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July 2015

Using wind tunnels to develop improvements for airplane design

Sarahi’s research could simulate how the movement of air over a jumbo jet might change depending on the physical features of the plane’s body. Alterations could then be made to the plane’s design, making the final product more fuel efficient as a result of its improved aerodynamics.

"This experience has taught me that when you are here in Canada, you really can do anything you put your mind to,” says Sarahi Anguiano Gutierrez, a mechanical engineering student from Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico. 

As a Mitacs Globalink Research Intern under the supervision of Dr. Hachimi Fellouah at the Université de  Sherbrooke, Quebec, Sarahi is contributing to research on the behaviour of airflow around an aerodynamic object within a wind tunnel. The research seeks to understand how airflow is affected by different types of objects as they pass through the tunnel. The results of this research could contribute to more effective design of aerodynamic machinery such as airplanes, automobiles, and bridges.

For example, Sarahi’s research could simulate how the movement of air over a jumbo jet might change depending on the physical features of the plane’s body. Alterations could then be made to the plane’s design, making the final product more fuel efficient as a result of its improved aerodynamics. Similar deductions can be made for cars, while bridges could be made more stable by incorporating understandings of wind behaviour into the design of the bridge itself.

Surahi is enjoying the opportunity to experience hands-on research, as well as the chance to explore la belle province.

Sherbrooke has so much more than I expected. There are always new things to do here, and I’m having a lot of fun learning to speak French with the people of Quebec!” 

Having explored Quebec City — “The most beautiful city I’ve ever seen!” — and Montreal —“There’s too much to see in Montreal!” — Sarahi is curious to explore the opportunities that Canada holds for her future.

“I would definitely like to come back for graduate school. There is a lot of research that matches with my interests and so many possibilities for me in Canada.”


Mitacs would like to thank Industry Canada, the Governments of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan, and Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies. Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support Globalink, including Brazil’s le Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, the China Scholarship Council, Campus France, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education.