UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Xiang Yang joined Penn State in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering (MNE) as an assistant professor in January.
Yang received a doctorate and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and completed post-doctoral work at the Center for Turbulence Research at Stanford University.
In his new position at Penn State, Yang said, “I want to deepen the understanding of wall bounded-turbulence. Turbulence is a phenomenon that happens everywhere." A classic example, he said, is naval ships whose operating costs would be dramatically reduced by only a one-percent reduction in drag.
“It’s because the walls of the ship aren’t perfectly smooth,” he said. “For example, they can have barnacles attached that increase the drag.”
Yang’s focus is helping optimize turbulent flows in systems that exist within physical barriers, like naval ships. Through modeling, his work aims to increase the efficiency of these systems, by enhancing the understanding of how turbulence reacts and responds in different scenarios.
“My job is to do the turbulence modeling,” he said. “Using these tools, we can have a better understanding of the physics and how turbulent flows behave. The ultimate goal is always more efficient engineering and better design.”
With more than 20 publications on the topic to his name, Yang is excited to continue his exploration. “Penn State has an excellent reputation in turbulence and great faculty research going on in the area,” he said. “It makes for a very rich experience and I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons.”
He added that he’s excited to join a department with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. “The collaboration from everyone, including underrepresented minorities, makes MNE a great place to work. I’m very happy to be a part of it.”
Outside of work, he’s eager to visit all the restaurants in State College. “It’s going to take me a while to dig through them!” he laughed. “There’s a lot the town has to offer.”