Fluid & Fluid-structure Interaction


As a multiphysical coupling between fluid dynamics and structural mechanics, fluid-structure interaction effects can be determined through experiments and numerical FSI simulations. Our research focuses on improving our understanding of the fundamental physical and chemical processes associated with high-speed aircraft and planetary entry to help develop and test the technologies required to achieve practical hypersonic flight.  

Our fluid-structure interaction analysis methods have been extensively used by academics and industry stakeholders such as biomedical firms, heat safety consulting services and the Australian Institute of Sport. 

We examine a wide variety of fluid regimes and application areas in both fundamental and applied studies including:  

  • FSI and fatigue in subsonic and supersonic flow in gas turbines; and hypersonic flows in scramjets 
  • Blast and cavitation effects on deformable structures 
  • Fluidic thrust vectoring using shocks to turn the flow rather than using actuators 
  • Shock structure interactions for projectiles close to walls 
  • FSI and fluid-structure-acoustics interaction of insect wings, learning from nature in the optimization of flapping kinematics and structural stiffness distributions for maximum lift and power economy 
  • Stability and control of flapping-wing based drones 
  • Vortex dynamics for power generation from flapping foils and deformable structures such as flags and filaments 
  • Machine learning in fish swimming for schooling and robust adaptation to changing flow environments 
  • Cell transport and deformation in blood flows, aimed at drug delivery mechanisms 
  • Particulate separation in Newtonian and non-Newtonian flows. 

Competitive Advantage

We have developed novel experimental techniques to measure the thermal fluid-structure interaction behaviours of high-speed vehicles and propulsion systems. From this, we are developing innovative control strategies for thermal FSI, shock-boundary layer interaction, aero drag and thermal management. We have also contributed considerably to developing numerical simulations of fluid-structure interaction and complex flows by incorporating a few features into both Cartesian and body-conformal mesh methods. Our effort now makes it possible to model FSI problems involving complex geometries, large deformation, non-Newtonian rheology, shock and blast waves, acoustics and fractures. 

Successful Applications

The technologies developed in our investigations of fluid-structure interactions have had applications in many areas including: 

  • biomechanical sensing and modelling 
  • airspeed measurements for commercial aircraft  
  • measurement and simulation of component performance in gas turbines 
  • numerical methods for blood flows that have been used to diagnose the functional significance of stenosis in arteries by a biomedical firm 
  • the assessment of fire and chemical emission safety of buildings by a consulting company and Defence 
  • improving the performance of cyclists at the Australian Institute of Sport. 
  • Fluid-structure-acoustics interactions of bio-inspired flapping wings - Australian Research Council Discovery Projects 
  • Fluid-structural interactions in high-speed flows - Australian Research Council Discovery Projects 
  • Unit cases to investigate hypersonic fluid-structure interactions - Air Force Office of Scientific Research  
  • Aerodynamic study of bicycle wheels - Australian Institute of Sport 
  • Accurate and efficient calculations of fractional flow reserve in the cardiovascular system - Biomedical Firm