Department of Engineering / Profiles / Dr Nicholas Atkins

Department of Engineering

Dr Nicholas Atkins

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Nicholas Atkins

University Lecturer in Turbomachinery

Academic Division: Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery

Research group: Turbomachinery

Telephone: +44 1223 3 37592

Email: nra27@eng.cam.ac.uk

Publications


Research interests

Dr Atkins' research interests are in the field of aero-thermodynamics, predominantly for gas-turbine engines. The research is multi-disciplinary, with a mixture of both experimental and numerical investigations. In general, the research is focused on finding the fluid physics missing from current design systems, and to work out the best way to measure and model the phenomena. Often, the work is focused on long standing issues where there is a lack of current understanding. The wider aim is to help improve the reliability and fuel efficiency of the next generation of machines.

Current projects include the effect of rotationally dominant flows on the design of gas turbine secondary air systems. Much of the research in recent decades has made a quasi-2D assumption about the flow structures within the various cavities of a gas turbine engine which limits manufactures' ability to predict the metal temperatures in many critical regions. As such, the design of new engines (both for propulsion and power generation) often features multiple empirical design iterations due to hot-section failures. Simple numerical studies have highlighted many 3D flow phenomena and a test facility is being built to confirm the physical mechanisms.

Dr Atkins is also interested in aero-thermal instrumentation development and is currently developing IR techniques for the study of transition and heat transfer in engine-representative conditions.

Strategic themes

Energy, transport and urban infrastructure

Aerothermal research for the design of the next generation of ultra low NOX gas turbine combustors - FACTOR. Robust design of gas turbine secondary air systems and film cooling. Compact compression systems with Dyson.

Inspiring research through industrial collaboration

Aerothermal research for the design of the next generation of ultra low NOX gas turbine combustors - FACTOR. Robust design of gas turbine secondary air systems and film cooling. Compact compression systems with Dyson.

Research projects

Robust design of (gas turbine) secondary air-systems (MHI), FACTOR - Full Aerothermal Combustor-Turbine interatiOns Research (EU FP7), Film Cooling Research (MHI), Compact Compression Systems (Dyson)

Teaching activity

  • Heat Transfer (Paper 3A6)
  • Turbomachinery (Paper 4A3)
  • Flow Visualisation EAA

Research opportunities

PhD projects starting Oct. 2014

Other positions

(Acting) Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technical Centre in Aerothermal Systems at the University of Sussex 2007-2009

Biography

Nick Atkins joined the Whittle Laboratory at the Department of Engineering as a Lecturer in Turbomachinery at the beginning of 2010. From 2007 he was a University Lecturer in Thermofluids and (acting) Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technical Centre in Aerothermal Systems at the University of Sussex.

Before Sussex he held the W. W. Spooner Junior Research Fellowship at New College, Oxford, where he also completed his doctoral and undergraduate studies in Engineering Science.