Eric Paterson

AOE Department Head and Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion

  • 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

As a teacher, my goal is to engage, challenge, and inspire growth in my students.  I am passionate about the omnipresent nature of fluid mechanics and heat transfer, and strive to develop similar appreciation of the history, beauty, and importance of these subjects in our world and in the machines that we design.  Teaching is central to understanding, and is therefore aligned with my research interests.   My philosophy is that deep understanding is tightly coupled to fundamentals and hands-on experiential learning.   I also strive to use open-source software in my classes and research whenever possible.

The Courses that I have taught over the past few years, or plan to teach in the near future, include:

  • AOE 2104 Introduction to Aerospace Engineering (with Dr. Artis)
  • AOE 3264 Resistance and Propulsion of Ships (last offering SP18)
  • AOE 3264 Thermodynamics and Marine Propulsion (beginning SP19)
  • AOE 4474 Propellers and Turbines (beginning FA20)
  • AOE 4984/5984 Principles of Submarine and AUV Design
  • AOE 5984 Turbulence Modeling and Simulation (with Dr. Roy)
  • AOE 5984 Introduction to Parallel Computing Applications (with Dr. McClure)
  • AOE 6154 Turbulent Shear Flows
  • My research interests are in the broad area of fluid dynamics, heat transfer, computational physics, and high-performance computing.   I am most enthusiastic about applied research where our efforts have direct impact on the design, analysis, and operation of real-world systems.
  • The goal of my group's research has been to acquire fundamental knowledge through the development of fidelity physics-based simulation tools. These tools enable engineers to achieve revolutionary designs through virtual exploration of concepts, operating conditions, and environments.   However, one of our guiding principles is the "Intelligent use of available resources" which is the balancing act that computational engineers must practice in selecting appropriate level of fidelity against project goals/timelines and supercomputer limitations.  
  • Topical areas that I have experience include:  CFD, fluid-structure interaction, free-surface waves, statistical modeling of ocean waves, cavitation and multiphase flow, stratified wakes, turbulence modeling, turbo-machinery (propulsors, wind turbines, hydro-turbines, blood pumps), underwater explosions, flow control and drag reduction, and open-source software.
  • Application areas that I have experience include:  ships, submarines, AUVs, and special systems; in-situ and remote sensing of phenomena in the ocean;  terrestrial and offshore wind turbines; hydroturbines and marine hydro-kinetic devices;  large-scale deployable space systems;  artificial heart pumps and cardiovascular devices; and canine olfaction and biomimetically-inspired trace detectors.  
  • Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), 
    • Editor-in-chief, Journal of Ship Research, 2018-present
    • Chair, Hydrodynamics T&R Committee, 2017-present
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), 
    • Vice-President of Education, 2017-present
    • Publications Committee, 2014-2017.
    • Publication Ethical Standards Subcommittee, 2015-2017
    • Chair, Publication Awards Subcommittee, 2016-2017    
  • Vice-chair and secretary, Aerospace Department Chairs Association (ADCA), 2015-present.
  • Environmental Advisory Board, Rolls-Royce, 2015-present
  • Advisory Board, College of Engineering, The University of Iowa, 2016-present
  • Advisory Board, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa, 2009-2015.
  • Virginia Tech High-Performance Computing (HPC) Investment Committee, 2012-present.
  • Stakeholder’s Committee, Virginia Tech Applied Power and Propulsion Lab, 2012-present.
  • Stakeholder's Committee, Hume Center for National Security and Technology, 2012-present.
  • Program Committee, National Institutes for Aerospace, 2014-present.
  • Fellow, Socieity of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME)
  • Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
  • Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion
  • 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
  • Hunter Rouse Fellow of Fluid Mechanics, Hydraulics, and Hydrometeorology, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa
  • 2012-present, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
    • 2014-present, Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion
    • 2012-present, Professor and Department Head, Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
  • 2001-2012, Penn State University, State College, Pennsylvania
    • 2010-2012, Senior Scientist, Applied Research Laboratory
    • 2010-2012, Professor, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
    • 2007-2012, Chief Scientist, Computational Mechanics Division, Applied Research Laboratory
    • 2004-2010, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
    • 2001-2010, Senior Research Associate, Applied Research Laboratory
  • 1989-2001, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
    • 1999-2001, Associate Research Engineer, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering
    • 1996-1999, Assistant Research Engineer, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering
    • 1994- 1996, Postdoctoral Associate, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering
    • 1989-1994, Hunter Rouse Fellow of Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics, IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering
  • 1987-1989, Senior Engineer, Harris Corporation, Government Aerospace Systems Division, Palm Bay, Florida
  • 1985-1987, Co-op Engineer; Clifton Precision Instrument and Life Support Division, Litton Industries, Davenport, Iowa

Eric G Paterson, Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Prof of Marine Propulsion Dept Head, Aerospace and Ocean Engineering.

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