Aerodynamics of porous wings for unsteady load alleviation of micro aerial vehicles

The present project aims to investigate how to mitigate load fluctuations by exploiting wing porosity. This will be achieved by taking inspiration from the feathered wings of birds, the bristly wings of insects and the filamentous wings of plant seeds. For example, the dandelion fruit, which exploits the energy in the wind fluctuations to travel hundreds of kilometers remaining airborne for several days, adopts wings made of 90% empty space (Nature 562:414-418, 2018).

Specifically, the objectives of this proposal are as follows.

  1. Familiarise with the literature on natural flyers with porous wings and previous attempts to exploit wing porosity for enhanced aerodynamic performances of manmade wings.
  2. Familiarise with the research methods and approaches to unsteady aerodynamics, particularly with the impulse method based on the analysis of the vorticity field.
  3. Apply the impulse method to canonical flows (J. Fluid Mech. 870, 492–518, 2019) and investigate the effect of wing porosity.

There is no closing date for this position, which will remain open until filled.


Further Information: 

Closing Date: 

Sunday, December 31, 2023
Porous wing of a bird
Porous wing of a bird

Principal Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Applications are welcomed from those who have secured their own funding through scholarship, sponsorship or similar.
If you are UK or EU citizen, and you do not have your own funds, please enquire as funds can be found for exceptional candidates with a UK/EU fee status.
If you are an Overseas student (not UK and not EU) and you do not have your own funds, please do not apply now because scholarships for overseas students who wish to start in 2020 have already been allocated. However, keep an eye on our websites in case an opportunity arises, particularly VOILAb, CDT WAMSS and SoE.