Welcome to the Institute of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics


The flow of liquids or gases is fundamental to most technical applications and natural phenomena. Among the most intriguing fluid dynamics events are shock waves, discontinuities in the macroscopic fluid state that can lead to extreme temperatures, pressures and concentrations of energy, which can be perceived, e.g., as supersonic boom of an aircraft or as originating from an explosion. The violence and yet the spatial localization of shockwaves presents us with a unique potential for in situ control of fluid processes with surgical precision. Applications range from kidney-stone lithotripsy and drug delivery to advanced aircraft design. How can this potential be leveraged/harnessed ? What mechanisms and inherent properties allow for formation and control of shocks in complex environments such as living organisms ? How can shocks be generated in situ and targeted for drug delivery with high precision while minimizing side effects ? What is the potential of reactive/fluidic-process steering by shock-interaction manufacturing ?

The objective is to answer these questions by state of the art computational methods, supported by benchmark quality experiments. Computations are be based on advanced multi-resolution methods for multi-physics problems. Uncertainty quantification is employed for deriving robust flow and shock-dynamic field designs. Paradigms and efficient computational tools are delivered to the scientific and engineering community.

Prof. Nikolaus Adams has been Chair of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics at TUM since 2004. Adams was elected as Fellow of the American Physical Society infor his work on computational flow modeling in 2011. Jointly with a team of scientists from ETH Zurich, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and IBM Adams received the 2013 Gordon Bell Prize for the largest and most efficient flow simulation.


Preparing Bluecopter Demonstrator technologies

On July 7th 2015, the Bluecopter demonstrator of Airbus Helicopters has been offcially presented. This cutting edge demonstrator addresses environmental friendly technologies developed within the frame of the Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator activity of the Clean Sky programme (www.cleansky.eu).The Institute of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics contributes to Bluecopter technologies in their Clean Sky projects ADHeRo (www.adhero.de) and ATHENAI (www.athenai.tum.de).

Within Clean Sky, technologies have been matured (from TRL3 to TRL6) with the objective to reduce the drag of the fuselage of a H135 by optimising the design of specific parts of the shape such as the landing gear, the aft body, and the hub fairing. The research activities have been accompanied and completed by an assessment in wind tunnel of the drag reduction improvements on a down-scaled model. These wind tunnel studies were subject of the project ADHeRo (Aerodynamic Design Optimisation of a Helicopter Fuselage including a Rotating Rotor Head, 2011 –  2014). Further drag reduction is associated with the new side intake design. Corresponding wind tunnel tests are performed on a full scale part model in the project ATHENAI (Aerodynamic Testing of Helicopter Novel Air Intakes, 2013 – 2015). The highly successful results obtained in these projects led to the introduction of those technologies on the Bluecopter demonstrator.

The research associates working in the field of helicopter aerodynamics are:

Dipl.-Ing. Moritz Grawunder
Dipl.-Ing. Florian Knoth
M.Sc. Patrick Pölzlbauer
Dipl.-Ing. Marco Stuhlpfarrer
Dipl.-Ing. Jaehun You

and former colleagues
Dipl.-Phys. Roman Reß
Dipl.-Ing. Florian Vogel.

The group is led by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Breitsamter.

Gordon-Bell-Preis 2013 für Supercomputing geht an Team von ETH Zürich, Lawrence-Livermore-National Laboratory und TUM/AER.

Weltweit effizienteste und größte Strömungssimulation

Dank der Spitzenleistung von mehr als 12 PetaFLOPs  konnte die Gasdynamik-Abteilung des Lehrstuhls zusammen mit dem Computational Science and Engineering Laboratory der ETH Zürich die bisher größte und detaillierteste Simulation einer Kavitationsblasenwolke durchführen. Auf dem „Sequoia“-Computer (Platz 1 TOP 500 Liste) wurden 1.600.000 Rechenkerne benutzt, um auf 13.10^12 finiten Volumina 15000 Einzelblasen darzustellen.

Dabei wurden bis zu 14.4 PetaFLOPs und bis zu 72 % der Spitzenleistung erreicht, 65% der Spitzenleistung durchgängig.

Der Gordon-Bell-Preis der ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) geht auf Initiative des  gleichnamigen Ingenieurs und Unternehmensgründers zurück und ist mit 10.000 Dollar dotiert. Der US-Amerikaner gilt als einer der Pioniere im Bereich Hochleistungsrechnen und Parallelverarbeitung. Der Preis wird seit 1987 jährlich für überragende Leistungen im Bereich Supercomputing vergeben.

A video is available if JavaScript and Flash are active.


The Institute of Aerodynamics works on a wide variety of different flows from slow moving fluids in micro channels up to re-entry problems at hypersonic Mach numbers. The main research focuses lie on the direct numerical simulation and the large eddy simulation of incompressible and compressible flows, two-phase flows, micro and nano fluidics as well as the flow around complex geometries as an entire airliner.

In close cooperation with experiments, the unsteady aerodynamic loads (mainly oscillations and generlized aerodynamic forces) on large aircraft wings and transport aircraft configurations are investigated with specialized unsteady numerical methods that take into account the dynamic deformation of the structure.

Besides the investigations of incompressible flows, the direct numerical simulations (DNS) conducted at the Insitute are mostly aimed at supersonic and hypersonic speeds. Generic ramp configurations at moderate supersonic Mach numbers are investigated for the general understanding of the shock/boundary-layer interactions taking place at, e.g., an engine intake of a future generation high-speed aircraft. For re-entry scenarios, DNS are carried out to gain insight into the influence of the high-temperature chemical reactions and the state of non-equilibrium (chemically as well as numerically) on the laminar-turbulent transition process in flat-plate boundary layers.
For the numerical simulation of two-phase incompressible flows with two fluids of different densities, a level-set method is developed to improve the understanding of air bubbles rising in liquid metal. Increased gaseous content in solidifying liquid metal can lead to weaker material and early failure of parts manufactured out of such materials.

The development of improved turbulence models for large eddy simulation (LES) are a stronghold at the Institute of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics. Recently developed implicit formulations (ILES) reduce modelling uncertainties and considerably save on computational effort. This increases the acceptance of improved turbulence models with commercial fluid dynamics code programers and industrial applicants. ILES models are currently applied for stratified incompressible flows, compressible two-phase, multi-species and reacting flows, as well as for fluid structure interaction (FSI).

The Institute of Aerodynamics also closely works together with local automobile and truck manufacturers on the improvement of numerical methods and their effective application in the respective aerodynamics departments. A strategic partnership with a commercial manufacturer of a fluid dynamics application code underlines this effort.

The following up-to-date research areas are the focus of the activities at the  Institut of Aerodynamics::

  • Aerodynamics of unconventional aircraft configurations
  • Aerodynamics of transport-aircraft and high-performance aircraft configurations
  • Future space-transportation systems
  • Micro and nano fluidics
  • Turbulence modeling
  • Compressible Turbulence
  • Two-phase flows
  • High-speed aerodynamics
  • Automobile aerodynamics