turbomachine fan blades

Aerodynamics & Aeroelasticity

Working at the intersection of fluid mechanics, structural mechanics and dynamics, Duke MEMS faculty are investigating a diverse range of aerospace problems. Using computational and experimental methods, our researchers seek to discover new knowledge of the physics involved to aid in the development of improved airframes and turbomachinery that are safer and more efficient.

Duke MEMS student and wind tunnel experiment

Research Areas

  • Acoustics
  • Aeroelasticity
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Nonlinear dynamics and complex systems
  • Structural dynamics
  • Turbomachinery aeromechanics
  • Vibration
Related Study Opportunities


Specializations include:

Master of Science (MS) or Master of Engineering (MEng)

Concentrations include:

Graduate Certificates include:


Earl H. Dowell to Receive the 2022 ASME Thomas K. Caughey Dynamics Medal

Dowell is an international leader in computational modeling and experimentation for aeroelastic systems in which fluids and structure interact
airplane wing against blue sky with faint clouds in distance

Designing for the Future of Safe Flight, Energy Generation and National Security

The sky's the limit for Duke engineers designing the safest, most cost-efficient aircraft and turbomachinery
blades of turbine

Kielb Receives ASME’s R. Tom Sawyer Award

American Society of Mechanical Engineers bestows highest award for contributions to gas turbines

Associated Faculty


Donald B. Bliss

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, acoustics, and structural dynamics


John Everett Dolbow

Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Modeling quasi-static and dynamic fracture of structural components, the evolution of interfaces with nonlinear constitutive laws, and developing models for stimulus-responsive hydrogels


Earl H. Dowell

William Holland Hall Distinguished Professor

Research Interests: Aeroelasticity, acoustics, nonlinear dynamics, structural dynamics, and unsteady aerodynamics.


Henri P. Gavin

Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, seismic hazard mitigation for building contents, nonlinear dynamics, system identification, optimal control with application to systems with controllable damping.


Kenneth C. Hall

Julian Francis Abele Distinguished Professor

Research Interests: Unsteady aerodynamics, structural dynamics, and aeroelasticity of turbomachinery and aerospace vehicles. Novel approaches to modeling complex physical phenomena using computational fluid dynamics. Optimization and sensitivity analysis. Fluid dynamics of animal propulsion.


Guglielmo Scovazzi

Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Interests: Finite element methods, computational fluid and solid mechanics, multiphase porous media flows, computational methods for fluid and solid materials under extreme load conditions, turbulent flow computations, instability phenomena.


Jeffrey P. Thomas

Assistant Research Professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science


Lawrence N. Virgin

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Research Interests: Study of the behavior of nonlinear dynamical systems, including the investigation of the fundamental nature of nonlinear systems based on a mathematical description of their underlying equations of motion and the application of recent results from nonlinear dynamical systems…