Nicole Key

Nicole Key

Associate Head for Graduate Studies, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Professor of Aeronautics & Astronautics (by Courtesy)

School of Mechanical Engineering
Purdue University
585 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2088

Office: WANG 4020, CHAF 120

Phone: +1 765 49-42333
Other: +1 765 494 2333


  • B.S., Purdue, '00
  • M.S.E., Purdue, '02
  • Ph.D., Purdue, '07

Research Interests

  • Aerothermal aspects of turbomachinery
  • Axial and radial compressor performance
  • Experimental methods in fluid mechanics

Fundamental Research Area(s)

Application Area(s)

Awards and Recognitions

  • ASME Fellow (10/2017)
  • International Society of Air Breathing Engines (ISABE) Best Paper Award (awarded 12/2016 for 2015 conference)
  • ASME Turbo Expo Best Paper Award (2016)
  • AIAA Associate Fellow (2015)
  • ASME International Gas Turbine Institute Dilip Ballal Early Career Award (2014)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue (2007)
  • AIAA Foundation Gordon C. Oates Graduate Award for Studies in Air Breathing Propulsion (2005)
  • Hertz Fellowship Finalist (2004)
  • von Karman Prize for Best Overall Results in Course Work and Research (2003)
  • Amelia Earhart Fellowship Recipient (2002 & 2004)
  • AIAA National Graduate Student Paper Competition Winner (2002)
  • National Science Foundation Fellowship Recipient (2000)
  • National Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship Recipient (2000)
  • Ammon S. Andes Award for National Outstanding Aeronautical Engineer awarded by Sigma Gamma Tau (2000)
  • Outstanding Senior Engineer awarded by Purdue Student Engineering Foundation (2000)
  • Outstanding Senior Engineer awarded by Purdue Society of Professional Engineers (2000)
  • Society of Women Engineers Outstanding Senior Woman in the Schools of Engineering at Purdue (2000)
  • GE Student Intern Contribution Award (1999)

Selected Publications

Lou, F., Fabian, J.C., and Key, N.L., 2018, "A New Approach for Centrifugal Impeller Preliminary Design and Aerothermal Analysis," ASME Journal of Turbomachinery, Vol. 140, 051001 (10 pages).

Smith, N.R. and Key, N.L., 2017, "A Comprehensive Investigation of Blade Row Interaction Effects on Stator Loss Utilizing Vane Clocking," Accepted to the ASME Journal of Turbomachinery, August, 2017.

Berdanier, R.A., Smith, N.R., Young, A.M., and Key, N.L., 2017, "Effects of Tip Clearance on Stall Inception in a Multistage Compressor," Vol. 34, No. 2, AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, pp. 308-317.

Lou, F., Fabian, J.C., and Key, N.L., 2017, "Stall Inception in a High-Speed Centrifugal Compressor During Speed Transients," Vol. 139, No. 12, ASME Journal of Turbomachinery, pp. 121004 (10 pages).

Smith, N.R., Murray, W.M., and Key, N.L., 2016, "Considerations for Measuring Compressor Aerodynamic Excitations Including Rotor Wakes and Tip Leakage Vortices," ASME Journal of Turbomachinery, Vol. 138, Issue 3, Article ID 031008, 9 pages, (ASME Turbo Expo Best Paper Award).

Monk, D.J., Key, N.L., and Fulayter, R.D., 2016, "Reduction of Aerodynamic Forcing through Introduction of Stator Asymmetry in Axial Compressors," AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 32, Issue 1, pp. 134-141.

Smith, N.R. and Key, N.L., 2015, "Flow Visualization for Investigating Stator Losses in a Multistage Axial Compressor," Experiments in Fluids, Vol. 56, Issue 5, Article 94.

Smith, N.R., Berdanier, R.A., Fabian, J.C., and Key, N.L., 2015, "Reconciling Compressor Performance Differences with Varying Ambient Conditions," ASME Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power, Vol. 137, Issue 12, Article ID 122603, (9 pages).

Murray, W.M. and Key, N.L., 2015, "Detection of Rotor Forced Response Vibrations Using Stationary Pressure Transducers in a Multistage Axial Compressor", International Journal of Rotating Machinery, Vol. 2015, Article ID 198534, (10 pages).

Berdanier, R.A., Smith, N.R., Fabian, J.C., and Key, N.L., 2014, "Humidity Effects on Experimental Compressor Performance ??? Corrected Conditions for Real Gases," ASME Journal of Turbomachinery, Vol. 137, No. 3, 031011 (10 pages).