Dr Charith Rathnayaka | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Charith Rathnayaka

PhD QUT, BScEng(Honours) UOM

  • Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
  • School of Science, Technology and Engineering
+61 7 5456 3148
Office location
Moreton Bay
Charith Rathnayaka

Dr Charith Rathnayaka is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Science, Technology and Engineering at University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). He is also an Adjunct Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Charith conducts his research in the areas of computational mechanics, sustainable engineering, renewable energy, food drying and physics-informed machine learning. In a broader scale, his work focuses on developing and understanding environmentally, technically and economically sustainable processes for energy, power and food, which are all critical for our civilisation as well as survival. In doing so, Charith utilises state-of-the-art computational modelling and experimental techniques with the aid of High-Performance Computing (HPC).

Charith completed his PhD at QUT, having previously completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) with first class honours. His PhD, in the field of computational mechanics, was awarded in December 2017. In recognition of excellence of his doctoral research, Charith was awarded QUT Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award (Executive Dean’s Commendation Award). During his PhD, Charith successfully developed the world’s first meshfree computational mechanics-based plant cellular drying model. Charith has been capitalising on these skills and knowledge to conduct further research into wider multidisciplinary domains related to energy, power and food.

Charith conducts his teaching in multiple sub-fields of engineering such as thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer, which are all connected to his research. In 2018, Charith was nominated for a Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award at QUT based on his highly successful teaching efforts. Charith’s body of work in the area of engineering education has also been recognised through the award of a Senior Fellowship of UK Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Interested PhD and master’s degree applicants are welcome to enquire. Potential research topics include computational mechanics of soft matter (e.g., biological cells, liquid marbles), renewable energy (especially green hydrogen), environmentally sustainable engineering, food drying and applications of machine learning in these areas.

Professional Memberships 

  • Australasian Fluid Mechanics Society (AFMS) – Member and Sub-Committee Member (Early Career Researchers’ and Higher Degree Research Students’ Sub-committee)
  • Australasian Association of Engineering Education (AAEE) - Member


  • Higher Education Academy (HEA) – Senior Fellow (SFHEA)
  • Journal of Peer Learning – Co-Editor
  • Journal of Visualised Experiments (JoVE) – Guest Editor

Professional Social Media

Research grants

Project name        Investigators Funding body    Year Focus

Optimal sizing of solar and storage for commercial buildings with EV charging infrastructure including local control algorithms and optimization for integration into a virtual power plant (vpp)

Dr Sajeeb Saha; Dr Charith Rathnayaka; and Dr Umer Izhar

$37,871 - UniSC LAUNCH


Renewable energy; Computational modelling;

Bioresorbable Metal Implants with Controlled Degradation and Long-lasting Antibacterial Performance

Associate Professor Damon Kent; Dr Tianfang Wang; Dr Hejie Li; Dr Guoying Ni; and Dr Charith Rathnayaka

$29,871 - UniSC LAUNCH


Advanced materials; Computational mechanics;

Towards Developing an Autonomous Aquaculture Monitoring and Intervention System

Dr Umer Izhar; Associate Professor Tomer Ventura; Dr Charith Rathnayaka; Dr Luke Ryan; and Professor Kenneth Ang

$29,944 - UniSC LAUNCH


Aquaculture-agriculture; Computational modelling

Research areas

  • Computational mechanics
  • Sustainable engineering
  • Renewable energy
  • Food drying
  • Physics-informed machine learning
  • Engineering education

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

Charith is open to receiving enquiries from prospective PhD, Masters or Honours students for research within his field of expertise. He is currently supervising three PhD students:

  • Small-scale green hydrogen systems for Australian agriculture-aquaculture
  • High spatial-resolution monitoring of sedimentation rate using fibre optic temperature sensors
  • A machine-learning based approach to predict microscale morphological changes of plant-food tissues during drying

Teaching areas

  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Heat Transfer

Dr Charith Rathnayaka’s specialist areas of knowledge include computational mechanics, sustainable engineering, renewable energy, food drying and engineering education.

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