Dr. Rodney Bowersox is the Director of the National Aerothermochemistry Laboratory (NAL). His group’s expertise lies on turbulent and laminar high speed viscous flows and the realm of high temperature gas dynamics.
The National Aerothermochemistry Laboratory provides a venue for faculty, students, research associates and visiting scientists to improve the knowledge and control of non-equilibrium gaseous flows and their surface interactions. The resulting interdisciplinary research facility has been supported by the AFOSR, AFRL, ARO, NASA, NSF, ONR and Industry. A defining feature of the NAL is the suite of national resource quality facilities, instrumentation and numerical methods. Most of these assets are one-of-kind, and were developed to address specific problems. A second defining characteristic of the laboratory is the student driven interdisciplinary culture, where researchers from various disciplines (Aerospace Engineering, Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering) work side-by-side to solve complex problems.
Modern computational and experimental tools have advanced to the point where they enable new opportunities in flow control, which may provide solutions to important technological challenges. Our flow control research is divided along three lines. In one, Dr. Bowersox and his group are examining the role of mechanical non-equilibrium on the modification of turbulence and secondary flow with applications in hypersonic external aerodynamics and scramjet combustion. In the second, they study the role of energy deposition in supersonic boundary layer control. Lastly, we are quantifying underlying flow mechanisms associated with dynamic stall on helicopter rotors.
Dr. Bowersox has been recently working on plasma actuation for boundary layer control. In this research, plasma dynamics interacting with high speed flows are studies and simulated to understand how they can play a role in the control of boundary layers. Boundary layers in supersonic and hypersonic vehicles are one of limiting factors to their successful flight and mission accomplishment. Therefore, controlling the boundary layer is of primary importance, and plasma actuation provides an intrusion-free, high frequency method to exploit boundary layers.
For more information regarding NAL please visit their wesbite: nal.tamu.edu.