Thermofluids

Thermofluids is a key branch of science and engineering. Research in the field of thermofluids focuses on heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and combustion.

Gyrotherm burner

Gyrotherm burner invented by the thermal-fluids team and developed in partnership with FCT-combustion. This achieve a 40-60% reduction in NOx emissions from rotary kilns and have been in ongoing commercial use since 1995.

Our Thermofluids researchers specialise in a range of areas, including:

  • power generation and transformation
  • renewable energy sources
  • internal combustion engines
  • jet engines and aerospace propulsion
  • industrial flames and furnaces
  • building energy management and efficiency.

We also have a keen interest in:

  • atmospheric flow and microclimates
  • bio-fluid dynamics and hemodynamics
  • boundary layer, pipe and channel flows and turbulence
  • laser diagnostics
  • wind engineering
  • water systems and desalination
  • multi-phase flow
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • aeroacoustics
  • aircraft aerodynamics
  • experimental techniques and instrumentation
  • ship and submarine hydrodynamics
  • jets and wakes.

Research impact

We work closely with industry and undertake diverse projects. Our research has had significant impact and commercial outcomes. Through our Thermofluids research, we:

  • deliver innovative technologies for sustainable, secure and affordable energy to help accelerate society's transition to carbon neutrality
  • reduce industry and household energy consumption and emissions through more efficient and better managed combustion, heating, cooking, refrigeration and air-conditioning
  • develop energy-efficient water treatment and desalination systems, wind-power technology and bio-digesters
  • design stable, efficient burners for industrial processes and ceremonial flame effects
  • improve efficiency in machines (e.g. fans and pumps), lifting surfaces (e.g. wings) and wind farms
  • reduce drag in vehicles and sporting apparel.

Our work has numerous real-world applications. For example, we have developed:

  • stable and visible flames that have been used in Olympic torches, stadium cauldrons and theatrical flames around the world
  • several patented designs applied for solar thermal energy storage
  • an innovative, high-efficiency concept for hydrogen production
  • particle agglomeration systems that remove harmful PM5 particles from combustion exhaust streams
  • three patented burner systems now used in industrial processes and ceremonial and theatrical applications
  • improved cycling equipment, including low-drag racing helmets and bicycle components, used by Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games cycling teams.
Sydney Olympic Torch

Sydney Olympic Torch, for which the thermal-fluids team developed the fuel and combustion system in partnership with FCT-Flames (then FCT-combustion). This achieved 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 90% reduction in flame-outs compared with its predecessor. It led to the establishment of FCT-Flames, which has since supplied flames into every Olympic Games using our joint technology.

Our Thermofluids research has direct relevance and benefit to numerous industries. These include:

  • aerospace
  • automotive
  • maritime
  • defence
  • energy
  • sports engineering
  • manufacturing.

Our researchers

We have expertise across a wide range of areas. Many of our researchers are available to assist with research project supervision for Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy students.

Research Team Expertise
Associate Professor Maziar Arjomandi Fluid mechanics; Aerodynamics; Renewable energy
Dr Cristian Birzer Fluid mechanics; Renewable energy; Combustion
Dr Antoni Blazewicz Fluid mechanics
Professor Ben Cazzolato Acoustics; Vibrations; Control and signal processing
Dr Rey Chin Fluid mechanics; Computational fluid dynamics; Flow control
Professor Bassam Dally Combustion; Heat transfer; Computational fluid dynamics
Associate Professor Eric Jing Hu Solar thermal applications; Refrigeration and air conditioning systems; Energy efficiency
Associate Professor Richard Kelso Fluid mechanics; Aerodynamics; Sports engineering
Associate Professor Paul Medwell Combustion; Laser diagnostics; Humanitarian technology
Professor Graham Nathan Thermal energy systems; Combustion; Solar energy
Dr Zhao Feng Tien Computational fluid dynamics; Combustion; Renewable energy

Collaborations

We work closely with the University’s Centre for Energy Technology (CET). The centre aims to deliver innovative technologies for sustainable, secure and affordable energy. Our researchers are involved with the following CET-based projects:

We also collaborate with various industry and government organisations, including:

Contact us

To enquire about consulting or working with us on a research project, please contact:

Higher degrees by research

Whether you intend to work in research or industry, a higher degree by research can give you a competitive edge throughout your career. Find out more about studying a Master of Philosophy or Doctor of Philosophy.

Higher Degrees by Research