Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
(023) 8059 2667

Dr Alan McAlpine BSc PhD

Associate Professor, Deputy Director of Graduate School

Dr Alan McAlpine's photo

Dr Alan McAlpine is Associate Professor within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Younger days...

Career history

Alan McAlpine graduated in 1993 with first-class honours in Mathematics from the University of Southampton, and in 1997 with a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Bristol. In 1998 he returned to the University of Southampton to join the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. At the Institute he worked as a Research Fellow from 1998 to 2000, prior to his appointment as a lecturer. In 2014 he was promoted to senior lecturer. Also he has been a member of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Gas Turbine Noise at the ISVR since it was founded in 1999.

Acoustics of turbofan jet engines
Acoustics of turbofan jet engines


Alan McAlpine's principal research interest is the development and validation of theoretical prediction methods of noise sources produced by aircraft engines. The methods he develops are mainly theoretical, using analytical and semi-analytical methods. These can be used to assess how different design parameters affect the noise levels. Key research areas include aeroacoustics, duct acoustics and nonlinear acoustics. More details of some recent and current research projects are available online. His research has led to over 40 publications


Alan McAlpine teaches Acoustics on the ISVR's Acoustical Engineering undergraduate degree programme. This is the only acoustics degree in the UK which is accredited by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Acoustics. He also teaches presentation skills to postgraduate engineering and science students, which is one of the core elements of the research students' skills training programme. 

Other responsibilities

Useful Downloads

Need the software?PDF Reader

Research interests

Aeroacoustics Aircraft engine noise Aircraft engine installation acoustics Theoretical duct acoustics Hydrodynamic stability

Dr McAlpine carries out research in the field of aeroacoustics – the generation of sound by fluid flow. His key research interest is aircraft noise, and he is a member of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Gas Turbine Noise at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. Noise and emissions from civil aircraft is a major environmental issue. Measures to reduce aircraft noise and emissions (CO2 and NOX) typically have interdependencies with other factors, such as fuel efficiency. Commonly trade-offs may be required in the design of aircraft engines; for example, a modification to an engine to reduce noise may increase the overall weight, adversely affecting the engine’s fuel consumption. Thus reducing noise and emissions is a crucial technical factor in the development of aero-engines, and to aid this accurate, fully validated, noise prediction schemes are used in the development of aircraft engines.

Acoustics of turbofan jet engines
Acoustics of turbofan jet engines

Aircraft engines generate a complex group of noise sources, including fan and compressor noise, combustion noise, turbine noise and jet noise.  In addition to being able to predict the noise from each isolated source, the radiated sound when the engine is installed on the airframe needs to be predicted. Installation acoustics is pertinent to cabin and community noise. Research carried out at the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre covers a range of experimental, computational and theoretical work on noise sources generated by aero-engines. Most of Alan McAlpine’s research is focussed on the development of theoretical methods to predict noise generated by modern high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines. Efficient and validated noise prediction methods can provide physical insight into aerodynamic noise sources, as well as being used to predict the noise from current and new aircraft engines.

Courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc
Rolls-Royce Trent 900 jet engine
Courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc
Advanced open rotor concept

Research group

Acoustics Group

Research project(s)

Acoustics of turbofan duct systems

Investigating the propagation and radiation of sound from turbofan aircraft engines.

"Buzz-saw" noise and nonlinear acoustics

Prediction of noise generated by supersonic fans in turbofan aircraft engines

Installed turbofan and open rotor noise

Predicting installation acoustics effects for novel open rotor aircraft engines

Scattering of turbine tones

Analysis of frequency scattering of turbine tones radiated from turbofan aircraft engines

Engineering and the Environment Graduate School

Alan McAlpine is a Deputy Director of the Engineering and the Environment Graduate School. The Graduate School overseas the postgraduate research programme in engineering. At present there are around 500 postgraduate researchers in engineering.

United Kingdom X-Noise Network in Aeroacoustics

Alan McAlpine is the coordinator of the United Kingdom X-Noise Network in Aeroacoustics. This network acts as a focal point overseeing national activities connected to aircraft noise research. It is part of a European-wide collection of national networks on aircraft noise, organised under the auspices of the X-Noise project.

Institute of Acoustics Research Coordination Committee

Alan McAlpine is a member of the Institute of Acoustics Research Coordination Committee. This committee seeks to coordinate and promote acoustics research and related activities in the United Kingdom.

Council of European Aerospace Societies - Aeroacoustics Specialists' Committee

Also Alan McAlpine is the UK University representative on the Council of European Aerospace Societies - Aeroacoustics Specialists' Committee. This committee organizes conferences and workshops on aeroacoustics, as well as publishing an annual highlights article on aeroacoustics research in Europe. 

Sort via:TypeorYear




Dr Alan McAlpine
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 13/4091

Facsimile: (023) 8059 3190

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings