Research areas in Fluid Dynamics/CFD with potentially significant commercial payoffs?
The reason for posing this question is to work out which research areas to avoid or head towards if doing a PhD and also in regards to which sorts of companies to be chasing work with if not taking a PhD.
I know at my university and in Australia, Hypersonics is on area which is attracting funding, but from what I gather, its applications are only for rockets and missiles which don't appeal to me (due to the lack of applicability of the work to more commonly used items).
DARPA appears to be keen to fund research done on:
*high maneuverability propulsion systems in water
*high speed underwater vehicles
*revolutionary drag reduction technologies
Current stuff of interest is race car/automotive aerodynamics, turbulence modelling, issues with water flows. Although I'm not sure if any of these have much potential to "pay the bills"/ be profitable areas of work or research.
Money is not the issue in regards to financial reward, more a case of being "employable" or being able to research in a field that isn't struggling for funding.
Something I'd like to see studied more is "what defines a good grid?" In other words, for a given solver, parameters of interest (e.g. drag), and level of accuracy how do you make a mesh that supports that computation? Can it be determined a priori? Or is it a posteriori? Adaptive? Adjoint?
Also, the most important thing to me regarding a PhD is whether the candidate has done good work. I would not be too concerned about choosing a topic that is "hot". For better or worse, the way funded research goes up and down, what's hot today is cold tomorrow.
Best of luck with your research.
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