David Y Tan, PhD

Adjunct Lecturer

David has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and a Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also has more than 6 years’ experience working in industry, first, as a flight test engineer in the aerospace industry, then as a research scientist for the United States Navy. David’s doctoral research focused on experimental fluid dynamics, specifically, the study of complex turbulent flows using state-of-the-art high-speed imaging techniques, including Tomographic Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), and Time-Resolved PIV. These techniques were employed within two propulsion systems: an aircraft engine compressor that was co-designed by his research group and NASA Glenn Research Center, and a ship propeller designed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). At MIT, he conducted trade studies on the relationship between aircraft design variables and their noise signatures to develop an extremely low-noise commercial aircraft. David’s areas of expertise include experimental fluid dynamics, complex turbulent flows, aerodynamics flight testing, and cavitation.


Higher education

2015, Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering
Johns Hopkins University
2005, MSc in Aerospace and Aeronautics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2003, BSc in Aerospace Engineering
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
2003, BSc in Mechanical Engineering
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor


Courses taught:

Engineering Dynamics



  1. Chen, H., Li, Y., Tan, D., Katz, J., (2017), Visualizations of Flow Structures in the Rotor Passage of an Axial Compressor at Onset of Stall, Journal of Turbomachinery; 139 (4), 041008; DOI: 10.1115/1.4035076.
  2. Tan, D., Li, Y., Wilkes, I., Vagnoni, E., Miorini, R.L., Katz, J., (2015), Experimental Investigation of the Role of Large Scale Cavitating Vortical Structures in Performance Breakdown of an Axial Waterjet Pump, Journal of Fluids Engineering. 2015; 37 (11): 111301-1 – 11301-14. DOI: 10.1115/1.4030614.
  3. Tan, D., Li, Y., Wilkes, I., Miorini, R., Katz, J., (2015), Visualization and Time Resolved PIV Measurements of the Flow in the Tip Region of a Subsonic Compressor Rotor, Journal of Turbomachinery; 137 (4), 041007; DOI: 10.1115/1.4028433.
  4. Wu, H., Miorini, R.L., Tan, D., Katz, J., (2012), Turbulence within the Tip Leakage Vortex of an Axial Turbomachine Rotor, AIAA Journal, Vol. 50, No. 11, pp. 2574-2587, DOI: 10.2514/1.J051491.

Office Location: 335W/PAB