College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Assistant professor studies aerodynamic noise

Anupam SharmaSince his move from industry work to academia earlier this year, Anupam Sharma says the biggest difference is the interaction he now has with students, a change he finds very rewarding.

Sharma, who joined Iowa State in January as assistant professor of aerospace engineering and Walter W. Wilson Faculty Fellow, is focusing his research on aeroacoustics and aerodynamics with applications in turbomachinery and wind turbines.

Sharma says Iowa State and the state of Iowa as a whole have been an excellent place to further his research.

“The state of Iowa is the second highest wind energy producing state in the nation, and a prime place to be doing research in wind energy,” he says. Sharma also appreciates the collaborative efforts across the university to advance research in wind turbines, as well as the school’s positive reputation, which only further attracted him to the university.

After completing his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay India, Sharma continued his education at Penn State University, earning both masters and doctoral degrees. From there, he began working for the General Electric Company, conducting research in turbomachinery, jet engines, and wind turbines.

“Moving from Penn State to industry allowed me to understanding the practical aspects of engineering, however it limited my research to be very applied,” says Sharma. “My interests have grown beyond applied engineering, and working in academia has allowed me to pursue those interests.”

His current work in aeroacoustics, the noise generated by flows or aerodynamically generated noise, is something Sharma says has always intrigued him. “If you take all the noise created by a jet engine, and then take the energy being radiated by that noise, the total energy radiated per second is less than the energy needed to boil an egg,” he explains.

Since the noise produced by these types of machines is so small, theoretically it should take a very small amount of energy to counter this sound. Sharma predicts that, with further research, engineers can develop a means of controlling the noise, leading to new projects focused on creating silent planes and wind turbines.

Along with his research, Sharma also teaches a course on fluid dynamics of turbomachinery. Sharma admits the idea of teaching a course was a bit intimidating, as he had not taught since finishing his doctorate.

“While I was at Penn State, I realized how much work it was to prepare for a course and give lectures, but that persuaded me even more,” says Sharma. “I think the most rewarding thing so far at Iowa State has been the enthusiasm of the students in class. It has been a lot of work and a lot of fun.”