Professor Mike Bradley Faculty of Engineering & Science

Professor Mike Bradley joined the University of Greenwich in 1988. He has held the post of professor of bulk and particulate technology since 2006 and director of The Wolfson Centre since 2000.  He has been responsible for the intellectual and commercial leadership of The Wolfson Centre since it was created in 1991, first as its manager, during which time the centre has grown steadily in the scope and volume of its activities to cover all aspects of the flow and handling of powders and bulk materials in the wide range of industries in which they are used.

Professor Bradley first entered the area of powders by undertaking a PhD in the design of industrial pneumatic conveying systems between 1985 and 1990; before this he worked in control system dynamics in the flight automation research laboratory of GEC Avionics. 

The crossover of instrumentation with powder handling and processing is one influence in his research, leading to novel methods of measurement of powder behaviour.  These include a new method for characterising the pneumatic conveying properties of powders, development of a suite of instruments for measuring the tendencies of powders to suffer from particle breakage, segregation and caking in storage and transport, an instrument to allow non-experts to measure the flow properties of powders, and an instrument that can detect bi-polar charge on powders.

He has looked at many other aspects of powder flow and behaviour, including hopper and silo design, electrostatics effects on powders, remediation of contaminated soil, wear protection for solids handling plants, and many other topics to do with improving the practical engineering of solids handling and processing operations.

Professor Bradley’s research has been supported by a number of grants from EPSRC , DEFRA , Oil Industry Technology Fund, British Coal Utilisation Research Association , DTI , Leverhulme. Most of his grants come from from industry, with over £2 million in cash in last 10 years, resulting in completion of 16 PhD students since 1997.

These and other research outputs have been exploited or embedded by many blue-chip companies and SMEs around the world.  Some of this has been through sale of instruments, for example, his powder flowability tester (marketed by Brookfield Viscometers) has been sold around the world, and in three years since launch has become the most popular instrument world-wide for measuring the shear properties of powders, with around 200 now in use.  Other companies have embedded the research by funding further projects to use the instruments, methods and facilities developed by Professor Bradley to research their powders and bulk solids, and improve their powder processing operations. Since 2008, more than 170 different companies have funded over 300 projects of varying sizes at The Wolfson Centre, to exploit and build on the research outputs. 

Professor Bradley’s work has touched almost every manufacturing industry, being embedded via funded projects in companies in diverse fields from mining, minerals and power generation to  powder metallurgy, food, chemicals, plastics , pharmaceuticals and many other sectors, as well as many companies who construct solids processing facilities.  He has also undertaken many expert witness assignments on litigation cases over cargo damage, equipment performance etc.

High profile appointments in advanced professional practice include membership of the design team responsible for the Drax Eco-Store project, a £90M conversion of the UK's largest coal fired power station to renewable fuel  for Shepherd Construction. 

Professor Bradley’s work has been recognised by various prizes including the Innovation in Bulk Solids Handling Prize of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Bulk Materials Handling Award of the same institution  in 2013 for services to the bulk solids handling community.  Other accolades have included shortlisting for the Times Higher Education award for Research Project of the Year  in2010 and IChemE Innovation Award in 2010.

Other appointments include fellowship of the Materials Handling Engineers Association, chairmanship of the Technical Committee and also membership of council of the Solids Handling and Processing Association (the official trade body for the solids handling equipment industry), member of the Bulk Materials Handling Committee of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the European Federation of Chemical Engineers Working Party on the mechanics of particulate solids, the Particulate Engineering Committee of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and the international scientific council of the triennial international conference on conveying and handling of particulate solids.

He was the co-organiser of the Indian 'Bulk Solids Handling Conference' (IMechE, 2011 and 2014), and organiser of many learned seminars on behalf of IMechE.  He is a member of various editorial boards including the prestigious Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and a founder member of the ISO Standardisation Committee TC 238 / WG4 / TG1 Safety Standards for Solid Biofuels.