Eighty-three years ago on March 16, GE physicist Katharine Blodgett was awarded a US patent for “Film Structure and Method of Preparation.” Quickly dubbed non-reflective glass by the press, the discovery put Katharine in the spotlight. She went on to receive five more patents in her lifetime and her work in monomolecular coatings helped improve eyeglasses, camera lenses, and more.
Katharine was no doubt a female trailblazer who helped show many women that a career in science was both attainable and sustainable. So, on this March 16 – and quite appropriately, during Women’s History Month – we’re highlighting GE Research’s current-day female researchers and talking about their notable contributions:
A principal engineer in the Materials organization, Akane is leading the development of an ultra-high temperature material system to push gas turbine efficiency beyond 65% and accelerate decarbonization efforts. Akane’s multi-disciplinary team is pursuing several innovations: the development of a new niobium (Nb)-based alloy for gas turbine blades will withstand higher degrees of heat; advancements in thermal coatings will protect parts from heat and improve durability; and a scalable manufacturing process will produce internally-cooled gas turbine blades.
“I am excited about working on this challenging project with the team,” says Akane. “Materials innovation has been at the core of past advances in gas turbine energy efficiency, and this project gives us a great opportunity to make transformational advances for the future.”
Read more about GE Research’s APRA-E-funded Refractory Alloy Innovations for Superior Efficiency (RAISE) project.
A 2020 recipient of GE Research’s Blodgett Award, Weijun is a senior principal engineer and recognized expert in electrical insulation, conducting materials, and system design for electrical and electronic applications. She will soon be working on GE Research’s newest project to develop the insulated cable system required to transmit electricity to power the propulsion and electrical systems aboard an aircraft. GE Research’s Megawatt Any-Altitude Gas Insulated Cable System (MAAGIC) for aircraft power distribution project will impact the future of electric flight.
“Electrified aircraft propulsion will play a critical role in future transportation to reduce carbon emissions by 75%, NOx by 90%, and noise by 65% by 2050. We recently received an ARPA-E award to develop a safe, lightweight, and altitude-capable megawatt power cable system with excellent electromagnetic interference shielding capability,” says Weijun. “This new technology is a critical enabler for future all-electric aircraft to achieve zero emissions. I am excited to work with a group of talented researchers at GRC to develop a new technology that will transform GE products and make a world a better place to live.”
Read more about GE Research’s APRA-E-funded MAAGIC project here.
As part of GE Research’s Aerodynamics & CFD Methods group, Jing is leading a project on the modeling of coastal low-level jets and their impact on offshore wind farm performance. Her team is utilizing high-performance computing (HPC) and high-fidelity tools, such as large-eddy simulations, to characterize the wind and wind farm flow in the US North Atlantic coast. Among the HPC resources being leveraged: The Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s immensely powerful Summit supercomputer.
“By leveraging exascale computing platforms and the state-of-the-art ExaWind wind energy modeling tools, we can more accurately characterize wind behavior to produce more clean energy – more reliably,” said Jing.
As a lead engineer in the Thermosciences organization, Lana is involved in the development of new technologies for storing, spreading, and transmitting heat. She is currently leading a multidisciplinary team developing an additively manufactured 50 kW heat exchanger prototype for supercritical CO2 applications that can operate at temperatures above 800°C and pressures above 80 bar.
“This program has given me the opportunity to learn from GRC’s experts in mechanical design, additive manufacturing, and material science, and to apply my thermal background to an application that is new and challenging to me,” says Lana. “Being able to take all of this expertise and use it to build something that can impact commercial products is why I wanted to go into engineering; this is the kind of thing my 12 year old self imagined.”
Read more about GE Research’s APRA-E-funded Ultra Performance Heat Exchanger enabled by additive technology (UPHEAT) project.
A senior staff software engineer in the Digital Research organization, Cathy is collaborating with engineers and software developers to create the Additive Manufacturing Platform. The cloud-based software system will allow GE Additive customers to analyze their manufacturing plans and prepare the detailed data required for the GE Additive machines to print parts. This software product will create a unified customer experience to take part designs from CAD systems to the physical printer. It will help customers create the digital thread linking design and manufacturing as well as reduce time spent to reach the first good printed part.
“Throughout my 30+ year career, I have almost always worked on projects to improve engineering productivity,” says Cathy. “My hope is that software will help our customers and our own engineers by automating time-consuming processes, making them repeatable and reliable, so that we can really harness the creativity and imagination of people to solve problems that computer software cannot.”
A senior scientist in the Software and Analytics organization, Lynn is leading the Asset Tracking and Locating technical area for the Marine Corp Logistics Base Albany Smart Warehouse Prototype 5G Applications project. The three-year project includes four technical areas: Asset tracking and locating, Digital Twin and analytics, and automation and system architecture. Lynn has worked in the area of asset tracking and locating within GE’s own businesses for the past 20 years. She has also led several multidiscipline teams in this area.
“Knowing where our assets are is integral to efficiently running our GE businesses, repair services, and warehouses,” says Lynn. “Being able to translate that technology to the Marine Corp warehouse to more efficiently operate their warehouses ultimately impacts the soldiers’ boots on the ground.”
Read more about the Department of Defense’s 5G project.