Flow Control and Turbulence Group
Undertaking activities in the traditional areas of aeronautics and flow control as well as emerging disciplines such as bio-fluid mechanics, energy harvesting, renewable energy, micro-fluidics and, bio-mimetics.
Our Research Centre comprises staff with experience of industrial research and application as well as more fundamental research. As well as having consolidated expertise in aerodynamic design, numerical simulation and newly-developed experimental rigs, a significant range of experimental techniques such as three-dimensional Laser-Doppler Velocimetry, volumetric Particle Image Velocimetry, Hot Wire Anemometry, Infrared Thermography and fast-response pressure measurements also exist. These capabilities are exploited within a unique range of wind tunnels, available within the School, and include high speed and low-turbulence wind tunnels, an environmental tunnel together with a water channel.
The Centre's in-house software capabilities are able to address direct numerical simulation; large eddy simulation and Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes’ formulations for both compressible and incompressible flows, as well as having a capability to develop parallel implementation. Our proprietary software comprises parallel, state of the art numerical codes able to deal with high fidelity simulations of highly complex configurations, both in terms of numerical algorithms and of advanced modelling solutions.
The Centre has a network of national and international collaborations over a wide range of engineering sectors and European research projects. At present the focus of the research activities share the common challenge relating to the development of small-scale devices to enable large-scale flow field manipulation directed towards the achievement of technological improvements. For example, our current studies include:
- Improving aerodynamic performance in turbo-machinery by carefully adding roughness or small-scale devices to introduce flow advantage. Additionally, we are also examining the design of ejection orifices of coolant from blades to achieve new forms of control of the generated wakes and shock positioning.
- Flow control strategies for laminar wings flows. Delaying laminar to turbulent transition in a fully 3D boundary layer imply significant decreases of drag with a view to more completely understand the transition mechanisms and propose either passive or active flow control strategies.
- The reduction of noise emissions of high lift configurations using meso and micro nature-inspired geometrical modifications such as undulated leading edge (whales flippers), riblets and trailing edge serrations (birds feathers).
- Fluid-structure interaction for the purpose of scavenging energy from turbulent air and water streams which requires devising flexible devices which resonate with the induced large-scale instabilities and, thereby, would be able to generate electric energy via the piezoelectric effect.
Understanding the intrinsic physical phenomena of these issues may lead to a benefit for more general engineering systems and pave the way towards technology that may reflect in the reduction of stratospheric emission of greenhouse gases by aircraft; increased efficiency and power density of renewable energy conversion devices, including opportunities for infinite-endurance embedded health monitors; and flood alleviation using natural mechanisms.