The propagation of pressure waves (sound) in fluids and the interaction of unsteady fluid forces with the dynamic response of structures arises in a variety of contexts, with perhaps aerospace applications most often driving the research agenda and the development of new applications. Duke University has the premier research group in the world in this area of science and technology.
Acoustics, aerodynamics and aeroelasticity research in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department focuses on the following areas:
- Acoustics and aeroacoustics
- Aerodynamics (steady and unsteady)
- Applications to airframes, jet engines and rockets
Example research projects include aerodynamic flow control of an airfoil with small trailing-edge devices; computer modeling using automatic differentiation to create a nonlinear reduced order model of a computational fluid dynamic solver; stochastic analysis of a nonlinear aeroelastic model using the response surface method; experimental and theoretical study of gust response for a wing-store models with freeplay and other nonlinearities; modeling limit cycle oscillation behavior of high performance aircraft including the F-16 and F-35 using a harmonic balance approach; and transonic limit cycle oscillation analysis using linear and nonlinear reduced order aerodynamic and structural models.
Opportunities for Graduate Study
The department offers an M.S./Ph.D. study track in mechanical engineering with a core in acoustics, aerodynamics (steady and unsteady), controls, dynamics (linear and nonlinear) and fluid/structure interaction (aeroelasticity)
The department also offers a program of study towards the Masters of Engineering (M.Eng) in Mechanical Engineering. This 30-credit degree program includes course work towards departmental requirements, an area of specialization, business and management fundamentals, and an internship or applied research experience.
Students have the flexibility to specialize in one of several topics – including special focus on aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, aeromechanics and aeroelasticity with the overall goal of career preparation for work and leadership in the aerospace industry.