Current Major Projects

Here you'll find a listing of our major current research projects, click through for individual project pages. They can be broadly grouped into the key areas in which FLIP concentrates its efforts -

- high speed flows / shock wave interactions
- vehicle aerodynamics
- fluid dynamics of flying/swimming animals

We didn't forget about our many successful past projects either, scroll down to read more.

If you're just looking for a big long list of research publications, we've got you covered.


Fly / Swim

HYDRODYNAMICS OF SEAL SWIMMING

Primary Investigators: Doig, Guerra

Inspired by study of Casey the Leopard Seal at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, this work has developed into an innovative investigation into the unique, high-efficiency swimming techniques of seals which give them great thrust-to-weight and maneuverability. An experimental rig developed at Cal Poly is leading into fluid-structure interaction CFD (...more)

AVIAN FLIGHT AND WING MORPHOLOGY

Primary Investigators: Doig, Rolph, Diamantopoulos

This research involves the first high-fidelity aerodynamic study of the wing tip feathers of condors and pelicans, taking 3d-scanned geometries and turning them into wind tunnel models and CFD models. The research is uncovering new findings in both biological and engineering realms, helping us better understand the aerodynamic performance of nature's most efficient gliders (...more)


Vehicle and aircraft aerodynamics

REVITALIZING THE CAL POLY LOW SPEED WIND TUNNEL

Project Director: Doig

Cal Poly's low speed tunnel is being brought into the 21st century and then some. A major refurbishment includes incorporating a rolling road for vehicle testing, an entirely new test section, and non-intrusive measurement devices (...more)

AERODYNAMICS OF CORNERING AND MANEUVERING VEHICLES

Primary Investigator: Keogh (with Doig, Barber, Diasinos)

An investigation into the aerodynamics of cornering vehicles, incorporating a world-first rotating wind tunnel to recreate true cornering conditions. Large eddy simulation on automotive bodies is uncovering a wealth of new information about aerodynamic noise and drag (...more)

HIGH-FIDELITY WHEEL SIMULATION AND TESTING

Primary Investigator: Doig

Considerable time and effort is expended in correctly predicting wheel aerodynamics - this integrated CFD and wind tunnel investigation aims to better capture wheel deformation and aerodynamic transience, in collaboration with Tesla Motors.

PROTOTYPE VEHICLES LABORATORY (PROVE LAB) SOLAR CAR TESTING

FLIP is helping Cal Poly's PROVE Lab with the aerodynamic design and development of a solar-powered vehicle to break a land speed record.

VORTEX GENERATORS IN DISTURBED FLOWS

Primary Investigator: Forster (with Doig, Barber, Diasinos)

Vortex generators are used in the automotive and aviation industries to achieve flow control - this research makes use of LES and PIV to uncover new fluid dynamic effects when multiple vortices interact in different scenarios (...more)

SOLAR-POWERED UAV JOINED WING CONCEPT

Primary Investigator: Paul (with Doig)


Shock Wave Interactions

SHOCKWAVE INTERACTION WITH FLAMES

Primary Investigators: Doig

This project involves understanding blast wave effects on flames and large scale fires. Using a combination of experiments involving explosives and CFD simulations, a multitude of previously-unseen phenomena are being discovered. (...more)

ALTITUDE-COMPENSATING ROCKET NOZZLES

Primary Investigator: Schomberg (with Doig, Neely, Olsen)

Nozzles for large rockets have changed relatively little in decades, with incremental improvements the name of the game. While a nozzle can be optimized for one particular point, atmospheric conditions change with altitude, and a passively-adapting nozzle could offer significant performance gains. (...more)


Past projects (pre-2017)

Transonic and Supersonic Ground Effect Aerodynamics (2005-2014)

Primary Investigator: Doig

A wide-ranging investigation into things that go very fast, next to the ground. Both transonic and supersonic scenarios were investigated using newly-developed wind tunnel techniques and CFD, resulting in a large number of new published findings relevant to future high speed trains, military applications, and more.

For more see paper: Transonic and Supersonic Ground Effect Aerodynamics

Compressibility Effects for Racing Cars (2007-2012)

Primary Investigators: Doig, Keogh

Even though F1 car top speed is less than Mach 0.3, local flow around the wings and other components can accelerate to high subsonic Mach numbers, altering the performance that would be predicted by incompressible simulations.

Wing/wheel Interactions on Racing Cars (2005-2015)

Primary Investigators: Diasinos, Doig

A series of parametric, numerical and experimental investigations into the aerodynamic effects of Formula One-style front wing and wheel aerodynamics. The first publicly-available comprehensive investigation into wing/wheel interactions.

Sunswift eVe solar car (2012 - 2014)

Several FLIP students were instrumental in the aerodynamic design and development, as well as overall project management, of the world-record-breaking Sunswift eVe solar car. eVe won class line honors in a dramatic finish and is the world's fastest electric vehicle over 500km.
(with S. Paterson, S. Ambrose)

Sustainable buildings (2011-2013)

A range of collaborations with AECOM Pty Ltd which had undergrads working on projects involving thermal labyrinths, beetle-inspired water recovery from cooling towers, and modelling of skyscraper window frames to capture thermal properties correctly.

Insect aerodynamics (2012-2014)

Use of micro-CT to characterize the detailed surfaces of fruitfly and dragonfly wings to allow CFD-based investigation of the aerodynamics. The corrugations and complexities of the surface produce a myriad of aerodynamic effects not captured with simplified wings.
(with J. Brandt, N. Tsafnat)

F3 and Radical SR8 aerodynamics (2011-2014)

Variety of research involving racing car development, particularly in the area of wind tunnel/CFD/track data correlation for F3 and Radical SR8s. Several projects were run in partnership with Carlin Motorsports in the UK, including slipstreaming and diffuser design.

Thermal comfort for zoo enclosures (2012-2014)

Use of phase change materials and low-energy strategies to reduce long-term power consumption in zoos with animals requiring extensive thermal regulation - these projects were run in collaboration with Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia.

Transonic store release (2012 - 2014)

A collaboration with the US Naval Academy, using transonic wind tunnel testing and CFD to identify problems with - and to redesign - a model support sting for cavity release problems.
(with M. Snyder, G. Bogdan)

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