Aerospace-led team receives AFOSR research award

Photo of research team

Pictured, left to right: Research team members Dr. Diego Donzis, Dr. Rodney Bowersox, Dr. Simon North and Dr. William Hase


A research team led by Dr. Diego Donzis, an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, has been awarded $2.2 million by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to study the complex interaction of turbulent flows in the presence of thermal non-equilibrium.

The multidisciplinary team includes Dr. Rodney Bowersox, aerospace engineering; Dr. Simon North, chemistry; and Dr. William Hase, Texas Tech’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
The Basic Research Initiative (BRI) award is given to study thermal and mechanical non-equilibrium effects on turbulent flows, in particular the fundamental mechanisms for energy exchanges through direct numerical simulations, molecular simulations and experiments.
This project aims at both advancing our understanding of the effect of thermal (rotational, vibrational) and mechanical non-equilibrium on compressible turbulence and proposing new technological advances in the strategies to generate and control turbulence. Due to the intrinsic multidisciplinary nature of the scientific problem, a combination of state-of-the-art massive direct numerical simulations (DNS), detailed molecular dynamics simulations and novel laser based experimental approaches will be used to explore the detailed physics at levels of fidelity and at a range of parameters not previously possible.
A new concept to generate turbulence will be investigated using thermal non-equilibrium (TNE) via photoexcitation of seeded molecules which will then be used to study the specific mechanisms in which TNE modifies turbulence. This technique, which has the advantage of allowing the selection of molecular species to control the degree and mode of TNE, ease of changing grid geometry and initial perturbation and has the potential to revolutionize turbulence studies in high-speed flows, is currently being investigated numerically and experimentally.
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) manages the basic research investment for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). As a part of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AFOSR's technical experts foster and fund research within the Air Force Research Laboratory, universities, and industry laboratories to ensure the transition of research results to support USAF needs.