Dr Peter Heins

Research Associate

Photo: Dr Peter HeinsAddress:
Dr Peter H. Heins MEng, ACGI, PhD
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
The University of Sheffield
Sheffield, S1 3JD
United Kingdom
Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 25231
Email: p.heins@sheffield.ac.uk


Peter Heins received a MEng degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College London in 2011. Later the same year, he joined the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, The University of Sheffield, to pursue his PhD as a recipient of an EPSRC Doctoral Training Award. His PhD research focused on developing new strategies to control transitional and turbulent wall-bounded fluid flows for the purposes of skin-friction drag reduction. Peter completed his PhD in 2015 and is currently working as a Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Department.

He is currently working alongside Dr Bryn Jones on an Innovate UK funded project titled ‘USV Environmental Efficiency’. The project is being undertaken along with Thales UK, ASV Global and University of Southampton, and aims to develop control systems for unmanned surface vehicles (USVs). The University of Sheffield is responsible for constructing a realistic sea-surface/boat dynamics simulation environment.

Research Interests

  • Robust output-feedback flow control for skin-friction drag reduction
  • Direct numerical simulation (DNS) of wall-actuated turbulent channel flow
  • Low-order modelling of turbulent flow systems
  • Real-time simulation of sea-surface environments

Flow visualisations identifying vortices

Snapshot from a sea-surface simulation


  • P. H. Heins, B. Ll. Jones, and A. S. Sharma, ‘Passivity-Based Feedback Control of a Channel Flow for Drag Reduction’,  Automatica (accepted for publication). Link: http://arxiv.org/abs/1602.07149
  • B. Ll. Jones, P. H. Heins, E. C. Kerrigan, J. F. Morrison and A. S. Sharma, ‘Modelling for Robust Feedback Control of Fluid Flows’, Journal of Fluid Mechanics,  vol. 769, pp. 687-722, 2015. Link: http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.02154
  • P. H. Heins, B. Ll. Jones and A. S. Sharma, ‘Passivity-Based Output-Feedback Control of Turbulent Channel Flow’, In UKACC International Conference on Control (CONTROL 2014), Loughborough, UK, July 2014, pp. 226-231.


  • P. H. Heins, ‘Robust Control of Wall-Bounded Turbulent Flows’, UKACC PhD Presentation Showcase, London, UK, October 2014.
  • P. H. Heins, B. Ll. Jones, and A. S. Sharma, ‘Passivity-Based Feedback Control of a Channel Flow for Drag Reduction’, paper presented at UKACC International Conference on Control, Loughborough, UK, July 2014
  • P. H. Heins, B. Ll. Jones, and A. S. Sharma, ‘Drag Reduction in a Turbulent Channel Flow using a Passivity-Based Approach’, American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics Conference, Pittsburgh, USA, November 2013


  • “Best Application Paper” for ‘Passivity-Based Feedback Control of a Channel Flow for Drag Reduction’, UKACC International Conference on Control, Loughborough, UK, July 2014
  • EPSRC Doctoral Training Award, 2011-2014

Open-Source Code

  • Channelflow Boundary Condition (CFBC) package: Modifications to the open-source DNS code Channelflow written in C++ by J. F. Gibson which allows a user to implement inhomogeneous wall boundary conditions and implement output-feedback LTI controllers on turbulent channel flow. Download from: https://github.com/P-Heins/CFBC/releases
  • Sheffield Wave Environment Model (SWEM): A Matlab/Simulink block set for simulating sea-surfaces. It includes the effects of ocean swell, gusting local wind, surface current and finite water depth on the surface waves it simulates. It can be used as an environmental disturbance block in boat dynamics simulators. Download from: https://github.com/P-Heins/SWEM/releases

Other Activities

Delivering tutorials and assisting laboratories for:
ACS424 – Robust and Advanced Control
ACS224 – Systems Laboratory and Design
ACS6110 – Embedded Systems and Rapid Control Prototyping
ACS335 – Real-Time Embedded Systems
ACS317 – State-Space Control Design
ACS336 – Rapid Control Prototyping

Member of the project brief writing group for “Engineering – You’re Hired!” project week 2013