MABE Assistant Professor Damiano Baccarella is one of 36 scientists and engineers across the country to be awarded the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) award. The award provides Baccarella with a three-year grant totaling $450,000 to fund his research proposal, “Quantification and Mitigation of the Thermochemical Non-Equilibrium in High-Enthalpy Hypersonic Wind Tunnels.”
This marks the first YIP award from AFOSR to be won by a UT faculty member in at least 10 years and is the first award for Baccarella since joining MABE last year.
“It definitely means a lot to me to win this award,” said Baccarella. “The High-Speed Aerodynamics program at AFOSR led by Dr. Sarah Popkin is the place where the major advances in the field of hypersonics are made. This award gives me the opportunity to become part of that community and be at the bleeding edge of hypersonic research.”
Baccarella’s experimental research project will investigate the effects of thermochemical non-equilibrium in high-enthalpy hypersonic wind tunnels. Non-equilibrium is a typical phenomenon occurring in hypersonic flows that complicates the matching of wind tunnel data with actual flight conditions.
This study aims to provide a better understanding of non-equilibrium and to develop strategies to quantify and possibly mitigate its effects. The completion of this work is expected to allow a closer matching between ground testing and flight data, enabling unprecedented research capabilities in hypersonics.
“This is a fantastic early career award for Dr. Baccarella and is an indicator of the world-class faculty we have been able to recruit into our AE program,” said MABE Department Head Matthew Mench.
Baccarella will be preforming his research in his state-of-the-art Tennessee Hypersonics and Propulsion Laboratory (THPL), currently under construction and expected to be completed early next year.