Professor Karen Ann Thole

Distinguished Professor and Department Head Department of Mechanical Engineering Pennsylvania State University

Research to advance gas turbines, which power all commercial and military aircraft, is essential to our nation’s security and economy.  Issues that continue to push the research are increases in efficiency, thereby reducing the carbon footprint, and durability, thereby reducing the frequency of repair and downtime.

Geometries are highly-guarded by the turbine manufactures in order to remain competitive making it difficult for universities to contribute.  Moreover, the high costs of turbine testing often prohibits companies from taking risks on new designs.  At the same time, it is critical for the future workforce needs that students are given the opportunity to see firsthand how turbines operate and what the various issues are.

To address these needs from the turbine community, this presentation will discuss a new program funded by the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory through collaborations with several turbine manufacturers.  The program is to develop the National Experimental Turbine (NExT), which will be designed and tested to provide a shared baseline database to US federal agencies and companies for development of new computational tools.  NExT will also provide a platform to the turbine manufacturers to quickly test new ideas as a relatively low cost.

Check out the incredible speaker line-up to see who will be joining Karen Ann.

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