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Dehner and Nair Awarded Prestigious Presidential Fellowship

Richard Dehner and Unnikrishnan Sasidharan Nair, graduate students in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), received the 2016 Presidential Fellowship awarded by The Ohio State University Graduate School for the summer semester.  The Presidential Fellowship is the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School, recognizing outstanding scholarly accomplishments and potential of graduate students entering the final phase of their dissertation research or terminal degree project.

Dehner received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Ohio State. Research interests include both experimental and computational studies of turbochargers and internal combustion engines related to compressor flow instabilities and acoustics. Dehner’s research is developing a fundamental understanding of compressor flow-field breakdown at low flow rates and the resulting coupling that occurs between compressors and the engine air induction system. A unique model was developed to accurately predict compression system surge, which improves the ability to design advanced boosting systems required for the next generation of fuel efficient engines.

Left to right, Ricky Dehner and S. Unnikrishnan “I am extremely honored to receive the Presidential Fellowship and grateful to those that have guided and supported me,” Dehner said.  “This award will allow me to concentrate my efforts on completing my research and dissertation.”

Dehner is advised by Professor Ahmet Selamet, MAE department chair, whose research has concentrated, over the last three decades, on the physics of breathing systems of internal combustion engines. Among the contemporary challenges Selamet and his team at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research address include fundamental understanding of turbocharger compression system instabilities (surge) and broadband flow noise from centrifugal compressors under unfavorable (separated) flow conditions through studies performed on novel bench-top turbocharger facilities.

Unnikrishnan Sasidharan Nair completed a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Mahatma Gandhi University, India, and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India. His thesis was on the linear stability and nonlinear receptivity of mixed convection flows. Following that, Nair worked with GE Aviation, where he was a part of GE’s CFD-tools team, involved in the analysis of diffusers and Low Pressure Turbine performance. Nair is currently working on a PhD at Ohio State under the guidance of Professor and Associate Chair of Aerospace Engineering Datta Gaitonde.  Nair’s research involves understanding the fundamental mechanisms of sound genesis and propagation in turbulent compressible fluids, commonly found in aircraft exhaust jets.

“The most important thing to me about the Presidential Fellowship is what it stands for – recognizing outstanding scholarly achievement and embodying the highest standards of scholarship,” Nair said.  “This recognition will help me to put my best effort forward to live up to the standards expected from a Presidential Fellow, and in the process, become a better researcher.” 

 “It is gratifying to observe Ricky and Unnikrishnan receive these distinct recognitions for their original knowledge generation early in their intellectual journey toward a brilliant future,” said Department Chair Selamet.

The Graduate School awards about 15 Presidential Fellowships each semester for outstanding academic achievement. The fellowship provides financial support so that each Presidential Fellow may devote one year of full-time study to the completion of his or her dissertation or degree project unimpeded by other duties.  Competitions are held autumn and spring semesters.