UND/NDSU project creates wind tunnel for turbine studies
Collaborative research and development is just what Forrest Ames, a UND mechanical engineering professor, and his research partner, Yilidirim Bora Suzen at North Dakota State University, had in mind when they put together an innovative jet engine airfoil test and analysis program.
Funded in part by a grant from ND EPSCoR, the Ames-Suzen team has set up a program to solve a puzzle that’s dogged turbine engine designers for decades: how to effectively deal with
the varying demands of low-pressure turbines. This research is all about producing useful, real-world results.
“I always wanted to stay relevant to industry,” said Ames, who also serves as associate dean for academic affairs in UND’s School of Engineering and Mines.
After chatting with engineers in the jet engine industry, Ames and a team of students created a novel high-speed wind tunnel to test turbine engine airfoils at the low pressures and widely varying loads they encounter in certain real-world situations.
“I’m the experimental guy who’s looking at these difficult flows,” Ames said. “Bora Suzen, a faculty member in NDSU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, is a computational guy who’s developing new tools so the gas turbine industry can predict these flows.”
The test unit that Ames and his student team constructed is powerful enough to handle the varying air speeds and pressures that mimic the operational interior of a jet engine in flight. It will produce test data for Bora Suzen to analyze.
“Basically, it’s about building new and better turbines,” Ames said.
Juan Pedraza | Staff Writer