Fluid Mechanics and Propulsion Research at the School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University


The Fluid Mechanics and Propulsion group in the School of Mechanical Engineering conducts a broad scope range of research into both fundamental and applied areas of fluid mechanics. The research conducted within the group encompasses issues in health, pharmacology, aerodynamics, aerospace propulsion, energy production, and manufacturing. A sampling of current research programs would include fluid mechanic mechanisms involved in cardiovascular disease, manufacturing processes for pharmaceutical products, microscale self-assembly, aircraft engine compressor aerodynamics, measurement techniques for micro-scale flows, human phonation (speech), film cooling, and magnetohydrodynamics.  

Discrete element computer simulation of tablet coating in a horizontal, rotating pan.

Phase-locked averaged Mach contours for the impeller-vane flow field of a high speed centrifugal
aircraft engine compressor.   From experimental Particle Image Velocimetry data.

Prof. S. Fleeter

Issues critical to the success of future gas turbine engines include the identification and demonstration of fan and compressor concepts that result in enhanced performance and improved reliability. Thus Professor Fleeter’s research is directed at the experimental and analytical modeling/simulation of the steady and unsteady flow processes and interactions inherent in turbomachine blade rows. Issues being addressed include blade row interaction unsteady aerodynamics, structural dynamics and high cycle fatigue including blade row structural and aerodynamic mistuning, compressor-combustor interaction aerodynamics and energy technologies including wind turbines. 

Prof. Sangtae Kim

Professor Kim's research explores the relationship between particle shapes and hydrodynamic interactions along with their applications to self-assembly in a microscale setting. These relationships are the embarkation points for a range of research projects: development of new mathematical models for pharmaceutical informatics (bioinformatics, cheminformatics and systems biology); investigation of microfluidic-nanofluidic transitions in novel self-assembly processes for ultra low-cost manufacture of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. In addition to his work in fluid mechanics, Prof. Kim is also active in RFID-based cyberinfrastructure projects.

Prof. C. Wassgren

Prof. Wassgren’s research activities focus on experimental and computational investigations of particulate systems. Current projects include pharmaceutical manufacturing (tablet coating, granulation, hopper flow, powder compact characterization, electrostatic charging, blending, and tablet friability) and rolling element bearing dynamics modeling. Computational tools utilizing discrete element methods have been developed by Prof. Wassgren’s research group for modeling both pharmaceutical and bearing applications. Recent experimental work has focused on force measurements in dense and dilute granular flows, pharmaceutical compact mechanical properties characterization, hopper segregation, and spray droplet spreading.