Aerodynamics, Energetics and Propulsion Department - DAEP

The Aerodynamics, Energetics and Propulsion Department is comprised of 62 people, 30 research projects, including 5 European scale projects, and exceptional teaching and research testing equipment. The Department also hosts three research groups focusing on four topics defined by current scientific and socio-economic challenges and two key projects: the SAA wind tunnel and the IC3 Large eddy simulation code.

In 2016, the DAEP is comprised of 19 professors, 3 Research-Fellows, 20 doctoral students and 10 post-doctoral students. It publishes from 15-20 articles a year in the best international reviews. It participates in and is invited to the best international conferences on research themes (APS-DFD, TSFP, Turbo-Expo, ETC...).

Research groups

Departmental research is organized on the basis of three core research groups :

  • D2F: Fundamental fluid dynamics
  • AEX: External aerodynamics
  • TMP: Turbomachines and Propulsion

The department works closely with the scientific community on the Toulouse site as well as common research projects with French and international academic partners both on formal bases and relying on researcher to researcher connections. The department also has research agreements and contracts with major aeronautics firms, equipment suppliers and sub-contractors.

D2F Fundamental fluid dynamics Group

Research conducted in this group focuses on making scientific advances and developing methods upstream from the application. They focus on configurations of interests to applied research (carried out in AEX and TMP groups) which serve as a basis for more fundamental approaches. Among other areas, the D2F group has longstanding expertise in physics and modelling of transitional and turbulent non-reactive single phase flows under the influence of solid walls, strong density variations or shock waves. The group also develops, higher order compact spectral methods for the simulation of compressible flows on unstructured mesh. Thanks to recent hires and renewed efforts in this field, the group combined its skills into the development of the IC3 structuring project for the massively parallel efficient simulation of high Reynolds number flows (DNS, LES). This group project goes along with the reorientation of target flow configurations towards high Reynolds number aerodynamics and a ramp up on subjects of interest for aeronautics applications: the shock-wave boundary layer interaction, aeroacoustics, fluid-structure interaction, high order numerical methods tailored for applied configurations, and massive parallelization for Large Eddy Simulation.

AEX External aerodynamics group

Research conducted in the AEX group focuses on understanding and predicting physical phenomena of external aerodynamics from low order Reynolds numbers, for drone applications, to very large Reynolds numbers, for civil or military aeronautics applications and space applications. The group particularly focuses on complexities stemming from local or massive separation encountered in aeronautics configurations in complex geometries (nacelle- -wing interaction, lifting surface in close interaction with a rotor, distributed or embedded propulsion systems).

This research requires the development and use of large scale experimentation means and advanced simulation tools. Research activity on microdrones is part of the ATRI or Cross-disciplinary Research and Innovation Action of ISAE-SUPAERO as well as the GIS (Microdrone Scientific Interest Group).

Within the AEX, it is deployed in three areas:

  • long endurance drones,
  • stationary and convertible microdrones,
  • latest generation microrotors.

In particular this group has expanded the scope of research to include aerocoustics and aeroelasticity.

TMP Turbomachine and Propulsion group

Research in the Turbomachinery and Propulsion group aims to identify and provide solutions to the scientific challenges facing the aeronautics industry. The topics addressed are in line with the main objectives of the European aeronautics policy such as the growing electrification of aircraft and the increase of the performance of aircraft engines. Research is carried out in close collaboration with aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers and equipment suppliers as well as academic partners. There are two core scientific approaches: the analysis of physical phenomena of off-design behavior ( mild or severe) of components that are isolated or integrated in their environment, and the global analysis of propulsive and non-propulsive complex turbomachinery systems. This scientific policy uses test benches for components and complete systems, customized calculation tools and original analysis methods (system modelling). The group benefits from a five year support agreement with Safran-Tech under the AEGIS sponsorship chair.

Scientific topics

  • MSE: Modelling and Simulation of flows
  • 4AC: Experimental and digital acoustics for aeronautics applications
  • APD: Aerodynamics and propulsion of resilient, silent, convertible drones
  • ARI: Innovation in aircraft and propulsion system integrated architecture

Research is based on two structural projects:

  • SAA: Aerodynamic and aerocoustic wind tunnel
  • IC3: High-order Compact Compressible Code

Research facilities

Discover... ISAE-SUPAERO's “S-Visu” wind tunnel!

Discover ISAE-SUPAERO's visualization wind tunnel!


Discover ISAE-SUPAERO's visualization wind tunnel! ISAE-SUPAERO / SapienSapienS

29 November 2022

The “S-Visu” wind tunnel is the only open loop wind tunnel in the department. Unlike closed loop wind tunnels recirculating air, air is here drawn from outside, passes through the test section and is evacuated outside thanks to a downstream centrifugal suction compressor.
This wind tunnel is thus particularly suitable for flow disturbances studies: the disturbances generated in the test section are evacuated without modifying the conditions entering the wind tunnel. The test section is 45 cm wide and 3 m long. The velocity can reach 35 m/s. Without any disturbance, the geometry, and treatment of the duct (filters, honeycomb, and fine grids) guarantee good spatial and temporal homogeneity of the flow which has a turbulence rate close to 0.3%.
Here, oscillating shutters are placed downstream the test section to generate controlled quasi-sinusoidal temporal variations of the flow velocity. The pressure losses associated with the closing of the shutters can generate a sharp decrease as strong as 50% of the streamwise velocity.
Such aerological disturbances can be recorded during a low altitude flight, particularly in an urban environment, for which the presence of buildings accentuates the intensity of apparent wind fluctuations. Thus, a micro-UAV flying at 10 m/s is likely to encounter wind gust of large spatial extension and of similar amplitude to its own forward speed. The properties and effects of atmospheric turbulence on the flight performance of these light, small-sized and low-speed aircraft are therefore very different from what is conventionally known for airliners.
The challenge is to design drones, microdrones, nanodrones robust to wind gust.
In that video, the unsteady aerodynamic response of a wing subjected to a sinusoidal variation of the streamwise velocity is studied. The wing dimensions and speeds studied are representative of a microdrone flight in an urban environment.
The desired gust properties are ensured by appropriate control of the oscillating shutters. The unsteady flow is finely characterized using a hot wire probe fixed at the inlet of the test stream. The selected gust has an average speed of 10m/s with variations of +/- 4m/s over a period of 0.8 s. The overall aerodynamic performances are measured by noting the temporal evolutions of the lift, drag and pitching moment forces for different flight angles of attack.
To analyze the origin of these performances, it is necessary to properly qualify and understand the physics of the flow around the model. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) provides instantaneous flow velocity fields. By appropriate post-processing, the dynamics of the flow during the wind gust can be extracted.

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