Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Professor Mahesh elected Fellow of the American Physical Society

Krishnan Mahesh

AEM Professor Krishnan Mahesh received the honor of being elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society for his “development of novel numerical algorithms and creative physical insights leading to enhanced understanding of complex turbulent flows, including shock/turbulence interactions, jets in cross flow, reacting flows, and multiphase flows.”  All Fellows must be nominated and then go through an approval process by the American Physical Society Fellowship Committee division that is most relevant to their research.  Only one-half of one percent of the membership are elected as Fellows.

Professor Mahesh and his lab focus on model­ing complex turbulent flows. They develop nu­merical methods to build turbulence models, ultimately developing codes that can predict random three-dimensional flow fields over surfaces with com­plicated geometry. A turbulent flow is varying and chaotic; much harder to model than a smooth laminar flow.

There are commercial codes available that seek to do the same thing, but these models tend to break down as flow fields get more complicated. Professor Mahesh seeks to fill this gap and model real-world situations that involve random, complicated flow fields that other models cannot handle.

Professor Mahesh has applied his research to numerous situations. He’s worked with the Office of Naval Research for a number of years to perfect models of water flow over marine vessels, particularly working on modeling propeller crashback. Crashback is caused when a propeller reverses to stop a vessel; the turbulence created in the water reduces the control of the vessel and can cause propeller blades to break. Professor Mahesh’s models can help evaluate current propellers and test new ones before physical experimentation takes place.

Codes have also been used to model cavitation. Cavitation is the formation of bubbles created by high forces that cause pitting and surface damage in a mate­rial when the bubbles burst. The code can predict such things as drag effect and the noise caused by cavitation. Models have also been developed for flows within combustors, supersonic transverse jets, and jets in cross flows, among others.

Professor Mahesh has also received other awards and honors such as George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research, and Associate Fellowship at the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, a McKnight Presidential Fellowship Award, and a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship.

The American Physical Society is a professional organization that strives to be the leading voice for physics and provide programs in support of the physics community, according to their mission statement.

Still shot of a model of a combustor, created using Professor Mahesh’s numerical modeling methods.
Last Modified: Thursday, 29-Sep-2011 10:11:10 CDT -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation