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VOILAb

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IGNAZIO MARIA VIOLA

Senior Lecturer, i.m.viola@ed.ac.uk


Ignazio was awarded a master’s degree in Naval Architecture at the Università degli Studi di Genova (Genoa, Italy). He worked in industry for three years, starting as a Project Manager at MAS yacht yard (Como, Italy) and, when he left to pursue an academic career, he was the Director of Mass Production. In 2004 he joined the Politecnico di Milano Wind Tunnel (Italy) as a Research Assistant and, in 2005, he was awarded a competitive PhD scholarship, where he was ranked 1st over 52 candidates, funded by the America’s Cup Team Luna Rossa. After the award of the PhD in 2008, Ignazio performed the record-breaking numerical simulation of an America’s Cup yacht with more than one billion cells; this achievement is celebrated by ANSYS as one of the company’s top 13 milestones since the 1970s. In 2009 he was appointed as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Auckland’s Yacht Research Unit, a world-leading research laboratory in sail aerodynamics, where he focused on full-scale and wind tunnel pressure measurements on sails. In 2010 Ignazio was appointed as a Lecturer in Naval Architecture at Newcastle University (UK) and, in 2013, he joined the Institute for Energy Systems (IES), which is a multi-disciplinary research institutes within the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. He was awarded two Medals of Distinction and a Medal of Exceptional Merit by the Royal Institution of Naval Architect (see CV for ref.), an institution of which he was elected Fellow in 2015. He is a Member of the Editorial Board of Ocean Engineering, which is ranked 1st in “Engineering, Marine”, and of the International Journal of Small Craft Technology, which is the most important journal in yacht engineering.


Ignazio’s research on sail aerodynamics is world-leading. Since 2003, he has collaborated with four America’s Cup teams and an Olympic team. A search on SCOPUS on the papers with the word “yacht” published since 2009, shows that Ignazio is the most published author in this field. He is also the most cited author together with Profs. Richards and Flay. He performed the first Detached Eddy Simulation of a sailing yacht utilising a high fidelity turbulence model (Viola et al., 2013). The simulation revealed, for the first time, the presence of a Leading-Edge Vortex (LEV) that significantly contributes to the yacht thrust. Two years later, he demonstrated experimentally the existence of the LEV in laboratory in Edinburgh (Arredondo-Galeana and Viola, 2018) and it was simultaneously observed at full scale by New Zealand and French researchers (https://goo.gl/LtVkl1). This discovery could enable a step change in the performance of downwind sails, which may be optimised to maximise the lift generated by this vortex.


Ignazio’s research on the leading-edge vortex of yacht sails has led to new research on how vortex flow is exploited in nature. Together with Rowan Muir and Abel Arredondo-Galeana, he investigated how swifts promote the formation of the LEV and how this might be functional to stabilise their flight in turbulence (https://goo.gl/FvrpRa). Collaborating with Edinburgh biologists Dr Nakayama and micro-fabrication expert Dr Mastropaolo, Ignazio and Cathal Cummins developed a dedicated, unique wind tunnel to study the aerodynamics of the dandelion fruit (https://edin.ac/2Q2CIZ3). They discovered that the dandelion exploits a new type of vortex to decrease its descendent velocity. This vortex, which was believed not to be possible to occur in nature because of its inherent instability, may enable the design of micro aerial vehicles that are four times more efficient than current design.

 
Publicationshttp://goo.gl/PyioaMhttp://bit.ly/1zmtMjSshapeimage_7_link_0
Curriculum Vitaehttp://bit.ly/1zmtMjShttp://bit.ly/1zmtMjSshapeimage_8_link_0