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Professor Alec Wilson 

Professor of Computational Aeroacoustics

Professor Alec Wilson's photo

Alec Wilson is Professor in Computational Aeroacoustics and Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Propulsion Systems Noise within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Career & Current roles

Alec Wilson graduated in Mathematics from Cambridge university before joining Rolls-Royce as a graduate trainee.  Within the company took a number of technical specialist roles related to unsteady flows in aeroengine compressors, aeroengine noise, computational hydrodynamics for ship and ship propulsor design and hydrodynamics for tidal turbines.  He was elected to the Rolls-Royce Engineering Fellowship as Associate Fellow in Aerodynamics, Hydrodynamics and Computational Fluid Dynamics.

At the start of 2016 Alec joined the University of Southampton as Professor in Computational Aeroacoustics and Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Propulsion Systems Noise within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Alec teaches and tutors in the fields of acoustics, aerodynamics and mechanical engineering.

Outside of the university Alec is currently vice-chair of CEAS/ASC (the Aeroacoustics Subcommittee of the Council of European Aerospace Societies).

Research interests

As Director of the Rolls-Royce UTC in Propulsion Systems Noise Alec develops, leads and participates in a range of European and UK collaborative research programmes in the field of aeroplane noise, with particular emphasis on aeroengine noise sources and sound propagation.

While at Rolls-Royce Alec played a pioneering role in the application of aerodynamic CFD codes to predict turbomachinery tone noise generated by real engineering geometries, and Alec’s own research at the University of Southampton still centres on the development and application of analytic and numerical modelling techniques to real-world engineering issues and opportunities.

An example of Alec’s current research is the development of a new prediction method based on eigen analysis.  Eigen analysis has been used for many years to provide a fast, computationally efficient method for predicting noise propagation in ducts, but the methods used have been limited to simplified geometries and mean flow which has limited their usefulness in practice.  The new method being developed retains the computational efficiency of previous methods, but can be applied to any smoothly varying mean flow and duct geometry.  The initial target of the research is to provide a method to predict acoustic propagation through a three-dimensional aeroengine intake at a computational cost that permits multiple calculations during the design optimisation process.

The aviation industry is entering an exciting period of change, with new aircraft architectures and propulsion systems being proposed to meet the joint challenges of reducing carbon emissions and noise.  This brings with it new challenges in noise modelling and prediction, and Alec, together with the other members of the UTC, is increasingly focussing efforts on modelling the next generation of aircraft.

Research group

Acoustics Group

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Professor Alec Wilson
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 13/4087

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