Eric G Paterson

AOE Department Head, Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion, Faculty Affiliate, Hume Center for National Security and Technology

  • Ph.D., 1994, Mechanical Engineering, IIHR - Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa
  • M.S., 1990, Mechanical Engineering, The University of Iowa
  • B.S., 1987, Mechanical Engineering, The University of Iowa

Research Expertise

Aerodynamics, Hydrodynamics, and Ocean Engineering

Professional History

  • 2012-present, Professor and Department Head, Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • 2010-2012, Senior Scientist, Applied Research Laboratory; 2010-2012, Professor, Mechanical Engineering; 2007-2012, Chief Scientist, Computational Mechanics Division; 2004-2010, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering; 2001-2010, Senior Research Associate, Applied Research Laboratory; The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1999-2001, Associate Research Engineer; 1996-1999, Assistant Research Engineer; 1994- 1996, Postdoctoral Associate;1989-1994, Hunter Rouse Fellow of Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics; IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa.
  • 1987-1989, Senior Engineer, Harris Corporation, Government Aerospace Systems Division
  • 1985-1987, Co-op Engineer; Clifton Precision Instrument and Life Support Division, Litton Industries

Professional Leadership

  • Technical Chair, Marine Energy Technology Symposium, 6th Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference (GMREC), Washington DC, April 10-11, 2013.
  • Stakeholder’s Committee, Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems, 2012-present.
  • Technical Advisory Committee, AFRL-VT-WSU Collaborative Center for Multidisciplinary Sciences, 2012-present.
  • Virginia Tech High-Performance Computing (HPC) Investment Committee, 2012- present.
  • Organizing Committee, 11th Symposium on Overset Composite Grids and Solution Wright-Patterson AFB, October 2012.
  • Local Organizing Committee, International Conference on Numerical Methods in Multiphase Flows, Penn State University, June 2012.
  • Organizing Committee, 7th OpenFOAM Workshop, Darmstadt, Germany, June, 2012.
  • General Chairman, 6th OpenFOAM Workshop, State College, PA, June, 2011.
  • Organizing Committee, 10th Symposium on Overset Composite Grids and Solution Technology, Moffet Field, CA, October 2010.
  • Organizing Committee, 5th OpenFOAM Workshop, Gothenburg, Sweden, June, 2010.
  • Advisory Board, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 2009-present.
  • Organizing Committee, 4th OpenFOAM Workshop, Montreal, Canada, June, 2009.
  • General Chairman, 9th Symposium on Overset Composite Grids and Solution Technology, State College, PA, October 2008.
  • Technical Advisory Board, “Computational Research and Engineering Acquisition Tools and Environments Program (CREATE) Ships,” DOD High Performance Computing Modernization Office, 2008 – 2010.
  • Theory Advisory Panel, “TEMPEST: Fast Simulation of Surface Ship Seakeeping, Dynamic Stability, and Capsize,” U.S. Navy, 2007 – present.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • American Physical Society
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineering
  • Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Awards and Honors

  • 2011-2014, Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Exeter, UK;
  • ARL Publication Award for Best Paper of 2011, “Fluid–structure interaction analysis of flexible turbomachinery.” Journal of Fluids and Structures, 2011.
  • 2010, Royal Academy of Engineering Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, “Tidal energy device simulation and image-based meshing”
  • 2009, FDA Group Recognition Award, as a member of The Critical Path CFD Team, “for insightful, innovative research to examine the reliability of advanced CFD techniques for assessing cardiovascular device safety”

Research Sponsors


Research Interests

Interaction of Boundary Layers, Jets, and Wakes with the Ocean Environment

Ocean-going vehicles operate in complex environments. Previous theoretical and computational studies have neglected many important phenomena, and our work aims to integrate physical oceanography and ship hydrodynamics that leads to new understanding. Examples of important phenomena include the effects of wind, waves, 4D thermal-haline stratification, currents, Ekman drift, and thermal instabilities.

EO Remote Sensing of the Ocean Surface

This work aims to develop physics-based models of remote sensing of hydrodynamic phenomena that occur near the ocean surface, and to couple these models to hydrodynamic data derived from fidelity CFD methods.

Offshore Wind Energy

This work aims to develop a Cyber Wind Facility (CWF) that is a computational facility that provides wind energy researchers the capability to collect data that cannot be gathered from a field wind turbine facility, which has limited data collection capabilities. Using petascale computer systems and high-performance computing, the CWF is generating four- dimensional data over the entire wind turbine domain in a controlled cyber environment.

Marine Renewable Energy

The motion of water in the ocean due to tides, currents, and waves offers a large energy source. Our work will focus on application of multi-phase CFD methods to study system performance and efficiency, cavitation, transient loads, and assessment of environmental impact such as sedimentation and acoustics.

    Dr. Eric Paterson

  • (540) 231-2314
  • egp@vt.edu
  • Aerospace and Ocean Engineering (MC0203)
    Randolph Hall, RM 215A, Virginia Tech
    460 Old Turner St
    Blacksburg, VA 24061