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UTSI Prof. Joe Majdalani Elected as ASME Fellow

Joseph Majdalani, a professor at The University of Tennessee Space Institute, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

“I am very pleased for, and very proud of, Majdalani,” said Donald C. Daniel, UT associate vice president and chief operating officer of the Space Institute.

“Being elected a Fellow of one’s technical society is extremely difficult, and it is an honor that is given to only a select few. My expectation at UTSI is for all full professors to achieve this distinction, and I am delighted that Joe is leading the way.”

The Fellow grade of membership recognizes exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession and recipients must be recommended for the honor.

Majdalani was recommended by George Garrison, a long-time UTSI professor who recently retired, and himself an ASME Fellow. He cited among Majdalani’s specific achievements his “significant contributions in the mathematical modeling of injection and swirl-driven combustion chambers.”

“I’m glad that Majdalani was selected,” Garrison said. “I thought that he had excellent credentials for this award.”

Majdalani expressed his deep gratitude to Daniel and Garrison and to Administrative Specialist Gail Wells, saying that “without Daniel’s encouragement, I would never have thought of applying for this honor.”

The new Fellow is known for his work on acoustic instability theory in solid rocket motors and vortex engine technology in both liquid and hybrid rocket applications. He presently serves on the External Advisory Board of the Center for Simulation of Advanced Rockets, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has been named an “American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Technical Expert in Analytical Approaches to Hybrid Rocket Propulsion.”

Majdalani’s work on wave propagation has resulted in the development of a generalized-scaling technique in perturbation theory that has appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. His work on core flow modeling of liquid, solid, and hybrid rocket engines has led to the discovery of new solutions to describe cyclonic motions in liquid and hybrid rocket engines, and advanced injection-driven flow fields in simulated solid rocket motors. Recently, his work on compressible gas motions has led to the development of a unique methodology that can be used as a substitute for numerical simulations in obtaining multi-dimensional analytical solutions to high speed flow problems.

Majdalani received the 1998-99 College of Engineering Research Award in addition to the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 Outstanding Teaching Awards from Marquette University. He also received NASA’s 2002-03 and 2003-04 Faculty Research Infrastructure Awards, the 2002-03 Higher Education Incentive Award and, from the National Science Foundation, the prestigious CAREER Award in 2003.

Before joining UTSI’s Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering faculty at UTSI in September 2003, Majdalani was on the tenured faculty of Marquette University. He earned his M.S. degree in 1991 and his Ph.D. in 1995 – both in Mechanical Engineering – from the University of Utah and proceeded to accumulate a distinguished teaching, research and service record. Majdalani resides in Tullahoma with his wife Inna and their son George.

His technical expertise centers primarily on propulsion, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics. He has consulted for a variety of companies and organizations including Orbital Technologies, Packard, Packard and Johnson, Sarcos, Ram Products, Snap-On Tools, Software and Engineering Associates, and S.C. Johnson Professional.

In July, Majdalani attended the 42nd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit in Sacramento, Calif. At the meeting, he presented three scientific papers, a one-hour oral presentation on the modeling and simulation of swirling flows, and two invited talks covering analytical and numerical models of hybrid rocket flow fields. His presentations were well received by a packed audience. (Kenneth Harwell of Tullahoma, former UTSI dean and recently with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, said Majdalani’s oral presentation “described some very excellent work that I think contributed greatly to the knowledge in this field” and should be “of great interest to Department of Defense engineers and scientists.”)

The three papers presented were titled “Stability of the Taylor-Culick Profile with Headwall Injection and Particle Interactions,” “Characterization of the Tangential Boundary Layers in the Bidirectional Vortex Thrust Chamber,” and “The Compressible Taylor Flow in Slab Rocket Motors.”