Contact Professor David MacManus

Areas of expertise

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Computing, Simulation & Modelling
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Flight Physics
  • Gas Turbines & Propulsion
  • Instrumentation, Sensors and Measurement Science
  • Power Systems & Turbines
  • Renewable Energy


General background

David MacManus is the Professor of Propulsion Aerodynamics in the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University. His main research and teaching interests centre around aerodynamics including computational and experimental methods, aerospace propulsion, turbomachinery aerodynamics, advanced instrumentation, as well as engineering design and optimisation. He has over 20 years of experience in aerospace engineering across both industry and academia including research leadership, income generation, management as well as postgraduate teaching and supervision.

David received an honours B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1990 from the National University of Ireland (Galway). He followed this with a PhD, also at Galway, on the aerodynamics of Laminar Flow Control technologies for civil aircraft. In 1997 he joined Rolls-Royce Derby where he worked on a range of turbine aerodynamic design and research topics. In 2003 he returned to academia and joined the Department of Aerospace Sciences at Cranfield University as a lecturer. In 2010 he moved to the Centre for Propulsion Engineering where he is current Deputy Head of Centre and the Head of Gas Turbine Technology Group. He is a chartered engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and Member of the IMechE/RAeS Combined Propulsion Technical Advisory Committee.

Teaching & Student Supervision

Prof. MacManus has supervised more than 130 MSc, 21 PhD and 4 MSc by Research students to successful completion. His postgraduate teaching has focused on aerodynamic topics including modules on viscous flows, compressible flows, aero-engine aerodynamics, sustainable aviation technologies, and turbomachinery aerodynamic design.

Refereeing for High-impact Journals

Prof MacManus has acted as referee for a range of high-impact journals include Journal of Fluids Engineering, Experiments in Fluids, AIAA Journal, AIAA Journal of Aircraft, Aerospace Science and Technology, Journal of Flow Measurement and Instrumentation, Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Experimental and Thermal Fluid Science, Aeronautical Journal.

Publications and awards

More than 60 peer-reviewed journal papers and 44 conference papers. He has also jointly received awards for Royal Aeronautical Society Best Written Paper Award (Silver 2019, Bronze 2010); AIAA Best Paper Award (2016); ISABE Valensi Award, Conference Best Technical Paper (2017)

Research opportunities

Currently accepting applications from self-funded PhD students interested in aerospace engineering and aerodynamics. Contact Prof. David MacManus

Current activities

Head of Gas Turbine Technology Group

Prof MacManus leads Gas Turbine Technology Group which encompasses teaching and research activities across a broad range of areas. The research portfolio includes a considerable activity centred around propulsion system integration for aerospace applications with specialisations in aerodynamic design, optimisation, simulation, and experimental work. The group also includes a specialist team researching, and providing consultancy, in the area of icing including an Icing Wind Tunnel. Other areas include gas turbine simulation and performance modelling, control as well as thermal management research and reaching.

Director, Cranfield Defence Aeronautics and Space (CDAS)

Prof MacManus is leading the CDAS cross-university joint undertaking between SATM and CDS. The overall aim is to support UK security and prosperity through leadership, research and technology advancement in the field of defence aeronautics and space. This includes building links between academia and industry, developing cross-sector research initiatives, and Supporting growth and expertise through a dedicated CDAS fellowship scheme. (

Deputy Head of Centre for Propulsion Engineering in the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing (SATM);

The Centre for Propulsion Engineering has a large mixed portfolio of research and education encompassing activities in air, land and sea technologies for power and propulsion. Within this context there is a notable activity with about 50-80 MSc students annually enrolled on the Thermal Power, about 80 full-time and part-time PhD students as well as a substantial portfolio of regular short courses as well as bespoke continued professional development training.


Prof. MacManus has led research programmes and collaborations with a wide range of national and international clients and funding support. This includes: Rolls-Royce, UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, UK RI (TSB, ATI, Innovate UK), EU, US Air Force Research Laboratories Wright Paterson, French-German Research Institute of Saint-Louis, Airbus Innovation Works, Alstom, , Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Germany), Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council, UK Centre for Defence Enterprise, Cobham Mission Equipment, Alstom, RWE Power, Aircraft Research Association.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers