Innovative drag reduction of streamlined vehicles by miniature vortex generators

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


February 10, 2022


Innovative drag reduction of streamlined vehicles by miniature vortex


(ref. BAP-2022-11)

Last modification : Monday, January 10, 2022

KU Leuven is routinely ranked near the top of innovative universities in the world, and was recently rated as the most innovative in Europe by Reuters (https: // once-again-tops-reuters-ranking-of-europes-most-innovative-universities). As a member of this vibrant university, you will have the opportunity to not only engage in cutting-edge research, but also to hone skills that can be leveraged for future employment in industry, academia, or your own entrepreneurial pursuits. One of the great challenges for the future is to realize an environmentally friendly and affordable energy supply. Partly as a result of the higher share of renewable energy, the supply side is characterized by distributed and intermittent electrical and thermal power generation. Flexibility on the supply and demand side, including energy storage and energy conversion between different energy carriers plays a role here. In this context, the Applied Mechanics and Energy Conversion division (TME) has the ambition to develop innovative solutions for a sustainable energy supply in a wide academic collaboration. The TME division has the goal, based on its core experience around experimental techniques, modeling, integration and optimization of energy systems, to play a pioneering role in both research and education. It aims for a multiscale integration of micro-components to macro- energy systems and also does this in collaboration with academic partners, research institutions and industry.


The principal motivation behind this project is the success of the Belgian partner at the World Solar Challenge (WSC). The aim of this competition is to drive across the Australian desert from Darwin to Adelaide (3021 km) as fast as possible using only solar energy. It is a very prestigious race (considered as the world championship), where student teams from top universities in the world participate, like Stanford, TU Delft, etc. In 2019, the team of KU Leuven won this competition for the first time in its history. The race was mainly won because of the aerodynamic design of the car as air resistance forces account for more than 70% of the power consumption at cruising speed. The aerodynamic resistance of the current car is so low that further decrease requires a giant leap in knowledge: beyond the state-of-the- art techniques for drag reduction need to be considered which require much more research before practical implementation. Therefore, the main objective of this PhDl is to develop a methodology to reduce the drag force of streamlined bodies using micro vortex generators (MVGs). MVGs are widely used to postpone separation (e.g. on airplane wings and cars), but to the applicants' knowledge, they have not been applied to delay laminar to turbulent transition on 3D streamlined bodies. If these MVGs are placed on the right location, a further reduction of the drag force in the order of 5% is expected, based on literature studies for other simple flow topologies. The methodology developed in this PhD will be directly validated on the new solar car design to secure the leading position of KU Leuven. After validation, the findings of this project can also be applied to a great number of other applications involving external flows, like wind turbine blades, sport aerodynamics, turbomachinery, aviation, etc. In all the mentioned applications, savings in drag force translate into financial savings and pollutant emission reduction, or in sports into glory.

  • You hold a Master degree in engineering, engineering science, engineering technology, physics or equivalent
  • You have a background in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  • You are motivated, enthusiastic and eager to learn
  • You are a team player, yet also able to work independently, accurately and methodically
  • You are willing to contribute to the research activities of the AFAA research group and pursue a doctoral degree in engineering technology
  • You are willing to present research findings at national and international conferences and in international journals
  • You will develop the necessary software,conduct experiments and report both internally and externally
  • You work together with colleague-researchers and offer support in research projects that are related to your expertise.
  • You are willing to contribute up to maximum 4 hours per week during the academic year in teaching activities within the Bachelor and Master of the Engineering Technology programs at campus GroupT of KU Leuven
  • Offer
  • We offer a varied and challenging full-time job with the 1st of March 2022 as targeted starting date combined with an attractive salary package.
  • We offer a research position in a stimulating and multi-disciplinary environment and a strong industrial network.
  • We provide the opportunity to work toward sobtaining a PhD degree within an international network.
  • Interested?

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Maarten Vanierschot, tel.: +32 16 30 10 72, mail:

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

    Similar Jobs

    Forschungszentrum Jülich

    Germany 1 day ago

    Add to favorites

    PhD Position - Profitability and Security of Supply of Future Energy Systems with a High Share of Intermittent Renewable Energy Sources

    At the Institute of Energy and Climate Research - Techno-economic which technologies energy systems need to be composed in order to become both, research group and gain insights into the future of the energy sector....

    Technical University of Denmark

    Denmark 19 hours ago

    Add to favorites

    Postdoc in Modelling of Advanced Turbomachinery for Liquid Air Energy Storage Systems

    Postdoc in Modelling of Advanced Turbomachinery for Liquid Air Energy Apply no later than 20 February 2022 Apply for the job at DTU Mechanical Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), exciting international...

    Forschungszentrum Jülich

    Germany 18 hours ago

    Add to favorites

    Master Thesis - Influence of Renewable Energy Potentials on National Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies

    The transformation of the energy system towards a greenhouse gas-neutral Institute of Energy and Climate Research - Techno-Economic Systems Analysis your ideas and help shape what a future greenhouse gas-neutral energy system Master Thesis -...

    Add to favorites

    Smartgysum-Esr09: "Edge Computing Platform For Fault Tolerant, High Reliable And Resilient Power...

    gathers the University Cergy-Pontoise, EPSS and ILEPS with the ESSEC Business than 400 PhD students and 500 researchers in over 23 laboratories. university with excellent research and training. The Laboratory of Systems & Applications of...

    Oslo Metropolitan University

    Norway Dec 24, 2021

    Add to favorites

    MSCA 2022 - calls for expression of interest in Modelling and optimization of buildings’ energy systems

    Faculty of Technology, Art and Design, Department of Civil Engineering and OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University is Norway's third largest research and development (R&D) activities within technical subjects, arts The Department of Civil Engineering and...

    Add to favorites

    Research Position - Pv2E Mobility Project

    for the PV2E Mobility project at its Urban Engineering Department - Avenues Experience in an experimental project (e.g. living lab, pilot site, etc.) The person recruited will work on the project “On-board and stationary photovoltaic...