Professor 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 Propulsion Systems Noise at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR). He also teaches on the acoustical engineering undergraduate and masters programmes at the ISVR. In 2020 he was appointed director of graduate school for engineering and physical sciences.
- Aircraft engine noise
- Aircraft engine installation acoustics
- Theoretical duct acoustics
- Hydrodynamic stability
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.
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' professional skills training programme.
External roles and responsibilities
Alan McAlpine graduated in 1993 with first-class honours in Mathematics from the University of Southampton, and in 1997 with a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Bristol. In 1998 he returned to the University of Southampton to join the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, where he has been a member of the Rolls-Royce sponsored Propulsion Systems Noise (formerly Gas Turbine Noise) group since it was founded in 1999. Professor McAlpine’s principal research activities involve the development and validation of theoretical prediction methods of noise sources produced by aircraft engines. Key research areas include aero-acoustics, duct acoustics and nonlinear acoustics. Some of his research highlights include the development of a new engineering prediction scheme for supersonic fan tone noise, known as buzz-saw noise, which is a critical noise source, particularly at take-off. More recently he has developed a new theoretical framework to predict the spectral broadening of turbine-tones caused by the sound propagating through turbulent jet shears in the engine’s exhaust, and new analytical models of fan tone radiation from an installed turbofan engine.