National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Robert C. Hendricks



Robert C. HendricksThe achievements highlighted herein are the culmination of several subprojects and efforts that I have been involved in—primarily at NASA Glenn Research Center with support starting at management from the Director continuing on down to those doing the research and support personnel. In general my accomplishments, publications, and awards are results of the efforts from a complex cadre of individuals, too numerous to detail, representing the industries, universities, governments, consultants, and citizens of our great country—as well as those from other countries in this world. Their commitment, support and assistance is acknowledged and gratefully appreciated.


After graduation from Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1957 and a United States Air Force (USAF) commission, Mr. Hendricks’ professional career started at NACA, where he began solving combustion problems in the NACA X–15 rocket engine. The program culminated in the successful operation of the liquid oxygen- (LOX)-ammonia manned rated rocket engine and completed his commitment to the USAF with the rank of Captain.

Remaining at NASA Lewis, his efforts then turned to providing critical heat transfer design data for fluid hydrogen, now used in all LOX-hydrogen engines including the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) and crew and cargo vehicle (J2 X, S) engines. Work with cryogens hydrogen and oxygen led to the development of widely used yhermophysical property codes GASP and WASP. Throughout this period the work of Mr. Hendricks and colleagues provided fundamental understanding to boiling, two-phase flows, supercritical and near-critical fluid behavior. He assisted the Apollo-13 accident investigation through development of two-phase choked flow analyses and the validation of the extended theory of corresponding states for fluid flow.

At that time the SSME hydrogen turbopump suffered from instability problems. The work of Mr. Hendricks and colleagues conclusively demonstrated that these instabilities were instigated by the pump seals, leading to an international effort to delineate Rotordynamic Instabilities in High-Performance Turbomachines. Concurrently they developed a seals program that resulted in the design codes SCISEAL and INDSEAL.

Mr. Hendricks and colleagues work on thermal barrier coatings for turbomachines demonstrated that ceramic shroud seals provide high-temperature seal capability and that thermal cycling induces stress failures at the bondcoat interface, leading to the development of functionally graded coatings. They also developed brush seal metallic and ceramic designs as well as associated experimental and analytical methodologies and obtained research results that have been used extensively within the turbomachine industry. For example, changing the compressor discharge seal of an Army YT700 engine from labyrinth to a dual-brush conclusively demonstrated that small changes in leakage flows enhanced engine performance by altering flows throughout the entire engine. This prompted interactive analyses of turbomachine seal, secondary, and powerstream flowfields, with demonstrated increases in engine performance. For these works he received the ISROMAC (International Symposium on Transport Phenomena and Dynamics of Rotating Machinery) Award for Outstanding Research Contributions in Turbomachinery, the First International Symposium on Stability Control of Rotating Machinery (ISCORMA–1) award for Contributions on Theory and Use of Pressurized Bearings, and the ISCORMA–2 award for an invited presentation on “Sealing in Turbomachinery.”

Mr. Hendricks and colleagues work in predicting life of turbine engine components has shown the need for statistically significant data at both the component and fundamental materials level. Virtual Monte-Carlo bearing testing successfully corroborated experimental bearing data and has also shown that hybrid bearings under nominal loading have less life than comparable steel bearings. With the Air Force Research Laboratory (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) team, he demonstrated the feasibility of elevated-Mach-number trapped vortex combustors over a wide range of fuel/air ratios as well as water-injected combustors with significantly lower emissions.

His work with Boeing on water injection of turbomachine combustors has demonstrated potential lower turbine blade temperatures and a 50 percent or more reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions, depending upon water/air ratio and points of injection; further aircraft applications studies show both emissions and hot-section life benefits for take-off and climb-out.

Mr. Hendricks and colleagues are working toward energy independence, focused on alternate fuels derived from energy sources such as coal, natural gas, biomass, shale, and methane hydrates—for aircraft and other transportation applications. Liquid fuels derived from coal and natural gas (CTL, GTL) blended with conventional Jet-A (kerosene) are identified as near-term solutions with extensions to biomass and shale identified as mid-term solutions and to methane and hydrogen identified as far-term solutions—with expected increases in engine efficiency and reduced emissions.

Well over 250 publications document the scientific contributions of Mr. Hendricks and his colleagues with numerous other contributions—to conferences and conference committees, special lectures, and university and laboratory presentations—at the local, national, and international levels, including the Nixon US–USSR Detante Agreement Research Team.

Technical memberships/Professional Affiliations

Professional Engineer, State of Ohio

  • Member: ASME
  • Member: AIAA
  • Member: US Committee on Properties of Fluid Water; ISROMAC; ISCROMA

He is also a referee and reviewer for several journals and conferences.

In the past he has been involved as:

  • Chairman/member, Cryogenic Engineering Conference
  • Vice President/member, International Institute of Refrigeration
  • Researcher/member, US–USSR Working Group on Hydrodynamics and Heat Transfer, Superconducting Power Transmission
  • Program Cochair/member, National Heat Transfer Conference (NHTC)

Mr. Hendricks has held these positions while with NACA-NASA:

  • 1992–Present: Senior Technologist, NASA Lewis-Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH
  • 1975–1992: Senior Research Scientist, NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH
  • 1959–1975: Research Scientist, NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH
  • 1957–1959: Research Scientist, USAF–NACA–NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH
  • 1957: Research Scientist, NACA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH

Other part-time positions Mr. Hendricks has held include being a consultant for Building Materials and Buildings in Westlake and Berea, OH, from 1971 to 1992. Also, he taught mathematics at a branch of Ohio State University in Lakewood, OH, in 1961. From 1959 to 1973 he lectured in mathematics at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, OH.

Some of the professional activities Mr. Hendricks has been involved with include the following:

National Heat Transfer Conference

  • 1972: Cochair, Awards
  • 1973: Cochair, Technical Program
  • 1974: Vice Chair, Conference
  • 1974–1975: Cochair, NHTC

International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR)

  • 1971: Cochair, Technical Papers
  • 1972–1975: Vice President, Cryogenic Commission A2
  • 1972–1977: U.S. National Committee of IIR
  • 1970–Present: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • 1968–1972: Chair, Cryogenic Heat Transfer Committee
  • 1977–Present: Research Committee on Properties of Water and Steam

Cryogenic Engineering Conference

  • 1970–1971: Chair, Technical Papers
  • 1971–1972: Chair, Conference
  • 1973–1974: Chair, Best Paper and Awards
  • 1969–1977: Society for Cryobiology
  • 1961–Present: Professional Engineer, State of Ohio (E030094)

Honors and Awards

2006: 2006 il consiglio di presidenza della societa’ italiana per il progresso delle scienze ha deliberato di annoverare traisuoi membri il Dr Robert C Hendricks in qualita di socio d’onore Roma, 27 Aprile 2006. [The counsel of the presidency of the Italian Society for the Progress of Science has deliberated to admit amongst its members Dr. Robert C.Hendricks in the capacity of honorary member, Roma, April 27, 2006]

2006: Cryogenic Engineering Conference (CEC), 50th Anniversary Recognition Award in testimony of Exemplary Vision, Leadership and Dedication Provided to the CEC During the First 50 Years.

2004: Runner-up Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2004 Environmental Excellence in Transportation Award [External Link]

2003: International Symposium on Stability Control of Rotating Machinery award, and recognition for outstanding contributions to control and stability of rotating machinery and presentation of keynote speech Reviews of Turbomachine Sealing and Secondary Flows.

2001: International Symposium on Stability Control of Rotating Machinery, award for work in tribology

1994: International Conference on Rotating Machinery. In recognition of his outstanding research contributions in the area of thermo-fluid dynamics of seals in rotating machinery

1991: Silver Snoopy Award: The astronaut’s award, for research contributions to the SSME

1988: H. H. Jeffcott Award for outstanding work on turbomachine stability

1985: NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal

presented by Dr. Raymond R. Colloday, Associate Administrator Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology and Andrew J. Stofan, Director, NASA Lewis for “Outstanding research in heat transfer, fluid mechanics and thermophysical properties of cryogenic fluids, which has contributed immeasurably to NASA’s hydrogen-oxygen chemical rocketry technology.”

In reference to this medal, a local newspaper noted:

“His research was the most comprehensive program of its type carried on in support of US rocket development, and it yielded valuable contributions to the regenerative cooling design of hydrogen-fueled rocket engines. His high- and low-gravity nucleate and film boiling research was among the first in the world. Hendricks is frequently consulted on a wide variety of heat transfer and fluid/solid mechanics research both in this country and abroad. He is one of the best known and most respected cryogenic researchers in the world.” Youngstown Vindicator, 1985

1973: Cryogenic Engineering Conference Russell B. Scott Memorial Award, for outstanding cryogenic research

1962: American Society of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Best Papers Award for boiling heat transfer studies (Los Angeles meeting)

1961: NASA Superior Performance Award for solving complicated experimental problems and important contributions in cryogenic heat transfer research