Professor Awarded $359,000 from Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Research Program

May 27, 2015
Joe KuehlJoseph Kuehl, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering in Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science (Tyler Scott/Baylor Marketing & Communications)

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WACO, Texas (May 27, 2015) – Joseph Kuehl, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering in Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, has received a $359,000 research grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) to study physics-based hypersonic boundary-layer stability and transition prediction.

The performance of high-speed vehicles – such as jets and space shuttles – is greatly impacted by laminar-turbulent transitions. The transition from a laminar to a turbulent boundary layer is a complicated process that may critically drive system drag, thermal loading, propulsive efficiency and vehicle stability. An improved physics-based understanding of the transition process is particularly important for accurately gauging speed, efficiency and trajectory.

“As access to space continues to open, questions concerning high-speed vehicle performance, efficiency, endurance and safety will become increasingly important,” Kuehl said. “This project, in collaboration with other existing research and resources at Baylor, will ideally place Baylor in a position to lead the way in answering such questions.”

The YIP aims to encourage research in science and engineering by appealing to young scientists and engineers who have received their Ph.D. and possess a desire to advance research areas that benefit national warfighting and peacekeeping capabilities.

Kuehl’s research will be funded over a three-year period as he conducts his research in a new laboratory and workspace that is being built at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). The BRIC is a 21-acre discovery complex that provides researchers, organizations and private companies with 330,000 square feet of physical space for labs, research centers, industry collaborations space and workforce training.

More than 200 proposals were submitted to the AFOSR. Selected proposals came from scientists and engineers at research institutions such as Baylor, Princeton University, Stanford University, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Information regarding the AFOSR YIP can be found at https://www.wpafb.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9332.

For more information on the grant, contact Kate Amaya, director of communications and external relations for Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, at 254-710-6826, or Kate_Amaya@baylor.edu.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE

With more than 10 percent of Baylor University’s freshman class pursuing major courses of study in the School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), the focus remains on preparing graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian world view. ECS majors include bioinformatics, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, general engineering, and mechanical engineering. Among ECS graduate programs are Master of Science degrees in all disciplines, a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering, a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, and several dual degree programs. The Teal Residential College, in which engineering and computer science students and faculty live, fosters the pursuit of wisdom, academic excellence, and meaningful relationships for the development of diverse, innovative leaders.

ABOUT THE BAYLOR RESEARCH AND INNOVATION COLLABORATIVE (BRIC)

The Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) – the first, and cornerstone, facility of a 21-acre discovery complex that comprises the Central Texas Technology and Research Park – provides researchers, organizations and private companies with 330,000 square feet of physical space for labs, research centers, industry collaborative space and workforce training. The BRIC places many of Baylor's most accomplished scientists and engineers in a uniquely collaborative environment, rich in resources and primed for incisive innovation in quantum physics, cosmology, and mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, ranging from the biomedical, geospatial and environmental sciences and beyond. The BRIC adds another practical dimension to discovery by bringing these and other highly sought support resources within easy grasp of entrepreneurs, businesses and industries whose very survival depends on timely innovation. For more information, visit https://www.baylor.edu/BRIC.

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