Air-Breathing Propulsion and Turbomachinery Aero-Heat Transfer

Air-Breathing Propulsion and Turbomachinery Aero-Heat Transfer

Modern air-breathing propulsion systems benefit from novel developments in the fields of aerodynamics and heat transfer. All modes of heat transfer, analytical, computational and experimental fluid dynamics; steady and unsteady turbine and compressor aerodynamics; turbine cooling methods, novel aero-thermal component design innovations and non-intrusive research tool developments are the key supporters of this research area.

The turbomachinery areo-heat transfer laboratory at Penn State operates one of the most unique large-scale turbine research rigs in the United States. A wind tunnel for convective heat transfer applications, a linear cascade facility with an exit Mach number of 0.8, various ducted fan research set-ups, calibration jets, conventional aerodynamic probes, non-intrusive flow diagnostics systems and many data collection and processing systems are available in our laboratory.

The research studies benefit from an already operational infrared thermography system and liquid crystal-based convective heat transfer mapping system. Our recent efforts in the high-performance computing for turbomachinery aero-thermal investigations are performed in dedicated parallel computing environments.

Key Faculty:

Recent Research:

  • Tip leakage flow mitigation in axial flow turbomachinery
  • Turbine 3D tip carving/shape design
  • Turbine disk-cavity flows and rim-seal flow interactions near turbine endwalls
  • HP turbine aerodynamic testing
  • Non-axisymmetric turbine endwall contouring
  • Ducted fan aerodynamics for VTOL UAV systems
  • Sand particle trajectory determination near helicopter rotor tip sections

Past Research:

  • Short duration and continuous heat transfer testing in hot/ warm cascades, rotating disks, channels and turbines
  • Implementation of liquid crystal thermography in convective heat transfer research
  • Heat transfer augmentation by oscillating jets, elliptical pin-fins and vortex tubes
  • Solid-state diode-lasers in Doppler velocimetry, pressure sensitive paints and  planar/3D particle Image velocimetry in turbomachinery flows


The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569