University of Auckland
Mark has spent most of his career breaking things (sometimes, although not always, deliberately), and then trying to work out how stop them breaking. This includes laboratory testing of materials and structures, computer simulation of product performance, and in-field measurements of sporting equipment from America's Cup boats to bicycles and rowing skiffs. This includes roles in a government research institute, as a private sector consultant, and in universities in Europe and NZ.
His research interests are mainly related to advanced materials and light-weight structures, particularly fibre reinforced composites. This includes understanding how high-performance structures deform, why and how they fail, and how they interact with their environment and users. His research students have gone on to careers designing sports equipment ranging from America's Cup yachts through to sports shoes and apparel. He is also involved in competing, coaching and administration in endurance sports, particularly distance running.
Sport Performance Statement:
Light-weight materials and structures are integral to many high performance sports. To achieve optimal performance it is crucial to understand how they should behave to maximise performance, how they can be designed and manufactured to achieve this, and how to validate that they deliver the desired performance.
The Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at the University of Auckland undertakes fundamental and applied research on materials, manufacturing processes and performance characterisation. This includes new synthetic and bio-based material combinations, manufacturing processes that enhance quality and reduce cost, and techniques to optimise and validate product performance. The expertise and facilities developed through this research can and have been used to develop sports equipment that is light, reliable and cost effective, and that is tailored to the athlete's needs.