Professor Highlights, Spring 2021
In February, Peng Zhao joined the department as an associate professor of mechanical engineering and is located at the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma. Previously, Zhao worked as an assistant professor at Oakland University. He received his master’s and PhD from Princeton University in 2011 and 2015, respectively. His research interests include combustion and reacting flow, advanced powertrain and propulsion systems, alternative fuels and chemical kinetics, numerical simulation and computational diagnostics, and thermal management and safety of lithium-ion batteries.
Assistant Professor Damiano Baccarella is one of 36 scientists and engineers across the country to be awarded the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) award. The award provides Baccarella with a three-year grant totaling $450,000 to fund his research proposal, “Quantification and Mitigation of the Thermochemical Non-Equilibrium in HighEnthalpy Hypersonic Wind Tunnels.”
This marks the first award for Baccarella since joining MABE in 2019.
Baccarella’s experimental research project will investigate the effects of thermochemical non-equilibrium in high-enthalpy hypersonic wind tunnels. Non-equilibrium is a typical phenomenon occurring in hypersonic flows that complicates the matching of wind tunnel data with actual flight conditions.
This study aims to provide a better understanding of non-equilibrium and to develop strategies to quantify and possibly mitigate its effects. The completion of this work is expected to allow a closer matching between ground testing and flight data, enabling unprecedented research capabilities in hypersonics.
“This is a fantastic early career award for Dr. Baccarella and is an indicator of the world-class faculty we have been able to recruit into our AE program,” said Tickle College of Engineering Interim Dean Matthew Mench.
Baccarella will be performing his research in his state-of-the-art Tennessee Hypersonics and Propulsion Laboratory (THPL), currently under construction and expected to be completed early next year.