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Professor Xin Zhang BSc, PhD, CEng, AFAIAA, FRAeS

Airbus Professor of Aircraft Engineering

Professor Xin Zhang's photo
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Professor Xin Zhang is Airbus Professor of Aircraft Engineering within the Airbus Noise Technology Centre at the University of Southampton.

Professor Xin Zhang is the Airbus Professor of Aircraft Engineering and the director of the Airbus Noise Technology Centre ( at University of Southampton, UK. His two main research interests are in:

To tackle the tough design, performance, engineering and environmental challenges in these two areas, he and his students have develop advanced analytical, numerical and experimental methods.

Qualifications Xin Zhang holds a Ph.D degree in fluid mechanics from the Cambridge University, UK and B.Eng in aerospace engineering from Beijing Institute of Aeronautics, China. He is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society

Research interests Professor Zhang's main research interests are in the areas of aircraft noise, aircraft aerodynamics, computational aeroacoustics, ground effect and racing car aerodynamics, and flow/noise control. He (with his students and colleagues) has conducted studies of airframe noise including high-lift devices, landing gears and bluff bodies, self-sustained fluid flow oscillations, turbulent flow control through streamwise vortices and plasma actuation, flow control jets, engine and duct acoustics, etc. He also develops advanced algorithms and numerical methods for flow and noise computation.

Professor Xin Zhang founded Airbus Aircraft Noise Technology Centre and has been its director since 2008. The centre is Airbus’s only university based technology centre. The centre has developed some major technologies for aircraft noise prediction and attenuation ( click here for a BBC interview). He also developed ground effect aerodynamics as an academic discipline and conducted original research with Formula One teams, including Tyrrell Racing, BAR, Honda Racing, Mercedes, Penske Racing, etc. You can some interesting materials under research tab. His work in racing car aerodynamics contributed to the university being awarded the 2012 Queen's Anniversary Prize for its work in engineering supporting high performance sport.

He is the principal investigator and co-PI of a number of major research projects funded by the UK government, European Commission, and aerospace and motor-racing industries, and has acted as a consultant for a number of industrial companies around the world.

Fellowships and Awards


2004    Associated Fellow, AIAA
1999    Fellow, The Royal Aeronautical Society
1991    The Busk Prize, The Royal Aeronautical Society
1985    The ORS Award, British Council
1984    The Glaxo Scholarship, University of Cambridge
1983 The Best Graduate Award, BUAA




Membership of Professional and Learned Societies


Member, American Institute of Physics
Associated Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Fellow, the Royal Aeronautical Society





Research interests

Currently my main research areas are experimental and computational aeroacoustics, airframe noise research, duct acoustics, flow and acoustic control, and ground effect aerodynamics.

In the area of aeroacoustics, I and my students have worked on high-order numerical schemes, acoustic boundary modelling, numerical scheme development such as adaptive mesh refinement and Fourier pseudo-spectral time-domain method, acoustic liner modelling, interface conditions, and equations for stable computation of sound prooagation, e.g. linearsied divergence equations.

In the area of airframe noise research, I and my group are working on flow around and noise generated by high-lift devices such as slat, slat track and flap side edge, on the flow and noise generated by various landing gears, on applying various flow and noise control techniques to airframe noise problems. As the director of Airbus Aircraft Noise Technology Centre, I am also leading projects developing physical based predictive tools for airframe noise and rotor noise. The methods employed including wind tunnel tests, acoustic tests, computational modelling, and empirical models.

In the area of engine and duct acoustics, I and my students are developing efficient computational aeroacoustics tools to predict sound propagation and noise radiation out of various ducts including engine intake, bypass and core nozzle ducts with flow, three-dimensional computations of bypass duct with flow and liner treatment, open rotor aeroacoustics, and broadband engine noise computation.

On ground effect aerodynamics, I have worked on wing in ground effect aerodynamics, and rotating wheel aerodynamics. My work has led to classification of flow / force regimes in ground effect.

On flow and acoustic control, I have worked on active and passive flow and acoustic control devices. These include plasma actuation and its efficient control, active and passive control using blowing and suction for landing gears, passive control devices for high-lift devices.

Recent research projects.

Here are some interesting areas of research and projects that you may find interesting:

  • Race car aerodynamic: testing and performance
  • Front wing in ground effect for racing car
  • Diffuser aerodynamics for racing car
  • Rotating wheel aerodynamics for racing car.
  • Whole aircraft noise prediction model
  • Landing gear aerodynamic loads and noise: EADS IW COSOL
  • Aircraft high-lift device flap active flow control: EU FP7 CLFCWTE
  • Next generation contra-rotating open rotor powered aircraft noise prediction
  • Physics based landing gear prediction code: PHYSICS
  • Airbus A350 aerodynamics simulation
  • Aerodynamics of heaving wing in ground effect for racing car applications
  • Plasma actuation for flow and noise control
  • Linearised divergence equations for noise propagation
  • GPU based computational aeroacoustics
  • Aeroengine intake sound propagation and radiation
  • Aeroengine bypass duct sound propagation and radiation
  • Efficient Computational fluid dynamics grid generation for industry applications
A350 landing gear
A350 landing gear
Image of the R. J. Mitchell wind tunnel
The R. J. Mitchell wind tunnel
Landing gear image
Leading gear noise prediction
Landing gear entry
A350 landing gear
Image of wind tunnel
The R. J. Mitchell wind tunnel
Noise prediction graph
Leading gear noise prediction

Research group

Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics



Book Chapters

    Zhang, X. (2010). Airframe noise: high lift device noise. In R. Blockley, & W. Shyy (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering. (pp. 3541-3551). Chichester, GB: Wiley.
    Cui, E. J., & Zhang, X. (2010). Ground effect aerodynamics. In R. Blockley, & W. Shyy (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering. (pp. 246-256). Chichester, GB: Wiley.
    Zhang, X., Mohan, S., Van Den-Berg, M., & William, C. (2005). Aerodynamics of a half-cylinder in ground effect. In W. Rodi (Ed.), Engineering Turbulence Modelling and Experiments 6: ERCOFTAC International Symposium on Engineering Turbulence and Measurements - ETMM6. (pp. 461-470). Netherlands: Elsevier.




Module title  Module code  Discipline  Role 
Experimental Techniques
for Aerodynamics
SESA6042  Aerospace Engineering  Course leader 
Race Car Aerodynamics   SESA6039  Aerospace, Engineering  Course leader 



Details of the three most recent higher degree students supervised to completion

Antoni Almoar "Investigation into noise emitted by large bluff bodies with large roughness" April 2013

Xinfu Luo "Plasma based jet actuators for flow control" May 2012

Peng Chen "Identification and attenuation of slat noise" April 2012


Postgraduate Supervision (Higher Research Degrees)

Degree Current Completed Total to Date
PhD 18 29 47
EngD 3 0 3
MPhil 1 1 2
Professor Xin Zhang
Level 5, Building 13 (Tizard) University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number:176/

Telephone:(023) 8059 4891
Facsimile:(023) 8059 3058

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