The University of Notre Dame has a long tradition of achievement in experimental fluid dynamics and aerodynamics that dates back to 1882, with the development of one of the earliest wind tunnels in the United States. Since 1943, contributions to aircraft technology from Notre Dame's Aerospace Engineering Laboratory have been recognized world wide through its development of low-turbulence, subsonic, transonic and supersonic, smoke-visualization wind tunnels. These unique wind tunnels continue to support new research, and form the nucleus to the other new facilities.
As an outgrowth of this long tradition, the Institute for Flow Physics and Control was officially formed in July, 2001. Research funding comes from a broad number of government agencies, including all branches of the Department of Defense (Army, Air Force and Navy); DARPA; and NASA Langley, Ames, Glenn and Dryden Research Centers. A general theme of research that bridges this group involves flow diagnostics, prediction and control. This has led to a combination of basic research aimed at verifying or developing theories for fluid dynamic behavior, and the application of theory towards controlling flows. This has involved a multitude of flow fields including laminar and turbulent boundary layers, jets, shear layers and wakes at incompressible and compressible Mach numbers. The applications have included transition control, drag reduction, mixing, flow-induced vibration and acoustics. In addition to experiments, there has been a long tradition of theoretical and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and modeling of complex flows. The combination of these elements in a single site is a particular strength of the group.
The Institute structure starts with the groups which are active in the eight research areas. Each of these has a group leader which make up an internal Steering Committee for the Institute.
There are two external advisory groups. The first is an External Advisory Committee which is made up of individuals working in the area of Fluid Dynamics from government laboratories and academia. The second group consists of representatives of the Industry Partners.
The Industry Partners are companies which have a formal working relationship with the Institute. The model follows that of National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Centers whereby we are seeking a minimum of six Industry Partners, who collectively contribute $300,000 per year, or $50,000 per Partner.
Achieving a NSF Engineering Research Center status presents a number of opportunities including funding for Exploratory Research Projects, Industry/University Research Fellowships, and Supplemental Programs.