Dr. Donald Law

Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor

School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Automotive Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing

Email: don.law@coventry.ac.uk  
LinkedIn Profile


Throughout my career I have always focused on (1) my research, (2) lecturing and teaching and (3) my management/administration duties as key activities. 

My career is unique in that I have successfully held senior roles in both industry and academic worlds around the globe in research and development (R&D) and teaching environments.

In the UK, I built academic contacts and collaborators with - Liverpool, Loughborough, Brunel, Birmingham and Cambridge. My scientific industry covers - Johnson-Matthey (UK) (chemicals and materials), ICI (UK) (chemicals and polymers), Engineering covers - Lotus (advanced engines and powertrain, UK), Ford Motor Company (advanced powertrain, UK). In New Zealand, Unitec Institute of Technology and Massey University (College of Sciences and School of Engineering and Advanced Technologies).

In science - I have considerable expertise with chemistry, physical chemistry, advanced materials, heterogeneous catalysis, surface and nano-science, the behaviour of single crystal surfaces, gas phase reactions (selectivity, activity and conversion), chemical engineering and process production (my PhD) at ICI, University of Liverpool and Johnson-Matthey. 

In engineering - I am known for my work in advanced engine combustion and powertrain systems (Lotus, Ford) coupled with heterogeneous catalysis for emissions control. I am considered an advanced engine combustion expert (SI, CAI, HCCI, Diesel, NG) having literally developed many of the latest systems control methodologies whilst at Lotus and Ford.

In computing through modelling and simulation of complex systems and I also have expertise with Solidworks, classical mechanics, mechanics of materials and finite element analysis. I also use Matlab, Finite element analysis (FEA), WAVE and Lotus simulations regularly. I like to develop experimental simulations for analysis. In computing - I am considerably advanced with workstations, Mac power computers, Linux distributions and most Microsoft server based technologies.

  • PhD, University of Liverpool, 1991.
  • MSc, Liverpool John Moores, 1988.
Research interests
  • Member of the Royal Society of New Zealand (MRSNZ)
  • Member of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (MNZIC)
  • Member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (MSAE)
  • Formerly C.Chem, MRSC, UK
  • Paper referee  SAE
  • Preferred referee – Unitec ePress  NZ
  • Paper referee – Platinum Metals Review
  • Editor – Journal of Applied Mechanics
Recent publications and outputs
  • Allen, J., Law, D., Pitcher, G., and Williams, P. (2000) ‘A New Optically Accessed Research Engine for Advanced Fuel Spray and Combustion Analysis Using Laser Based Diagnostics’. International Symposium On Automotive. Test. and Automation (ISATA). Held 25-29 September 2000 in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Law, D. (2010) ‘CAI/HCCI Modelling and its Effects of Varying Fuel Type’. Inst. Prof. Eng – New Zealand (IPENZ).
  • Rose, C., Marsland, S., and Law, D. (2009) ‘Optimisation of the Gas Exchange System of Combustion Engines by A Genetic Algorithm’. in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Automation, Robotics and Applications, ‘ICARA’. Held 10-12 February 2009 in Wellington, New Zealand. IEEE.
  • Law, D., Kemp, D., Allen, J., Kirkpatrick, G., and Copland, T. (2001) ‘Controlled Combustion in an IC-Engine with a Fully Flexible Valve Train (FVVT)’. SAE 2001 World Congress. Held 5-8 March 2001 in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Philips, P., Law, D., Eade, D., Wirth, M., and Schamel, A. (2003) ‘Mixing Processes Between Fresh and Residual Gas In Gasoline HCCI Engines – Simulation and Multi-Cylinder Application’. Proceedings of the VDI/VW Tagung – Kraftstoffe und Antribe derZunkuft. Held December 2003 in Volksberg, France.
Areas of expertise
  • Powertrain R&D
  • Combustion control and emissions control from advanced combustion engines. 
  • Advanced combustion - computer measurement and modelling as this permits research without physical laboratories or until one can be built.
  • I have internationally recognised expertise with Spark Ignition Engine Combustion, Advanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation Systems, Alternative Fuels (including bio fuels), Advanced Pressure Charging Systems, Diesel Engine Combustion, Optical Engine Diagnostics, CAI / HCCI Engine Combustion and Hybrid Vehicle Propulsion (including mechanical and hydraulic systems)
    Fuel independent combustion (in engines) – I proved and demonstrated at Lotus that an engine in certain operation regimes can run, petrol, diesel, natural gas and bio-fuels. 
  • Catalytic and nano material interaction
  • Metal oxide (support) – catalyst interactions, preserving active sites through interface control.
  • I am ever interested in advanced materials and their applications. 


  • Automotive Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses
  • Powertrain
  • Engine Design and Train
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023