Imperial College London

Rafael Palacios

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Aeronautics

Professor in Computational Aeroelasticity



+44 (0)20 7594 5075r.palacios CV




338City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Rafael (Rafa) Palacios is the Professor of Computational Aeroelasticity at the Department of Aeronautics, where he has been since 2007. He is aeronautical engineer from Universidad Politécnica, Madrid (1998) and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan (2005). Between 1998 and 2001, Rafa worked as R&D engineer in aeroelasticity and structural dynamics at Airbus. At Imperial he leads the Load Control and Aeroelastics lab, that investigates computational methods for dynamic analysis, control and optimization of flexible air vehicles and offshore wind turbines. Rafa is also the director of the Brahmal Vasudevan Institute for Sustainable Aviation, Imperial's flagship multidisciplinary research centre in net-zero aviation technologies, and Deputy Head of the Department of Aeronautics. He is associate editor of the Journal of Aircraft, having also been in the editorial board of the Journal of Fluids and Structures (2016-22) and Progress in Aerospace Sciences (2018-22). Rafa is the lead author of Dynamics of Flexible Aircraft, published by Cambridge University Press in June 2023. He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

In 2013, Rafa was voted best supervisor across Imperial at the Student Academic Choice Awards. For his doctoral research on Aeroelasticity of Smart Structures, he received the AIAA Foundation Orville and Wilbur Wright Graduate Award. At Michigan he was a Fulbright fellow and a Francois-Xavier Bagnoud fellow.  He has also been a technical consultant to MSC Software in the development of the finite-element package Nastran, and to Facebook Inc and Airbus Defence & Space in the design of solar-powered aircraft. As a curious fact, his academic lineage can be traced back to German physicians from the 1700s!

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Gomes P, Palacios R, 2022, Aerostructural topology optimization using high fidelity modeling, Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, Vol:65, ISSN:1615-147X

Goizueta N, Wynn A, Palacios R, et al., 2022, Flutter predictions for very flexible wing wind tunnel test, Journal of Aircraft, Vol:59, ISSN:0021-8669, Pages:1082-1097

Artola M, Wynn A, Palacios R, 2021, Modal-based nonlinear model predictive control for 3D very flexible structures, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol:67, ISSN:0018-9286

Del Carre de la Portilla A, Palacios R, 2020, Simulation and optimization of takeoff maneuvers of very flexible aircraft, Journal of Aircraft, Vol:57, ISSN:0021-8669, Pages:1097-1110

Deskos G, Del Carre de la Portilla A, Palacios R, 2020, Assessment of low-altitude atmospheric turbulence models for aircraft aeroelasticity, Journal of Fluids and Structures, Vol:95, ISSN:0889-9746, Pages:1-19

Deskos G, Laizet S, Palacios R, 2020, WInc3D: a novel framework for turbulence-resolving simulations of wind farm wake interactions, Wind Energy, Vol:23, ISSN:1095-4244, Pages:779-794

Maraniello S, Palacios R, 2020, Parametric reduced-order modelling of the unsteady vortex-lattice method, AIAA Journal, Vol:58, ISSN:0001-1452, Pages:2206-2220

Sanchez R, Albring T, Palacios R, et al., 2018, Coupled adjoint‐based sensitivities in large‐displacement fluid‐structure interaction using algorithmic differentiation, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering, Vol:113, ISSN:0029-5981, Pages:1081-1107

Murua J, Martinez P, Climent H, et al., 2014, T-Tail Flutter: Potential-Flow Modelling, Experimental Validation and Flight Tests, Progress in Aerospace Sciences, Vol:71, Pages:54-84

Murua J, Palacios R, Graham JMR, 2012, Applications of the Unsteady Vortex-Lattice Method in Aircraft Aeroelasticity and Flight Dynamics, Progress in Aerospace Sciences, Vol:55, Pages:46-72

Palacios R, 2011, Nonlinear Normal Modes in an Intrinsic Theory of Anisotropic Beams, Journal of Sound and Vibration, Vol:330, Pages:1772-1792

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