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Professor Ismet Gursul
Professor Ismet Gursul
Micro air vehicle research
Micro air vehicle research

Internal News - 25 May 2005

Prestigious international prize for aeronautics paper

A prestigious prize in the field of aeronautics has been won by the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Professor Ismet Gursul and his postgraduate student, Sam Heathcote, will be awarded the 2004 American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics Best Paper in Fluid Dynamics.

The paper, Flexible Flapping Airfoil Propulsion at Low Reynolds Numbers, looked at how wing flexibility can affect the thrust generated by an oscillating aerofoil. The most efficient flexibility to maximize the thrust was found.

Professor Gursul is undertaking research into the aerodynamics needed to fly very small unmanned aircraft that can be used in a variety of operations. These aircraft use oscillating aerofoils.

These micro air vehicles would be up to six inches (15cm) long and equipped with sensors and cameras. Their size and mobility would enable them to carry out a variety of missions, including reconnaissance and surveillance, targeting and bio-chemical sensing.

The aircraft could also make non-military tasks easier, such as traffic monitoring, border surveillance, fire and rescue operations, wildlife surveys, aerial photography, monitoring of seismic activity and hazardous substance detection.

Sam Heathcote will attend an awards luncheon at Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, in Canada to receive the award on 7 June.