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Research Area: Fluids

In aerospace, fluids research is the study of flow physics, with an emphasis on the fundamentals of turbulence, as well as applications in aerodynamics, propulsion, and energy

At UW, students study aerodynamic performance first-hand by testing scaled models in our historic Kirsten Wind Tunnel, while researchers address current topics such as ice accretion and its effect on aircraft stability and control, aeroelasticity and aeroservoelasticity; the development and use of numerical methods and algorithms combined with high-performance computing for simulations of aerodynamic and single/multi-phase turbulent flows; the development of new and advanced quantitative experimental flow imaging techniques such as three-dimensional particle tracking velocimetry (3D-PTV) for experimental investigations of turbulence, aerodynamics, reacting and multiphase flows, and cardiovascular flows; detonation-wave engines; relaminarization using stationary vortices; and the effect of Mach number on the turbulent boundary layer.

Fluids research also extends into the realm of combustion and propulsion. Here at UW, we are advancing engine technology by looking at how detonation-based propulsion systems increase cycle efficiency. The combustion and evaporation condensation characteristics of cryogenic propellants are examples of other current research topics relevant to space propulsion systems. The high enthalpy steam facility is used for the study of chemical reactions in supersonic flows and testing of hypersonic thermal protection systems. In our Aerospace & Engineering Research Building, a scalable hypervelocity launcher, the ram accelerator, is under development for direct launch to space and industrial hypervelocity impact applications. This facility is also used for small scale rocket firing tests in support of student aerospace laboratory experiments and the Space Systems capstone design course.

Related research topics include: planetary in situ resource utilization (ISRU) and advanced space propulsion. 


Fluids Faculty

Research Topics

  • Aeroacoustics - Kurosaka
  • Aerodynamics - Bragg, Breidenthal, Dabiri, Kurosaka
  • Bluff-Body/Two-Phase Flows - Breidenthal
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics - Ferrante
  • Combustion - Hermanson, Knowlen
  • Energy Conversion - Bruckner, Hermanson, Knowlen
  • Flight Mechanics - Bragg, Breidenthal
  • Fluid and Gas Dynamics - Breidenthal, Bruckner, Dabiri, Ferrante, Hermanson, Knowlen, Kurosaka
  • Fluid Mechanics - Dabiri, Ferrante, Williams
  • Heat Transfer - Hermanson, Knowlen, Kurosaka
  • High-Performance Computing - Ferrante
  • Hypersonics - Williams
  • Microgravity Science - Hermanson
  • Multiphase flows - Ferrante, Hermanson
  • Propulsion - Bruckner, Hermanson, Knowlen, Kurosaka
  • Space Systems - Bruckner, Hermanson, Knowlen
  • Stratified Atmosphere - Williams
  • Turbulence - Breidenthal, Dabiri, Ferrante, Kurosaka, Williams