Earl H. Dowell

Image of Earl H. Dowell

William Holland Hall Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering

Professor Dowell's principal teaching interest and research activity is in the field of aeroelasticity - which is the study of the dynamic interaction between an aerodynamic flow and an elastic structure, such as aircraft wings in high speed flight, long span bridges and tall buildings responding to wind loadings, or airflow through the mouth and lungs. Dr. Dowell has also done research in acoustics, nonlinear dynamics, structural dynamics, and unsteady aerodynamics.

Professor Dowell's major research accomplishments include the first definitive research monograph on the aeroelasticity of plates and shells, the first derivation and solution of the nonlinear equations of motion for a helicopter rotor blade (the Hodges-Dowell equations), and work with Professor Kenneth Hall and several graduate students and post-doctoral fellows on reducing the dimensions of mathematical models for very complex high-dimensional fluid/structural systems. Professor Dowell teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on dynamics and aeroelasticity.

Here are six short videos showing experimental aeroelastic models undergoing limit cycle oscillations in the Duke wind tunnel.

  1. An airfoil with a nonlinear freeplay in the connection from the main airfoil to the trailing edge control surface.
  2. A delta wing with a strong structural nonlinearity as a result of tension in the mid-plane of the plate-like wing induced by bending of the wing out of its initially undeformed plane.
  3. A very high aspect ratio wing that behaves as a beam with double bending (both transverse to and in-line with the aerodynamic flow field) and twisting. A nonlinear coupling among double bending and twisting occurs. Also the aerodynamic flow field experiences separation due to the large motions involved.
  4. A delta wing with an external store, flutter and limit cycle oscillations.
  5. LCO and Flutter of WingStore model
  6. Flapping Flag Flutter

Appointments and Affiliations
  • William Holland Hall Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering
  • Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Contact Information:
  • Office Location: 185 Hudson Hall, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5302
  • Email Address: dowell@mail.ee.duke.edu
  • Web Page:
Education:

  • Sc.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1964
  • M.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1961
  • B.S. University of Illinois, 1959

Research Interests:

Broad field of aeroelasticity, acoustics, nonlinear dynamics, structural dynamics, and unsteady aerodynamics.

Specialties:

Technology Transfer
Aerodynamics
Chaos, Dynamics
Policy, Science and Engineering
Acoustics
Aerospace
Aeroelasticity
Nonlinear Systems

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions:

  • Daniel Guggenheim Medal Award, Society of Automotive Engineers, 2008
  • Den Hartog Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineering, 2009
  • Spirit of St. Louis Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2007
  • Distinguished Service Award, American Academy of Mechanics, 1994
  • Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1984
  • Fellow, American Academy of Mechanics, 1983
  • Honorary Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2004
  • Theodore Van Karman Lectureship, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2001
  • Walter J. And Angelina J. Crichlow Trust Prize, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2007

Courses Taught:
  • ME 392: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 491: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 541: Intermediate Dynamics: Dynamics of Very High Dimensional Systems
  • ME 775: Aeroelasticity

Representative Publications: (More Publications)
    • Xie, D; Xu, M; Dowell, EH, Projection-free proper orthogonal decomposition method for a cantilever plate in supersonic flow, Journal of Sound and Vibration, vol 333 no. 23 (2014), pp. 6190-6208 [10.1016/j.jsv.2014.06.039] [abs].
    • Yan, S; Dowell, EH; Lin, B, Effects of nonlinear damping suspension on nonperiodic motions of a flexible rotor in journal bearings, Nonlinear Dynamics, vol 78 no. 2 (2014), pp. 1435-1450 [10.1007/s11071-014-1526-7] [abs].
    • Gibbs, SC; Fichera, S; Zanotti, A; Ricci, S; Dowell, EH, Flow field around the flapping flag, Journal of Fluids and Structures, vol 48 (2014), pp. 507-513 [10.1016/j.jfluidstructs.2014.02.011] [abs].
    • Tang, D; Dowell, EH, Experimental Aerodynamic Response for an Oscillating Airfoil in Buffeting Flow, AIAA Journal: devoted to aerospace research and development, vol 52 no. 6 (2014), pp. 1170-1179 [10.2514/1.J052077] [abs].
    • Eugeni, M; Dowell, EH; Mastroddi, F, Post-buckling longterm dynamics of a forced nonlinear beam: A perturbation approach, Journal of Sound and Vibration, vol 333 no. 9 (2014), pp. 2617-2631 [10.1016/j.jsv.2013.12.026] [abs].