A professor at the NC State University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering was awarded a $1.65 million grant last month as a part of the Department of Defense’s Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP).
Venkat Narayanaswamy is one of 281 university researchers across the country to receive a portion of the $161 million program, which will support the purchase of major equipment to augment current and develop new research capabilities relevant to the DOD at 120 institutions across 39 states in fiscal year 2024.
“DURIP awards build vital research infrastructure, advancing the exploration of knowledge and upholding the cutting-edge capabilities of our academic institutions,” said Dr. Bindu Nair, director of basic research in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, whose mission is to continuously advance technological capabilities and innovation within the DOD. “This funding underpins the enduring scientific excellence of our universities, nurtures the development of the next STEM workforce, and catalyzes scientific innovations that will lead to unprecedented military capabilities in the years ahead.”
Narayanaswamy spearheaded the development of a long duration Mach 6 wind tunnel in the Fall of 2022 with the support of an initiation grant from North Carolina State University and a prior DURIP grant. This wind tunnel facilitates foundational as well as applied hypersonics research and also fills the gap in hypersonic workforce development in Southeast USA as being one of a very few hypersonic facilities in the region.
“The goals of the proposed DURIP grant are to: (1) upgrade the altitude pressure range of the facility from the current 30 km – 40 km to 20 km – 40 km at 60% Mach 6 flight enthalpy; and (2) increase the tunnel test time from the current 10 seconds to approximately 20 seconds,” Narayanaswamy states in the most recent DURIP project abstract. “These upgrades will substantially expand the range of vehicle trajectory points that could be studied in this facility and generate validation quality datasets at vehicle relevant conditions, both of which will contribute to advance the predictive capabilities of hypersonic platforms. The facility upgrade will be made using the high pressure high throughput inline electric flow heater requested in this DURIP and other infrastructure that are already available in-house.”
To pursue the goals of this grant, Narayanaswamy plans to use the upgraded facility to demonstrate an axisymmetric morphing scramjet inlet/isolator design to generate adaptive thrust and deepen his team’s understanding of the flow processes that impact the resulting thrust outcome from morphing.
The upgraded hypersonic facility will develop the future hypersonics work force in the southeast USA. The outreach activities developed around the facility will have several modules to disseminate research-related education to graduate, undergraduate, and school students. The graduate students working on the project will obtain research training on various DoD projects and mentor the undergraduate research assistants, and Narayanaswamy will leverage numerous mechanisms to engage undergraduate and graduate students from NC State and from other HBCU/minority serving universities in North Carolina during and beyond the project term for a wide outreach.
To see the full list of winning 2024 DURIP proposals, click here.