Since October 2019 Halûk Aksel is a visiting professor for Mechanical Engineering at SRH University in Heidelberg. The DAAD, the world´s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers, promoted 90 visiting professors in 2019, three of them came from the Turkey – Aksel is one of those visiting professors. What challenges does he face? What’s his experience here? Which projects does he plan at SRH University?

His first contact with SRH University Heidelberg came about during his first stay in Germany: In September 2017, Halûk Aksel arrived for SRH University‘s International Week and he immediately liked the novel experience and the warm-hearted people. „This is what I appreciate even today“, he says. The 65 year old professor works at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara since 1990 and has work experiences in Belgium and Pennsylvania, USA.

It was Prof. Dr. Doruk Özdemir, his former student, who convinced him that the SRH University needed him. „He’s been asking me to come to his University for a year now.“ And Aksel confirms: „Heidelberg is really a great place to stay.“ He lives in the University’s guest house: „It’s a single room without a kitchen, but with a lot of noise at the weekends“, Aksel groans. He is now trying to find another accommodation, in which his family – twins at the age of 17 years – can visit him.

His input? “I hope that my students will benefit from my experience of more than 40 years of teaching. I want them to understand technology and mechanics and to enjoy it!“ His basic areas of research are Computational Fluid Dynamics and Turbomachinery – this is also his favourite project in Heidelberg: a wind tunnel that will be built at his faculty, the School of Engineering and Architecture. „For example, we can shove a car into that tunnel, blow air through it and see what happens“, Aksel explains. “A low-cost open-circuit subsonic wind tunnel will be designed, constructed and calibrated using a fan that is available in SRH.” The design would ensure that the flow enters the tunnel smoothly, free form separation and major disturbances, Aksel continues. The flow will then be forced to pass through screens to remove the large eddies by breaking them into larger number of eddies of smaller scale which can decay rapidly. To remove the directional irregularities and swirl in the incoming flow and to reduce the turbulence level, a honeycomb will be employed. A contraction section will be placed before the test section to have uniform velocity distribution, a thin boundary layer and a low level of turbulence. To achieve this design, a Bachelors Thesis was initiated with Prof. Özdemir. The performance of the design will be validated by using Computational Fluid Dynamics before its construction. Other projects of the visiting professor at SRH University are the use of Open Source Software in Computational Fluid Dynamics Course and the development of Experimental Setups for Fluid Mechanics and Automation Courses: “We are planning to design some experimental set ups for Fluid Mechanics I and Fluid Mechanics II courses with Prof. Özdemir about the measurement of fluid and flow properties. Also, the development of a setup to demonstrate the performance of the components of hydraulic systems for the Automation I course is among our plans. However, the number of set ups that can be developed is certainly dependent on the available funding and human power”, Aksel announces.

CORE is a different experience for him, five weeks pass very quickly, “but the students are more concentrated“. The biggest challenge was to also make all his Chinese students feel happy: „They are a little bit shy, but I try to reach them.“