Professor Richard George James Flay

BE(Hons), PhD (MechEng)

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Professor (Personal Chair)

Biography

Professor Flay joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in 1984 as a senior lecturer, and he has been professor of Mechanical Engineering since 2000. His main teaching areas are fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, aerodynamics, design, wind engineering and yacht engineering.

His research interests are focused on the wind, and he has consulted and researched in the areas of wind engineering, wind energy, wind tunnel design, wind tunnel testing. A highlight was his design of the world’s first wind tunnel capable of producing twisted flow for testing yacht sails. This wind tunnel was used by Team New Zealand, and helped them win the America’s Cup in 1995. More recently he has advised on the design of wind tunnels in Hong Kong, Australia, India and New Zealand.

Professor Flay is Director of the Yacht Research Unit, which has a superb international reputation, and carries out a large proportion of the world’s wind tunnel testing of yacht sails. In 2014 the Yacht Research Unit moved to the University's Newmarket Campus, where it is co-located with the Aerodynamics Laboratory in the Wind Tunnel Hall, Building 901, Level 5. A closed circuit wind tunnel suitable for a wide range of aerodynamic investigations, with a test section 3.6 m wide and 2.5 m high is under construction and is expected to be operational by June 2015. It will expand the capability of the Yacht Research Unit and the Wind Engineering Group.

 

Research | Current

  • Sail Aerodynamics
  • Wind Engineering
  • Wind Energy
  • Wind Tunnel Testing
     

Research groups

Teaching | Current

  • MECHENG 211 - Thermofluids
  • MECHENG 712 - Aerohydrodynamics
  • MECHENG 731 - Engineering Design 4M
  • MECHENG 714 - Wind Engineering
  • MECHENG 771 - Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics
  • MECHENG 773 - Small Craft Design and Manufacturing
  • MECHENG 774 - Small Craft Naval Architecture

Postgraduate supervision

Alexander Blakeley, PhD

Dario Motta, PhD

Simon Corkery, ME

Neil Hawkes, ME

Nicolas Aubin, PhD (Ecole Navale, Brittany, France)

Lei Yan, PhD (CSC Scholarship from China)

Distinctions/Honours

  • Angus Award, Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (twice)
  • Medal of Exceptional Merit, Royal Institution of Naval Architects (2011)
  • Medal of Distinction, Royal Institution of Naval Architects (2012)
  • Tokyo Polytechnic University Global Centre of Excellence Guest Professor (2008 - 2012)
  • Invited New Zealand representative at the Workshops on Regional Harmonization of Wind Loading and Wind Environmental Specifications in Asia-Pacific Economies (APEC-WW) (2004 - 2012)

Responsibilities

Administration 

  • Director, Yacht Research Unit
  • Academic in charge, Aerodynamics Laboratory

Areas of expertise

  • Wind Engineering
  • Yacht Engineering
  • Wind Tunnel Testing
  • Pedestrian Level Wind Investigations
  • Aerodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Professional affiliations

  • FIPENZ
  • FIMechE
  • FRINA
  • MASME

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Yan, L., Zhu, L. D., & Flay, R. G. J. (2017). Comparison of force-balance and pressure measurements on deck strips on a stationary bridge model. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 164, 96-107. 10.1016/j.jweia.2017.02.010
  • Pilate, J. P., Gerhardt, F. C., Norris, S. E., & Flay, R. G. J. (2016). A three-dimensional inverse method for the design of sails. Transactions of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects Part B International Journal of Small Craft Technology, 158 (B2), 73-87. 10.3940/rina.ijsct.2016.b2.156
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32154
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stuart Norris
  • Yan, L., Guo, Z. S., Zhu, L. D., & Flay, R. G. J. (2016). Wind tunnel study of wind structure at a mountainous bridge location. Wind and Structures, 23 (3), 191-209. 10.12989/was.2016.23.3.191
  • Yan, L., Zhu, L. D., & Flay, R. G. J. (2016). Span-wise correlation of wind-induced fluctuating forces on a motionless flat-box bridge deck. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 156, 115-128. 10.1016/j.jweia.2016.07.004
  • Milne, I. A., Day, A. H., Sharma, R. N., & Flay, R. G. J. (2016). The characterisation of the hydrodynamic loads on tidal turbines due to turbulence. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 56, 851-864. 10.1016/j.rser.2015.11.095
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rajnish Sharma
  • Flay, R. G. J., McBride, A., Stuart, T., Davidson, J. B., Le Pelley, D., Davidson, B., & Li, Y. F. (2016). INTEGRATION OF WIND TUNNEL PRESSURE MEASUREMENTS WITH THE STRUCTURAL MODEL FOR A LARGE ROOF. Paper presented at 14th International Symposium on Structural Engineering (ISSE-14), Beijing, PEOPLES R CHINA. 12 October - 15 October 2016. Fundamental Research in Structural Engineering: Retrospective and Prospective, Vols 1 and 2. (pp. 11).
  • Irwin, G., & Flay, R. G. J. (2015). Pacific colonisation and canoe performance: Experiments in the science of sailing. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 124 (4), 419-443. 10.15286/jps.124.4.419-443
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Geoffrey Irwin
  • Irwin, G., & Flay, R. G. J. (2015). PACIFIC COLONISATION AND CANOE PERFORMANCE: EXPERIMENTS IN THE SCIENCE OF SAILING. JOURNAL OF THE POLYNESIAN SOCIETY, 124 (4), 419-443.

Contact details

Primary location

BUILDING 902 - Bldg 902
Level 4, Room 409
262 KHYBER PASS
NEWMARKE
AUCKLAND 1023
New Zealand