| Digitalisation

International exchange: across the big pond for networking

Thomas Backhaus
Thomas Backhaus strengthened the scientific exchange at NASA and the University of Michigan.

Different working cultures, collaboration with PhD students from a variety of nationalities and insights into the latest research currently underway at the University of Michigan and the Glenn Research Center of the U.S. space agency NASA - when Thomas Backhaus returned to DLR in Dresden from his six-week research stay in the USA, his head was full of new impressions and experiences. The 34-year-old aerospace engineer, who has a doctorate in the field of aircraft propulsion, has been working in the Simulation Frameworks department at our Institute of Software Methods for Product Virtualization since 2018 - back then, he was one of the first employees to start work after the institute was founded. Since then, he has been working on developing software that enables different disciplines such as the flow around the aircraft, the structure of the wing or the thrust of the engine to be effectively coupled in the digital development of aircrafts. Whereas in the past a large amount of development was carried out in complex testing and experiments, in the future this will be done largely virtually, through high-resolution, coupled simulations on special high-performance computers. "We are on the way there right now."

Thomas Backhaus
Presentation of DLR's research to colleagues at the University of Michigan.

One software tool he is using and adapting for this purpose was developed by NASA. Scientists working in the same subject area are conducting their research at the University of Michigan, for example. His international colleagues are thus sitting about 7000 kilometers away. "I was able to benefit enormously from my delegation to the USA, expand my specific expertise, my professional network has grown and I found it very exciting to get to know and understand a different organizational culture," is Thomas Backhaus' conclusion. On the other hand, he was also able to present his own research at DLR to colleagues on site and share his results with them. "It's really something special to be given this opportunity by your own employer."

The scientific exchange has also already provided concrete results in real time: Next year, Thomas Backhaus will present the results of the cooperation at one of the most important conferences for aviation, the AIAA Aviation in San Diego - in collaboration with the American partners.