The Applied Aerodynamics Group includes both academic and research staff with a wide range of skills encompassing experimental aeronautical, automotive and industrial aerodynamics. Many have international reputations in their respective fields and have been responsible for innovative advances in applied aerodynamics.

Clients and research partners

Current and recent research partners we have collaborated with:

  • Allied Insulators,
  • Cranfield Aerospace Solutions Ltd,
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL),
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC),
  • Jaguar Land Rover,
  • MBDA,
  • Mercedes Benz UK,
  • Raytheon Systems Limited,
  • Rolls-Royce,
  • Qinetiq,
  • SAIC Inc,
  • Selex.

Facilities and resources

The Group works actively with industry in a diverse range of fields and applications. Facilities and expertise are available for short- and long-term collaborative projects. Experimental facilities are supported by an extensive design and manufacturing capability.

Our experimental activity covers:

  • Aeronautical aerodynamics,
  • Automotive aerodynamics,
  • Flow control techniques,
  • High speed flows,
  • Industrial aerodynamics.

The Group operates a number of wind tunnels from low subsonic to hypersonic speeds. These include:

8x6 general purpose wind tunnel 

This facility has a 2.4 x 1.8m working section and is used for the test and development of air and ground vehicle performance. Typical recent studies have included: 

  • Advanced propeller vortex wake assessment with PIV,
  • Technologies for active drag reduction on large commercial vehicles,
  • Low Reynolds number characteristics of high altitude UAV’s.

8x4 atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel 

Designed specifically to simulate flow fields associated with atmospheric winds, the 15m upstream fetch makes it possible to generate the turbulence and shear characteristics essential for accurate simulation of the Earth’s atmospheric boundary layer. Studies include: 

  • Aircraft exhaust plume dispersion both at sub-scale in the atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel and full scale using the FAAM BAE 146 aircraft,
  • Scale modelling of complex flow regimes during chemical treatment of agricultural produce.

High speed facilities include an intermittent transonic/supersonic facility and the hypersonic gun tunnel operating at Mach 8 or 12.

Key equipment and measurements for all facilities include: 

  • Over 200 channels simultaneous pressure measurement, 
  • Six component force and moment data,
  • Hot wire anemometry,
  • Particle image velocimetry,
  • Skin friction drag measurement,
  • Flow visualisation techniques,
  • Wake and flow field measurements,
  • Tracer concentrations.

Away from the laboratory, the Group has access to the unique facilities of the National Flying Laboratory Centre for flight test studies.