Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


Professor Adrian Spencer PhD, CEng, FRAeS, FIMechE.

Photo of Professor Adrian Spencer

Professor in Thermo-fluid Mechanics

Director of the Caterpillar Innovation and Research Centre

Deputy Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Combustion System Aero-thermal Processes


Professor in Thermo-fluid Mechanics

Director of the Caterpillar Innovation and Research Centre 


  • Optical measurement techniques and data analysis for turbulent flows
  • Gas Turbine and Internal Combustion Engine Flows
  • Fuel-Air Preparation and Mixing 

Past positions

  • Head of the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering, 2013-2016
  • Deputy Director of the UTC, 2012-date
  • Reader in Thermo-fluid Dynamics, Loughborough University, 2014-2019
  • Senior Lecturer in Thermo-fluid Dynamics, Loughborough University, 2005-2014
  • Secondment to CFDRC inc, Alabama, USA, 2002
  • Lecturer in Thermo-fluid Dynamics, Loughborough University, 1997-2005
  • Research Associate, Loughborough University, 1991-1997
  • Engineer, Rolls-Royce, Derby, 1989-1991


  • PhD, ‘Gas Turbine Combustor Port Flows’, Loughborough University, 1998
  • BEng, Mechanical Engineering, Nottingham University, 1990

Key Awards and Accomplishments

  • Research-informed Teaching Award, Loughborough University, 2013
  • PhD Student, David Hollis, Awarded Osborne Reynolds Prize 2005, for best Postgraduate research project in turbulence and combustion

Professional affiliations

  • Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society
  • Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Chartered Engineer


Outline of main research interests

  • Experimental Thermofluid Dynamics.

Key interests lie in optical measurement techniques applied to gas turbine flows for diagnostic purposes, including PIV, PLIF and LDA. Utilising these methods in novel configurations to increase measurement accuracy and/or flow physics understanding underlies this activity. Additional interest lies in instrumentation development for accurate measurements more generally including probe based devices, two-phase flows, accurate validation and boundary condition data for LES predictions and advanced analysis techniques such as coherent structure identification.

Grants and contracts

  • DYNAMO: DYNamic Analysis Modelling and Optimisation of GDI Engines (APC 2017-2020)
  • Lubrizol KTP: Understanding Oil Antioxidancy. (Innovate, 2017-2019)
  • ELECT: Enhanced Low Emission Combustion technology (ATi, 2016-2018)
  • The fundamentals of football aerodynamics and flight. (Adidas, 2015-2020)
  • ACTIVE: Advanced Combustion Turbocharged Inline Variable Valvetrain Engine (APC 2014-2017)
  • STARGATE: Impact of unsteadiness on gas-path pressure and temperature measurements, (EU FP7, 2012-2015).
  • KIAI – Knowledge for Ignition, Acoustics and Instabilities, (EU FP7, 2009 – 2013).
  • SILOET II: PIV for Lean-Burn AeroEngine Combustors (TSB, 2013-2016).

Current teaching responsibilities 

Aeronautical Engineering, Loughborough University:

  • High Speed Aerodynamics (TTB201)
  • Propulsion Design for the Environment (TTD105)
  • Bachelors and Masters Individual Research Projects

Current administrative responsibilities

  • Director of the Caterpillar Innovation and Research Centre
  • Deputy Director of the Rolls Royce University Technology Centre
  • Member of Senate

Recent publications

Time-Volume Estimation of Velocity Fields From Nonsynchronous Planar Measurements Using Linear Stochastic Estimation
D Butcher, A Spencer, Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power 141 (10), 2019

Influence of asymmetric valve strategy on large-scale and turbulent in-cylinder flows
D Butcher, A Spencer, R Chen, International Journal of Engine Research 19 (6), 631-642, 2018

Residence time measurement of an isothermal combustor flow field
L Cheng, A Spencer, Experiments in fluids 52 (3), 647-661, 2011

Scalar measurements and unsteady simulations in high swirl confined flows
K Midgley, M Dianat, A Spencer, Z Yang, JJ McGuirk, 2007

LDA measurements of feed annulus effects on combustor liner port flows
A Spencer, JJ McGuirk, Journal of fluids engineering 123 (2), 219-227, 2001

View central admin publications database


External collaborators

Adrian has worked with many academic and industrial collaborators including;

  • Caterpillar
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Ford
  • Lubrizol
  • Adidas

External roles and appointments 

  • Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society
  • Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Grant reviewer
  • External Examiner, Cranfield University, Aerospace Dynamics MSc 2012-2015
  • External Examiner, University of Hertfordshire, Engineering MEng Programmes, 2014-2019
  • External Assessor, Advanced Systems MSc, RAF Cranwell, 1998-2002.
  • Vice Chair of the Midland Military Education Committee, 2008-current.
  • Combustion and Fuels Committee, ASME IGTI, 2019-current.
  • Session Chair International Symposium on Applications of Laser Techniques to Fluid Mechanics Lisbon, Portugal, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018.