NASA Honors AE Grad Students for Inlet Design

2011-06-28

Photographed at the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., are, from left, Jaiwon Shin, Thomas Irvine, Glen Bigelow, Anita Garg, Gary D. Roberts, Marla E. Perez-Davis, Joseph Rossoll, Michael Rybalko, and Tommy Herges.
Photographed at the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., are, from left, Jaiwon Shin, Thomas Irvine, Glen Bigelow, Anita Garg, Gary D. Roberts, Marla E. Perez-Davis, Joseph Rossoll, Michael Rybalko, and Tommy Herges.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has recognized AE graduate students Michael Rybalko and Thomas G. Herges for their contributions to the design and fabrication of a large-scale low-boom inlet model for testing at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. 

The NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate Associate Administrator’s High Potential Group Award was presented to the students in April at NASA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. The award acknowledged the students’ roles in the inlet design project, one step needed in the larger effort to develop a new class of low sonic boom civilian aircraft. The work conducted is part of an ongoing, three-year project involving AE at Illinois, NASA, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Rolls-Royce, and the University of Virginia.
 
Rybalko and a collaborator performed computational fluid dynamics analysis. Rybalko applied several new modeling techniques using the Wind-US 2.0 software package to enable rapid parametric analysis of vortex generator configurations intended for inlet flow control. The optimized vortex generator test matrix he specified was adapted for use in the inlet tests, and its specification allowed the hardware model vendor to initiate mechanical design on schedule.
 
Herges led the development and implementation of surface flow visualization and pressure-sensitive paint flowfield diagnostic techniques internal to the inlet – the first time this had been done in the harsh environment of the 8 foot by 6 foot supersonic wind tunnel. Herges had to overcome numerous obstacles in designing the housing for an internal camera and light source used to collect the surface flow and pressure data that enabled characterization of the flowfield and physics associated with the vortex generator devices.
 
Designed to provide the high performance and low boom characteristics required by a potential civil supersonic aircraft, the Mach 1.7 inlet was successfully tested in the Fall of 2010.