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Dr Sungwoo Lim

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Professional biography

Dr Sungwoo Lim is a Research Fellow in Space Sciences in the Space Instrumentation Group at The Open University. Initially, he joined the Open University as a lecturer (Research Investment Fellow) in the School of Engineering and Innovation, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in March 2013, then he moved to the School of Physical Sciences. Prior to the current position, he was an architectural designer in South Korea and worked at Brunel University, the University of Strathclyde and Loughborough University as a post-doctoral researcher for ten years. He completed a doctorate in artificial intelligence in design at the University of Strathclyde in 2002 and received BEng and MSc degrees in architectural engineering and design at Kon-Kuk University in South Korea.

He is is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a Chair of the Construction Subcommittee of the Space Architecture Technical Committee (SATC) in AIAA, and a UK node member of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) at NASA AMES. He is an EPSRC peer reviewer, and a reviewer for the following journals: Additive Manufacturing, Information Technology in Construction, Automation in Construction, Advances in Space Research, and Computer-Aided Design. Dr Lim is also a Vice President of the Korean Scientists and Engineers Association in the UK (KSEAUK), a programme committee member of European-Korean Conference (EKC), and a member of the Korean-Technology Advisory Group (K-TAG) in Europe, where he regularly exchanges research ideas, and continues to seek potential collaborations with academics and industry experts from the fields of Aerospace, Materials, Mechatronics, Electronics and Design Innovation in Korea. This broad networking spectrum enables him to understand the relationships between the different disciplines, and to identify new opportunities in the wider field.

Research interests

Dr Lim's research experiences are principally multidisciplinary researches in the digital innovation and built environment field including Space Architecture, Additive Manufacturing (AM) in Construction, Shape Grammars, Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Design, Generative Design, Online sketch recognition, Computer-aided Architectural Design (CAAD), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Design Management (DM). Through his experience, he has gained a sound knowledge of architecture, construction, engineering design, design management, computer science and manufacturing. This experience enables him to understand the relationships between the different disciplines, and to identify new opportunities in the broader field, and act as an intermediary between different disciplines.  

His current research focuses on Space Architecture with ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilisation) derived Class III structures and cultural styles in design with a generative design. Previously, he was involved in a number of research projects, and secured research grants as below:  

Research projects:

Research grants:

  • Technologies of Posthuman Resilience in Major Emergency (PRiME) - Preparation of H2020 bids, £25,000, Collaborative Research Sandpit (CSR), The Open University, February 2016
  • Space Architecture technology - Proof of concept study, £18,350, Multidisciplinary Research Fund (MRF), The Open University, UK, Mar 2014
  • 3D Concrete Printing - Creating a prototype commercial process, £178,490, Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA), UK, Oct 2011
  • Visual Exploration of Cultural Style in Design (VECSiD), approx. £58,000 (100M Korean Won), KAIST, South Korea, Nov 2008
  • Joint Research Equipment Initiative (JREI'98), £7,500, HEFCE (EPSRC), UK, 1998

Teaching interests

PhD Supervision:

  • Yachen Jiang: Investigation of microwave sintering as a potential fabrication method of additive manufacturing technologies for extra-terrestrial construction processes (1st October 2018 - )
  • Chris Spedding: Nuclear energy as a power source of an extra-terrestrial construction process (1st October 2017 - )
  • Vibha Vibha: Title - Investigation of extra-terrestrial construction Processes using Additive manufacturing Techniques (ImPAcT) (1st October 2015 - )

Teaching module:

  • T212 / T312 module production member
  • T212 (Electronics: Sensing, Logic and Actuators) Block 4 Lead
  • A tutor of Energy Conversion module in the Residential School 

Externally funded projects

Microwave Heating Demonstrator (MHD)
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead16 Dec 201931 Mar 2020UKSA UK Space Agency

Sustainable, affordable exploration of the solar system cannot rely solely on Earth’s resources and must use materials obtained and processed locally. The current road maps of international space agencies envisage a long-term presence on the Moon by 2028. Central to this is the development of In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) to offset the need to transport all materials from Earth. For an extended stay on the Moon, humans will require habitation with substantial shielding for protection from radiation and micrometeorites. Lunar regolith (soil) is a readily available in-situ resource which could be thermally treated to build structures using additive manufacturing techniques by robots. Proof of concept experiments have demonstrated that microwaves couple efficiently with lunar regolith, hence microwaves could be an efficient mechanism to sinter/melt lunar regolith to build 3D structures and enable the extraction of volatiles. MARVEL (Microwave heating Apparatus of lunar Regolith for Variant Experiments of Lunar ISRU) aims to establish the foundation to develop a Microwave Heating Demonstrator (MHD) for ISRU experimentation on a future lunar mission. This will be achieved by formulating a conceptual design and initiating UK-based collaboration between academia and industry, with the goal of enabling UK leadership and design of an MHD payload on future missions to the Moon, such as ESA’s demonstrator mission ‘HERACLES’ or NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program, and indigenously developed flight hardware.


Energy requirements of a thermally processed ISRU radiation shield for a lunar habitat (2020)
Spedding, Christopher P.; Nuttall, William J. and Lim, Sungwoo
Advances in Space Research ((Early Access))

Numerical modelling of the microwave heating behaviour of lunar regolith (2019-12)
Lim, Sungwoo and Anand, Mahesh
Planetary And Space Science, 179, Article 104723

Extra-terrestrial construction processes - advancements, opportunities and challenges (2017-10-01)
Lim, Sungwoo; Levin Prabhu, Vibha; Anand, Mahesh and Taylor, Lawrence
Advances in Space Research, 60(7) (pp. 1413-1429)

Modelling curved-layered printing paths for fabricating large-scale construction components (2016-10)
Lim, Sungwoo; Buswell, Richard A.; Valentine, Philip J.; Piker, Daniel; Austin, Simon A. and De Kestelier, Xavier
Additive Manufacturing, 12(B) (pp. 216-230)

Microwave processing of lunar soil for supporting longer-term surface exploration on the Moon (2016-08)
Srivastava, Vibha; Lim, Sungwoo and Anand, Mahesh
Space Policy, 37(2) (pp. 92-96)

A formal approach to the study of the evolution and commonality of patterns (2013)
Lee, Ji-Hyun; Park, Hyoung-June; Lim, Sungwoo and Kim, Sun-Joong
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 40(1) (pp. 23-42)

Hardened properties for high-performance printing concrete (2012-03)
Le, T. T.; Austin, S. A.; Lim, S.; Buswell, R. A.; Law, R.; Gibb, A. G. F. and Thorpe, T.
Cement and Concrete Research Journal, 42(3) (pp. 558-566)

Supporting design: national business support programmes in the UK and South Korea (2012-03)
Choi, Youngok; Lim, Sungwoo and Evans, Martyn
Design Journal, 15(1) (pp. 79-104)

Developments in construction-scale additive manufacturing processes (2012-01-01)
Lim, S.; Buswell, R. A.; Le, T. T.; Austin, S. A.; Gibb, A. G. F. and Thorpe, T.
Automation in Construction, 21(1) (pp. 262-268)

Mix design and fresh properties for high-performance printing concrete (2012)
Le, T. T.; Austin, S. A.; Lim, S.; Buswell, R. A.; Gibb, A. G. F. and Thorpe, A.
RILEM Materials & Structures, 45(8) (pp. 1221-1232)

The relationship between national policy support programmes in the UK and South Korea 1940s – 2000s (2011)
Choi, Youngok; Cooper, Rachel; Lim, Sungwoo and Evans, Martyn
Design Issues, 27(1) (pp. 70-82)

National support for design, the development of propositional models (2010-10)
Choi, Youngok; Cooper, Rachel; Lim, Sungwoo and Evans, Martyn
Design Management Review, 21(4) (pp. 60-69)

Transforming shape in design: observations from studies of sketching (2009-09)
Prats, Miquel; Lim, Sungwoo; Jowers, Iestyn; Garner, Steve W. and Chase, Scott
Design Studies, 30(5) (pp. 503-520)

Shape exploration in design: formalising and supporting a transformational process (2008)
Lim, Sungwoo; Prats, Miquel; Jowers, Iestyn; Chase, Scott; Garner, Steven and McKay, Alison
International Journal of Architectural Computing (IJAC), 6(4) (pp. 415-433)

A novel desktop computer-aided design system for early form design developments (2007)
Prieto, P. A.; Wright, D. K.; Qin, S. F. and Lim, S. W.
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B, Journal of Engineering Manufacture, 221(7) (pp. 277-288)

A study of sketching behaviour to support free-form surface modelling from on-line sketching (2004-07)
Lim, S.; Qin, S. F.; Prieto, P.; Wright, D. and Shackleton, J.
Design studies, 25(4) (pp. 393-413)

Incremental modelling of ambiguous geometric ideas (I-MAGI) (2001-04)
Lim, S.; Lee, B. S. and Duffy, A. H. B.
International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Engineering, 15(2) (pp. 93-108)

Design synthesis and shape generation (2010-01)
McKay, Alison; Chase, Scott; Garner, Steven; Jowers, Iestyn; Prats, Miquel; Hogg, David; Chau, Hau Hing; de Pennington, Alan; Earl, Christopher and Lim, Sungwoo
In: Inns, Tom ed. Designing for the 21st Century (pp. 304-321)
ISBN : 978-1-4094-0240-4 | Publisher : Ashgate Publishing Ltd

Understanding of microwave heating behaviour of lunar regolith and simulants (2019-07-17)
Lim, Sungwoo; Morse, Andrew; Anand, Mahesh and Holland, Andrew
In : Lunar ISRU 2019 Workshop (15-17 Jul 2019, Columbia, MD)

Mass Spectrometers for In-Situ Resource Utilisation (2019-07-16)
Morse, A. D.; Abernethy, F.; Barber, S. J.; Lim, S.; Sargeant, H.; Sheridan, S. and Wright, I. P.
In : Lunar ISRU 2019 (15-17 Jul 2019, Columbia, Maryland, United States)

Microwave heating experiment of lunar simulant (JSC-1A) using a bespoke industrial microwave apparatus (2019-05-23)
Lim, Sungwoo; Jiang, Yachen; Morse, Andrew; Anand, Mahesh; Bowen, James and Holland, Andrew
In : European Lunar Symposium (ELS) 2019 (21-23 May 2019, Manchester, United Kingdom)

Lunar Drilling – Challenges and Opportunities (2018-09-24)
Sawaryn, S. J.; Bustin, P.; Cain, M.; Crawford, I.; Lim, S.; Linossier, A. and Smith, D.
In : Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (24-26 Sep 2018, Dallas, Texas, USA)

Numerical modelling of microwave sintering of lunar simulants under near lunar atmospheric condition (2018-05-14)
Lim, S.; Levin Prabhu, V.; Anand, M.; Bowen, J.; Morse, A. and Holland, A.
In : European Lunar Symposium (ELS) 2018 (13-16 May 2018, Toulouse, France)

Microwave Heating of Lunar Simulants JSC-1A and NU-LHT-3M: Experimental And Theoretical Analysis (2018-05-14)
Prabhu, V. L.; Lim, S.; Bowen, J.; Cowley, A.; Katrib, J.; Dodds, C. and Anand, M.
In : European Lunar Symposium (ELS) (13-16 May 2018, Toulouse, France)

Automated Additive Construction (AAC) for Earth and Space Using In-situ Resources (2016-04-11)
Mueller, Robert P.; Howe, Scott; Kochmann, Dennis; Ali, Hisham; Andersen, Christian; Burgoyne, Hayden; Chambers, Wesley; Clinton, Raymond; De Kestellier, Xavier; Ebelt, Keye; Gerner, Shai; Hofmann, Douglas; Hogstrom, Kristina; Ilves, Erika; Jerves, Alex; Keenan, Ryan; Keravala, Jim; Khoshnevis, Behrokh; Lim, Sungwoo; Metzger, Philip; Meza, Lucas; Nakamura, Takashi; Nelson, Andrew; Partridge, Harry; Pettit, Donald; Pyle, Rod; Reiners, Eric; Shapiro, Andrew; Singer, Russell; Tan, Wei-Lin; Vazquez, Noel; Wilcox, Brian and Zelhofer, Alex
In : Proceedings of the Fifteenth Biennial ASCE Aerospace Division International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments (Earth & Space 2016) (11-15 Apr 2016, Orlando, Florida, USA)

3D Printing on the Moon: Challenges and Opportunities (2015-12-14)
Lim, Sungwoo; Anand, Mahesh; Cowley, Aidan; Crawford, Ian; Doule, Ondrej; Harkness, Patrick; Kanamori, Hiroshi; Maurer, Matthias; Montano, Giuseppe; Osborne, Barnaby; Patrick, Richard; Rousek, Tomas; Taylor, Lawrence and Vibha, Vibha
In : International Symposium on Moon 2020 - 2030: A new era of coordinated human and robotic exploration (15-16 Dec 2015, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)

In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) derived extra-terrestrial construction processes using sintering-based additive manufacturing techniques – focusing on a lunar surface environment (2015-05-01)
Lim, Sungwoo and Anand, Mahesh
In : European Lunar Symposium (ELS) 2015 (13-14 May 2015, Frascati, Italy)

Estimation of energy and material use of sintering-based construction for a lunar outpost - with the example of SinterHab module design (2015-03-16)
Lim, S.; Anand, M. and Rousek, T.
In : 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) (16-20 Mar 2015, The Woodlands, Texas, USA)

Space Architecture technology for settlement and exploration on other planetary bodies – In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) based structures on the Moon (2014-07-23)
Lim, Sungwoo and Anand, Mahesh
In : EU-Korea Conference on Science and Technology (EKC 2014) (23-25 Jul 2014, Vienna, Austria)

Water in and on the Moon: recent discoveries and future prospects (2014-07-23)
Anand, Mahesh and Lim, Sungwoo
In : EU-Korea Conference on Science and Technology (EKC )2014 (23-25 Jul 2014, Vienna, Austria)

Space Architecture for exploration and settlement on other planetary bodies – In-Situ Resource Utilisa-tion (ISRU) based structures on the Moon (2014-05-15)
Lim, Sungwoo and Anand, Mahesh
In : European Lunar Symposium 2014 (15-16 May 2014, London, UK)

High-performance printing concrete for freeform building components (2011-06-08)
Le, T. T.; Austin, S. A.; Lim, S.; Buswell, R. A.; Gibb, A. G. F. and Thorpe, A.
In : fib Symposium Prague 2011, Concrete engineering for excellence and efficiency (8-10 Jun 2011, Prague, Czech Republic)

Development of a viable concrete printing process (2011-06)
Lim, Sungwoo; Buswell, Richard; Le, Thanh; Wackrow, Rene; Austin, Simon Austin; Gibb, Alistair and Thorpe, Tony
In : 28th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction (ISARC2011) (29 Jun - 2 Jul 2011, Seoul, South Korea) (pp. 665-670)

A formal approach for the interpretation of cultural content(s): evolution of a Korean traditional pattern, bosangwhamun (2010-04-07)
Lee, Ji-Hyun; Park, Hyoung-June; Lim, Sungwoo; Kim, Sun-Joong; Jung, Haelee and Whiting, Mark
In : 15th International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia CAADRIA (7-10 Apr 2010, Hong Kong) (pp. 19-28)

Driving innovation through national business support programs in design: a study of the UK and South Korea design policy (2009-05-11)
Choi, Youngok; Cooper, Rachel and Lim, Sungwoo
In : EURAM 9th Annual Conference (11-14 May 2009, Liverpool)

Fabricating construction components using layer manufacturing technology (2009)
Lim, Sungwoo; Le, Thanh; Webster, John; Buswell, Richard; Austin, Simon; Gibb, Alistair and Thorpe, Tony
In : Global Innovation in Construction Conference 2009 (GICC’09) (13-16 Sep 2009, Loughborough University)

Categorisation of designs according to preference values for shape rules (2008-06-23)
Lim, Sungwoo; Prats, Miquel; Chase, S. and Garner, Steve
In : Third International conference on Design, Computing and Cognition (DCC08) (23-25 Jun 2008, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA)

Supporting reinterpretation in computer-aided conceptual design (2008-06-11)
Jowers, I.; Prats, M.; Lim, S.; Mckay, A.; Garner, S. and Chase, S.
In : Fifth Eurographics Workshop on Sketch-Based Interfaces and Modeling (11-13 Jun 2008, Annecy, France) (pp. 151-158)

Sketching in design: formalising a transformational process (2008-04-09)
Lim, S.; Chase, S.; Garner, S. and Prats, M.
In : Computer Aided Architectural Design and Research in Asia (CAADRIA'08) (9-12 Apr 2008, Chiang Mai, Thailand) (pp. 472-478)

Describing shape transformations in design sketches (2008)
Prats, Miquel; Lim, Sungwoo and Jowers, Iestyn
In : Design Computing and Cognition DCC’08 workshop on Informing computational support for conceptual design: lessons learned from sketching studies (21 Jun 2008, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA) (pp. 5-8)

Dancing with design – a study of the national design policy and design support programmes in South Korea (2007-04-11)
Choi, Young Ok; Cooper, Rachel and Lim, Sungwoo
In : EAD (EURopean Academy of Design) 7th Design Conference: Dancing with Disorder, Discourse & Disaster (11-13 Apr 2007, Izmir, Turkey) (pp. 118-128)

3D Freeform Surfaces from Planar Sketches using Neural Networks (2006-10-03)
Khan, Usman; Terchi, Abdelaziz; Lim, Sungwoo; Wright, David and Qin, Sheng-Feng
In : Neural Information Processing, 13th International Conference, ICONIP 2006, Part II (3-6 Oct 2006, Hong Kong, China) (pp. 651-660)

Neural network model optimisation for 3D freeform surfaces from sketched curves (2006-07-10)
Khan, Usman; Terchi, Abdelaziz; Lim, Sungwoo; Wright, David and Qin, Sheng Feng
In : 6th International Conference on Recent Advances in Soft Computing (RASC 2006) (10-12 Jul 2006, Canterbury)

The influence of design on global competitiveness (2006-04-26)
Choi, Y.; Cooper, R.; Hands, D. and Lim, S.
In : EURAM (EURopean Academy of Management) 6th Annual Conference (16-20 May 2006, Oslo, Norway)

Freeform surface induction from projected planar curves via neural networks (2006-04-26)
Khan, Usman; Terchi, Abdelaziz; Lim, Sungwoo; Wright, David and Qin, Sheng-Feng
In : ESANN 2006 (26-28 Apr 2006, Bruges, Belgium)

2D Sketch based recognition of 3D freeform shapes by using the RBF Neural Network (2005)
Qin, S. F.; Sun, Guangmin; Wright, D. K.; Lim, S.; Khan, U. and Mao, C.
In : Eurographics workshop on Sketch-Based Interfaces and Modelling (28-29 Aug 2005, Trinity College Dublin) (pp. 119-126)

Intelligent computational sketching support for conceptual design (2001-08-21)
Lim, Sungwoo; Duffy, Alex H. B. and Lee, Byungsuk
In : 13th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED'01) (21-23 Aug 2001, Glasgow) (pp. 453-460)

Shape matching and clustering in design (2001-08-21)
Lim, Sungwoo; Duffy, Alex H. B. and Lee, Byungsuk
In : 13th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED'01) (21-23 Aug 2001, Glasgow) (pp. 163-170)

Supporting designer intention in sketching activities (1999)
Stevenson, David A.; Duffy, Alex H.B. and Lim, Sungwoo
In : 12th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'99 (24-26 Aug 1999, Munich)