Vrije Universiteit Brussel

In 2018 the Fluid Mechanics & Thermodynamics groups of the departments Mechanical Engineering (MECH) and Engineering Technology (INDI) joined their expertise and infrastructer in a new faculty overlapping research group with the name FLOW.

Visit the FLOW website at flow.research.vub.be

Fluid Mechanics

The research of the department focuses on 1) CFD; 2) Windenergy; 3) Experimental research at the level of turbulence; 4) Wind engineering. Emphasis is on CFD, in which the department has already 30 years of experience and benefits from a worldwide recognition. Throughout the years the department has been involved in various international projects (e.g. EU, ESA, bilateral projects) and national projects (e.g. FWO, IWONL, GBOU). The department disposes of a professional CFD code, which was developed jointly with FOI (Sweden) for ESA/ESTEC (ESA contract 89-95,96-98). ESA/ESTEC uses the code in support of their projects. The expertise and know-how of the team has led to the creation of a spin-off company, NUMECA Int. N.V. (1992). NUMECA is present in most industrialized countries with branches offices in the USA, Japan, China, Hong Kong, India, Belgium and distributors in Germany, Spain, Italy, Korea, Indonesia... and employs around 100 engineers.
For its experimental research, the department disposes of 2 subsonic windtunnels and, along with the classical measuring equipment, advanced non-intrusive measurement techniques such as LDA and PIV. The department has many international contacts, partly due to its involvement in various networks, such as different EU thematic networks (FLOWnet, MACSInet, QNET-CFD) and as member of the Belgian Pilot Center of the ERCOFTAC (European Research Community on Flow, Turbulence and Combustion) network. The department is also part of a recently submitted Network of Excellence "e-FLOW".


The thermodynamics group is mainly working in the field of power and heat production. These activities involve as well fundamental research, industrial research as management studies. In the fundamental work new techniques to improve power production are searched through second law analysis. Results are on the one hand an original procedure for process design (including chemical reaction), and on the other hand different gas turbine power cycle layouts obtained through this procedure. Fundamental work in the field of combustion consists in the modeling of emissions with emphasis on nitrogen oxides. Starting from detailed kinetic modeling improved engineering correlations are searched which should predict tendencies in emissions, in function of major combustion parameters. This work occurs in parallel with detailed experiments in industrial flames of temperature, speed and composition for validation. The activity on combustion is also industrial through expertise and experimental work on the industrial scale, for combustion of gas, oil and biomass. Industrial research is done in the field of biomass through participation in a promising biomass combustor (twister), and through a pilot plant for gasification of biomass (0.4 t/h) with indirect firing of a gas turbine (EFGT) and with cogeneration of heat. A T100 microturbine has recently been installed in the department. The behaviour of the microturbine as CHP unit in the campus environment if first studied in collaboration with the Hogeschool Limburg and VITO. In a later stage inclusion of biomass will be realised through external combustion of the biomass to enrich the natural gas with hydrogen, thus replacing 5% of the natural gas by energy from biomass without major technological deveopment and keeping high efficiency levels. Finally, the group is involved in different energy management projects (government, expert groups, power producers). The group leader is member of several federal commissions for guiding the Belgian energy policy. Up

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