Dr Rachel Tomlinson

BEng, PhD, CEng, FIMechE

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Senior Lecturer

Year Tutor for Level 1

+44 114 222 7757

Full contact details

Dr Rachel Tomlinson
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

Rachel Tomlinson was awarded her PhD in Experimental Mechanics from the University of Sheffield in 1995 and graduated with a BEng degree in 1991 in Mechanical Engineering from the same institution. Rachel was appointed as a lecturer in 1998 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in January 2007.

Rachel is interested in experimental mechanics, full-field strain measurement, and fatigue and fracture. She works closely with industrial partners, collaborating with a diverse range of companies such as Airbus, Rolls Royce, Solvay, Pilkington Glass, Qinetic, GKN, TWI, Saudi Aramco, and Severn Trent Water, in addition to having an interest in strain measurement for medical and dental applications.

Research interests

Her research is in the area of experimental solid mechanics, primarily in the development and use of optical instruments to measure strain with expertise in Photoelasticity, Thermoelastic Stress Analysis, Digital Image Correlation, and Experimental Fracture Mechanics. She is passionate about materials and measurement!

Current research projects

  • Novel Coatings for full-field strain Measurement - with Airbus, VisEng Ltd, NPL, and Lambson Ltd
  • Full Field Damage assessment of CFRP Composites using DIC and TSA - with Solvay
  • Stress Relaxation and Residual Stress in Fast Curing Composites - with Solvay
  • Electrofusion Couplers for Thermoplastic Pipes - with TWI and Saudi Aramco
  • Modelling, Materials and Methods for needle insertion investigation in Biomechanics - with University of Leeds
  • Measurement and analysis of the properties of bone cement - with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
  • Photoelasticity for dental applications - with School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield


  • Wood G & Gibbs B (2019) Students as Partners in the Design and Practice of Engineering Education: Understanding and Enabling Development of Intellectual Abilities In Malik M, Andrews J, Clark R & Broadbent R (Ed.), Realising Ambitions: 6th Annual Symposium of the UK&I Engineering Education Research Network. Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gibbs B & Wood GC (2019) Reflection for Learning and Practice in Developing Engineers In Andrews J, Knowles G & Clark R (Ed.), Excellence in Engineering Education for the 21st Century: 7th Annual Symposium of the UK&I Engineering Education Research Network Coventry: Warwick Manufacturing Group. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Hartley S, Pearce W, McLeod C, Gibbs B, Connelly S, Couto J, Moreira T, Murphy J, Smith R, Staykova M & Walls J (2016) The TERRAIN tool for teaching responsible research and innovation View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gibbs BJ, Mohr A & Raman SR (2013) Which Publics? When? Exploring the policy potential of involving different publics in dialogue around science and technology RIS download Bibtex download

Theses / Dissertations

  • Gibbs BJ Understanding technoscientific citizenship in a low-carbon Scotland. RIS download Bibtex download

Dictionary/encyclopaedia entries

  • Gibbs BJ (2011) Structuration Theory. In Green Technology: An A to Z guide SAGE Publucations, Inc. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gibbs BJ (2011) Green Metrics. In Green Technology: an A to Z guide SAGE Publications, Inc. RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching activities
  • MEC302 Integrity of Materials and Components
  • MEC444 Industrial Experimental Methods for Engineering Problems
Professional activities and memberships
  • Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Executive committee member of the European Society for Experimental Mechanics
  • Member of the British Society for Strain Measurement and actively organises conferences and seminars
  • Member of the Women’s Engineering Society