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Sunetra Sarkar


Professor, IIT Madras, India.
Google Scholar

Group Head,
Biomimetics & Dynamics Laboratory,
Department of Aerospace Engneering,
Indian Institute of Technology Madras,
Chennai, India.

Member, Editorial Advisory Board,
International Journal of Non-linear Mechancis 


1. Editorial advisory board member, International Journal of Nonlinear Mechanics.

2. Featured in WomenInIITM series. Twitter link.

3. Featured in AeroWomen Twitter Page. Link

4. Biomimetics Lab featured in HPCE Highlights of IITM. Read here.

5. Biomimetics Lab featured in `Immerse', 2018 (IIT Madras' Annual Technical Magazine). Read the full article here.

6. Sunetra's research was covered in TU Delft's Delta Magazine. Read it here.

7. Rubicon Fellowship awarded by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), National Research Council of Netherlands, 2006-2007. 

8. Amelia Earhardt Fellowship award by Zonta Fundation, USA, 2003-2004.

9. Savita Chaudhury Memorial award for best thesis at Aerospace Engg. Dept., 2005.

10. Prof. S. Niyogi Memorial award for academic excellence, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, 1996.

News from the Biomimetics & Dynamics Lab :

1. Rahul Sundar selected for Eastern European Machine Learning Summer School (EEML), 2021, Budapest, Hungary.

2. Chhotelal Shah, Dipanjan Majumdar received the Congress grant for 25th International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM), 2021.

3. Chandan Bose et al. paper titled ""Chaotic Manifolds behind a Flapping Airfoil", featured in the cover of the OpenFOAM Journal, 2021

4. Chandan Bose receives Innovative Thesis Project Award at Doctoral Level, Indian National Academy (INA) of Engineering, 2020.

5. Sunetra Sarkar co-organises HPC CFD 2020, IIT Madras December 2020.

6. Lab team with members, Rahul Sundar, Dipanjan Majumdar, Chhotelal Shah chosen for C-DAC GPU Hackathon, 2020.

Broad areas of Research:

Deterministic & stochastic treatment of nonlinear fluid- structure-interaction and fluid flow problems 
Unsteady fluid dynamics (of moving bodies)
Nonlinear dynamics
Uncertainty quantification

(details of research topics)


The accompanying frame shows a periodically moving airfoil generating aperiodic wake patterns which is in fact dynamical chaos. The instability shown here takes the well known quasi-periodic route. Other routes have alse been found in our studies with flapping wings, such as period-doubling and intermittency routes. The dynamics becomes much more interesting with more complex transitional behaviour as the structure becomes flexible and the coupled fluid-structure interaction dictate the unsteady flow-field. See our recent publications for more details. 

Sunetra Sarkar obtained her PhD from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India and did her post-doctoral studies from Technical University of Delft, Netherlands. (see Sunetra Sarkar's professional background). 

Her research interests lie in the field of dynamics of fluid structure interaction and unsteady flows. Over the years, a variety of problems related to this field have been studied, mainly through computational modelling of varied fidelities, and recently, using experimental techniques as well. One of the main focal points has been development of efficient numerical solvers, as the problems encountered were often nonlinear and needed to be characterized in a time accurate manner over large windows of time. These investigations have led to the resolution of the underlying bifurcations of the coupled systems as well as the flow-field vortex patterns. Novel flow-field wake modes and new bifurcation routes to fluid-elastic instabilities were reported which are of considerable interest to the community.   

It was also recognized in her studies that the real life physical and engineering systems represented by the flow and fluid structure interactions problems could encounter sources of uncertainties. The coupled systems were known to manifest dynamical instabilities and presence of input uncertainties could potentially bring dramatic and sudden changes to their bifurcation requiring a careful reassessment of the problem in a stochastic framework. She has worked extensively on a variety of spectral based uncertainty quantification tools and have contributed towards the development of algorithms ideally suited for nonlinear fluid structure interaction problems.    

Contact Information:

Sunetra Sarkar, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600036, India.

Phone: +91 44 22574024, Fax: +91 44 2257 4002, 

Email: <>,  <>

Biomimetics & Dynamics Laboratory, CTC Building ground floor (CTC 121), Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras, Chennai 600036, India. Phone: +91 44 2257 5023