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Research interests

Bio-Inspired Flight Lab

Bristol Flight Lab

UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Node in Functionality

My research looks at how biological systems interact with environmental fluid flows and how we can use bio-inspiration to improve engineered technologies, particularly in the area of small scale unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).  I believe that major advances can be made in current UAV technology based on insights gained by studying the dynamics, sensing and control of animal flight and swimming.

My research interests can be divided into two streams; one applied, the other biologically based.

Applied stream:

  • Bio-inspired approaches to UAV systems
  • Force and flow sensing for flight control
  • Morphing wing aerodynamics and control

Biological stream:

  • Bird flight aerodynamics, stability and control
  • Active and passive mechanisms for dealing with turbulence
  • How animals sense and use environmental flows

My research is inherently multidisciplinary, using techniques from both aerospace engineering and biology to study how engineered systems might be improved, or novel new technologies developed, based on understanding the principles involved with biological systems.

I use a range of different experimental, analytical and numerical modelling approaches including:

  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Numerical control system modelling
  • Experimental flow measurement
  • Wind tunnel measurements
  • Video image analysis of animal behaviour


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