Contact details

Peter Collen

Tel: 01865 (2)88749



As an undergraduate I studied Engineering Design at the University of Bristol. This was a 5 year MEng programme incorporating a year-long industrial placement, from which I graduated in 2016. During the final two years of the course my thesis investigated the adaptation of remotely operated underwater vehicles for the installation of tidal turbine arrays. Specifically, my role focused on analysing and improving the hydrodynamic performance of these vehicles in the high current velocities typical at these sites. This work was ultimately recognised both within the university by the Renishaw Best Final Year Group Project Prize and externally by the Institute of Engineering Designers Student Prize.

During the course of my degree I completed two industrial placements: a year-in-industry with Rolls-Royce Defence Aerospace and a summer placement at Hybrid Air Vehicles, an innovative lighter-than-air aircraft manufacturer. During both internships I was lucky enough to work in roles related to fluid mechanics and heat transfer, reinforcing my understanding of the technical areas in which I had chosen to specialise during my degree.

I am currently a DPhil student within the Osney Hypersonics Group, working under the supervision of Prof. Matthew McGilvray. My individual research investigates the heating effects experienced by space vehicles during atmospheric re-entry. Specifically, I am interested in the impact of radiative heating, which can account for over half of the heat flux on the vehicle structure. A major challenge is the complex thermochemistry which occurs at the shock front, resulting in a mixture of various chemical species and hence complex absorption and emission spectra. My project seeks to better understand the chemical kinetics in the shock layer through use of the group’s high-enthalpy experimental facilities, with the ultimate aim of producing a reliable model which can be coupled to computational flow codes and eventually allow more accurate predictions of vehicle thermal loads to be made.

In my spare time I am a keen rock climber and especially enjoy visiting outdoor sites around the country and beyond.