David Michael Willy

David Willy is an Instructor of Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University (NAU), where he has been since 2012 after receiving his Master of Science in Engineering from NAU.  He is currently teaching various courses in thermal fluids, renewable energy, and design.  David also performs research for the Institute for Sustainable Energy Solutions (ISES) at NAU.  He also provides technical oversight for the NAU Engineering & Business Team competing in the DOE Collegiate Wind Competition for AY2013-2013.  He has professional experience in renewable energy, manufacturing, design, and contract engineering.  

Educational Background

  • Master of Science in Engineering, Northern Arizona University, August 2012.
    • Home Department: Mechanical Engineering
    • Emphasis in Sustainable Systems Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Ohio University, March 2005
    • Russ College of Engineering and Technology

Employment History

  • Instructor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northern Arizona University (2012-present)
  • Part-time Faculty (Research Engineer), Institute for Sustainable Energy Solutions, Northern Arizona University (2013-present)
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northern Arizona University (2010-2012)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northern Arizona University (Fall 2010 and Fall 2011)
  • Technical Advisor, Wind for Schools, The Landsward Institute, Northern Arizona University (January-July 2011)
  • Contract Engineer (Computational Fluid Dynamics post processing software testing), Intelligent Light, Rutherford, NJ (December 2010-July 2011)
  • Mechanical Contract Engineer, Abundant Renewable Energy (now XZERES Wind Corp), Newberg, OR (2008-2009)
  • Production Manager, Abundant Renewable Energy (now XZERES Wind Corp), Newberg, OR (2007)
  • Production Assistant/Mechanical Engineer, Abundant Renewable Energy (now XZERES Wind Corp), Newberg, OR (2005-2007)

Courses and topics usually taught

  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Compressible Fluid Flow
  • Thermodynamics
  • Renewable Energy
  • Computer Aided Design
  • Introduction to Engineering Design

Research Interests

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Compressible Gas Dynamics
  • Wind Turbine Aerodynamics
  • Renewable Energy Integration
  • Solar Resource/PV Power Variability
  • Energy Storage

Funded Research (Graduate and Current)

  • NextERA/Windlogics Solar Photovoltaic and Wind Variability Study: Site layout design, data logger assembly, metadata documentation, data storage and analysis performed of 45 pyranometer stations collecting 1-second data and one 60 meter tower collecting 1-minute data to analyze high temporal, up to 1-second, resolution resource variability seen across a site in Northern Arizona. (July 2011 – present)
  • Salt River Project (SRP) Solar and Wind Integration Study: Storage, manipulation, and site selection of NREL data to be used to simulate renewable energy penetration levels in 2019 on SRP and the rest of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). (Dec 2011 – August 2012)
  • Arizona Public Service (APS) Solar Photovoltaic Variability Study: Analysis performed of the variability observed across the APS Prescott Airport Solar Power Plant. The analysis included the generation of solar variability and resource ramp event metrics to quantify resource variability smoothing across the spatial domain of the plant.  It also included the generation of an algorithm to identify voltage ramps specifically correlated with the resource ramps to identify the effect of the variability on grid stability.  (June 2010 - July 2011)

Non-funded Research and Select Coursework Performed

  • Analyzed Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data for applications in the wind industry including resource assessment to assist turbine micro-siting, and system control.
  • Created a MATLAB model for a Schmidt Analysis of Solar Stirling Power Systems.
  • Designed and tested sonic flow rocket nozzles utilizing Quasi-1D equations as well as the Method of Characteristics.  The nozzles were manufactured using the Stereo Lithography (SLA) rapid prototyping technique and was tested on a compressed air blow-down tank and custom nozzle testing apparatus. 
  • Modeled NREL’s UAE wind turbine and a 1MW design of a utility-scale wind turbine utilizing MATLAB, Yawdyn/Aerodyn, and the Blade Element Momentum (BEM) theory.
  • Designed a hydrogen fuel cell/Electric hybrid automobile system for mathematical modeling.
  • Designed a biologically inspired design for solid state wind sensors.  The sensors were inspired by the survival mechanism of the cricket that utilizes mechanoreceptors and various hair lengths located on the crickets cerci.  The sensor design attempted to determine wind speed through deflection and vortex shedding.
  • Preliminary design work on a solar powered off-grid dental lab near Harare, Zimbabwe.
  • Performed an advanced thermal analysis using the numerical and analytical solutions of a Rayleigh-Benard problem: 2-D Natural Convection in a Rectangular Fluid Layer Heated from Below.
  • Modeled various vibration modes of a beams response to several initial conditions using equations derived from the governing PDE specific to the application of energy generation from piezoelectric material as well as to determine the limits of the governing equations.
  • Derived/designed/tested a fixture to show Taylor-Proudman Columns through a porous media using a custom made laser/suspended particle visualization technique.
  • Developed source panel and vortex panel method programs to model the flow around airfoils.

Selected Publications