Mr Daniele Certini




A124 Alrick Building

Social Media: 

Research Institute: 

  • Energy Systems

Research Theme: 

  • Institute for Energy Systems Themes


Daniele is an Aerospace Engineer, specialised in Aerodynamics. He attained his Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Universita' di Pisa in 2017. He developed his final year project during a six-month internship in Dr Viola’s lab, under the supervision of Dr Viola, Dr Cummins and Prof Camarri. He investigated both experimentally (terminal velocity measurements with motion tracking) and numerically (direct numerical simulations) the aerodynamics of the dandelion fruit. This study received the Pegasus Award for a Special Achievement through Working Abroad for Academic Research.

In September 2017, he started his PhD at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Dr Viola, Dr Nakayama, Dr MastropaoloDr Cummins and Dr Francesco Giorgio-Serchi. It studies the incredible flight capacity of Alsomitra macrocarpa which inspired Igo Etrich to build the first military plane mass-produced in Europe. Unlike many gliding seeds which use auto-rotation, it shows a stable gliding flight with a rate of descent slower than rotating seeds and a distance covered of hundreds of meters. The characterization of the phugoid mode and a stable flight in turbulent air are key research questions, that will be answered using computational fluid mechanics, flow visualization and particle image velocimetry (PIV) of real seeds and artificial replicas. This PhD aims to give insights into the design of MAVs, used for instance in weather forecasting, agriculture and space exploration.

Google Scholar | ResearchGate

Journal Papers:

Certini, D., Fazan, L., Nakayama, N., Viola, I.M. and Kozlowski, G., 2020. Velocity of the falling dispersal units in Zelkova abelicea: remarkable evolutionary conservation within the relict tree genus. American Journal of Botany107(12), pp.1831-1838. doi:10.1002/ajb2.1581

Cummins, C., Seale, M., Macente, A., Certini, D., Mastropaolo, E., Viola, I.M. and Nakayama, N., 2018. A separated vortex ring underlies the flight of the dandelion. Nature562(7727), pp.414.

Conference Proceedings:

Certini, D., Fazan, L., Nakayama, N., Kozlowski, G. and Viola, I.M., 2020. The branch-aided chaotic dispersal of Zelkova abelicea. APS DFD, Chicago, USA.

Certini, D., Cummins, C., Mastropaolo, E., Nakayama, N. and Viola, I.M., 2019. On the aerodynamics of the gliding seeds of Javan cucumber. UK Fluids Conference, Cambridge, UK.


Certini, D., Cummins, C., Viola, I.M., Seale, M., Mastropaolo, E. and Nakayama, N., 2017. The Stokes-flow parachute of the dandelion fruit. 30th Scottish Fluid Mechanics Meeting, Glasgow, UK.

Certini, D., Cummins, C., Mastropaolo, E., Nakayama, N. and Viola, I.M., 2019. On the aerodynamics of the gliding seeds of Javan cucumber. 32nd Scottish Fluid Mechanics Meeting, Dundee, UK.



Academic Qualifications: 

  • 2017, Master of Science (MSc), Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering, Universita' di Pisa
  • 2013, Bachelor of Science (BSc), Aerospace Engineering, Universita' di Pisa

Professional Qualifications and Memberships: 

APS, Member of the American Physical Society, Division of Fluid Dynamics (2021-2022)

EUROMECH, Member of the European Mechanics Society (2021-2022)


  • 2017-2019, Fluid Mechanics, The University of Edinburgh
  • 2018-2019 Tutor, Structural Mechanics and Dynamics, The University of Edinburgh
  • 2017-2019 Tutor, Engineering Mathematics, The University of Edinburgh

Research Interests: 

  • Aerodynamics at low Re
  • Experimental Fluid Mechanics (PIV, LDV)
  • Vortex Dynamics
  • Biomimicry
  • 3D Object Tracking