Research professor earns award for advancing turbomachinery

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Reid Berdanier, assistant research professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State, has been selected by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) as the 2020 Dilip R. Ballal Early Career Engineer Award winner. 

This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of an individual for advancing the field of turbomachinery. 

Reid Berdanier, assistant research professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

“I can’t help but think that Reid is the type of person Dilip had in mind for our gas turbine community to recognize for his early achievements,” said Karen Thole, distinguished professor, department head of mechanical engineering and Berdanier’s nominator.

Since arriving at Penn State, Berdanier has collaborated with several gas turbine engine companies as the lead researcher in the Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) Laboratory. 

“Our testing is really changing the way that these companies are approaching their gas turbine designs for improved heat transfer and component efficiency,” Berdanier said.

He also launched the development of next generation heat flux gages through a strong collaboration with Oxford University, the Air Force Research Lab and Pratt & Whitney.  

As a result of this work, the START Lab has demonstrated the ability to make heat flux gages the size of a grain of salt. 

In addition, Berdanier led projects to integrate a wireless telemetry system, thermal imaging techniques and fast responding pressure sensors.

Currently, he is serving as a key researcher on the National Experimental Turbine (NExT) project. This unique government-industry partnership hopes to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure.

“With the NExT rig, we will be studying important challenges that have been facing gas turbine designers for decades,” Berdanier said.

The Ballal award was to be presented at the 2020 Turbomachinery Technical Conference & Exposition (Turbo Expo) in London, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event has been postponed. Instead, Berdanier will be honored at the planned 2021 conference. 

“Being a part of this elite class, many of whom I know as mentors and colleagues, is very exciting,” Berdanier said. “I hope this recognition is just the beginning of a long, impactful career in the field.”


Last Updated June 01, 2020