Imperial College London

Professor Rob Hewson

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Aeronautics

Professor of Multidisciplinary Design Optimisation



r.hewson Website




341City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





My research interests span a few areas. These include thin film fluid mechanics, such as those encountered in coating and tribology, along with research interests in multi-disciplinary design optimisation and multiscale mechanics. These seemingly diverse fields of research are brought together by a fundamental analysis of how we represent complex problems for either optimisation or to span the scales of the problem.

Multi-disciplinary Design Optimisation

I have a major interest in the complex and challenging problems presented in multidisciplinary design optimisation. The multi-fidelity response surface approaches I have used have enabled complex and frequently computationally expensive problems to be optimised with the minimum number of calls to the underlying computational models. We have done this for aeroelastic problems, as well as for the optimisation of compressor and turbine stages of gas turbines to maximise aero-thermodynamic performance while meeting the structural constraints demanded of the blades. It is from this that my additional interest of mesh parameterisation arises, preserving mesh connectivity and allowing each fluid simulation to be based on a previous iteration.

Tribology and Thin Film Fluid Dynamics

Much of my research to date has been on thin fluid film modelling, whether it is for applying thin layers of fluid onto a fast moving substrate for the purpose of changing its surface characteristics, or in modelling fluid film lubrication. Some of this work has been done using a multiscale approach where topographical features on the lubricated surface place new challenges on the usual lubrication approximation, requiring it to be solved using more complex fluid simulations. This method has been used in modelling the gravure coating process, as well as elastohydrodynamic lubrication with topographical features. As with my optimisation related research, response surface approaches have been used widely.

Current Projects

show research

FP7-NMP-2012-Large-6: LifeLongJoints, Silicon Nitride Coatings for Improved Implant Function ( I am the PI for Imperial's contribution to this project focusing on modelling the Elasto-Hydrodynamic Lubrication in the hip joint.

FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN: AMEDEO, Aerospace Multidisciplinary-Enabling DEsign Optimisation ( I am leading Imperial's contibution to the network as a secondary partner and with whom one of the network PhD students working on wing shape optimisation is registered.