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The Thornton Science Park campus was home to Shell UK’s exploration and research centre since the Second World War. Its establishment as the base for the Faculty of Science and Engineering in the University of Chester allows its legacy to continue to influence world leading innovation and research in the North West.

Students benefit from world-class laboratories furbished with modern, cutting edge equipment and have the opportunity to undertake work experience with industrial and commercial partners, some of which are based on the Thornton Science Park. 

For a tour of the Department of Mechanical Engineering facilities and the Thornton Science Park please contact Dr. Paul Folan, Programme Leader for Mechanical Engineering ( Alternatively, please take a look at our Open Days.

Mechanical Workshops

Our Mechanical Workshops have recently been refurbished and are home to our XYZ manual milling machines and lathes. Our Mechanical Workshops are also home to our XYZ CNC machines, hot processing facility (e.g. welding and casting), turbocharger and electric supercharger test rigs, and facilities to enable our engineers to participate in the Formula Student competition.

The Mechanical Workshop at Thornton

Materials Preparation Laboratory

Our Materials Preparation Laboratory enables students to prepare samples ready for testing and characterisation. This includes equipment for cutting, sectioning, mounting (hot and cold), shot blasting, polishing, chemical etching and high temperature sample preparation.

The Materials Preparation Laboratory at Thornton

Materials Testing Laboratory

The Materials Testing Laboratory enables students to carry out experiments such as tensile testing, compression testing, three point bend testing, peel testing and hardness testing.

The Materials Testing Laboratory at Thornton

Physical Science and Engineering Laboratory

The Physical Science and Engineering Laboratory is the designated home for students to undertake their laboratories for first and second year statics, mechanics and dynamics. As a result, students, as part of their degree course, will undertake experiments such as flywheel technology, beam reactions, pulleys and lifting devices, buckling, beam deflections, principle of moments and centre of gravity.

The Physical Science and Engineering Laboratory at Thornton

The Design Suite

Newly developed, the Design Suite is a user-friendly project engineering space that enables all students to develop and hone their design skills, so that efficient engineering solutions made be conceptualised, prototyped, and manufactured. A wide range of teaching-, research- and project-related resources are available to allow students to complete projects across their degrees, and include: CAD/CAM software and a range of associated CAE tools on dedicated PCs, 3D printers for prototype and manufacture (Formlabs SLA and Cube Pro), Epilog Zing laser engraver to aid prototyping, electronics design optimization equipment (including multimeters and oscilloscopes), and workbenches and tools to support the project build.

Fundamental, Applied and Industrial Laser Engineering Laboratories

The Department of Mechanical Engineering is also home to the University of Chester Laser Laboratory, which utilises a range of laser types for materials processing. Students in their 3rd year and 4th year have the opportunity to learn how to use this equipment, in addition to gaining an invaluable insight into how lasers are used to enrich industrial research and development.

The Fundamental, Applied and Industrial Engineering Laboratories at Thornton

Learning and leisure facilities

Outside of the classroom, Thornton Science Park has dedicated facilities for its students including the Sutton library and on-site sports provision with a gym and all-weather pitch.