Electric ducted fan propulsion

Our Centre has been developing its capability in the development and multi-objective optimisation of electric ducted fan propulsion systems.


With electric motor technology now able to produce machines with power densities exceeding combustion engines, and with battery technology rapidly advancing, electric propulsion systems are widely accepted as the future for both small UAVs and commercial aircraft.

About electric ducted fans

Electric ducted fans (EDFs) are integrated propulsions systems consisting of a multi-bladed fan, a high-power-density electric motor, and a shroud surrounding the fan and motor. These units may be used to provide propulsion for small unmanned drones (UAVs) - efficiently providing thrust at higher speeds than can be achieved by conventional propellers - or can equally be used to simulate full-size turbofan engines in scale-model wind tunnel tests of commercial aircraft. The wind tunnel facilities have recently been upgraded to accommodate the additional power and cooling requirements of testing these high-power EDFs.

Testing EDFs also requires specialist, highly-miniaturised tools and instruments, which are currently being developed for these applications together with our commercial partners.

Who we collaborate with

  • Boeing UK
  • QinetiQ
  • ATE Aerotech
  • Surrey Sensors Ltd.

Get in contact

If you have any queries or would like to get involved with our research then please contact our Research Centre Administrator:

Zilla Gardiner
Email: z.gardiner@surrey.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1483 689677

Student using wind tunnel


We have numerous wind tunnels including a meteorological wind tunnel and EnFlo tunnel which is one of few in the world which allow experiments to be carried out in controlled conditions simulating the Earth's atmosphere.

Meet the team

Research lead

John Doherty profile image

John Doherty

Reader in Vehicle Engineering

Academic staff

David Birch profile image

Dr David Birch

Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering; Head of Centre for Aerodynamics & Environmental Flow

John Chew profile image

Professor John Chew

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Eric Lo profile image

Dr Eric Lo

Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering

Olaf Marxen profile image

Dr Olaf Marxen

Senior Lecturer

Michael J Pekris profile image

Dr Michael Pekris

Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Technical staff

Paul Hayden profile image

Dr Paul Hayden

Research Fellow

Graham Webb profile image

Dr Graham Webb

Experimental Officer

Allan Wells

Mechanical Systems Technician