Contact Professor Kevin Knowles

Areas of expertise

  • Aeronautical Systems
  • Aircraft Design
  • Autonomous Systems
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Defence Systems Engineering
  • Flight Physics
  • Gas Turbines & Propulsion
  • Vehicle Aerodynamics


Professor Kevin Knowles BSc (Hons), PhD, CEng, FRAeS, AFAIAA was appointed to Cranfield University's Chair in Aeromechanical Systems in 2007. He graduated in Engineering Science from Exeter University in 1978 and was awarded a PhD in aerodynamics (1984) for research into the effect of swirl on jet flows. He has industrial experience with the National Gas Turbine Establishment at Pyestock (1976), involving jet noise experimental research; at the Central Electricity Research Labs in Leatherhead (1977), on flow modelling of power station feed heater instability; and with GEC Turbine Generators Ltd (1981-1984), covering turbomachinery aerodynamic development, research on unsteady supersonic aerodynamics of high pressure control valves, and submarine power plant flow analysis. In 1984 he was appointed to a Lecturership in Cranfield's Aeromechanical Systems Group at the Royal Military College of Science (now part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom) in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire. He was appointed Head of the Aeromechanical Systems Group in 1993. Professor Knowles is a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, an editorial board member of the Proceedings of the IMechE Part G Journal of Aerospace Engineering, and a member of a number of national and international technical committees, including the AIAA V/STOL Aircraft Systems technical committee and the Royal Aeronautical Society's Aerodynamics Specialist Group. Professor Knowles is President of the Defence Academy and Swindon branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He has published over 200 research articles in books, journals and conference proceedings.

Current activities

Professor Knowles is engaged in a broad range of aeromechanical activities. At Shrivenham his teaching is mainly on aerodynamics and flight performance, applied helicopter aerodynamics, and broader aspects of aeromechanical systems. Much of his research is in unsteady aerodynamics, as well as other related areas as detailed below, using experimental facilities and computational techniques as appropriate.

Research includes applications to:

Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs):

   Unsteady aerodynamics of insect-inspired flapping-wings for micro and nano air vehicles (MAVs and NAVs)

   Gust and turbulent wake effects on small unmanned air vehicles

   Assessment of novel UAV configurations

Military aircraft:

   Transonic cavity flow studies for aircraft weapons bays

   Control of cavity flows

   Jet and nozzle aerodynamics and aircraft propulsion integration

   Impinging jets in cross-flows relevant to STOVL aircraft

   Fundamental studies of turbulent jets

   Supersonic jet mixing for infra-red signature reduction

   Swirl flow in propulsion nozzles

   Jet/intake interactions in STOVL aircraft

Ground vehicles:

   Ground effect aerodynamics of wings and bodies   

   Wake influence on wings in ground effect

   Wheel flows

   Unsteady effects in ground proximity

Research includes expertise in:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Aeroacoustics
  • Aircraft design studies
  • Vortex flows
  • Flow control.


  • MOD
  • Industry
  • Research Councils


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers