Fluid Dynamics and Acoustics

We carry out research in aeroengine and submarine noise; waves and instabilities in boundary layers on aircraft wings; fingering instabilities in thin film flows; combustion
instabilities in gas turbines; giant waves and tsunamis; and applications of fluid dynamics to geophysics, especially the atmosphere and oceans, and volcanic lava flows.

Research Overview

Our research in fluid dynamics and acoustics is based on the premise that fundamental analysis of the governing equations, combined with modelling approximations and the use of modern software packages and computational techniques, provide an inexhaustible source of useful results in practical problems. For example, our basic studies of way aircraft engines produce sound rays have been widely used in the aircraft industry; and we have made detailed contributions to design studies of the acoustic aspects of the next generation of submarines. In turbomachinery research, we are at the centre of an international consortium analysing vibration and resonance aspects of combustion.

Much of our work relates to the environment, especially as mediated by the atmosphere and oceans. We are experts on all types of waves in the ocean, from ordinary sea waves with which everybody is familiar, to giant `rogue' waves which appear out of nowhere in some seas of the world, and also tsunamis, of such devastating impact, produced by underwater earthquakes.

A crucial aspect of aircraft performance is the response of the boundary layers of air on the wings to incoming disturbances, and the way that these disturbances lead to waves and instability in the fluid flow. We perform high-level mathematical studies, involving asymptotic methods of great sophistication and power, to analyse in detail the properties of these waves, and their eff ect on aircraft performance.

Fluid dynamics is a major aspect of our research under other themes; indeed, it is the ultimate inter-disciplinary subject. For example, see our theme Solid Dynamics and Elasticity for fluid-structure interaction (which is everywhere!), and Biomechanics for the fluid dynamics of thin films, especially in the mucous lining of the lungs.


  • Professor C. J. Chapman
  • Professor J. J. Healey
  • Professor V. I. Shrira
  • Dr S. Naire

Post-doctoral researcher

  •  Dr S. Annenkov


  • The ray theory of aircraft noise (Professor C. J. Chapman).
  • Global instability in aircraft boundary layers (Professor J. J. Healey).
  • The statistical theory of ocean waves (Professor V. I. Shrira, Dr S. Annenkov).
  • The asymptotic theory of nonlinear waves in thin Fil lms (Dr S. Naire).

PhD Students

(Supervisor in parentheses)

  • A. R. Alharbi (S. Naire) - Numerical solution of thin film flow equations using moving adaptive mesh methods (thesis submitted)
  • R. Danyi (J. J. Healey)
  • G. Algwauish ( joint with Geophysics, S. Naire co-supervisor)- Modelling of lava flows
  • R. Almelah (V. I. Shrira)


(Includes date of thesis)
J. V. Goddard 2014 (S. Naire)- Fingering instabilities in gravity and surfactant-related thin film flows


  • Professor S. V. Sorokin (Aalborg University, Denmark)



CHAPMAN, C. J. (2000) High Speed Flow. Cambridge University Press.

Papers and articles

CHAPMAN, C. J. (2015) Shock Waves. In: N. J. Higham (Ed.) Princeton Companion to Applied Mathematics (USA, Princeton University Press), pp. 720-724.

CHAPMAN, C. J. (2015) Aircraft Noise. In: N. J. Higham (Ed.) Princeton Companion to Applied Mathematics (USA, Princeton University Press), pp. 783-787.

CHAPMAN, C. J. (2014) Mathematics in a Changing World, Mathematics Today 50, 256-257.

CHAPMAN, C.J. (2012) The asymptotic theory of dispersion relations containing Bessel functions of imaginary order, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A 468, pp.4008-40023.

YUMASHEV, D., CHAPMAN, C. J. et al. (2012) Broadband Hydroacoustic Research, pp. 1-40. Contract report DSTLX-1000 BHAR, presented to MoD.

For further publications by C.J. Chapman, see the Theoretical Solid Mechanics page.