenon in mechanical contacts. Dr Khan is a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and a Full member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) UK.

Research opportunities

Dr Khan is currently working with his research group including 1 Post-Doctoral Fellow, 21 Doctoral and 6 MSc students in the following five areas of research:

i. Structural health monitoring

ii. Wear and Noise interdependency

iii. Smart-printed surfaces and materials

iv. Environmentally assisted material degradation

v. Asset maintenance and health assessment

Corresponding laboratories in all the above areas have been established at Cranfield since 2017. Students with self-funding sponsorships and industrial clients are welcome to contact us for details about the ongoing research in the above areas. 

Current activities

1-    Vibration response and damage propagation in mechanical structures. Sponsored by UTC Aerospace System, Govt of KSA and Libyan Govt

This project involves analysis of crack propagation in metallic, 3D printed polymeric and concrete structures under resonant load and elevated temperature. The aim of the analysis is to develop a mathematical relationship that can estimate the crack propagation, fatigue and fracture life of material with reliability. 

2-    Modeling damage by using dynamic response in complex geometrical structures.  Sponsored by Cummins UK

Cummins UK is a specialist in making battery packs for electric vehicles. However, the damage in these battery packs is still an issue to diagnose due to composite shapes and complex geometries of constituent elements. Cranfield is working with Cummins to establish the theoretical foundation which can allow an analysis of the dynamic response available in a multicomponent complex geometrical structure under normal working conditions.

3-     Sub-surface damage quantification. Sponsored by PTDF Nigeria and Libyan Govt

This work focuses on the damage quantification of critical soil-embedded structures. Ultrasonic damage detection methodology is currently being proposed. A model is under development which can allow using the guided wave formulation with a reduced reflection factor and reliable prediction.

4-     Condition monitoring of misaligned gear systems via vibration and acoustics measurement techniques.  Sponsored by PTDF Nigeria and Govt of KSA.

The scope of this project is to investigate the behaviour of gear failures under shafts' misaligned loads. Specifically focuses on fatigue failure of gears and its effects on vibration and acoustic spectrum.

5-    Surface wear prediction with airborne noise.  Sponsored by Libyan Govt

The scope of this project is to model the interdependencies between surface wear of mechanical contacts with its inevitable generated noise. The research is currently being investigated on the mentioned interdependencies at the aspherical level of mechanical contacts in dry and lubrication conditions.

6-     Model the material damage parameters with pipe-line leakage rate (Sponsored by Libyan Govt)

The scope of this project is to investigate the key damage mechanisms of metallic pipelines and their relationship with leakage initiation and rate. This research will model the leakage rate with environmental-assisted damage parameters as an input. 

List of selected research projects (completed):

7. 3D printed polymeric materials for making self-cleaning fabrics (Jan 2018 – Sep 2022) (PhD sponsorship by Govt. of Saudi Arabia) Two doctoral students completed their PhDs in developing self-cleaning fabrics interfacing with traditional textile fabrics.

8.  Logistics Technology Investigation (March 2020 – March 2022) (Sponsored by DSTL)

This project was led by Atkins and sponsored by DSTL, while Cranfield acted as the academic lead. Being academic lead, Cranfield was responsible for technical support in WP-5 which related to Maintenance and Repair practices in MOD. 

9.  Intelligent Condition Monitoring (Jan 2018 – May 2018) (Sponsored by MOD/Atkins)

Developing a method of assessing suitable HUMS technologies and techniques for Land Equipment systems and sub-systems by defining suitability criteria.

10. Design and Development luggage prototype based thermoplastic composites (Jan 2018 –Sept 2018) (Sponsored by EU)

Develop the methodology for making a luggage prototype from thermoplastic composites by using a conventional manufacturing process. A numerical study is also being performed for characterizing the impact and buckling resistance of the prototype.

11. Development of empirical correlation between noise and wear phenomenon (March 2014 – April 2016) (PG/UG students research thesis work) Funding Agency: Department of Engineering Sciences, NUST-PNEC, Pakistan 

12. Wear debris analysis-based condition monitoring kit (Jan 2013-April  2014) Funding Agency: Ministry of Defense Productions, Pakistan 

13. Design and development of a low-cost torsion loading mechanism for a gear test rig (Sep 2011-May 2012) Partially funded by the National University of Science and Technology, PNEC Campus, Pakistan 

14. Design and simulation of a hydraulic system for a 6-degree motion platform. (Jan 2012 – Dec 2012) Proposed Agency: National Development Complex (NDC), Islamabad, Pakistan.

15. Dynamic test facility. (Jan 2011 –July 2011) Funding Agency: Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Perak, Malaysia. 

16. Gear root fatigue failure with misalignment loads. (April  2009 –Jan 2011) Funding Agency: QinetiQ and Ministry of Defense UK. 

17. Automation of wear debris analysis for machine health diagnosis. (Jan  2006 –Nov 2008) Sponsored Agency (for PhD research): NUST

Research Activities as a ‘Research Engineer’ at Technology Promotion International Ltd (July 2002 – Nov 2005)

18. Assembly to a fault, and fault to parts mapping of Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). Funding Agency: General Dynamics

19. Prototype of Real-Time Fault and Usage Data Monitoring of EFV and Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). Funding Agency: General Dynamics

20. Design and development of an innovative next-generation infant car seat-cum-carrier; considering the aspects of human factor engineering as per NHSTA Safety Rules. 

21. Modeling and simulation for three patented locks with three accused locks mechanisms. Conducted a motion-time study to prove the infringement. 

22. Airborne telemetry receiver system framework by using Matlab and Simulink. Funding Agency: Malibu Research


General Dynamics







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Conference Papers