Contact Dr Drewan Sanders

Areas of expertise

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Flight Physics
  • Gas Turbines & Propulsion


Drewan Sanders is a Research Fellow within the Centre for Propulsion Engineering and Thermal Power at Cranfield University, and part of the Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Group. Within this role, Drewan leads a team of PhD and MSc students focused on examining the external aerodynamics of highly coupled airframe-propulsion systems such as; Distributed Propulsion, Boundary Layer Ingestion, Propeller-Wing Interactions, Wing-Tip Propulsion, and Surface Skin Heat Exchangers. Towards this endeavour, the team has been developing and implementing novel mid to far-field decomposition methods based on thermodynamic, power balance, exergy, and vortex force (Lamb vector) approaches.

In 2019 Cranfield University awarded Drewan his PhD, "Boundary Layer Ingestion Performance Assessments with Application to Business Jets" as part of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Aero Systems Design, Integration and Performance. Prior to this, Drewan obtained a BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In collaboration with Airbus, his MSc research focused on evaluating the fuel consumption benefits of extended formation flight in the presence of atmospheric turbulence.

Current activities

Drew is currently leading Cranfield's technical contributions to the Cleanksy Project SUBLIME (Supporting Understanding of Boundary Layer Ingestion Model Experiment). This ~3.6m project will advance the state-of-the-art in Boundary Layer Ingestion technology by means of the world's first high speed wind tunnel tests on a full-aircraft BLI configuration, conducted at ARA (Aircraft Research Association).

As the coordinator of a GARTEUR Exploratory Group (EG42), Drew is bringing together experts in the field of applied external aerodynamics, in order to develop methods toward the analysis and decomposition of the aerodynamic force acting on rotary wings.

In collaboration with GKN aerospace, the e-volution project is investigating potential synergies between the thermal management via skin heat exchangers and integrated propulsion concepts.

In collaboration with Pretoria University in South Africa, Drew is continuing to investigate the benefits of formation flight as well as examining more detailed design aspects of lifting fuselages.


Drew has been working closely and collaborating with several international & industrial organisations including:



GKN Aerospace

Rolls Royce

Aircraft Research Association



And several academic partners:

Chalmers University of Technology, SE

University of Padova, IT

Politecnico di Milano, IT

Politecnico di Torino, IT

University of Naples Federico II, IT

Pretoria University, SA


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers