Experimental Fluid Mechanics

Why experimental fluid mechanics?

One might wonder with the advent of computer modeling and simulation supported by ever improving computational resources why we need to conduct experiments to investigate fluid mechanics phenomena experimentally.  There are still characteristics of fluid dynamics that are difficult to simulate or understand, due to their complex geometry, flow regime (high Reynolds number, hypersonic Mach number, etc.), unsteady turbulence, separation, complex reactions, and transition which only experiments can provide the sufficient fidelity to study and predict.  Additionally with the advent of state-of-the-art diagnostics a higher fidelity of detailed investigations can be performed giving us a more complete picture of the fluid dynamics phenomena.

What is going on in experimental fluid mechanics research at Illinois?

Coupling advanced experimental research facilities at the newly constructed Aerodynamics Research Laboratory (ARL), wind tunnels and advanced diagnostic tools, with world renowned researchers makes the University of Illinois one of the Nation’s top programs for experimental fluid mechanics research.  Experiments are conducted over a wide range of scales and flow regimes (subsonic to hypersonic).  Research topics include projects focused on the basic research of turbulence, separated flows, plasmas, combustion, steady/unsteady aerodynamics, flow control, and jet noise just to name a few.  Additionally the laser diagnostics available enable researchers to measure molecular quantities or full 3D volumetric properties using tomography systems using the infrastructure and expertise at the University of Illinois.

Who are the faculty members in this area?

  • Phillip J. Ansell- Applied aerodynamics, flight mechanics, flow control, unsteady aerodynamics, unsteady flows, wake and shear flows, experimental aerodynamics, flow control, aircraft design, aircraft performance, aerodynamic measurement technology
  • Michael B. Bragg-
  • J. Craig Dutton- Gas dynamics and fluid mechanics; in particular, experimental, numerical, and analytical studies of high-speed separated and mixing flows; shear layers; jets; base flows; shock wave/boundary layer interactions; nozzle flows; ejector flows; diffuser flows; valve flows; flow through and deformation of extracellular matrices; laser diagnostic methods
  • Gregory S. Elliott- Thermal and fluid sciences, laser diagnostic techniques, experimental supersonic and subsonic fluid mechanics, propulsion, combustion and plasmas, plasmas and combustion, propulsion, aerodynamics, turbulence, thermal spray coating technologies, internet based instruction, and engineering design

Courses in this Area

  • ME 410: Intermediate Gas Dynamics
  • AE 412: Viscous Flow & Heat Transfer   credit
  • TAM 435: Intermediate Fluid Mechanics
  • AE 510: Advanced Gas Dynamics  
  • TAM 532: Viscous Flow   credit
  • TAM 537: Experimental Fluid Mechanics
  • TAM 538: Turbulence   credit
  • TAM 536: Instability and Transition  
  • AE 564: Advanced Aero Propulsion Lab  
  • AE 597: Independent Study   credit
  • AE 598: Special Topics