Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


Professor Martin Passmore PhD, CEng,FIMechE

Photo of Professor  Martin Passmore

Emeritus Professor of Automotive Aerodynamics


Martin gained his PhD from Loughborough University in 1990 (The Measurement and analysis of road vehicle Drag Forces) and became a post –doctoral researcher within Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering in the same year. He became a member of academic staff in 1991, initially as a Ford funded lecturer in Vehicle Aerodynamics and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2002 and was appointed to a personal chair in Automotive Aerodynamics in 2014.

Martin was the Director for the Automotive Engineering undergraduate degree programmes from 1999 – 2010 and was the Head of the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering 2011-2013 and resumed the role for a second term from 2016 - July 2020. Martin also took on the role of Loughborough Director of the Transport Technologies Beacon in 2016. 

In 2021, Martin became an Emeritus Professor within the same department.


  • PhD 1990 Loughborough University
  • Chartered Engineer C.Eng
  • Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers FIMechE

Key awards and Accomplishments

  • Four million pounds of research income from industry and research councils.
  • Principal investigator on £1.8million EPSRC/JLR Programme for Simulation Innovation multi-disciplinary research project on Multi-Physics and Multi-functional Simulation Methods.
  • Best paper in session award. 8th Conference of the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA) Vienna, 2010.
  • Design, build and commissioning of AAE large wind tunnel.
  • Invited member of the European Carmakers Aerodynamics Research Association.
  • Development of the FIFA World Cup 2010 and 2014 match balls in association with adidas.


Outline of main research interests

The aerodynamics of bluff bodies, with particular emphasis on road vehicles aerodynamics.

Current research projects:

  • Automotive Aerodynamics
    • Front end wheel arch flow control
    • Computational and Experimental studies of base pressure
    • Simulation and measurement of wheel aerodynamics
    • Applications of tomographic PIV to wake flows
    • Investigations of wake bi-stability and the influence of wheel rotation on wake topography
    • Multi-physics and Multi-functional simulation methods. (EPSRC/JLR) (£1.8Million) in collaboration with colleagues in AAE.
    • Two way coupling of Unsteady CFD and vehicle handling models.
    • Computational and experimental studies of surface contamination. Including the measurement and simulation of dispersed phase contamination and the motion of surface water flows across vehicle surface.
  • Development of the World Cup 2018 match ball and fundamental studies of football aerodynamics

My own research work is primarily experimental, using the approximately one-quarter scale low speed wind tunnel designed in house. The principle measurement techniques are low speed two component and three component planar PIV, Hot-wire, pressure and balance measurements. In addition we design purpose built rigs for specialist measurements such as droplet contact angles to feed into simulation and surface contamination measurements.

Research groups:

  • Applied Aerodynamics
  • Also a member of the Sports Technology Research Group


Current and recent grants and contracts (with others)

Martin has been awarded research grants and contracts totalling about £4.0 million and a further £600k in equipment funding.

  • Fundamental studies of football aerodynamics and flight, 2016, adidas
  • Feasibility studies in the application of tomographic PIV to vehicle drag reduction, 2016, EPSRC
  • Aerodynamics centre of excellence, 2014, JLR/Loughborough/EPSRC iCase
  • Programme for simulation Innovation, 2013, EPSRC/JLR
  • Low Carbon Vehicle drag reduction study, 2011, AWM
  • Base pressure studies, 2011/13, JLR
  • Apparel and ball aerodynamics studies,2011, adidas
  • Wheelchair coastdown methods, 2010, UK Sport
  • FIFA world cup test support, 2010, adidas

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Vehicle Design and Development
  • Ground Vehicle Aerodynamics
  • MSc module in Vehicle Aerodynamics

In addition to being the undergraduate programme director Martin set up Loughborough vehicle test week at the MIRA proving ground. This annual event, that has run every year since 1996, integrates theory, computer simulation and practical vehicle testing into a unigue student experience.

Current administrative responsibilities

  • Director of the Loughborough University Transport Technologies Beacon.


Pavia, G., Passmore, M.A., Varney, M., Hodgson, G. (2020) Salient three-dimensional features of the turbulent wake of a simplified square-back vehicle. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 888.

Pavia, G., Varney, M., Passmore, M., Almond, M. (2019) Three dimensional structure of the unsteady wake of an axisymmetric body. Physics of Fluids, 31(2).

Pavia, G., Passmore, M., Varney, M. (2019) Low-frequency wake dynamics for a square-back vehicle with side trailing edge tapers. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 184.

Luckhurst, S., Varney, M., Xia, H., Passmore, M.A., Gaylard, A. (2019) Computational investigation into the sensitivity of a simplified vehicle wake to small base geometry changes. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 185.

Pavia, G., Passmore, M., Sardu, C. (2018) Evolution of the bi-stable wake of a square-back automotive shape. Experiments in Fluids, 59(1).

Kabanovs, A., Garmory, A., Passmore, M., Gaylard, A. (2017) Computational simulations of unsteady flow field and spray impingement on a simplified automotive geometry. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 171.

Perry, A.-K., Pavia, G., Passmore, M. (2016) Influence of short rear end tapers on the wake of a simplified square-back vehicle: wake topology and rear drag. Experiments in Fluids, 57(11).


External collaborators

Martin has worked with many companies over the last 30 years including National Power, Rover Group, Audi, Benetton/Renualt F1, Land Rover, BAR Honda, Dominic Hunter, Nissan Group, adidas and Dunlop Slazenger. The main collaborators have been: 

  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • MIRA
  • Ford
  • adidas

External roles and appointments

  • PhD External examiner: Cranfield University, Cranfield University - Shrivenham, Manchester University, Durham University, University of Southampton, Poitiers
  • Reviewer EPSRC grant applications.
  • Reviewer for International journals, including; Journal of Fluids, Experiments in Fluids, Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, IMechE part D, IMechE Part P, SAE journals.
  • Invited paper HdT Haus der Technik– 12. Tagung: Fahrzeug-Aerodynamik am 5./6 Juli, München (2016)
  • Invited lecture – Ford Global Aerodynamics community annual seminar. Michigan (2016)
  • Invitation only seed meeting on control of three dimensional bluff body wakes. French embassy, Science and Technology Department, (2016)
  • Guest editor IMechE journal. Special edition on vehicle aerodynamics (pub 2017)
  • Invitation to join ECARA (European Carmakers Aerodynamics Research Association) – invite for voting membership pending 2017 (2015)
  • EPSRC working group on UK Wind tunnel investment – 2015
  • External examiner – for programmes in Mechanical Engineering, Automotive and Aeronautical Engineering Brunel University. (2015 – 2018)
  • Member of technical committee for IMechE International conference in Vehicle Aerodynamics (2014-2016)
  • Invited paper. Institution of Mechanical Engineers inaugural seminar on Vehicle Aerodynamics. October 2012.
  • Keynote address at the World Congress on Science & Football Japan,  (2011)
  • Best paper award at the 8th Conference of the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA), , Vienna, Austria, (2010)
  • Course external examiner Cranfield University (2009-2011)
  • Technical advisor to BBC Top Gear programme. (2009-2010)
  • Invited lecture, European Carmakers Aerodynamics Research Association, (2009)
  • Appearance on Channel 4 ‘Vocation Vocation Vocation’ (2008)
  • Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. (2007)
  • Chartered Engineer (2007)
  • Session chair. SAE international conference Detroit (2006)