David R. Williams

  • Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy in Fluid Dynamics, Princeton University, 1982
Master of Science in Fluid Dynamics, Princeton University, 1979
Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, 1976

Research Interests

Professor Williams’ research falls in the areas of unsteady aerodynamics and active flow control for flight vehicle control. 

Flow physics of gust interactions with airfoils

AFOSR is supporting experimental investigations into the flow physics associated with gust-induced stall on low aspect ratio wings. The experiments are conducted in the Fejer Unsteady Flow Wind tunnel, which received a new test section that enables unsteady crossflow velocity traveling waves and surging flow disturbances. High-speed particle image velocimetry is used to explore the time-varying flow field around wings that are experiencing unsteadiness with a von Karman atmospheric turbulence spectrum.


Active flow control of flight vehicles

ONR sponsored research is being done with highly-swept delta wing models in the unsteady flow wind tunnel. Sparsely distributed surface pressure sensors are used to identify the state of forces and moments acting on the flight vehicle, and these states are used as feedback to a pair of active flow control effectors for gust alleviation.


Flight test with finless aircraft

The Illinois NASA Space Grant Consortium is supporting the development of a jet-powered model aircraft that has no vertical fin. The aircraft will be used to collect surface pressures in atmospheric turbulence, and it will be used to evaluate the performance of new active flow control effectors.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Associate Fellow

American Physical Society, Fellow


John W. Rowe Excellence in Teaching Award, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2018

Excellence in Teaching Award, Armour College of Engineering, 2018

Fellow, American Physical Society, 2006

IIT Sigma Xi Award for Excellence in Research, 2006

Honeywell Advanced Technology Achievement Award, 2006

IITRI Fellow, 1998

Stryker Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award, 1990

MAE Department Excellence in Teaching Award, 1988

Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, 1982

Book Award, Stevens Institute of Technology, 1976

Guggewnheim Fellowship, Princeton University, 1976


Google Scholar Citations


Flow control, flow metering, fluidic oscillators, linear and nonlinear wave interactions in transitioning flows, acoustic measurement techniques.

Media Appearances