Dr Simon Hayes

MRAeS, CEng, PhD, MEd, BEng

Multidisciplinary Engineering Education

Lecturer in Aerospace Materials

Director of Aerospace Engineering

Dr Simon Hayes
+44 114 222 5516

Full contact details

Dr Simon Hayes
Multidisciplinary Engineering Education
The Diamond
32 Leavygreave Road
S3 7RD

I graduated from Surrey University with a Materials technology degree, specialising in polymers and composites. I then moved to Brunel University to complete my PhD in smart composites and was the first person to demonstrate optical self-sensing using the reinforcing fibres to monitor damage level in composite structures.

Having completed my PhD, I moved to the University of Sheffield, initially as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, studying adhesion in composites, and then as a lecturer in aerospace materials, where I continued to work on self-sensing systems and also developed and patented self-healing technologies. I went on to develop systems for the direct electric cure of composites, reducing the power requirement for the manufacture of composite parts by a factor of 10. 

Recently I have been involved in the MASTRO programme, funded by the EU through Horizon 2020, which looked to use nanotechnology to improve the efficiency of materials used in transport and infrastructure (https://www.mastro-h2020.eu/). In this programme, I supervised a team that created a wing leading edge section incorporating direct electric processes for cure and de-icing, and also incorporated self-sensing capabilities for damage detection.

Throughout my career, I have been associated with the Aerospace Engineering course, which is a multidisciplinary course delivered by 5 partner departments. I have also been a passionate advocate of practical learning via projects and design studies. Due to this interest, in 2014, I moved to the Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering Education as a specialist in Aerospace Engineering, leading the flight simulation and propulsion facility, as well as teaching materials and mechanics and leading the group design project in which students design and manufacture their own aircraft. I also continue to teach design and manufacture of composites for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

I have held various administrative positions in the Aerospace Engineering degree programme, most recently being appointed as Director, overseeing the future development of the programme. One of my aims is to make design, manufacture and test elements fundamental to the programme.

  • MRAeS
  • CEng
  • PhD, MEd, BEng
  • Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence 2021 (HEA)
Research interests

Since joining the Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering Education, I have maintained a small research group studying various aspects of composite materials. My current PhD student is studying electrical cure and sensing in composite materials, and I have a knowledge transfer partnership with Trulife, researching the design and manufacture of improved ankle-foot orthotic devices. Recently I have also worked on bio-composites researching both new resin systems with plant-based substituents, and improvement of natural fibre adhesion to phenolics via surface modification.

Teaching interests

I have a broad range of teaching interests and a passion for practical engineering education (One reason that I was on the organising committee of a conference with that name (https://sites.google.com/sheffield.ac.uk/pee/home)). In my role as Director of Aerospace Engineering I want to make this a fundamental part of the course at all levels, and to that end have introduced group design projects in  years 1, 2 and 3 of the course.

I have also actively developed the aerospace engineering labs for Diamond Engineering, where I have worked with companies to develop a facility with state-of -the-art equipment for design and testing of aircrafts, and facilities that allow students to learn to operate them, be they UAVs or full-sized aircraft. The propulsion testing facilities are also constantly developing, with active projects to further develop testing systems for jet propulsion, internal combustion engines and rocket motors, as well as a longer-term desire to introduce electrical drive systems and battery power testing.

My interest in practical application of engineering knowledge has also led to me supporting several co-curricular groups at the university, notably:

  • Project Phoenix, which is building a Pietenpol Air Camper 2-seat 1920’s aircraft
  • Project Hex and Volaticus which are developing UAVs for entry in to national and international competitions.
  • Projects including SunrIde, SunSat, Sheffield Eco Motorsports and Project Falcon where he acts as a materials and manufacturing advisor.
Teaching activities

I teach design in Materials and design aerospace engineering:

  • I leave a module in which students design, build and test an aircraft to a given specification (AER302/AER6000)
  • I lecture 2nd year students on Selection and Processing of Aerospace Materials (MAT2730)
  • I lecture 4th year and MSc students on Design and Manufacture of Composites (AER476/MAT6104

I also develop and lead labs which focus on jet propulsion, and am developing a commercial laboratory test bench for gas turbine engines, along with Turbine Solutions, a local company. The jet engine test cell in which it sits allows students to explore first hand how engines operate, and also allows them to take measurements to explore the thermodynamics of the engine.

I manage the Aerospace teaching labs where I have 10 flight simulators on which students can test aircraft they have designed, learn to operate aircraft using conventional control systems and learn to fly drones in remote and FPV modes. In the lab, I also have netted areas in which students can test UAVs and learn to operate them in a safe environment.