Professor Dr Guillermo Paniagua

Age: 49

My research areas: Turbomachinery, measurement techniques, propulsion

Name of my University / Research Institute: Purdue University / The Purdue Experimental Turbine Aerothermal Laboratory in Indiana, USA

Research period at the TU Darmstadt: January to June 2022

Professor Dr Guillermo Paniagua

My field of research is fascinating. The best way to explain it to non-specialists is…

We work on defining the optimal geometry of high-speed internal flow passages present in fluid machinery and ducts for energy production and air transport. The research spans multiple areas: high-speed aerodynamics from subsonic to supersonic, convective heat transfer, and thermodynamics. We make progress through:

  • experimentation, which requires advances in measurement techniques, data processing, and uncertainty quantification
  • Computational modeling and optimization tools, which requires close cooperation with experts in computational fluid dynamics and optimization techniques

What research questions are you currently working on?

Our team works primarily in turbine design for a wide range of applications, from small core gas turbines for aircraft and units for supercritical CO2. At the most fundamental level, our team is concerned with controlling flow detachment in internal passages to develop high-power and efficient fluid machines. The research involves passive and active flow control strategies to either abate or exploit flow separation.

My most important success in research to date is…

My research team has made several first-of-its-kind demonstrations of measurement techniques and novel turbine designs for both subsonic and supersonic applications. However, the most important success is that we continuously attract great young engineers to research with us, who embrace hard work and scientific rigor. We have developed a modular turbine facility at Purdue with an unprecedented operational range in a few years.

Professor Guillermo Paniagua (right) with his host Professor Heinz-Peter Schiffer in the turbomachinery lab of TU Darmstadt
Professor Guillermo Paniagua (right) with his host Professor Heinz-Peter Schiffer in the turbomachinery lab of TU Darmstadt

Will the results of your research have a concrete impact on our everyday lives now or at some later date?

Our research has led to improved turbines for production and demonstrator units. Better efficiencies lead to lower emissions lower costs of operation. Additionally, some research is related to new thermodynamic cycles towards zero emissions or lower emissions, such as the ongoing program with the US Department of Energy on Rotating Detonation Hydrogen technology for future clean power generation.

I became a researcher because…

Since I was very young, I have been passionate about making a career in research, utterly motivated by great scientists like Ramon y Cajal. I did a summer internship at the von Karman Institute; I was mesmerized by my first meeting with Prof. Sieverding. I appreciated was his attention to detail and his promise to follow my progress closely. Since then, I have wanted to become a better researcher and develop better research methodologies with scientific rigor.

I have chosen TU Darmstadt because…

I visited Prof. Schiffer in 2019, and I was very impressed by his excellent facilities, but mainly by his team, their people, and the structure he had outlined. Prof. Schiffer has built a great group of very talented young engineers passionate about turbomachinery research. I realized I shared many of his values in my discussions with him. I wanted to come back to develop stronger relations that I hope will lead to many future scientific developments.

What lasting impressions will you take back home with you from your time in Darmstadt and Germany?

Let’s talk about this in the summer.

Questionnaire for the host

Professor Dr Heinz-Peter Schiffer
Professor Dr Heinz-Peter Schiffer

Guest of: Professor Dr Heinz-Peter Schiffer

Department: Mechanical Engineering

What did you appreciate most about your guest, or what is it that impressed you most favorably…

Prof. Paniagua is full of ideas, an open-minded, down-to-earth and pleasant person. He an extremely dedicated, very curious and highly motivated researcher in the field of turbomachinery in particular in the field of aero engines, which is demonstrated by numerous and highly regarded publications, many awards and patents in this area. He has a very broad scope of research interest with research activities particularly in the field of turbine aerodynamics but also cooling. His research vita reveals that right from the beginning he was eager to go new paths, also developing new measurement methods and numerical methods to gain deeper inside into aerodynamics and heat transfer of turbomachines, aiming at the end for improved technologies. Finally, Prof. Paniagua is not only an outstanding researcher but also an enthusiastic teacher who attracts young students with his motivational spirit and takes them on the journey to new research areas.

You, your team, and TU Darmstadt benefit from your guest’s…

We will certainly benefit through our daily, fruitful discussions, exchange of information and ideas. This is particularly the case, because the research areas of Prof. Paniagua fit perfectly to our research domains. Hence, besides learning a lot about study and research at U.S. universities, we are aiming for joint research projects but also joint student projects and the exchange of students. In the past, we already run successfully advanced design projects, with student teams on both sites, the Purdue University and the Technical University of Darmstadt, who collaborated with the task to jointly develop and design a new combustor-turbine test facility for the investigation of a modern combustion concept.