Equipment in the Aeronautics department

Key facts

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

1st in the UK (Engineering) – based on the proportion of world-leading research

Professional quality experimental facilities, close contact with industry and talented, enthusiastic staff all contribute to the outstanding reputation of Imperial’s Department of Aeronautics.

The Department is organised into two sections:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Aerostructures

We have research expertise spanning three key fields:

  • Fluid mechanics
  • Aerospace materials and structures
  • Computational methods and mathematical modelling

Our research facilities support computational and experimental projects in fluid mechanics, structural analysis, composites, optimisation and control and aircraft design.

Our experimental research is supported by well appointed laboratories and wind tunnels, with some of the equipment being unique in the UK.


The Department's professional-quality experimental facilities include a range of equipment for the manufacture of advanced fibre composites, advanced structural test rigs, and more than 10 wind tunnels from low to hypersonic speeds. We also have:

  • Extensive well-equipped laboratories
  • A wide range of wind tunnels and structural test rigs, each with modern associated electronic instrumentation
  • Two powerful clusters of PCs and parallel computers, available to students for computational research and linked to the laboratories, the College’s ICT Division and the academic network in the UK
  • A highly reconfigurable flight simulator. This is mounted on a six-degrees-of-freedom all-electric, full-motion platform, which can be programmed to accurately simulate almost any type of aircraft. It has a 140-degree wraparound external visual system that provides a realistic representation of the surrounding terrain, major topographical landmarks and accurate airport runway layouts for all the airports around the world

Study opportunities

We offer a number of study options to help you take your knowledge to the next level.

If you are interested in Doctoral study, it’s important to gain support for your application from your potential supervisor before making a formal application to the College.

Courses and research

Research programmes

The Department has an international reputation for excellence in research and provides first-class facilities and supervision in aeronautics and other applications of fluid mechanics, optimisation and control, structural analysis and composite materials.

The Department also offers studentships through various routes. Please visit the departmental webpage for the most up-to-date information.