Computational Fluid Dynamics

Why computational fluid dynamics?

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is the numerical study of steady and unsteady fluid motion.  The aerodynamic performance of flight vehicles is of critical concern to airframe manufacturers, just as is the propulsive performance of aircraft power plants, including those that are propeller-, gas turbine-, rocket, and electric driven.  CFD is used throughout the design process, from conceptual-to-detailed, to inform initial concepts and refine advanced concepts.  CFD is also used to lessen the amount of physical testing that must be done to validate a design and measure its performance.  CFD is used to predict the drag, lift, noise, structural and thermal loads, combustion., etc., performance in aircraft systems and subsystems.

CFD is also a means by which the fundamental mechanics of fluids can be studied.  By using massively parallel supercomputers, CFD is frequently used to study how fluids behave in complex scenarios, such a boundary layer transition, turbulence, and sound generation, with applications throughout and beyond aerospace engineering.

What is going on in computational fluid dynamics research at Illinois?

The University of Illinois has a strong and vibrant research community in CFD.  Active research areas include the prediction and control of boundary layer instability and transition on rigid and flexible surfaces, shock impingement on flexible surfaces, sound generation by turbulence, multiphase flows (esp. primary and secondary atomization), plasma-coupled combustion, biological flows and sound generation (esp. blood cells and the human voice), advanced CFD algorithms (esp. provably stable, high-order methods, and adjoint-informed optimization), and programming models and algorithm selection for performing CFD on future supercomputers. 

Who are the faculty members in the area?

Willett Professor, Department Head
Assistant Professor

Courses in this Area

  • AE 410: Introduction to Computational Aerodynamics
  • AE 412/ME 411: Viscous Flow and Heat Transfer
  • AE 416: Applied Aerodynamics
  • AE 433: Aerospace Propulsion
  • AE 434: Rocket Propulsion
  • AE 435: Electric Propulsion
  • AE 451: Aeroelasticity
  • AE 510/ME 510: Advanced Gas Dynamics
  • AE 511: Transonic Aerodynamics
  • AE 514: Boundary Layer Theory
  • AE 515: Wing Theory
  • AE 538: Combustion Fundamentals
  • AE 598 CAA: Aeroacoustics
  • AE 598 MCF: Multiphase CFD
  • AE 598 UA: Unsteady Aerodynamics
  • TAM 531: Inviscid Flow
  • TAM 532: Viscous Flow
  • TAM 536: Instability and Transition
  • TAM 538: Turbulence

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