IISc Bangalore

Rockets, missiles, ships, air-cooled jet engine test-cells and wood-chips – real engineering failures and some lessons I learned

Name of the Speaker:  Prof. Garry Brown , Prof. Emeritus Princeton University, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Title: “Rockets, missiles, ships, air-cooled jet engine test-cells and wood-chips – real engineering failures and some lessons I learned”

Date & Time:  Thursday, 07th February, 2019, 4.00 PM

Venue: Auditorium, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IISc, Bangalore

Prof. Brown has had a wide range of experience as a consultant both in Australia and in the US on various challenging engineering problems. This talk will be an informal seminar. It will describe, in a public way, what went wrong and, in most cases, the root cause of the failure as well as how it was solved.  In talking about the lessons learned, he will emphasize the reality of genuine failure, the importance of process, key technical principles and the value in a teaching and research University of such involvements, including ways to encourage it responsibly.


Prof. Garry Brown is the Emeritus Robert Porter Patterson Professor of Engineering at Princeton University. He received a first class Honors Degree in Engineering from the University of Adelaide in 1964, was awarded a Rhodes scholarship, completed his D.Phil at Oxford and was then a research fellow/senior research fellow at GALCIT, Caltech. In 1971 he returned to the University of Adelaide and in 1978 returned to Caltech as full professor. He was asked to serve as Director of the Australian Aeronautical Research Laboratory and held this position from 1981-1990 after which he joined the faculty at Princeton, serving as Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from 1990 to 1998. His best known work is in the study of turbulence. Fifty years after the inception of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, his 1974 paper with Professor Roshko “On density effects and large structure in turbulent mixing layers,” was the most frequently cited paper in the history of the journal. After joining Princeton he explored new research horizons while continuing his abiding interest in turbulence. In 2016 he was the Clark Millikan Visiting Professor at Caltech and taught a course with Professor Roshko and in 2017 he was the Satish Dhawan Visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore where he also taught a course on turbulent shear flows. He has also made significant contributions, as a consultant in Australia and to the American aerospace industry, that include the root cause of extreme propeller-induced-vibration of the Lysaght Enterprise, the root cause of failure and redesign of the solid rocket motor for the Titan IV, the cause of early failure and development of the thrust-vectoring system for AIM-9X and the resolution of critical issues for Tactical Tomahawk and for the Standard Missile-3 Programs. He played a leading role in the failure investigation and redesign of early air-cooled test cells for the after-burning F100 engine. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Australia, Fellow of the American Physical Society, and a Fellow of the AIAA.

Date(s) - 07/02/2019
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Map Unavailable