Ahmad Vasel, PhD
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Tennessee Tech University 


I joined TN Tech’s Mechanical Engineering Department in Fall 2017 and founded the Fluid Mechanics Research Laboratory! My research interests include fluids mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics for engineering applications, particularly energy conversion and storage technologies. Please feel free to reach out to me at if you have any questions or are interested in working with FMRL.

I would like to recognize and thank my great assistants, current and former, for helping me develop this research laboratory. Below, you can learn more about them!

Ty Hagan
Ph.D. Student (Summer 2021 – present)
Ty assists FMRL with designing and fabricating an experimental setup for studying thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid mechanics of a condenser. Prior to joining graduate school, Ty used to work at FMRL as an undergraduate research assistant. Ty is very skilled in CAD, design and fabrication, and experimental research. .

Trevor (Daniel) Cannon
Ph.D. Student (Fall 2020 – present)
Trevor investigates atmospheric flows using computational fluid dynamics. He conducts large-eddy simulations using SOFWA and OpenFOAM on TN Tech’s high-performance computing cluster. He is very good at using high-performance computing clusters. Trevor is also working on designing, fabricating, and instrumenting an experimental setup to obtain field data. He requires such data to feed his models’ boundary conditions and validate his computational results.

Reza Nouri
PhD Student (Spring 2019 – present)
Reza studies the aerodynamics of wind farms using Large Eddy Simulations. His research is mainly concerned with controlling the direction and strength of wind turbine wakes. Reza conducts these simulations via SOWFA (Simulator fOr Wind Farm Applications), a CFD solver developed by NREL.  


Douglas Clark
PhD Student (Summer 2018 – present)
Doug is pursuing his Ph.D. degree while holding a full-time position as an R&D staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Doug’s research is concerned with the characterization of Uranium aerosols. He is almost done with his Ph.D. dissertation and is getting ready to defend it! .

Michael Hackler
M.Sc. Student (Fall 2020 – present)
Michael research is focused on improving the technology readiness level of a harvesting/storage device, called SAVER. SAVER stands for storage integrated vortex hydro-kinetic energy converter.

Yang Zhao
M.Sc. Student (Spring 2020 – present)
Yang  is researching whether adding control surfaces to the blades causes the individual efficiency of wind turbines to improve, or their aerodynamic interactions with their downstream counterparts to decrease..

William Taylor McCarty
Research Assistant (Spring 2021 – present)
Taylor assists FMRL with modeling thermal processes using ANSYS..

Benjamin Cooper
Research Assistant (Summer 2018 and Summer 2021 – present)
Ben assists FMRL with designing and fabricating a wind turbine setup that provides torque control. Ben worked with us back in 2018 too. He helped us manufacture the three-dimensional traverse that we currently use at the wind tunnel unit. .

Former Research Assistants / Students

Madison Dittner
M.Sc. Student (Summer 2018 – Spring 2020)
Current: The United States Patent and Trademark Office
Madison’s research was focused on developing a numerical platform for geometry optimization. Madison developed a Genetic Algorithm that employs two commercial software packages (ANSYS and Solidworks). The GA model assigns values to the parameters that are used to characterize the geometry of interest. Solidworks makes the geometry and forwards it to ANSYS. Fluent module of ANSYS develops a CFD simulation for the new geometry and forwards results of interest back to the GA model. GA uses the simulation results to modify the geometric parameters. This continues until the optimal geometry is research. Madison uses TN Tech’s high-performance computing cluster to conduct CFD simulations.

Madison successfully defended her thesis in Spring 2020! Her thesis can be accessed here
Cite her thesis as:
Dittner M. Development of a geometry optimization platform using an in-house developed genetic algorithm: Case of a bladeless wind turbine [master’s thesis].

Cody Long
M.Sc. Student (Fall 2018 – Summer 2020)
Current: Design Engineer at HOMESTEADER, INC. (click for more)
Cody studied flow over a finite, buoyant, flexible cylinder that was free to oscillate within the turbulent boundary layer of a solid bed. Cody’s research, which was based on computational fluid dynamics, is crucial for many engineering applications, including design and development of a specific offshore power-generating energy storage.

Ryan Nash
M.Sc. Student (Fall 2018 – Spring 2020)
Current: Arnold Air Force Base Wind Tunnel Facility (click for more)
Ryan develops technologies to steer wake of wind turbines in order to improve performance of utility-scale wind farms as a whole. Ryan designed, fabricated, and programmed the fully automated, 3D traverse system that is currently being used at the research wind tunnel. He greatly contributed to design and fabrication of the rest of the the wind tunnel too. Ryan uses our research wind tunnel to conduct his research. Ryan successfully defended his thesis in Spring 2020!

Hollee Sadler
M.Sc. Student (Fall 2020 – Spring 201)
Hollee studies fluid-structure interactions of battle-damaged wings.

Trenton Preston 
Research Assistant (Summer 2018)
Trenton received CISE (Creative Inquiry Summer Experience) grant to research the potential impact of buoyant vortex rings on floating objects.


Joshua Nichols 
Research Assistant (Summer 2019 – Summer 2020)
Current: Software Engineer at Progeny Systems Corporation (click for more)
Josh assisted FMRL with computer programming and software development. Josh also assisted us with developing user interfaces for some of our sponsored projects.

Adam Becklehimer
Research Assistant (Fall 2019 – Spring 2020)
Adam, a computer science major, assisted FMRL with applying Machine Learning to Mechanical Engineering applications..


Logan Unser 
Research Assistant (Spring 2019 – Fall 2020)
Current: R&D Engineer at Analysis Measurement Services (click for more)
Logan investigated potential options for enhancing power production of vertical/horizontal axis wind turbines.
Logan’s research received two TNTech’s CISE (Creative Inquiry Summer Experience) grants, $4,000 each. He received TNTech’s 2019 Excellence in Creative Inquiry Award.
Logan has experience of working at NREL as an intern.   

Andrew Davis 
Research Assistant (Summer 2019 – Fall 2020)
Current: Graduate Student at Colorado State University (click for more)
Andrew investigated aerodynamics of damaged wings by studying scaled-down models at our wind tunnel.


Stephen Foltz
Research Assistant (Spring and Summer 2020)
Current: Mechanical Systems Engineer at National Aerospace Solutions (click for more)
Steve assisted us with developing a detailed design for an underwater power-generating energy storage concept. His research required him to conduct extensive thermodynamics, heat transfer, dynamics, and solid mechanics analyses. Steve is currently a Mechanical Systems Engineer with National Aerospace Solutions!

Steve’s research received TN Tech’s CISE (Creative Inquiry Summer Experience) grant values at $4,000! .

Henry Pace
Research Assistant (Summer 2020 – present)
Current: Ph.D. Student at Virginia Tech University (click for more)
Henry helped FMRL with developing dynamics and structural analyses using ANSYS. He designed a linear-to-rotary mechanism. Henry is currently a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech University! .