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School of Engineering and Materials Science Research Studentships

Harnessing wind energy using a flapping aerofoil

Supervisors: Neil CAGNEY

Application Deadline: 31-01-2021

This experimental project will explore a novel form or renewable energy. Structures in flow (wind, tidal etc.) can experience various forms of vibrations. Engineers have typically sought to suppress these vibrations to prevent damage to the structures, but in recent years have seen a growing interest in harnessing them to generate renewable energy. This project will focus on one promising case of flow-induced vibrations that is thought to be capable of achieving high efficiency; an airfoil experiencing ‘flutter’, large amplitude vibrations that are most commonly associated with airplane wings.

The successful candidate will design a device that can be tested in the wind tunnel facilities at Queen Mary University to measure the energy output from a flapping airfoil. A combination of flow visualisation and measurements of the fluid forces and motion of the structure will be used to characterise how the performance depends on various flow conditions and structural parameters. Low-cost piezoelectric materials, manufactured within the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary, will be used to develop a prototype device to generate power.

Candidates should have experience in the areas of Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering and Fluid Mechanics, and should have an interest in experimental work

EPSRC Research Studentship Details

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) applicants must have: 

  • settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay and
  • been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to October 2021.This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences and
  • Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education (This does not apply to UK nationals).
  • (See: for more details)
  • Full Time programme only.
  • Applicant required to start in October 2021.
  • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to three years (Currently set as £17,285 in 2020/21).
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
  • If English is not your first language you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).

Supervisor Contact Details:

For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Neil Cagney


Application Method:

To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Aerospace Engineering programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Research degrees in Engineering:

Further Guidance:

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2021 SEMS EPSRC DTP NC’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.