Walter O’Brien - CTO

Dr. Walter O'Brien is the J. Bernard Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He was Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department from 1993 to 2004. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in aerospace propulsion, gas turbines, and turbomachinery, and has expertise in specialized instrumentation techniques. He is presently conducting research on the use of hydrogen as a fuel in gas turbines, performance modeling of turbines at low Reynolds numbers, active flow control using ion plasma methods, and the design of serpentine inlets for use with embedded turbine engines. His research programs are supported by NASA, the USAF, and the propulsion industry, His patented plasma torch-based combustion ignition techniques have demonstrated performance in M=2.4 flows, and have potential application in turbine engine augmentors. He has published over 120 journal articles, papers and reports in these and related fields. He has supervised the graduate work of more than one hundred M.S. and Ph.D. students. Dr. O'Brien is a Life Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).