Institute of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics
The Institute of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics continues a glorious tradition of Polish airplane design, i.e., the activity pursued by the Institute of Aerodynamics founded in 1926. Before the Second World War this very institute created the experimental basis on which the well-known achievements of Polish Airplane Industry could be reached. It is worthwhile to note that 10 wind tunnels were at the disposal of Polish engineers that time. The research conducted at the institute supplied the background for famous Polish aircraft designs; e.g., the pioneering torsion box design concept, that allowed for putting bombs directly inside wings. That design, called the Misztal torsion box was applied to the structure of PZL "Łoś", the first bomber in the world that carried bombs inside the wings. The IAAM, in its present structure, was founded in 1975. Being one of the biggest institutes at Warsaw University of Technology, the IAAM employs 125 very well trained and efficient staff working in 7 divisions of: Aerodynamics, Automation and Aeronautical Systems, Mechanics, Fundamentals of Machine Design, Aeroplanes and Helicopters, Theory of Machines and Robotics and Strength of Materials and Structures. The devoted academic staff comprises of 19 professors (both tenured and full), 3 associate professors (D.Sc.), 39 assistant professors (Ph.D.), 11 senior lecturers and 3 assistants, most of them occupying prominent positions in the international scientific community. Over thirty employees of the Institute serve as Advisory Boards of International Journals and over a hundred are members of international scientific societies. Warsaw University of Technology has recently conferred a title of Honoris Causa Doctor on one of the professors working for the Institute, recognising his outstanding scientific position. It is worthwhile to note that two professors of the Institute staff are members of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
The scientific activity the Institute has pursued since the day of its foundation covers not only the scopes defined by the names of its divisions, but also interdisciplinary fields such as: biomechanics, mechatronics, control theory and safety sciences. The academic staff, experienced and commonly recognised as a group of excellent researchers, develops modern methods and solves some of the most difficult and urgent technical and interdisciplinary problems; e.g., multi-body modelling, designing of new composite materials and smart structures, various robot applications, etc. The Institute’s scientific strength results mainly from the variety of fields of science the research is conducted in. Excellent new possibilities can easily be perceived as well, especially against the background of previous achievements.
There are 12 laboratories at the Institute supplied with modern and efficient equipment. Some of them are worth mentioning due to their remarkable achievements namely, the Laboratories of: Navigation Systems, Composite and Biomechanical Structures, Ultrasonic Diagnostics and Strength of Aerospace Structures and Virtual Safety Engineering and Biomechanics, Advanced CAD/CAM/CAE Systems as well as the UNIGRAPHICS Competence-Training Centre. The quality and scope of the research conducted is based on advanced, mainly computer-aided equipment and a wide variety of software available at the Institute; e.g. for strength measurement, navigation, fault detection and crash-test performance. Great achievements in the field of software development should also be emphasised, especially covering the issue of complete analysis of crash-test results. Some facilities at the disposal of the Aerodynamics laboratory are worth mentioning as well; i.e., 4 subsonic wind tunnels; 8 measuring stations for various flow cases; multi-point pressure measurement systems; hot-wire anemometer systems; LDV measuring system; computer-aided data acquisition systems, specialized systems for data statistical analysis. The training capabilities, e.g., providing students and engineers with the knowledge on most advanced professional CAD/CAM/CAE systems; like, Unigraphics, Catia and Proengineer should be emphasised as well.
It is worthwhile to note that advanced software for modelling and simulation of air and land vehicles has been developed, that when combined with the FLIGHTLAB commercial software, can be used to expedite the processes of modelling, analysis, validation, and real-time simulation of highly complex, non-linear, multi-body dynamic systems: aircraft, land vehicles. Especially, very complicated problems of safety are now attracting close attention of the experienced staff. New methods for allowing better understanding of the causes of accidents as well as taking better preventive measures are being developed.
The Institute has also expanded a regular fruitful international co-operation, based on agreements signed with foreign universities and institutes and as part of multinational projects. There are many foreign institutes in co-operation with which the Institute staff is working on a fairly regular basis; namely, San Diego State University, USA; Technical University of Delft, Netherlands; Ecole Superieure de Phisique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI), Paris XII,France; Institute Aerotechnique (IAT), St.Cyr lEcole, France, Queen Mary University, London, UK; Queens University, Belfast; Dresden University of Technology, Germany; Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Lithuania; Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, Belgium; Western Ontario University , London, Canada; University of Manchester Institute of Technology), Manchester, UK; University of Sheffield, UK; The National Technical University of Athens, Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, Tsukuba, Japan. Moreover, the Institute has maintained unofficial links with a lot of universities all over the world; e.g., in Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, France, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, and others. The great achievements of the Institute are commonly acknowledged in the scientific community, which manifests through the fact that for the last three years nearly 200 scientists from 15 countries have visited the Institute, while over a hundred of our researchers visited foreign universities (20 of them were visiting professors).
The scientific capabilities and strength of the Institute manifest through the number of 360 articles published over the last three years in international journals (20 of those were put on the Philadelphia ISI Master Journal Lists). It should be noted as well that 25 monographs have been published presenting the achievements and experience gathered by the staff. These numbers prove the excellence of the Institute.
The outstanding scientific capacity built in all these years has brought about some great achievements, which have made the Institute famous not only in Poland, and are worth mentioning. The high performance sailplane airfoils (a family originally of laminar profiles) were designed by Professor Ostrowski and his team in the 1970s. These profiles, undergoing consequent modifications, were employed in the Polish glider industry, passing a milestone in the aircraft technology. Further aerodynamical studies of the sailplane airfoils and wings allowed for the realisation of the Ultra-Light Sailplane Project. Finally, the World Class Glider - PW-5 "Smyk" was designed- one of the greatest successes the Polish designers have ever achieved. Licences to manufacture the glider have been granted to several factories in Poland, USA and Japan.
Many international prizes were awarded to the famous "PARAPODIUM" design made for serving people with motor paralysis; e.g., gold medals on the exhibition IENA 98 in Norymberga and on the invention fair INPEX 98 in Pittsburgh (USA). The design was also awarded with a First Prize from the Polish Prime Minister in 2001. Two Polish factories have been granted licences to manufacture the PARAPODIUM.
The achievements in the field of implementation of new prostheses designed at WUT (in co-operation with surgeons) into clinical practice should be emphasized as well. For the past two years, over twenty endoprostheses of human joints have been implanted in hospitals in Warsaw, two of them being very complex custom-designs, usually too expensive for Polish patients. A new robot for cardiovascular surgery has been constructed at the IAAM as well. The RobIn Heart-2 prototype is now undergoing clinical tests.
The Aerodynamic Division of IAAM has become a leading European Centre for solving various problems of wind engineering. Original studies of wind ventilation in built-up areas, modelling of atmospheric boundary layer and modelling of ground-level turbulence have brought about a background for numerous research projects (studies) conducted in Poland, Italy and France. The achievements reached in the field of turbulent structure investigations should be mentioned as well, especially the issue of statistical analysis of turbulent pulsations and their technological application. A group of researchers dealing with these problems, commonly recognised as a team of highly specialised experts, is maintaining an intensive international co-operation with Italian research centres.
For the last three years, 6 patents were granted to the researchers working at the Institute, which proves that the Institute should be recognised as a centre of great proven scientific capabilities. The scientific power of the Institute also manifests through the activity of two Centres of Excellence (recognised by the Polish Ministry of Scientific Research and Information Technology) established recently; i.e., Centre for Computational Fluid Dynamics (C-CDF) and Control and Navigation Centre (CONAV).
Based on its great scientific achievements, The Institute of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics aspires to become an intellectual centre for a variety of fields of science not only in Poland, but also in other parts of Europe. Many interesting conferences, workshops, seminars and discussions have been organised at the Institute for the last three years. Several of them are worth mentioning; i.e., Euro Summer School: "Simulation of Fluid and Structure Interaction" (2001), 6th International Conference on Mathematical Modelling and Analysis (2001), 6th Forum for Power Engineering (2002), 19th International Conference Danubia-Adria (2002), National Conference on Fluid Mechanics (2002), 20th International Symposium on Solid Mechanics (2002), International Seminars "Biomechanics of Impact" (2002), and "Biomechanics of Impact and Vehicle Crashworthiness" (2003) and Aeronautical Research Info Day (2003). It should be also noted that our researchers have attended many international conferences presenting the most recent research results. For the last three years, over 300 papers have been presented at different scientific conferences, seminars and schools.
For the last few years, European programs, especially the FP5 and FP6, have offered a unique opportunity for finding new sources of funds. The Institute has involved a considerable part of its capacity into the process of preparing projects, which brought over 8 projects we are now engaged in. It should be noted, moreover, that the 8 projects have been successfully completed over the last two years. Undoubtedly, from the viewpoint of the achieved result, the Institute has a leading position, compared not only to the achievements of other WUT institutes but also in the view of Polish contribution to European Programs as a whole.