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Chair's Distinguished Seminar Series

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The Chair’s Distinguished Seminar Series brings scholars of national and international reputation who have made an impact in the field of aerospace engineering and beyond. This seminar series will cover a diversity of topics of current interest to those in academia, industry and the general public. It is our hope that these monthly seminars will encourage an exchange of ideas and bring aerospace engineering and science to the forefront. Please join us for our upcoming seminars.

William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics
Distinguished Seminar Series:

4:00pm to 5:00pm, Mondays
Johnson Hall 075
UW Campus, Seattle WA

Visitor RSVP (free):
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Download the speaker bio & abstract: Tom I-P. Shih

Download the Autumn 2016 Distinguished Seminar Series Poster

Dr. Tom I-P. Shih (Purdue University) | Monday, Oct. 24, 2016:

Professor & Head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN

Talk Title:

Gas-Turbine Heat Transfer – Challenges and Opportunities


Gas turbines are widely used for propulsion and for electrical and mechanical power generation.  Though tremendous advances have been made since its invention in the 1930’s with Frank Whittle’s and Hans von Ohain’s patents, there are still huge opportunities for further advances in efficiency, performance, service life, environmental friendliness, and affordability.

One of the most important opportunities that has been exploited for decades and still available today is to improve the thermal efficiency of gas turbines by developing technologies to enable higher gas temperatures at the inlet of the turbine component, which could be as high as the adiabatic flame temperature from the combustion of fuel and air in the gas turbine’s combustor.  Though the turbine’s inlet temperatures have steadily increased over the past few decades, they are still far below the maximum possible and hence the opportunity.  The challenge is that the current inlet temperatures (up to 2,000 oC) already far exceed, by hundreds of degrees Celsius, the maximum temperature at which even the best turbine materials (e.g., Ni-based super alloys) lose strength and durability.  Currently, 15 to 30% of the air entering the gas turbine’s compressor are used to cool turbine material that come in contact with the hot gases – air that could be used to generate thrust or power.   Thus, reducing the amount of cooling flow to enable a given turbine’s inlet temperature is another opportunity to improve efficiency.

To further increase turbine’s inlet temperature and/or reduce coolant flow needed to achieve existing inlet temperatures require a leap beyond existing materials and/or cooling science and engineering.  Since it only takes one hot spot where material temperature exceeds the maximum permitted for a turbine vane or blade to fail and cooling efficiency requires the turbine materials to be operating at close their maximum permitted temperatures, achieving the next leap on cooling requires greatly improved understanding on how design and operating parameters affect the detailed fluid-mechanics and conjugate heat-transfer mechanisms in harsh environments and complicated geometries and how that understanding is used in design.  This talk provides an overview on turbine cooling, how geometry has been used to create the fluid mechanics that enhance cooling, and addresses challenges and opportunities that could enable a leap forward on cooling.

Speaker Bio:

Tom I-P. Shih is Professor and Head of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, a position held since 2009.  Previously, he was a faculty member at Iowa State University (2003-09), Michigan State University (1998-2003), Carnegie Mellon University (1988-98), and the University of Florida (1983-88).  Also, he was a mechanical engineer at NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research (1981-82).  He started his undergraduate education at West Virginia University, but completed his BS degree at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan.  His MS and PhD degrees are from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He is a Fellow of ASME and AIAA.  His research interests are in CFD/HT, turbine cooling, aircraft icing, and control of shock-wave/boundary-layer interactions..


Monday, Nov. 7, 2016 | Dr. Zdenek P. Bazant
Professor, Civil & Environmental
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Professor, Material Sceince

Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 | Dr. Noel Clemens
Chair, Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics

Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 | Dr. Rodney Bowersox
Chair & Professor, Aerospace Engineering
Director, TAMU National Aerothermochemistry Laboratory

Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 | Dr. Morteza Gharib 
Vice Provost for Research
Professor, Aeronautics
Professor, Bio-Inspired Engineering



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