Dr Nicholas Hutchins is a researcher with the Fluid Mechanics Group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Melbourne. His particular areas of research expertise are turbulent boundary layers, turbulent structure, turbulent drag reduction, turbulent wall-bounded flows over rough or fouled surfaces, and advanced flow diagnostics (PIV and HWA).
2010: N. Hutchins and B. Nugroho, 'Investigation of converging / diverging surface patterns for turbulent skin friction reduction', Early Career Researcher Grant, University of Melbourne, $39,794
2010: J. Monty, T. Altas and N. Hutchins, 'Elite swimming hydrodynamics', Early Career Researcher Grant, University of Melbourne, $40K
Education and training
University of Nottingham 2003
The University of Manchester 1994
Available for supervision
I currently co-supervise 12 research higher degree students, primarily in turbulent boundary layer research. Specific research projects for which I am currently seeking PhD students include: 1) Heterogeneous Rough Surfaces Rough-wall turbulent boundary layers are formed where fluid flows over non-smooth surfaces. These flows profoundly influence our daily lives. Examples include: wind blowing over the Earth’s surface, water flowing through a fouled pipe, and aircraft, ships and submarines in motion through the atmosphere or ocean. Though engineers, meteorologists, climate modellers and atmospheric scientists have developed models for evenly distributed roughness, such an idealised configuration is rarely encountered in practise. Rather, the large majority of boundary layer flows are characterised by abrupt changes in roughness, for example at the edges of forests or wind-farms, crop boundaries, land-water interfaces, coral reefs, localised patches of bio-fouling on a ship’s hull or at rivets on aircraft. In these cases, the common set of empirically based rules that are applied so widely for evenly distributed roughness offer little insight into the complex physics of heterogeneous roughness. Our motivation for this research project is therefore to adopt a unified approach that exploits a combination of unique state-of-the-art experimental facilities, high fidelity measurement techniques and novel high resolution numerical simulations to study the influence of heterogeneous roughness on wall bounded turbulent flows. 2) Surface texture optimisation for turbulent drag reduction This project aims to optimise the fluid dynamic performance of textured surfaces. The project builds on recent breakthroughs in drag-evaluation methods and in the physics of drag-reducing surfaces. Fluid dynamic drag factors into the daily costs of living, playing a major role in the operation of aeroplanes, ships and pipelines. Therefore, the reduction of drag is extremely va