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25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary – December 9, 2011
Director's Message
Twenty-five years is a good time to reflect on the passage of a research enterprise. The original members are mostly still around and sufficient time has passed for a look back at meeting challenges and appreciating the achievements. A seed planted over a quarter century ago has grown strong through drought and storm. In the initial phase of its growth, the ARC sought to develop a range of aerodynamic facilities from low speed to hypersonic. Other than aerodynamic facilities, the ARC also developed an arc heated tunnel and a number of specialized rigs for testing advanced propulsion concepts. These developments were made possible by generous equipment donations from local industry and from government, as well as funding provided by the State of Texas. Concentrating this array of aerodynamic and aeropropulsion facilities in a single academic research center is unique. The next phase saw advanced instrumentation being acquired. The combination of facilities, instrumentation, highly motivated students and an active faculty allows us to establish the final phase: a sustainable model for research and education. For example, in August 30 of this year, a milestone was achieved in that all facilities were operational. In fact, over the past two years or so, we have stretched ourselves to the limit and have outgrown the ARC premises. Lately, the ARC is “home” to about ten undergraduates, ten masters and ten doctoral students, with occasional visiting fellows and postdoctoral scholars. We are active in recruiting underrepresented minorities and women, as well as persons with disabilities. We have outreach programs with high schools through laboratory tours and internships. These ensure the continued viability of existing research programs and allow us to leverage into new ones, with collaboration within UTA and elsewhere.
The Aerodynamics Research Center is well-known internationally with strengths in aerodynamics, gasdynamics and propulsion. It played a key role in the establishment of the NASA/UTA Center for Hypersonic Research in the mid-1990s and further established its reputation in hosting the Twenty-Third International Symposium on Shock Waves in 2001. Its faculty is active in professional activities that enhance the Center’s reputation, as well as that of UTA. The intellectual output has lately skyrocketed in quality and quantity, thanks in no small measure to the hard work and dedication of the students and staff. Research at the ARC now spans experimental, computational and analytical. The research has contributed to fundamental understanding of complex flow phenomena. It has also taken on a practical side with the development of detonation-based propulsion systems. In the following pages, you will find a record of the intellectual output of the ARC as well as a snapshot of some of the latest research.
The research enterprise is not possible without a large circle of sponsors, friends and well-wishers. Through the years, UTA and the UT System have consistently supported the ARC. While many institutions have shut down their experimental aerodynamics facilities, UTA has maintained credible experimental aerodynamics and aeropropulsion research programs, despite the heavy infrastructure burden. We are extremely thankful for this support, especially from UTA’s Physical Plant.
Support for our research has been generously provided by numerous federal agencies, to which we also extend our thanks. Additionally, industry has played a major role, not only in terms of financial support, but also in advice and various forms of collaboration. In particular, we thank Lockheed Martin, both Aeronautics, and Missiles and Fire Control, as well as Bell Helicopter for generous discussions that helped to shape our research programs. We are also thankful to a host of supporters and collaborators, both in the US and in other countries. Indeed, research is a global enterprise and we continue to establish collaborations with partners in the US and elsewhere.
Research is a dynamic enterprise. As we look back, the scope of research that has been undertaken at the ARC is truly broad. Our low-speed tunnel has been used to test car antennas; we have performed experiments on novel rotor tips and wing planforms with our transonic Ludwieg tube. The supersonic tunnel is being used at present to study supersonic mixing and flow control concepts. The hypersonic shock tunnel was used to study flows pertinent to scramjet flowpaths and is being prepared to study innovative inlets. The arc heater has been used to study fuel reforming and is currently used for studying advanced thermal protection systems. We have a twenty-year record in understanding detonations so that we can leash them for new propulsion and power production systems. For sure, the future will lead us to new research paths that we cannot imagine at the moment.
While we obviously look at our achievements with pride, we are always aware that it is the effort of the students who make them happen. As we gather here to celebrate, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the faculty, staff and current students, to extend a warm welcome to our alumni and to thank you for what you have done. I am sure that each one of you has your own memories, your funny anecdotes and so forth. You have taken on the challenges from the faculty and have succeeded. I am more often than not amazed at the creative solutions offered. I confess that I have learned much from the students here, probably more than I care to admit.
The twenty-fifth anniversary celebration would not be possible without the generous support of Dr. Erian Armanios, Chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and Interim Dean of the College of Engineering. The celebration will also not be possible without the extraordinary efforts of the students at the ARC. Special thanks also go to Rod Duke for ensuring that the ARC is spic-and-span for the celebration, Michelle Schulp for designing our logo and to Dusti Craig for photography. Finally, I would like to especially thank the members of the Planning Committee: Eric Braun, Jay Dickey, Janet Gober, Tracey Kocher, Andrew Mizener and Sally Thompson.
Prof. Frank K. Lu – December 9, 2011
The 25th anniversary celebration included tours of the university, an open house with wind tunnel demonstrations, a poster session and a banquet. A few images of the events are shown below.
Several of our alumni and friends were also recognized at the banquet for their generous support of the Aerodynamics Research Center over the years. These distinguished individuals are listed below:
David W. Stallings, Guest of Honor, For enabling the donation of the high Reynolds number transonic tunnel from the Arnold Engineering Development Center, which was an integral part of the effort to establish an experimental aerodynamics research program at the university.
Dr. Douglas A. Terrier, Keynote Speaker, Distinguished alumnus in the fields of aerodynamics and propulsion.
James Thompson, Aaron Brown, and Johnny Mendiola of C-CAT, Inc., With deep gratitude for the support of advanced thermal protection system research at the Aerodynamics Research Center.
Paul E. Hagseth, With deep gratitude for your support of detonation-based propulsion research at the Aerodynamics Research Center.
Dr. B. Robert Mullins, With deep gratitude for your support of rotorcraft aerodynamics research at the Aerodynamics Research Center.
Lawrence W. Stephens, With deep gratitude for your interest in the aerospace engineering program and the Aerodynamics Research Center.