Werner Dahm

Professor Emeritus


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Professor Werner J.A. Dahm is currently on leave from the university serving as the Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. As the USAF Chief Scientist, he is the principal science and technology advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He provides assessments to the Air Force leadership on a wide range of scientific and technical issues that affect the Air Force mission. He also is a member of the executive committee of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, and works in coordination with the Air Force Research Laboratories and with the nation’s industrial and university research communities to address issues relevant to the Air Force.

Professor Dahm has been on the faculty of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at The University of Michigan since 1985. During this time, his research has been primarily in fluid dynamics, turbulent flows, combustion, and propulsion. He currently serves as Head of the Laboratory for Turbulence & Combustion (LTC) at Michigan. He received his Ph.D. degree in Aeronautics from Caltech in 1985 in the area of experimental fluid mechanics. He previously worked in industry as a Research Engineer in the Transonic Wind Tunnel Section of the Propulsion Wind Tunnel Facility at the USAF Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) in Tullahoma, TN, where he was involved in experimental and theoretical work related to adaptive wall transonic wind tunnels and high incidence missile aerodynamics. He has an M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) in Tullahoma, TN and a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

He was made a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1999 and Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) in 2006. He was the recipient of the George J. Huebner Research Excellence Award from Michigan in 2005, the William F. Ballhaus Aeronautics Prize from Caltech in 1985, and the 1938E Distinguished Achievement Award from The University of Michigan in 1991. He has been a Member of the Executive Committee of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD), the Chair of the APS/DFD External Relations Committee, a Member of the APS/DFD Publications & Media Committee, a Member of the AIAA Publications Committee, and has served as an Associate Editor for AIAA Journal.

Professor Dahm was awarded the Air Force Civilian Meritorious Service Medal in 2008. He has been a Member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff, where he was the chair of several major studies and reviews. He has also served as a member of numerous Defense Science Board (DSB) studies for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (OUSD AT&L), and is a past member of the Defense Science Study Group (DSSG) at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in Washington, DC.

He is an author of over 180 journal articles, conference papers, and technical publications, a holder of several U.S. patents, and has given over 220 technical presentations including over 110 invited and plenary lectures worldwide in the areas of fluid dynamics, turbulence, combustion and propulsion. He has served extensively on technical advisory and organizational committees for numerous technical conferences, and as a consultant for industry.


Professor 1997 – Present

Head, Laboratory for Turbulence & Combustion (LTC) 1994 – Present

Associate Professor 1991-1997

Assistant Professor 1985-1991


  • California Institute of Technology
    • PhD Aeronautics ’85
  • University of Tennessee Space Institute
    • MS Mechanical Engineering ’81
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
    • BS Mechanical Engineering ’78

Research Interests

Fluid Dynamics; Aerodynamics; Turbulent Flows; Mixing; Combustion; Flow and Combustion Modeling; Propulsion; and, Defense Science.

Professional Service

  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • American Physical Society
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • The Combustion Institute
  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Pi Tau Sigma


  • Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award (2008)
  • Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (2006)
  • George J. Huebner Research Excellence Award (2005)
  • Combined Research and Teaching Award (1999)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (1998)
  • Aerospace Teaching Award (1992)
  • 1938E Distinguished Achievement Award (1991)
  • William F. Ballhaus Aeronautics Prize (1985)
  • Donald Wills Douglas Prize Fellow (1983)


  • U.S. Patent No. 5,583,789 titled “Local Integral Method for Computing Molecular Diffusion and Chemical Reaction” issued on 10 December 1996
  • U.S. Patent No. 5,640,331 titled “Method and Apparatus for Obtaining Species
  • Concentrations and Reaction Rates in a Turbulent Reacting Flow” issued on 17 June 1997
  • U.S. Patent Application titled “Rotary Ramjet Turbogenerator” filed on 31 August 2004 (pending)
  • UM Patent Disclosure titled “Rayleigh-Taylor Enhanced Combustor” filed on 24 November 2005 (currently pending)