Department of Engineering / Profiles / Dr Tom Hynes

Department of Engineering

Dr Tom Hynes


Tom Hynes


Academic Division: Energy, Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery

Research group: Turbomachinery

Telephone: +44 1223 3 37584



Research interests

Tom Hynes’ research interests are aimed at helping to reduce the environmental impact of aviation.  The two main areas of interest are noise reduction and the improvement in fuel consumption that results from the use of more advanced engine nacelles.

The aerodynamic wakes of one blade row interacting with blade rows downstream is a significant source of turbofan noise.  Two ways of reducing this noise have been developed.  The first involves fundamental experimental studies into understanding and manipulating how wakes develop.  The second builds on recent developments in our ability to predict interaction noise and involves new optimisation techniques to help design downstream blades in ways that reduce the interaction noise, while not compromising aerodynamic performance.

Reducing jet noise without compromising performance involves a detailed understanding of the mixing of turbulent jets and how this generates noise.  Source identification involves an accurate understanding of how noise propagates through a turbulent jet of non-uniform temperature and away to the observer.  Research concentrates on numerical techniques to predict this propagation.

Smaller aero-engine nacelles have less aerodynamic drag and their use would enable a considerable saving of fuel.  The need to avoid flow separation in off-design conditions, such as taking off in strong cross-winds or sudden incidence changes in climb, requires intake lips be quite thick, with a consequent increase in nacelle diameter.  Recent research has explored techniques for controlling flow separation at these off-design conditions.  At the heart of this has been the development of a novel small-scale facility to study nacelle separation characteristics at engine representative conditions using the Whittle Lab transonic wind tunnel.

Strategic themes

Energy, transport and urban infrastructure

Noise reduction through better aerodynamic design.

Teaching activity

Lectures on maths for engineers, computational fluid dynamics, turbomachinery aerodynamic design.

Research opportunities

Openings for research students to study for Ph.D.’s, usually in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, occur at regular intervals, as do post-doctoral positions for those with experience in unsteady computational fluid dynamics in a turbo-machinery context.

Other positions

  • Director of the Whittle Lab
  • Director of Studies in Engineering at St John’s College


Tom Hynes is a Reader in the Engineering Department at Cambridge and currently Director of the Whittle Laboratory, where he has worked since 1978.  He progressed into engineering after studying for his B.A. MMath. & Ph.D. in Maths at Cambridge, having been converted during short spells at the Royal Aircraft Establishment and at Rolls Royce in Bristol.  He has worked for many years with Rolls-Royce and, in recent years, on helicopter noise with Westland.