Researcher biography

David Gildfind's research is primarily concerned with experimental hypersonics. His research interests include: expansion tube facility development; scramjet propulsion; planetary entry aerothermodynamics; and magnetohydrodynamic aerobraking.

David graduated as an aerospace engineer from RMIT University in 2001. He worked in industry on various aircraft platforms in Australia and overseas (GKN in Melbourne 2002-2003 on A340/A380; Australian Aerospace in Brisbane 2003-2005 on DHC4 Caribou; and Stork Fokker in The Netherlands 2005-2007 on F35-JSF and Gulfstream G6), and retains a strong interest in aircraft structures. He later completed his PhD and post-doctoral work in hypersonics at the University of Queensland (UQ), where he developed the capability for expansion tubes wind tunnels to simulate reallistic scramjet flight trajectories beyond Mach 10. His research in this area includes optimising free-piston driver operation, expansion tube flow condition development, and test flow characterisation.

David became a lecturer at UQ's School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering in 2014, and teaches into aircraft structures, design, and hypersonics. During this time David has initiated a new research program on Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) aerobraking, which was awarded an ARC DECRA fellowship (2017-2020) to experimentally evaluate MHD aerobraking technology for a human mission to Mars. This work is now continuing in 2022 with the recently awarded three year ARC Discovery Project "Magnetohydrodynamic Aerobraking for Spacecraft Entry to Earth's Atmosphere" which David is leading. This will focus on the development of new MHD aerobraking technology to reduce spacecraft heating, leading to safer, more efficient, and potentially reusable spacecraft

Areas of research