Kurt Aikens

Assistant Professor of Physics

Dr. Kurt Aikens joined the faculty at Houghton College in 2014 after completing his Ph.D. at Purdue University. His research interests are in aerodynamics and include both experimental and computational approaches. More specifically, his research focuses on improving computational methods for accurately predicting – and ultimately reducing – jet engine noise. This is in the greater field of computational aeroacoustics and includes: large eddy simulation for predictions of turbulent flows, integral acoustics methods for propagating noise to the acoustic farfield, high-resolution shock-capturing methods, high-performance parallel computing, and wall modeling to reduce time-step restrictions for wall-bounded flows.


  • Ph.D., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN (2014).
    Thesis: “High-Fidelity Large Eddy Simulation for Supersonic Jet Noise Prediction”
  • B.S., Applied Physics, Houghton College, Houghton, NY (2009). 

Courses Taught

  • Mechanics I
  • Mechanics II
  • Modern Physics
  • Aerodynamics
  • General Physics
  • Analog Electronics
  • How Things Work
  • Astronomy
  • Digital Electronics
  • Statics and Engineering Design

Professional Experience

Purdue University, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, West Lafayette, IN
Research Assistant, “Realistic Simulation of Jet Engine Noise Using Petaflop Computing”, 2012 – 2014

  • Oversaw the completion of an XSEDE proposal for computing resources on top supercomputers.
  • Added shock-capturing methodologies to a highly-parallelizable (tested on up to 90,000 cores) code for accurate resolution of nearly discontinuous solutions.
  • Extended code to include converging-diverging nozzle geometries to improve simulation fidelity.
  • Collaborated with computer scientists to improve code performance.
  • Implemented a wall model to reduce computational expense of including nozzles in simulations.
  • Performed in-depth flowfield and acoustic analysis of beveling the nozzle exit for reduction of jet noise. 

Purdue University, School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, West Lafayette, IN
Research Assistant, “Large Eddy Simulations of Hot Supersonic Jets for Aeroacoustics”, 2010 – 2012

  • Collaborated with researchers from CRAFT Tech, Inc.
  • Performed simulations of jet flows using CRAFT CFD software from CRAFT Tech, Inc.
  • Reexamined in-house Ffowcs Williams–Hawkings acoustics method implementation:
    • validated algorithm choices for surface integration and time interpolation
    • compared competing end-cap strategies: no end-cap, including an end-cap, and end-cap averaging

CD-adapco, Detroit, MI
Pre-Sales Intern, Summer 2010

  • Trained to use CD-adapco’s leading commercial computational fluid dynamics package, Star-CCM+.
  • Assisted Pre-Sales department with fluid simulations for potential customers.
  • Problems included modeling effusion cooling inside of a jet engine combustor, predicting drag on an SUV at highway speeds, and many others.
  • Focused on aerodynamic analyses of soccer balls, using a variety of turbulence models at different speed and spin combinations. 


Journal Articles:

S. C. Lo, K. M. Aikens, G. A. Blaisdell, and A. S. Lyrintzis, “Numerical Investigation of 3-D Supersonic Jet Flows Using Large-Eddy Simulation”, International Journal of Aeroacoustics, Vol. 11, No. 7-8, 2012, pp. 783–812. DOI: 10.1260/1475-472X.11.7-8.783

Conference Papers:

  • Aikens, K.M., Blaisdell, G.A., Lyrintzis, A.S., and Li, Z. (Jan. 5-9, 2015). “Analysis of Converging-Diverging Beveled Nozzle Jets Using Large Eddy Simulation with a Wall Model.” Submitted for AIAA SciTech Conference, Kissimmee (FL).
  • Aikens, K.M., Dhamankar, N.S., Blaisdell, G.A., Lyrintzis, A.S., and Li, Z. (July 9-12, 2014). “High-Fidelity Wall-Modeled Large Eddy Simulation for Jet Noise Predictions.” 6th Int. Conf. from Scientific Computing to Computational Engineering, Athens, Greece.
  • Aikens, K.M., Dhamankar, N.S., Martha, C.S., Situ, Y., Blaisdell, G.A., Lyrintzis, A.S., and Li, Z. (Jan. 13-17, 2014). “Equilibrium Wall Model for Large Eddy Simulations of Jets for Aeroacoustics.” AIAA Paper No. 2014-0180, SciTech Conference, National Harbor (MD).
  • N. S. Dhamankar, N.S., Martha, C.S., Situ, Y., Aikens, K.M., Blaisdell, G.A., Lyrintzis, A.S., and Li, Z. (Jan. 13-17, 2014). “Digital Filter-Based Turbulent Inflow Generation for Jet Aeroacoustics on Non-Uniform Structured Grids.” AIAA Paper No. 2014-1401, SciTech Conference, National Harbor (MD).
  • Aikens, K.M., Dhamankar, N.S., Situ, Y., Wang, Y., Martha, C.S., Li, Z., Blaisdell, G.A., and Lyrintzis, A.S. (July 16-19, 2013). “Towards Petascale Computing for Realistic Jet Noise Simulations.” WSEAS 17th International Conference on Computers, Rhodes Island, Greece.
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