AE School Welcomes Prof. Joseph C. Oefelein

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Summary Sentence:

Oefelein comes to AE from Sandia National Lab

Full Summary:

Prof. Joseph C. Oefelein will focus on combustion modeling and simulation

  • Joseph C. Oefelein- Joseph C. Oefelein-
  • Profs. Lieuwen, Oefelein, and Yang Profs. Lieuwen, Oefelein, and Yang

When he was beginning his doctoral work in mechanical engineering at Penn State, Joseph C. Oefelein told his academic advisor that he had a list of about 12 areas he wanted to master in graduate school.  Twenty plus years later, as he joins the faculty of the Daniel Guggenheim School, Oefelein chuckles at the optimism of that timeline.

But not the list.

“I’ve gotten through about six of those things – working as a post-doc [at Stanford] and at Sandia National Laboratories [as a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff] … but there was way more there than I thought when I was a grad student. There still is. And that’s what drives us. There's a lot there. And it’s still very, very interesting.”

Oefelein’s enduring fascination with combustion modeling and simulation led him to a very engaging career at Sandia, where he has pursued interdisciplinary research focusing heavily on the theory, numerical modeling, and analysis of complex fluid flows where turbulence, combustion, high-pressure phenomena, and multiphase flows play a controlling role.

Working on long-term projects for the DOE, DOD, NASA, and industry, he employed numerical methods for partial differential equations, with emphasis on computational fluid dynamics (CFD), applied numerical analysis, and massively-parallel high-performance computing. He also applied the large-eddy-simulation (LES) technique to both fundamental flows and device-scale components such as internal-combustion engines, gas turbines and liquid-rockets.

“One of the things I was able to do at the National Lab was to spend 16 years demonstrating the unique capabilities of a massively-parallel LES code framework – a tool that is, now, mature,” he said.

“Now I will use that not just to get results, but as a learning tool for students, distributed across different projects, which is a great opportunity to for both teaching and expanding the impact of our research.”

He might also get a chance to cross off the last six items on the list he gave his grad school advisor – now the chair of the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering – Dr. Vigor Yang.

“It is I who will be the student now,” said Yang of his former protégé. “Dr. Oefelein has gone deep into an area that will complement our work at Georgia Tech. I look forward to working with him – as will his colleagues and students.”

Oefelein is excited about this new chapter in his career – one where he will work with students and colleagues to establish new perspectives in the field. Ultimately, he wants to merge expertise in model development validation with the analysis of massively complex data sets. “Equally important is to forge collaborations with my colleagues so that our computational work complements the impressive set of experimental research being performed.”

“The development of high-performance computers has brought a lot of promise to our work, but it also poses many additional and interesting challenges. Modeling and simulation of turbulent combustion – and the related physics – are still in many ways in their infancy. The problems are complex, multi-scale, and multi-physics and require expertise not only in the engineering sciences, but in computer sciences – all of it coupled with experimental efforts,” he said.

In addition to working with his AE colleagues at the Ben T. Zinn Combustion lab, he will be setting up a High Performance Computer lab in Montgomery Knight Building.

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School of Aerospace Engineering

Student and Faculty, Research, Aerospace
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  • Created By: Kathleen Moore
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Aug 23, 2017 - 12:41pm
  • Last Updated: Aug 23, 2017 - 4:24pm