Mechanical engineering assistant professor Dr. Devesh Ranjan has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his five-year project, “Transition, Turbulence and Mixing in Shock-Accelerated Variable Density Flows at Extreme Conditions.”
The CAREER program is NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty members.
The scientific goal of Ranjan's CAREER project is to produce, diagnose and simulate shock-driven turbulent flows in a compressible system. The outcomes of Ranjan’s work may contribute to developing more efficient designs for fuel pellets, which are essential for the success of the inertial confinement fusion as a method to provide energy from fusion in a commercially viable manner.
Ranjan also has a well-documented impact on undergraduate education. By involving several undergraduate students in research work in his laboratory these efforts will be continued and recruitment of "first-generation college" and women students will be emphasized. Additionally, he proposes to develop an educational online game (HEATS), an innovative approach to help students better understand the design of thermal fluid systems. All these efforts will contribute to providing a steady supply of trained scientists for the nation.
This NSF CAREER Award is Ranjan's third major research grant in six months from three different federal agencies, a rare feat for an assistant professor. Ranjan’s streak started with a $438,000 contract from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)to obtain detailed measurements of turbulent Rayleigh-Taylor driven mixing in a multilayer ICF capsule. Ranjan also received the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Research Program (AFOSR-YIP) grant for his research project, “Breaking with Tradition: Turbulence with Memory.”
In the past four years, his research efforts have been funded by several federal agencies, including two programs and the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Livermore National Laboratory.
In addition to the research awards, Ranjan has received the Student Led Teaching Excellence Award (SLATE) in 2009, Morris E. Foster Faculty Fellowship in 2010, and being named TEES Select Young Fellow in 2012.
Ranjan joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering in January 2009. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2007. By 2008 Ranjan was a Director’s Research Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His fields of interest include experimental fluid mechanics, impulsive unsteady phenomena and experimental thermal hydraulics, and laser diagnostics.