Dr Michael MacDonald

BE (Hons), PhD


Michael is a lecturer in Fluid Mechanics/Aerodynamics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Auckland. He graduated from the University of Auckland with a BE(Hons) in Engineering Science in 2012 and obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Melbourne in 2017. He was then a postdoctoral scholar at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology in the Atmospheric Physics and Weather Group, before returning to Auckland in 2019.

Michael is interested in the numerical simulation of turbulent heat and fluid flows, including both fundamental studies and their application to geophysical and engineering flows. Michael's research aims to uncover the essential ingredients of turbulence, enabling more efficient numerical simulations to be performed.

Research | Current

  • Turbulent boundary layers, especially over roughness and porous media
  • Convective heat transfer/unstably stratified flows
  • Stably stratified flows, particularly with multiphase/moisture effects (e.g. fog)
  • Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) and Large Eddy Simulation (LES)

Teaching | Current

  • ENERGY 722 - Energy Technology
  • MECHENG 311 - Thermal Engineering
  • MECHENG 325 - Dynamics of Fluids and Structures
  • MECHENG 711/718 - Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • MECHENG 712 - Aerohydrodynamics
  • MECHENG 731 - Engineering Design 4M

Postgraduate supervision

Potential PhD and Masters research students can email Michael directly, including a CV and academic transcript. Students should have knowledge of, and a strong interest in, fluid mechanics or aerodynamics, with an undergraduate degree specialisation in Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Science, Mathematics, Physics, or similar.

A list of possible projects is available on Michael's FindaThesis page. Student-initiated projects are also considered.

Funding may be available, and scholarship opportunities include e.g.

Areas of expertise

  • Fluid mechanics
  • Turbulence
  • Boundary layers
  • Aerodynamics
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Heat transfer

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.
  • Hawkes, N. A., Flay, R. G. J., Cater, J. E., & MacDonald, M. (2020). Scaling of Experimental Buoyancy Vortex Structures with Respect to Power Generation. Journal of Physics: Conference Series. 10.1088/1742-6596/1618/3/032008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Neil Hawkes, Richard Flay, John Cater
  • Macdonald, M., & Teixeira, J. (2020). Scaling behavior of a turbulent kinetic energy closure scheme for the stably stratified atmosphere: A steady-state analysis. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 77 (9), 3161-3170. 10.1175/JAS-D-19-0332.1
  • MacDonald, M., Kurowski, M. J., & Teixeira, J. (2020). Direct Numerical Simulation of the Moist Stably Stratified Surface Layer: Turbulence and Fog Formation. BOUNDARY-LAYER METEOROLOGY, 175 (3), 343-368. 10.1007/s10546-020-00511-2
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51265
  • MacDonald, M., Hutchins, N., Lohse, D., & Chung, D. (2019). Heat transfer in rough-wall turbulent thermal convection in the ultimate regime. Physical Review Fluids, 4 (7)10.1103/PhysRevFluids.4.071501
  • MacDonald, M., Hutchins, N., & Chung, D. (2019). Roughness effects in turbulent forced convection. JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS, 861, 138-162. 10.1017/jfm.2018.900
  • Chan, L., MacDonald, M., Chung, D., Hutchins, N., & Ooi, A. (2018). Secondary motion in turbulent pipe flow with three-dimensional roughness. JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS, 854, 5-33. 10.1017/jfm.2018.570
  • MacDonald, M., Ooi, A., García-Mayoral R, Hutchins, N., & Chung, D. (2018). Direct numerical simulation of high aspect ratio spanwise-aligned bars. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 843, 126-155. 10.1017/jfm.2018.150
  • Chan, L., MacDonald, M., Chung, D., Hutchins, N., & Ooi, A. (2018). Numerical investigation of secondary flows in a turbulent pipe flow with sinusoidal roughness. Proceedings of the 21st Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, AFMC 2018.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 9, Room 973
New Zealand