Computational and Experimental Fluid Dynamics

Computational Fluid Dynamics

Validating advanced computational fluid dynamics tools is typically conducted via experimentation. Extensive testing involving multi-phase flows is conducted in our testing facilities to understand the fundamental physics of multi-phase flows, such as supercooled water droplet ice accretion to lifting surfaces or ice crystal partial meting engine icing. Testing results are not only used to gain physical understanding of flow processes, but also for tool development, and proof-of-concept testing of active systems aim to mitigate adverse effects related to flow dynamics.

Research Focus Areas:

  • Aeroacoustics
  • Reacting Flows
  • Hypersonics
  • Propulsion
  • Turbomachinery
  • Explosions
  • Aerodynamics
  • Rotorcraft
  • Turbulence

Experimental Fluid Dynamics

Research Focus Areas

Research activities in the area of experimental fluid dynamics are conducted in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel.

Research Activities:

  • Gasdynamics
  • Aero-and-hydroacoustics
  • Hydrodynamic Stability
  • Cavitation
  • Unsteady Flow Control

Current Projects:

  • Studies of Mixing Enhancement of Supersonic Shear Layers
  • The Effects of High Free-Stream Turbulence on Boundary Layer Structure and Transport Processes
  • Surface Acoustic Wave Sensors and Piezoelectric Actuators for Investigations of Transitional and Turbulent Flows
  • Experiments on the Basic Noise Sources of Centrifugal Turbomachinery Devices
  • Studies of the Aeroacoustics of Supersonic Air Jets
  • Study of the Instabilities in a Swirling Jet
  • Boundary Layer Stability in the Presence of Impinging Particles
  • Effect of Surface Irregularities on Cavitation Inception
  • Cavitation Inception and Desinence in Slots
  • Boundary Layer Drag Reduction by Polymer Additives in Water
  • Effect of Microbubbles on Cavitation Inception
  • Hydroacoustics of Boundary Layer Transitions

Key Faculty:



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