Earl H. Dowell to Receive the 2022 ASME Thomas K. Caughey Dynamics Medal

May 17, 2022 | Elizabeth Witherspoon

Dowell is an international leader in computational modeling and experimentation for aeroelastic systems in which fluids and structure interact

Earl H. Dowell of Duke University

Earl H. Dowell, shown with the F-15 fighter jet. He has been involved with research on the aircraft.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has honored Earl H. Dowell with the 2022 Thomas K. Caughey Dynamics Medal “for significant contributions to the field of nonlinear dynamics in fluid-structure interactions, aeroelasticity and structural vibrations.”

Dowell is the William Holland Hall Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, a former Dean of Engineering at Duke and a leader of the Aeroelasticity Research Group in Duke's Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science.

"It is an honor to receive the medal named after Tom Caughey, one of our most distinguished scholars in dynamics,” Dowell said. “And, of course, it is a privilege to join those colleagues and friends who are past recipients. I am most grateful to the selection board members for their confidence in me.”

"It is an honor to receive the medal named after Tom Caughey, one of our most distinguished scholars in dynamics.”

Earl H. Dowell | William Holland Hall Distinguished Professor

Thomas K. Caughey, a longtime faculty member at the California Institute of Technology, was highly influential in the field of vibration engineering—from earthquake prediction to control of spacecraft.

Dowell is an international leader in computational modeling and experimentation for aeroelastic systems in which fluids and structure interact. The most dramatic interaction is a dynamic instability called flutter. Dowell’s contributions to understanding and preventing such an instability include the first definitive correlation of theory and experiment for the flutter of skin panels on supersonic aircraft in collaboration with an early mentor, Herb Voss of Boeing. Later work with Prof. Dewey Hodges of Georgia Tech led to the first nonlinear model of rotor blades and their aeroelastic response.

His current research explores ways to create and control limit-cycle oscillations induced by flutter to harvest electrical energy from wind-excited aeroelastic systems, providing potential new sources of clean power.

Dowell also is developing computational models for fluid structural thermal interactions in hypersonic flight vehicles. Current collaborations with Duke colleagues focus on the global dynamic instability of flow fields with Kenneth Hall and transonic aeroelasticity of wings and control surfaces with Jeff Thomas.

This award is Dowell’s fourth from ASME and one of many honors by peers recognizing his contributions and lasting influence in this field. Others include election to the National Academy of Engineering, the 2016 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Reed Aeronautics Award—the highest individual honor for notable achievement in aeronautics—and fellowships in ASME, AIAA and the American Academy of Mechanics.

Dowell will receive the Caughey Medal during the ASME's 2022 International Mechanical Engineering Conference and Exposition, Oct. 30-Nov. 3, in Columbus, Ohio.

Mechanical Engineering at Duke