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Engine noise research fuelled by supercomputing

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Researchers are using the Ranger supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to simulate the turbulence and noise by using a virtual wind tunnel.

'Jet noise has been a subject of intensive research since early 1950s,' said Ali Uzun, a research associate, who works with Professor M. Y. Hussaini at Florida State University. 'One way to minimise jet noise is to modify the turbulent mixing process using special control devices, such as chevrons. Since noise is a by-product of the turbulent mixing of jet exhaust with ambient air, one can attempt to reduce the noise by modifying the mixing process.'

Working with a grant from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Azun's research is answering fundamental questions about turbulence and noise, including how complex physical phenomena generate sound waves in a jet exhaust flow, and how noise suppression devices, such as chevrons, modify the way exhaust mixes with air to reduce noise levels.

Uzun's calculations were made by possible by the generous computer time allocations on [the National Science Foundation’s] TeraGrid resources. The group relied on HPC systems at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI), as well as at TACC, to compute their high-resolution nozzle simulations. In 2008, the project used more than eight million computing hours, and in 2009, it will use up to 15 million computing hours, making it one of the most computationally-intensive science projects on the TeraGrid.