Class Challenge Turns Into Technical Paper

Group of students
Left to right: Steven Waal, Sonya Dick, Russ Westphal, Priscilla Ng. Not shown: Sebastian Gnagy.

Students in Russ Westphal’s ME 542 Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Compressible Flow course during Fall 2018 were challenged to develop a new solution to the classical problem of ideal work addition or extraction to/from a subsonic compressible flow, known as the “actuator disk” problem. 

The new solution was to be in the form of a tabulated or graphical presentation of properties of the flow before and after the work interaction.  The problem is relevant to flow through compressor and turbine stages of a jet engine.  Four undergraduate students—Sonya Dick, Sebastian Gnagy, Priscilla Ng, and Steven Waal—worked independently initially on various parts of the problem and successfully developed and validated two different ways of presenting the solution. 

The group then collaborated to compile their work, producing a jointly-authored manuscript for the 2019 Propulsion and Energy Forum held during the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics annual summer meeting August 2019.  The paper has been accepted, and will be presented by lead author Sonya Dick at the meeting in Indianapolis, IN.

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