Donald B. Bliss

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Professor Bliss has broad research interests in fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, acoustics, and structural dynamics. His work emphasizes improved understandings of physical phenomena and the development of innovative ways to solve important engineering problems. Professor Bliss recently developed a general analysis method called Analytical/Numerical matching (ANM) that combines numerical and analytical solutions to gain accuracy and computational efficiency. ANM is currently being applied to a variety of problems in aerodynamics and structural acoustics.

Much of Professor Bliss' research on fluid flows involves the aerodynamics of lifting surfaces and vortex wakes. For helicopter wakes he has developed curved vortex elements, constant vorticity contour wake models, and influence coefficient techniques. In collaboration with a private company, these have been incorporated into commercially available computer programs used by industry and government to predict helicopter performance, vibration, and noise. Currently, ANM is being used to develop a new unified treatment of lifting surfaces and wakes in unsteady compressible flow. Professor Bliss is also developing a new vortex roll-up analysis, and using ANM to study helicopter blade/vortex interaction.

In acoustics, Professor Bliss' primary effort is in the application of ANM to structural acoustics, particularly to acoustic scattering from submerged elastic bodies with structural discontinuities. He has also developed a method called Alternate Resonance Tuning (ART) to prevent low frequency sound transmission into flexible wall enclosures, with applications to aircraft interior noise. He also conducts research on mathematical homogenization applied to structural acoustic systems, and on general boundary conditions for bulk-reacting sound absorbing surfaces.


  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1973)
  • M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1970)
  • B.S.E., Princeton University (1968)

Mailing Address

Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability
Box 90467
Durham, NC 27708

Street / Delivery Address

Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability
140 Science Drive
Gross Hall, Suite 101
Durham, NC 27708