Skip page navigation

Skip page navigation

Razi Nalim

The power of waves

Like a surfer riding a wall of water off of the beaches of Hawaii, Razi Nalim's dreams revolve around waves. Only Nalim's dreams are about power: power generated by wave rotor combustors.

For the veteran researcher in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, the wave rotor combustors he is researching in the school's combustion and propulsion research lab may well be the next generation of power production, going beyond current technologies. Nalim's research team is investigating whether the combustors can provide greater power for everything from aircraft to power plants, and do it with far less environmental impact and fuel consumption.

"People have dreamed about this for years," says Nalim, a native of Sri Lanka and son of an electrical engineer, who has worked with high-profile researchers at NASA and Rolls-Royce. "Imagine if we could build faster airplanes that would be far more efficient. Imagine if we could build power plants that are far less polluting."

His laboratory is a key part of a research partnership initially backed by Indiana's 21st Century Fund that pairs his lab with research counterparts from global airplane engine maker Rolls-Royce and Purdue's West Lafayette campus. The university-industry team's hope is to produce a propulsion and power generation system that will translate into a practical, efficient and environmentally useful resource for future generations.

Nalim was the 2002 and 2007 recipient of the Abraham Max Distinguished Professorship for research excellence at IUPUI, the highest honor E and T awards to worthy candidates.