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Peter Collen


Peter Collen DPhil MEng

Postdoctoral Researcher in Experimental Hypersonics

EPSRC Doctoral Prize Holder


Peter completed his DPhil at University College/the Oxford Thermofluids Institute in 2021. His thesis research involved the development and commissioning of the T6 Stalker Tunnel, now one of the highest speed test facilities in the world and part of the UK’s National Wind Tunnel Facility. He then used this to experimentally investigate problems related to shock-layer radiation for atmospheric entry vehicles. He is now a postdoctoral researcher in the group, funded by an EPSRC doctoral prize, pursuing continuations of his thesis work. Specifically, Peter is working to develop improved computational methodologies for the simulation of experimental ground test facilities. This will provide better understanding of the experimental datasets which directly inform vehicle design for current and future missions. In his spare time, Peter enjoys rock climbing, running and drinking slightly less coffee than on a normal working day.


Research Interests

  • Non-intrusive optical diagnostics, including Schlieren and emission spectroscopy
  • Hypersonic and high-enthalpy flow physics
  • Engineering design and analysis of ground test facilities
  • Computational modelling of compressible flows
  • High-speed pressure and heat flux measurements

Research Projects

  • Improved computational modelling of shock tube experiments: This project involves upgrading numerical tools, and coupling codes of differing fidelity to improve the accuracy & efficiency of simulations of experiments.
  • Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Non-Equilibrium Emission: This work aims to experimentally measure thermochemical rates and non-equilibrium emission for LEO return trajectories.
  • Experimentally Simulating Ice-Giant Entry: This programme develops upgrades to the T6 Stalker Tunnel to enable at speeds in excess of 20 kilometres per second in both expansion tube and shock tube modes.
  • Turbulent Combustion of Pyrolysis Gas: A combined experimental and numerical study to determine whether the injection of pyrolysis gas from a vehicle thermal protection system into a high-enthalpy flow causes augmentation or reduction of wall heat flux.
  • Investigation of High-Enthalpy Rarefied Flows: A fourth-year project which attempts to experimentally produce flows representative of high-altitude LEO entries & measure representative heat fluxes for satellite demise.


  • EPSRC Doctoral Prize
  • Oxford-Ashton Memorial Scholar