‌‌Head of Division: Professor Muhammad Imran

The University of Glasgow has been the home of Aerospace Research for over 70 years. This long-standing activity has culminated in the Division of Autonomous Systems and Connectivity having internationally recognised expertise in all areas of Aeronautics and Aerospace, Communication, Sensing and Imaging Systems, and Devices.

Today our researchers are tackling multidisciplinary challenges, and are developing future technological capabilities to deliver uninterrupted connectivity that is interoperable between aircraft, helicopters, drones, future electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, satellites, command centres and mobile units deployed on the ground or at sea. Our interdisciplinary approach enables the provision of innovative, and integrated solutions for the region and beyond.

We support world-class testing facilities, including wind tunnels and the ESA/ESTEC Plume-Regolith Testing Facility. Our extensive simulations expertise covers the range of phenomena associated with flight, fluids, structures, materials, and research in robotics and autonomous systems is driving innovations in space and exploration, aerial, ground and underwater vehicles.

We have state of the art research facilities for lab-based and simulation-based design and evaluation of wireless communication systems and subsystems. Our campus-wide 5G testbed, funded and supported by the Scotland 5G Centre, brings together academia and industry to test, develop and deploy 5G applications and solutions. We are actively working on autonomous wireless communication systems (encompassing self-organising networks and cognitive networks) as well as developing algorithms and technolgoies for the upcoming 6th generation of mobile technology. 

These have resulted in very strong research themes that cover all the main research areas within Autonomous Systems and Connectivity while providing links to other engineering and science disciplines.

Events this week

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Past events

Aerospace Research Seminar: Turbulent reacting flows with particle formation (06 March, 2020)

Speaker: Dr. Stelios Rigopoulos

Speaker Bio: 
Dr Stelios Rigopoulos holds his first degree from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1997) and his MSc degree from UMIST (1999). He obtained his PhD from UCL (2003) and subsequently conducted postdoctoral research at Imperial College London. In 2005 he joined the University of Manchester, while in 2010 he joined again Imperial College London where he is currently Reader in Thermofluids. His research focuses on advanced theoretical and computational methods, including Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), population balance, stochastic and machine learning methods for modelling physical and engineering problems, with applications to reacting flows, aerosols, crystallisation, nanoparticle manufacturing and environmental flows. He has been awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship for conducting research in “Nanoparticle Dynamics in Turbulent Reactive Flows” and he is also the recipient of the 2007 Hinshelwood Prize awarded by the Combustion Institute, British Section.

Abstract: 
Turbulent reacting flows with particle formation appear in a wide range of contexts. One of the most familiar is the formation of soot in combustion devices, which must be mitigated due to its health impacts. Another example is the use of chemical reactions in a gas or liquid phase for the formation of a product with targeted properties. Modelling approaches that predict the properties of the particulate phase can aid in either the mitigation of the unwanted by-product or the tailoring of the product properties. The particle size distribution is the most important property, as it controls the physical and chemical properties of the product. Its prediction requires solution of the population balance equation, a complex integro-differential method that requires specialised numerical methods. In addition, fluid flow ‘sets the stage’ for the particulate phenomena by determining the distribution of precursors and particles, and turbulence exerts unique effects on the outcome. In this seminar we will review methods developed within our group for solving the population balance equation and coupling it with turbulent flow, and show applications to soot formation and crystal precipitation.

Tidal power and turbulence: Unsteady hydrodynamics in 3D (05 December, 2019)

Speaker: Dr. Amanda Smyth

Bio:
Amanda Smyth is a Research Associate at Cambridge University Engineering Department, working in the Whittle Laboratory.  She studied for a MEng in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, after which she did her PhD at Cambridge University on "Three-Dimensional Unsteady Hydrodynamics of Tidal Turbines". Her work explores the limitations of using two-dimensional strip-theory methods for calculating the unsteady hydrodynamic loading experienced by tidal turbines, which are highly three-dimensional in shape. She is also working on developing turbine blades that are resistant to unsteady and turbulent flow, in order to increase the longevity and reliability of tidal devices.

Abstract:
Tidal power has huge potential as a source of predictable renewable energy in the UK, but the harsh operating environment increases the costs of manufacture and maintenance, and reduces the reliability of the resource. This talk will focus on the damage caused to turbines by surface waves and ocean turbulence, which often leads to overloading and premature failure of tidal devices.
A number of recent studies have shown that the low-order models used by industry to predict turbine load response to turbulence and waves are not capable of reproducing experimental results, even for very simple unsteady forcing. The cause of this discrepancy is that conventional low-order models are based on 2D strip-theory, which ignore any 3D effects on the unsteady hydrodynamics. 3D effects are in fact substantial in most tidal applications; the turbines themselves are highly 3D in shape (small aspect ratios and highly tapered), and the unsteady flow fields also have significant spatial variation. In this talk we will look at the impact of both of these 3D features on the unsteady loads experienced by tidal turbines.

Aerospace Research Seminar: Tidal power and turbulence - Unsteady hydrodynamics in 3D (05 December, 2019)

Speaker: Dr. Amanda Smyth

Tidal power and turbulence: Unsteady hydrodynamics in 3D

 

Abstract:
Tidal power has huge potential as a source of predictable renewable energy in the UK, but the harsh operating environment increases the costs of manufacture and maintenance, and reduces the reliability of the resource. This talk will focus on the damage caused to turbines by surface waves and ocean turbulence, which often leads to overloading and premature failure of tidal devices.
A number of recent studies have shown that the low-order models used by industry to predict turbine load response to turbulence and waves are not capable of reproducing experimental results, even for very simple unsteady forcing. The cause of this discrepancy is that conventional low-order models are based on 2D strip-theory, which ignore any 3D effects on the unsteady hydrodynamics. 3D effects are in fact substantial in most tidal applications; the turbines themselves are highly 3D in shape (small aspect ratios and highly tapered), and the unsteady flow fields also have significant spatial variation. In this talk we will look at the impact of both of these 3D features on the unsteady loads experienced by tidal turbines.

 

 

Speaker Bio:

Amanda Smyth is a Research Associate at Cambridge University Engineering Department, working in the Whittle Laboratory.  She studied for a MEng in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, after which she did her PhD at Cambridge University on "Three-Dimensional Unsteady Hydrodynamics of Tidal Turbines". Her work explores the limitations of using two-dimensional strip-theory methods for calculating the unsteady hydrodynamic loading experienced by tidal turbines, which are highly three-dimensional in shape. She is also working on developing turbine blades that are resistant to unsteady and turbulent flow, in order to increase the longevity and reliability of tidal devices.

Effective boundary conditions for the transfer of mass and momentum at the fluid-porous interface (14 November, 2019)

Speaker: Dr. Simon Pasche

Bio: 
Simon Pasche received his M.Sc. degree and his Ph.D. in Mechanical engineering from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in 2012 and 2018, respectively. His Ph.D. thesis develops a cutting-edge technique to control hydrodynamic instabilities in hydraulic machines supervised by Prof. F. Gallaire and Prof. F. Avellan. Then, he moved to the Linné FLOW Centre as a Post- Doc researcher funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, where he works on the turbulent flow over rough surfaces in the Fluids and Surfaces Group of Prof. S. Bagheri.

Abstract: 
Superhydrophobic surfaces or streamwise aligned riblets reduce the friction drag. These surfaces show the potential of controlling surface properties to modify the overlaying flow dynamics. Generally, the characteristic length of these surfaces is small compared to the size of the flow vortices and the scale separation assumption applies. Therefore, from a macroscopic point of view of the flow, the roughness can be described as a feedback parameter from the boundary. We derive such a type of boundary condition, which includes the common Navier slip boundary condition and a transpiration condition. Both define relationships between the velocities and the velocity shears that characterize the transfer of mass and momentum of a rough wall. Focusing on turbulent channel flow, Busse & Sandhamn 2012 show the potential of the slip boundary condition to modify friction drag. It turns out that the streamwise slip velocity reduces the friction drag, while the spanwise slip increases the friction drag. However, the Navier slip boundary condition is not enough to predict the drag of turbulent flows. The transpiration velocity plays an important role for rough walls as shown by Orlandi et al. 2003, but it has only been considered recently by Gomez et al. 2018 through a transpiration length. We develop a systematic and general approach to compute slip and transpiration lengths of a textured surface. We investigate the potential of this new boundary conditions to modify the friction drag of wall-bounded flows by replacing the roughness by a smooth wall in a DNS.

Transferring aerospace expertise to the marine environment (05 November, 2019)

Speaker: Dr Anna Young

Tidal stream turbines have the potential to produce 10-20% of the UK’s electrical power and can therefore contribute greatly to the Government’s 2050 target for reducing carbon emissions. The most prominent examples so far resemble three-blade, horizontal axis wind turbines. While some full-scale prototypes have been successfully tested, uncertainty over the lifespan of turbines in the harsh marine environment means that components tend to be over-engineered and maintenance schedules over-cautious, and this drives up costs. 

Many of the methods developed over the past 100 years in the aerospace industry are of direct relevance to tidal turbine designers. The talk will describe aerospace-inspired work onmeasuring the tidal channel flow itself, on modelling the effect of unsteadiness on the turbine and on mitigating the response in order to reduce fatigue loads. Finally, work on improved design tools for tidal turbines will be discussed.

 

Bio: 

Dr Anna Young is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath. Her research uses experimental and analytical techniques to give physical understanding and to inform low-order models of unsteady flow. This is of particular importance to engineers designing new technologies where the unsteady component of the flow is substantial, e.g. tidal turbines and urban air taxis. In these cases, resolving the full unsteady flowfield using Computational Fluid Dynamics is prohibitively expensive. Using experiments to inform low-order models, however, enables accurate, low-cost design calculations.

Anna undertook her MEng and PhD degrees at the University of Cambridge. Her PhD focussed on the flow conditions leading up to stall in an aero-engine compressor. The dangers associated with stall necessitate a compromise between efficiency and safety, and this often increases fuel burn. A clearer understanding of the stalling process helps to reduce this efficiency loss. Anna’s work involved taking detailed measurements of the unsteady flowfield in the compressor, and it was through this research that she became interested in the wider understanding of unsteady flow, and in transferring expertise and techniques from aerospace into tidal turbine design.

Design of optimal and robust low-thrust trajectories for interplanetary missions (13 February, 2019)

Speaker: Dr Marilena Di Carlo

Our guest for this second event will be Dr Marilena Di Carlo from the University of Strathclyde who will give a presentation about Design of optimal and robust low-thrust trajectories for interplanetary missions. This topic is of particular interest because in recent years low-thrust propulsion has become a key technology for space exploration and its use has increased for both near-Earth and interplanetary missions. Low-thrust propulsion systems have indeed the potential to provide shorter flight times, smaller launch vehicles, and increased mass delivered to destination. The first part of the talk will introduce the computational tools developed at the University of Strathclyde to address this problem. The presentation will then focus on the design of low-thrust missions to different families of asteroids.

 

The schedule for this meeting is the following:

-          10.30 – 10.45: Space Engineering Meeting presentation and theme introduction

-          10:45 – 11:15: Guest presentation

-          11:15 – 12:00: Q&A and public discussion

Modeling Environmental Discharge of Sediment: Challenges and Development (21 May, 2018)

Speaker: Dr. Tree S.N. Chan

Sediment or particle-laden turbulent jets and plumes are commonly found in natural and engineered environments. Examples include volcanic eruptions, deep sea hydrothermal vents, discharge of partially-treated wastewater and dredge disposal operations. Predicting the transport and fate of particles in turbulent jet flows is of great interest to the geophysical, engineering and environmental communities, but with considerable challenges. In this talk, recent development on the mathematical modeling of sediment jets will be presented. For jets with dilute sediment concentration, particles have negligible effect on flow and turbulence modulation. A stochastic Lagrangian particle tracking approach is used to predict the motion of a large number of particles using the mean jet flow and turbulent fluctuations. Particle velocity fluctuations are modelled by an autocorrelation function which mimics the trapping and loitering of sediment particles in turbulent eddies. For vertical dense jets and plumes with high particle concentration, fluid flow and turbulence are modulated by the negative buoyancy of falling particles. An integral jet model approach is proposed, using a jet spreading hypothesis related to particle properties and local mean jet velocity. Predictions of these simple yet trackable models are in excellent agreement with experimental data and multiphase computational fluid dynamics modeling over a wide range of jet-plume regime, particle properties and concentrations. 

From Superhydrophobic to Super-Slippery Surfaces (09 March, 2018)

Speaker: Professor Glen McHale

On a wet day we need coats to keep dry, windscreen wipers to see and reservoirs to collect water and keep us alive. Our cars need oil to lubricate their engines, our ships need hulls that reduce drag and our planes need wings that limit ice formation. Nature has learnt to control water in a myriad of ways. The Lotus leaf cleanses itself of dust when it rains, a beetle in the desert collects drinking water from an early morning fog and some spiders walk on water. In all of these effects the unifying scientific principle is the control of the wettability of materials, often through the use of micro- and nano-scale topography to enhance the effect of surface chemistry. In this seminar I will outline recent examples of our research on smart surface-fluid interactions, including drag reduction and flow due to surface texture,1-4 interface localized liquid dielectrophoresis to create superspreading and dewetting,5-7 lubricant infused surfaces to remove pinning,8-10 and the Leidenfrost effect using turbine-like surfaces to create new types of heat engines and microfluidics.11-12

References

1.    Busse, A. et al. Change in drag, apparent slip and optimum air layer thickness for laminar flow over an idealised superhydrophobic surface. J. Fluid Mech. 727, 488–508 (2013).

2.    Brennan, J. C. et al. Flexible conformable hydrophobized surfaces for turbulent flow drag reduction. Sci. Reports 5, 10267 (2015).

3.    McHale, G. in Non-wettable Surfaces Theory, Prep. Appl. (Ras, R. & Marmur, A.) (RSC, 2016).

4.    Li, J. et al., Topological liquid diode. Science Advances 3, eaao3530 (2017).

5.    Brown, C.V. et al. Voltage-programmable liquid optical interface. Nat. Photonics 3, 403–405 (2009).

6.    McHale, G. et al. Voltage-induced spreading and superspreading of liquids. Nat. Commun. 4, 1605 (2013).

7.    Edwards, A.M.J. et al. Not spreading in reverse: The dewetting of a liquid film into a single droplet. Sci. Adv. 2, e1600183 (2016).

8.    Ruiz-Gutiérrez, É. et al., Energy invariance in capillary systems. Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, art. 218003 (2017).

9.    Guan, J.H. et al., Drop transport and positioning on lubricant-impregnated surfaces. Soft Matter 12, 3404-3410 (2017).

10. Luo, J.T. et al., Slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces and droplet transportation by surface acoustic waves. Phys. Rev. Appl. 7, 014017 (2017).

11. Wells, G. G. et al., A sublimation heat engine. Nat. Commun. 6, 6390 (2015).

12. Dodd, L.E. et al., Low friction droplet transportation on a substrate with a selective Leidenfrost effect. ACS Appl. Mater. Interf. 8 22658–22663 (2016).

Acknowledgements The financial support of the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Reece Innovation ltd is gratefully acknowledged. Many collaborators at Durham, Edinburgh, Nottingham Trent and Northumbria Universities were instrumental in the work described.

 

Biography. Glen McHale is a theoretical and experimental applied and materials physicist. At Northumbria University, he combines leading the Smart Materials & Surfaces laboratory with his role as Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering & Environment. His research considers the interaction of liquids with surfaces and has a particular focus on the use of surface texture/structure via microfabrication and materials methods, and the use of electric fields to control the wetting properties of surfaces. His work includes novel superhydrophobic surfaces, surfaces with drag reducing and slippery properties, and electrowetting/dielectrophoresis to control the wetting of surfaces. Glen has written invited “News and Views”, highlight, emerging area and review articles for a wide range of journals covering superhydrophobicity, dynamic wetting, liquid marbles and drag reduction. He has published over 170 refereed journal papers. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the RSA, a Senior Member of the IEEE, a member of the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review College, and he was a panel member for the "Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials" unit of the last UK-wide national assessment of research (REF2014). Along with colleagues at Northumbria, Nottingham Trent and Oxford Universities, he has developed a public understanding of science exhibition, "Natures Raincoats" (www.naturesraincoats.com).

From Superhydrophobic to Super-Slippery Surfaces (09 March, 2018)

Speaker: Professor Glen McHale

On a wet day we need coats to keep dry, windscreen wipers to see and reservoirs to collect water and keep us alive. Our cars need oil to lubricate their engines, our ships need hulls that reduce drag and our planes need wings that limit ice formation. Nature has learnt to control water in a myriad of ways. The Lotus leaf cleanses itself of dust when it rains, a beetle in the desert collects drinking water from an early morning fog and some spiders walk on water. In all of these effects the unifying scientific principle is the control of the wettability of materials, often through the use of micro- and nano-scale topography to enhance the effect of surface chemistry. In this seminar I will outline recent examples of our research on smart surface-fluid interactions, including drag reduction and flow due to surface texture,1-4 interface localized liquid dielectrophoresis to create superspreading and dewetting,5-7 lubricant infused surfaces to remove pinning,8-10 and the Leidenfrost effect using turbine-like surfaces to create new types of heat engines and microfluidics.11-12

References

1.    Busse, A. et al. Change in drag, apparent slip and optimum air layer thickness for laminar flow over an idealised superhydrophobic surface. J. Fluid Mech. 727, 488–508 (2013).

2.    Brennan, J. C. et al. Flexible conformable hydrophobized surfaces for turbulent flow drag reduction. Sci. Reports 5, 10267 (2015).

3.    McHale, G. in Non-wettable Surfaces Theory, Prep. Appl. (Ras, R. & Marmur, A.) (RSC, 2016).

4.    Li, J. et al., Topological liquid diode. Science Advances 3, eaao3530 (2017).

5.    Brown, C.V. et al. Voltage-programmable liquid optical interface. Nat. Photonics 3, 403–405 (2009).

6.    McHale, G. et al. Voltage-induced spreading and superspreading of liquids. Nat. Commun. 4, 1605 (2013).

7.    Edwards, A.M.J. et al. Not spreading in reverse: The dewetting of a liquid film into a single droplet. Sci. Adv. 2, e1600183 (2016).

8.    Ruiz-Gutiérrez, É. et al., Energy invariance in capillary systems. Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, art. 218003 (2017).

9.    Guan, J.H. et al., Drop transport and positioning on lubricant-impregnated surfaces. Soft Matter 12, 3404-3410 (2017).

10. Luo, J.T. et al., Slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces and droplet transportation by surface acoustic waves. Phys. Rev. Appl. 7, 014017 (2017).

11. Wells, G. G. et al., A sublimation heat engine. Nat. Commun. 6, 6390 (2015).

12. Dodd, L.E. et al., Low friction droplet transportation on a substrate with a selective Leidenfrost effect. ACS Appl. Mater. Interf. 8 22658–22663 (2016).

Acknowledgements The financial support of the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Reece Innovation ltd is gratefully acknowledged. Many collaborators at Durham, Edinburgh, Nottingham Trent and Northumbria Universities were instrumental in the work described.

 

Biography. Glen McHale is a theoretical and experimental applied and materials physicist. At Northumbria University, he combines leading the Smart Materials & Surfaces laboratory with his role as Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering & Environment. His research considers the interaction of liquids with surfaces and has a particular focus on the use of surface texture/structure via microfabrication and materials methods, and the use of electric fields to control the wetting properties of surfaces. His work includes novel superhydrophobic surfaces, surfaces with drag reducing and slippery properties, and electrowetting/dielectrophoresis to control the wetting of surfaces. Glen has written invited “News and Views”, highlight, emerging area and review articles for a wide range of journals covering superhydrophobicity, dynamic wetting, liquid marbles and drag reduction. He has published over 170 refereed journal papers. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the RSA, a Senior Member of the IEEE, a member of the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review College, and he was a panel member for the "Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials" unit of the last UK-wide national assessment of research (REF2014). Along with colleagues at Northumbria, Nottingham Trent and Oxford Universities, he has developed a public understanding of science exhibition, "Natures Raincoats" (www.naturesraincoats.com).