Acad. Virgiliu Nicolae Constantinescu


Biography – education

  • Acad. V.N. Constantinescu was born on 27 March 1931 in Bucharest, Romania
  • Primary school “St. Elefterie” Bucharest
  • Baccalaureate in 1948 at “Gh. Lazăr” High School
  • 1948 – 1952 – Student of the Politechnic Institute of Bucharest, Faculty of Mechanics
  • 1952- Diploma of mechanical engineer (aviation)
  • 1953 – 1955- PhD Student at the Romanian Academy, the Institute of Applied Mechanics, Bucharest
  • 1955 – PhD Diploma in Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics, with the Thesis “Contributions to the Theory of Gas Lubrication“, under the scientific supervision of Acad. Elie Carafoli
  • 1974- Diploma of Doctor Docent in Science




Profesional Activity

  • 1952 – 1956 – Researcher, the Institute of Applied Mechanics of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest;
  • 1956 – 1969 – Chief of the Gas Lubrication Laboratory the Institute of Applied Mechanics of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest;
  • 1954 – 1959 – Assistant Professor, the Politehnic Institute of Bucharest
  • 1959 – 1970 – Associate Professor, the Politehnic Institute of Bucharest
  • 1971 – 2009 – Professor, the Politehnic Institute of Bucharest


  • 1969 – 1970 –  Visiting Researcher, Mechanical Technology  Inc. Latham, New York, U.S.A.
  • 1972 – 1974 – Visiting Professor, Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy
  • 1993 – Visiting Professor, University of Poitiers
  • 1994 – Visiting Professor, INSA
  • 1998 – 2003 – Invited Professor, University of Liège, Belgium


  • 1990 – 1992 – Rector, The Politehnic Institute of Bucharest
  • 1990 – 1992 – President of the National Rectors Convention of Romania
  • 1990 – 1993 – Vicepresident, the Applied Research and Technology College of the Romanian Government
  • 1990  – 1997 – Vicepresident, the Romanian Cultural Foundation
  • 1991  –  1997 – President, Romanian Space Agency
  • 1991  – 1993 – Vicepresident, the Academic College of the Ministry of Education
  • 1994  – 1998 – President of the Romanian Academy
  • 1997- 2003  – Ambassador of Romania in Belgium
  • 2003 – 2009 – President of the Scientific Council, Romanian Space Agency

Teaching Activity

He taught:

  • Fluid Mechanics,
  • Viscous and Turbulent Flows,
  • Rotor Dynamics,
  • Aerodynamics, High Speeds Aerodynamics,
  • Special Materials in Aerospace,
  • Manufacturing Technology of Aircraft and Rockets,
  • Hydrodynamic Lubrication,
  • Tribology.

Doctoral scientific supervisor in Mechanical Engineering, in Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics, Tribology.

Together wirth Acad. Radu Voinea, he founds and coordinates the Circle of Mechanics of the Chair of Aeronautics.

Veritable doctoral school, visited by the most prestigious scientists in the country, in an atmosphere of real scientific emulation, and relaxed in the same time, contributed to the formation of many generations of young researchers.

Scientific Activity

Founder of a new branch of science – Gas Lubrication


  • The existence of a limit solution for the pressure distribution when the compressible effects are dominant
  • Functioning characteristics for different types of gas bearings, (W. A. Gross Gas Film Lubrication John Wiley, N. Y. 1962, 1984 used in the design of the first magnetic disk memory systems by IBM);
  • Methods of Analysis and Design of Gas Bearings (Gas Bearings de N. S. Grassam si J. W. Powell, Butterworths, London, 1964);
  • The influence of the molecular character of the movement in gas lubrication;
  • Functioning Properties and Characteristics of Gas Bearings fed under pressure through vents and porous surfaces;
  • Dynamic Characteristics and Stability of Gas Bearings;
  • Electromagnetic effects in Electrical Conducting Gas Lubrication
  • The influence of inertia and Mach Number in Gas Lubrication of the high speed / large bearings


Founder of Lubrication in Turbulent Regime


  • The Theory of Turbulent Lubrication (1956-1958) relying on a scale concept of local small turbulence and by using the hypothesis of the merging length
  • Methods to analyze bearings and seals which run in turbulent regime (1960-1964);
  • Dynamic Characteristics and the Design of Turbulent Bearings (1964-1968);
  • Transition from Laminar Flow to the Superlaminar and Turbulent Flow in Bearings (1969-1974).




  • Extending the concept of lifting line to the supersonic flow,
  • Developments of the Method of Singularities in Subsonic and Supersonic flows,
  • Numerical methods including procedures to linearization for the transonic flow, analytics formulation of the nucleus of the integral equation for non-stationary compressible flows (harmonic oscillations),
  • Supersonic flows with detached shock waves,
  • Heat transfer in supersonic flows.




  • Over 200 articles, 19 books and 7 patents.
  • Over 90 articles published in Romanian, mostly in Studies and Research of Applied Mechanics of the Romanian Academy.
  • Over 60 articles published in Romania in foreign languages in Revue de Mecanique Appliquee of the Romanian Academy.
  • Over 60 articles published in international journals like: Proceedings of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, London, ASLE Transactions and especially ASME Transactions (Journal of Applied Mechanics, Journal of Basic Engineering, Journal of Lubrication Engineering, Journal of Tribology, Tribology) or proceedings of various symposiums or international conferences

Lubrificatia cu gaze (Gas Lubrication), Academiei Press, 1963;

translated in Russion (Mashinovedenie, Moscova, 1968, Editor Professor M. V. Korovchinsky, The Institute of Machines of the USSR Academy) and in English (under NSF-GN-476, ASME Publications, New York, 1969, Editor Professor R. Wehe, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York).

Teoria lubrificatiei turbulente (Theory of Turbulent Lubrication), Academiei Press, Bucuresti, 1965

translated in English by the Atomic Energy Commission, US and published by the United States Government Printing Office in 1968 (Editor Professor R. Burton, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois).

Lagare cu alunecare (Skidding Bearings) in cooperation with A. Nica, M.Pascovici, D. Ceptureanu, I. Nedelcu) Editura Tehnica, Bucuresti, 1980

translated and published in English by Allerton Press Inc., New York, 1985.

  • 5 volumes of the Dinamica Fluidelor (Fluid Dynamic) series (Academiei Press).
  • The project started in cooperation with Acad. Elie Carafoli.
  • Dinamica fluidelor incompresibile (Incompressible Fluid Dynamics), 1981,
  • Dinamica fluidelor compresibile (Compressible Fluid Dynamics), 1984,
  • Dinamica fluidelor viscoase in regim laminar (Viscous Fluid Dynamics in Laminar Regime), 1987,
  • Stabilitatea curgerii laminare (Stability of Laminar Flow),
  • Dinamica fluidelor in regim turbulent (Fluid Dynamics in Turbulent Regime), 2008
  • Laminar Viscous Flow, Springer, New York in December 1995.


“Aurel Vlaicu” Award of the Romanian Academy, 1957;

The State Award of Socialist Republic of Romania, 1964 (for the monography “Gas Lubrication”);

“Meritul Stiintific” (Scientific Merit) Medal, 1966;

Emeritus Professor, 1983.

Doctor Honoris Causa

  • University of Poitiers, Franta, 1993
  • Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, 1994.
  • Technical University of Timisoara, 1995.
  • University of Liège, Belgium, 1999.
  • University of Suceava, 2000.
  • Military Technical Academy of Bucharest,

Officer of the Légion d’Honneur, France, 1995

Tribology Gold Medal, England, 1996.

Gustave Trasenster Medal, Belgium, 1999.

The Order of Merit in the class of Grand Cross, Romania, 2000.

Chevalier of the Order Marie de Hongrie, Belgium, 2001.

The Order Leopold II in the class of Grand Cross, Belgium, 2003.

Member of the Romanian Academy,1991.

Founder Member of the International Tribology Council, London,1971.

Member of G.A.M.M.

Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics,1981.

Member of the International Academy of Astronautics,1991.

Member of Europaea Academy, London, 1993.

Member of the European Academy of Science, Letters, and Arts, Paris, 1993.

Member of the World Arts and Science Academy, Washington, 1994.

Member of the European Academy of Science and Arts, Salzburg, 1997.

Member of the Royal Academy of Science, Letters, and Arts of Belgium, 1999.


”Left on Earth with memories of the Professor, strange and disparate connections come up to our mind.”

”The field which he touched most often in conversation was Medicine, a subject he enjoyed, and attracted interested listeners.”

”We knew, of course, that his wife, Monica, was a medical doctor, but his approach and discourse of medicine subjects, din not sound like something learned by heart by Professor V.N. Constantinescu, it was rather something heard from a loved person.”

”He had a clearly systematic culture – it was amazing how many things of profound selection and meditation he knew”.

”The Professor had an astonishing power to retain exactly what was illustrative and thus essential, from all the world facts… and he had a memory of an elephant! He knew and managed very well what had been published and what has been published… of science… of literature… of arts…”

”The Professor hated, or at least wish he could hate (being incapable of steady, persistent hate… just sad) the lies and foolish greediness, and also the arguments, and the fight between people.”

”Beyond his calmness, he had a steady inner tension and discontent. He was connected with all intrigues and networks of interests, typical to the complex and strange world of Romanians.”

”Not a trace of cynicism, not a trace of mean behaviours and attitudes… an outstanding generosity.”

”He shared his feelings with benevolence. Even when he resented the low performance of a co-worker, he used to proceed with elegance and respect to science, but also to the poor fellow, who was just beginning to learn the profession.”

”We have the impression that he is still alive, gone in an endless journey, or that he lives at the edge of the world. In a place that we cannot reach… for the moment.”

”We feel the urgency to talk to him, to ask for his advice, or to just listen to him.”

”We thank you, Sir Professor!”

Article, photos and testimonials by

Prof. dr. ing. Sterian Dănăilă

Director of the ”Elie Carafoli” Department of Aerospace Science