Xiang Yang joins faculty to deepen understanding of wall-bounded turbulence

February 16, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Starting this January, Xiang Yang has joined Penn State in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering (MNE) as an assistant professor.

Yang arrives at the University with a Ph.D. and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. He also completed post-doctoral work at the Center for Turbulence Research at Stanford University.

In his new position at Penn State, Yang said, “I want to deepen the understanding of wall bounded-turbulence.”

“Turbulence is a phenomenon that happens everywhere,” he explained. A classic example he used is naval ships whose operating costs would be dramatically reduced by only a one percent reduction in drag.

“It’s because the walls of the ship aren’t perfectly smooth,” he said. “For example, they can have barnacles attached that increase the drag.” Yang’s focus is helping optimize turbulent flows in systems that exist within physical barriers, like naval ships.

Through modeling, Yang’s work aims to increase the efficiency of these systems, by enhancing the understanding of how turbulence reacts and responds in different scenarios.

“My job is to do the turbulence modeling,” he said. “Using these tools, we can have a better understanding of the physics and how turbulent flows behave. The ultimate goal is always more efficient engineering and better design.”

With more than twenty publications to his name, Yang is excited to continue his exploration into the topic. “Penn State has an excellent reputation in turbulence and great faculty research going on in the area,” he said. “It makes for a very rich experience and I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons.”

He also added he’s excited to join a department with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. “The collaboration from everyone, including underrepresented minorities, makes MNE a great place to work. I’m very happy to be a part of it.”

Outside of work, he’s excited to visit all the restaurants in State College. “It’s going to take me a while to dig through them!” he laughed. “There’s a lot the town has to offer.”


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Xiang Yang



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519