Earl H. Dowell

Image of Earl H. Dowell

William Holland Hall Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering

Professor Dowell's principal teaching interest and research activity is in the field of aeroelasticity - which is the study of the dynamic interaction between an aerodynamic flow and an elastic structure, such as aircraft wings in high speed flight, long span bridges and tall buildings responding to wind loadings, or airflow through the mouth and lungs. Dr. Dowell has also done research in acoustics, nonlinear dynamics, structural dynamics, and unsteady aerodynamics.

Professor Dowell's major research accomplishments include the first definitive research monograph on the aeroelasticity of plates and shells, the first derivation and solution of the nonlinear equations of motion for a helicopter rotor blade (the Hodges-Dowell equations), and work with Professor Kenneth Hall and several graduate students and post-doctoral fellows on reducing the dimensions of mathematical models for very complex high-dimensional fluid/structural systems. Professor Dowell teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on dynamics and aeroelasticity.

Here are six short videos showing experimental aeroelastic models undergoing limit cycle oscillations in the Duke wind tunnel.

  1. An airfoil with a nonlinear freeplay in the connection from the main airfoil to the trailing edge control surface.
  2. A delta wing with a strong structural nonlinearity as a result of tension in the mid-plane of the plate-like wing induced by bending of the wing out of its initially undeformed plane.
  3. A very high aspect ratio wing that behaves as a beam with double bending (both transverse to and in-line with the aerodynamic flow field) and twisting. A nonlinear coupling among double bending and twisting occurs. Also the aerodynamic flow field experiences separation due to the large motions involved.
  4. A delta wing with an external store, flutter and limit cycle oscillations.
  5. LCO and Flutter of WingStore model
  6. Flapping Flag Flutter

Appointments and Affiliations
  • William Holland Hall Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering
  • Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative
  • Affiliate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society
Contact Information:
Education:

  • D.Sc. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1964
  • M.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1961
  • B.S. University of Illinois, 1959

Research Interests:

Broad field of aeroelasticity, acoustics, nonlinear dynamics, structural dynamics, and unsteady aerodynamics.

Specialties:

Technology Transfer
Aerodynamics
Chaos, Dynamics
Policy, Science and Engineering
Acoustics
Aerospace
Aeroelasticity
Nonlinear Systems

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions:

  • Daniel Guggenheim Medal. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 2009
  • Den Hartog Medal. ASME. 2009
  • Spirit of St. Louis Medal. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2008
  • Walter J. and Angeline H. Crichlow Trust Prize. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 2007
  • Honorary Fellow. AIAA. 2004
  • Theodore von Karman Lectureship Award. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 2001
  • Board of Governors. Research Triangle Institute. 1994
  • Distinguished Service Award. American Academy of Mechanics. 1994
  • Elected Member. National Academy of Engineering. 1993
  • Fellow. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 1993

Courses Taught:
  • CEE 625: Intermediate Dynamics: Dynamics of Very High Dimensional Systems
  • ME 392: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 490: Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 541: Intermediate Dynamics: Dynamics of Very High Dimensional Systems
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 758S: Curricular Practical Training
  • ME 759: Special Readings in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 775: Aeroelasticity

Representative Publications: (More Publications)
    • Liu, L; Zhu, C; Yu, Z; Dowell, EH, Guidance and Ignition Control of Lateral-Jet-Controlled Interceptor Missiles, Journal of guidance, control, and dynamics : a publication of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics devoted to the technology of dynamics and control, vol 38 no. 12 (2015), pp. 2455-2460 [10.2514/1.G001234] [abs].
    • Mannarino, A; Dowell, EH, Reduced-Order Models for Computational-Fluid-Dynamics-Based Nonlinear Aeroelastic Problems, AIAA Journal, vol 53 no. 9 (2015), pp. 2671-2685 [10.2514/1.J053775] [abs].
    • Padmanabhan, MA; Dowell, EH, Landing Gear Design/Maintenance Analysis for Nonlinear Shimmy, Journal of aircraft, vol 52 no. 5 (2015), pp. 1707-1710 [10.2514/1.C033027] [abs].
    • Dowell, EH; Bliss, DB, New Look at Unsteady Supersonic Potential Flow Aerodynamics and Piston Theory (vol 51, pg 2278, 2013), Journal of guidance, control, and dynamics : a publication of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics devoted to the technology of dynamics and control, vol 53 no. 8 (2015), pp. 2419-2419 [10.2514/1.J054540] [abs].
    • Dowell, EH; Bliss, DB, New Look at Unsteady Supersonic Potential Flow Aerodynamics and Piston Theory (vol 51, pg 2278, 2013), AIAA Journal, vol 53 no. 8 (2015), pp. 2419-2419 [10.2514/1.J054540] [abs].