Associate Professor John Edward Cater


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Associate Professor


John developed an interest in aerospace and aircraft from a childhood collection of Lego. He studied for his first degree in Mechanical Engineering at Auckland, before leaving Aotearoa and starting a PhD at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. John then moved to Europe to continue work in aerospace research programmes creating future aircraft technologies for Airbus and investigating aircraft noise reduction. He spent six years in Ireland and the UK, working as a research fellow at Trinity College Dublin & Trinity College Cambridge before becoming a permanent academic at Queen Mary, University of London in the East End of London.

In 2008 John returned to The University of Auckland and joined Department of Engineering Science as a Senior Lecturer in Fluid Dynamics. He currently researches a variety of fluid flows including aerodynamics and biological fluids using laser measurement techniques and computational models.

Research | Current

Research Interests

  • Electric Propulsion for Spacecraft
  • CubeSats
  • Plasma Physics
  • Reentry Thermal Protection Systems and Hypersonics
  • Development and use of Laser Doppler Velocimetry, Hot-Wire Anemometry and pressure measurement techniques in turbulent internal and external flows
  • Optical measurement techniques including Particle Image Velocimetry and Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence.
  • High performance computing for fluid mechanics.
  • Synthetic jets and flow control
  • Measurement and simulation of biomedical flows.

Supporting research in Fluid Flow & Thermodynamics

For contract research, please contact UniServices. Research is usually charged from $200 per hour + costs.

  • Doctoral projects (PhD) are suitable for longer projects, they cost approximately $28k per year for three years during which a doctoral candidate will spend about 6,000 hours on a focussed research project.
  • Master of Engineering (ME) projects require approximately $20k for a research project lasting from Mar-Sep and comprise approximately 1200 hours of research.
  • Final year Projects (Mar-Sep) or Summer Internship Projects (Dec-Mar) cost approximately $6,250 and require a student to spend 400 hours on research.

For more details or to discuss your research needs in aerospace engineering or fluids mechanics, please email me directly:

Teaching | Current

AEROSPCE730 Aerospace Design

Postgraduate supervision

Current Students:

  • Antonella Caldarelli, "Magnetic Vectoring of Plasma Thrusters"
  • Philipp Nieke, "High-Performance Surface Coatings for Titanium Foam Thermal Protection Systems"
  • Hossein Najafabadi, "Computational Modelling of Laparoscopic Surgery"
  • Tanya Peart, "Efficient Sail Design and Selection Using Coupled CFD and VPP"
  • Warit Chanprasert, "Modelling of Wind Turbine Farms in a Thermally Stratified Atmospheric Boundary Layer"
  • Jan Krecke, "Developing Nanosatellite Synthetic Aperture Radar"
  • Kunal Dayal, "Mesoscale wind resource mapping of the small island states of the Southwest Pacific region"
  • John Storey, "Apnoeic Oxygenation of Neonates"

Past Students:

  • Dr. Mohamed Mubarok, "Two-Phase Flow Measurement of Geothermal Fluid"
  • Dr. Sibylle van Hove, "Clearance of CO2 during Apnoeic Oxygenation with Nasal High Flow"
  • Dr. Susann Beier, "The hemodynamics of normal, pathological and stented coronary arteries accessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD)"
  • Dr. Sahan Wasala, "Quiet wind turbine blades"
  • Dr. Tharanga Don, "Mechanical Modelling of Lymphatic Drainage from the Interstitial Space"
  • Dr. Stefano Nava, "Large Eddy Simulation of Yacht Sails"
  • Dr. Pavel Summetc, "Modelling the Endothelial Glycocalyx Layer"
  • Dr. Adam Tunney, "Stability of Hypersonic Boundary Layers"
  • Dr. Stephen Waite, "Modeling the structure and motility of the sheep rumen"
  • Dr. Rupert Storey, "Large Eddy Simulation of Actively Controlled Wind Turbine Arrays"
  • Dr. Xiaobo Lu, "Mathematical Modelling of the Human Vocal Tract"
  • Dr. Arsalan Ahmad, "Experimental Aeroacoustics study on jet noise reduction using tangential air injection"
  • Dr. Chetan Jagadeesh, "Dynamics of Vortex Shedding from Slender Cones"
  • Dr. Zhenyu Zhang, "Closed-loop flow control for boundary layer instabilities"
  • Dr. Alexis Demosthenous, "Soot formation and oxidation in a high-pressure spray flame"
  • Timmy Xu (ME), "Numerical Simulation of Flow past a Marine Riser"
  • Vinit Dinghe (ME), "Modelling Smart Wind Turbine Blades"
  • Patrick Kenny (ME), "Methodology for Optimal Placement of Flow Control Actuators"
  • Daniel Martens (ME), "Rating the Impact Sound Insulation of Flooring from its Airborne Sound Reduction Index"
  • Monika Baumann (MEngSt), "Humidified Carbon Dioxide in Open Surgery"

Graduate Studies in Fluid Dynamics

We are looking for creative and enthusiastic PhD, masters and project (foreign exchange/4th-year project) students for research projects in fluid mechanics. If you are interested please contact me directly along with a CV. Financial assistance may be available for successful applicants at postgraduate levels.

If you are interested in doctoral studies, please follow the following link to complete an expression of interest:

Projects are available in the following areas:

  • Computational modelling & simulation of unsteady fluid flows
  • Laser techniques & image processing
  • Aerodynamics & flow control
  • Acoustics & aeroacoustics

Chinese PhD students

Chinese students interested in graduate study towards a PhD should look at the following link:

Generous funding is available from the China Scholarship Council to support a student studying in Engineering at Auckland.

Graduate students from Pakistan

The Pakistan Higher Education Commission funds students to come to Auckland for graduate degrees, take a look at the following link for more information:

Scholarships for international postgraduates

The University of Auckland has a number of scholarships available for post-graduate study, to find out closing dates and what you might be eligible to apply for, visit the following:


  • 2007 Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
  • 2006 E-Learning Fellowship Scheme Award, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
  • 2004 David Crighton Memorial Awardee, Dept. Applied Mathematics and Physics, Cambridge University, UK


Course adviser for Engineering Science

Areas of expertise

  • Aeroacoustics
  • Aerodynamics
  • Biomedical Flows
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Flow Measurement
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Wind Energy

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Professional memberships

    Member of the European Mechanics Society, since 2003.
  • FHEA
    Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, since 2007.
    Life Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, member since 2004.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Mubarok, M. H., Cater, J. E., & Zarrouk, S. J. (2020). Comparative CFD modelling of pressure differential flow meters for measuring two-phase geothermal fluid flow. Geothermics, 86 (July 2020)10.1016/j.geothermics.2020.101801
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sadiq Zarrouk
  • Charles, C., Tsifakis, D., Bennet, A., Boswell, R., Braun, W., Rivas-Davila, J., ... Benidar, A. (2019). Lab to Launch. Paper presented at 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Washington, D.C., USA. 21 October - 25 October 2019. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Felicien Filleul, Nicholas Rattenbury
  • Filleul, F., Charles, C., Boswell, R., Rattenbury, N., Cater, J., & Sutherland, O. (2019). Radio Frequency Microdischarge Neutraliser. Paper presented at 36th International Electric Propulsion Conference, University of Vienna, Austria. 15 September - 20 September 2019. (pp. 16). Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Felicien Filleul, Nicholas Rattenbury
  • Graham, D., Rattenbury, N. J., & Cater, J. E. (2019). Mission Feasibility from Trajectory Optimization and the State Of Space Systems Research at The University Of Auckland. Paper presented at AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference. 11 August - 15 August 2019. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nicholas Rattenbury, Darcey Graham
  • Mubarok, M. H., Zarrouk, S. J., & Cater, J. E. (2019). Two-phase flow measurement of geothermal fluid using orifice plate: Field testing and CFD validation. Renewable Energy, 134, 927-946. 10.1016/j.renene.2018.11.081
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sadiq Zarrouk
  • Waite, S. J., Zhang, J., Cater, J. E., Waghorn, G. C., Bain, W. E., McEwan, J. C., & Suresh, V. (2019). Development of an in situ procedure to evaluate the reticulo-rumen morphology of sheep selected for divergent methane emissions. Animal, 13 (3), 542-548. 10.1017/S1751731118001854
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Vinod Suresh, Ju Zhang
  • Krecke, J., Austin, A. C. M., & Cater, J. E. (2019). Antennas for Synthetic Aperture Radar on CubeSats: A review and future directions. 16th Australian Symposium on Antennas Sydney, Australia. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrew Austin, Jan Krecke
  • Zhao, D., Han, N., Goh, E., Cater, J., & Reinecke, A. (2019). Wind Turbines and Aerodynamics Energy Harvesters (1st). Elsevier. Pages: 530. 10.1016/C2018-0-01955-6


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 341
New Zealand

Web links