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February 8, 2023: Matt Szőke

February 8, 2023
9:15 a.m.
Room: 310 Kelly Hall
Matt Szőke, Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech
Faculty Host: Dr. Scott England

"Reshaping the Future of Aerospace Engineering with Digital Twins"

Abstract:  From an engineering point of view, climate change forces us to innovate green energy technologies and transportation strategies that can reduce energy demand and enhance the harvesting of green energy. To reach these goals, we need to measure, understand, and model fluid flow with high accuracy. Fluid dynamics modeling tools form the basis for designing more efficient aircraft, harvesting wind energy, or reducing aerodynamic self-noise. 

Computational and experimental fluid dynamics (CFD & EFD) are often used to develop models for aerodynamic design purposes such that CFD is validated using EFD. However, the current approach of joint CFD and EFD work struggles to provide more efficient and robust models that can accurately predict complex flow problems, such as pressure gradient effects, incipient separation, flow inhomogeneity, corner flows, etc. The missing link is the exact understanding and resolution of the experiment. In other words, CFD lacks an accurate description of the actual wind tunnel test case while EFD often turns a blind eye to the description of flow irregularities. To understand the full-scale problem that neither CFD nor EFD can reveal by itself, we shall consider the fusion of CFD and EFD.  

Examples of establishing the fusion of CFD and EFD are introduced, which include performing CFD simulations of low-speed aerodynamic wind tunnels and developing a fluid-structure interaction model of Kevlar-walled facilities, such as the Stability Wind Tunnel (SWT). We discuss how to develop EFD-informed boundary conditions for CFD so that CFD can become a true representation and extension of EFD. Reduced order models of wind tunnel operation are also introduced to decrease computational cost, support CFD modeling, and enable wind tunnel health monitoring. 

Finally, we project the future trajectory of CFD & EFD fusion toward computational aeroacoustics (CAA) studies using the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM). The LBM offers robust gridding, a simple mathematical approach, and CAA capabilities. However, the extension to CAA requires acoustic validation. To do this, we introduce an impulsive and repeatable sound source, the laser-induced plasma, which can provide the fundamental characterization of the SWT and the validation of the acoustic model. 

Bio: Dr. Matt Szőke is a Senior Research Associate at the AOE Department of VT, where his research includes both numerical and experimental tests, and he also teaches at the undergraduate level. Matt was motivated to become an engineer by his curiosity about physics. He studied mechanical engineering at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (HUN) between 2008 and 2013 (BSc & MSc). Thanks to an ERASMUS double-degree program, he obtained another MSc in computational fluid dynamics from Cranfield University (UK) in 2014, where he worked on the development of an in-house parallel lattice Boltzmann flow solver. Matt received his Ph.D. from the University of Bristol (UK) in early 2019, where his studies focused on the reduction of surface pressure and trailing edge noise using active flow control techniques to path the way for quieter wind turbines and aircraft. After joining VT at the end of 2018, Matt’s research turned to establish best practices for the numerical simulation of low-speed wind tunnels, which is intended to bridge the gap between experimental work and computational studies. Currently, he serves as a test case leader of a NATO activity focusing on the numerical simulation of low-speed wind tunnel facilities. He is also the leader of an international group of researchers who aim to use laser-induced plasma for innovative aeroacoustic diagnostics. His Ph.D. studies were extended at VT by investigating aeroacoustic noise sources using state-of-the-art laser-optical flow measurements including particle image velocimetry and particle tracking velocimetry. Matt has also participated in industrial testing at the Stability Wind Tunnel, where he performed microphone array-based aeroacoustic analysis of scaled aircraft. Additionally, he believes firmly in the bright future of Kevlar-walled wind tunnels, as he actively works on characterizing and improving the performances of such facilities. In his personal life, Matt likes to enjoy the beauties of the Appalachian Mountains by hiking with his wife and from the sky as a glider pilot.