A West Virginia University mechanical engineering graduate student has been awarded a fellowship through the U.S. Department of Energy’s University Turbine Systems Research Program.

Rob Murphy, a Beckley native, was one of only 13 recipients to receive the UTSR fellowship. This summer he will work at Solar Turbines, Inc. in San Diego under the supervision of Dr. Yong Kim, a senior engineer. His fellowship will last three months.

“The UTSR fellowship is a great opportunity to work on innovative gas turbine thermal design projects in a corporate setting,” said Murphy. “I have had experience in both academic and government work, but this will be my first turbine research and development experience with industry.”

Solar Turbines, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., builds medium-sized, land-based turbines. It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial gas turbines, with more than 13,400 units and over 1.4 billion operating hours in 98 countries.

During the 2011 spring semester, Murphy was granted the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellowship. Through this fellowship he worked at DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory where he was involved in projects to perform experiments to determine the effects of particle deposition on gas turbine component film cooling and setting up a Laser Doppler Velocimetry system, as well as a seeding system to seed material for the LDV system.

During his graduate career, Murphy has been advised by Dr. Andrew C. Nix, a research professor in WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions, who specializes in gas turbine heat transfer, cooling and durability research.

“I am really proud of Rob for this achievement,” said Nix. “He is going to work with some of the most renowned gas turbine researchers in the world, some of my close colleagues. This fellowship, combined with his current fellowship position at NETL and his graduate studies at WVU, will give him great exposure to many aspects of turbine hot section cooling.”

Murphy earned dual bachelor’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from WVU’s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.



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CONTACT: Mary Dillon, CEMR
(304) 293-4086, mary.dillon@mail.wvu.edu