Gao Jun Wu (Year 4 EngSci) studied at Technische Universität Darmstadt (TU-Darmstadt) in Germany. His research project investigated how birds, bats and insects use plunging airfoils — an engineering term for flapping wings — to fly. “I was specifically looking for some research opportunities in the field of aerodynamics, because I really want to pursue a graduate degree in aerospace,” said Wu.
Wu used the university’s supercomputer to run mathematical simulations of the air currents and vortexes that swirl around wings during flapping flight. The goal was to better understand how the motions generate lift. “We believe such knowledge will give us insight on designing more efficient, more manoeuvrable, and more powerful flapping-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),” said Wu.
Wu has also enjoyed discovering new cultural traditions. For example, when he gave presentations to the lab group, he noticed that the audience would knock on the table, rather than clap their hands for appreciation. “Later, I learnt that it was a tradition in German academic institutions,” said Wu.
He said he had many fun social interactions with the locals. “They were very eager to introduce me to their German brewery and their soccer teams, the two things that every German is proud of.” READ MORE