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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Energy@Rensselaer: Institute Launches Center for Flow Physics and Control

July 5, 2011

Energy@Rensselaer: Institute Launches Center for Flow Physics and Control

Center for Flow Physics and Control (CeFPaC)

The interdisciplinary research center seeks to answer fundamental questions and innovate new application-driven solutions for performance enhancement of fluid systems.


New Research Center To Tackle Critical Challenges Related to Aircraft Design, Wind Energy, Smart Buildings

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute today announced the new Center for Flow Physics and Control (CeFPaC) within the School of Engineering.

The interdisciplinary research center seeks to answer fundamental questions and innovate new application-driven solutions for performance enhancement of fluid systems. From designing smarter blades for wind turbines to developing new techniques for reducing aircraft drag, CeFPaC is poised to make an important impact in the rapidly emerging field of active flow control.

Leading CeFPaC as director is Michael Amitay, professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer.

“By establishing the new Center for Flow Physics and Control, Rensselaer has further positioned itself as a key player in the expanding field of active flow control. This center creates exciting new opportunities for our students – who are already highly sought-after by major aerospace engineering firms – and faculty researchers,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “We are proud to launch this new center in the School of Engineering and look forward to its continued success.”

“The ability to manipulate a flow field to affect a desired change is of immense practical importance. As a scientific discipline and as technological curiosity, flow control is a hot topic in both science and engineering,” Amitay said. “In our new center, we will advance the state of the art in smart wind turbine blades, green airplanes, smart buildings, and more.”

CeFPaC researchers are investigating flow physics, prediction models, and control schemes. This entails a combination of basic research aimed at developing and verifying theories for fluid dynamic behavior, and the modeling and application of these theories toward controlling flows. The center builds from Amitay’s research into active and passive flow control techniques and their many applications in aerodynamics and fluid mechanics. Amitay said he is actively seeking additional funding opportunities and industrial partnerships.

The new center will focus on research in the following areas:

  • Flow Physics | 2-D, 3-D, and unsteady flows
  • Flow Control | Fundamental experimental, numerical, and theoretical investigations of flow control in macro and micro systems
  • Actuators | Design, optimization, and modeling of actuators for flow control
  • Flow Sensing | Flow sensors and controls to enable autonomous systems
  • Aviation | Manned and unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Wind Energy | Smart wind turbine blades
  • Building-Integrated Wind | Smart buildings

In addition to Amitay, CeFPaC members faculty hail from several departments and schools on campus, including the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering; Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering; Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Department of Mathematical Sciences; and School of Architecture.

Funding CeFPaC research are federal agencies: Air Force Office of Scientific Research; Office of Naval Research; National Science Foundation (NSF); and Air Force Research Laboratory; state agencies including the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); and industrial partners Boeing, Northrop Grumman, AeroCity, and Infoscitex.

For more information on flow control research at Rensselaer, visit:

Flow Control Research Lab

Developing Smarter Wind Turbine Blades

“Top Secret” Technology To Help U.S. Swimmers Trim Times at Beijing Olympics

Rensselaer Subsonic Large Scale Wind Tunnel

Rensselaer Undergraduate Subsonic Wind Tunnel Laboratory

For additional stories about energy research and education at Rensselaer, visit:


New York State Center for Future Energy Systems at Rensselaer

Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161


Reeve Hamilton
Director of Media Relations and Communications

(518) 833-4277

For general inquiries:

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.