Research Foundation News

March 31, 2021

Purdue innovators develop new stall warning technology for gas turbine engines

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Gas turbine engines often are considered the “heart” of airplanes and ships. Now, Purdue University innovators looking for new solutions to reduce emissions and enhance operations of these engines have come up with technology similar to tests used on human hearts.

The Purdue researchers developed an electrocardiogram-type technology for gas turbine engines to monitor rhythms and warn of potential compressor stall.

“An effective stall warning and avoidance technique is of great value to gas turbine engines used in aviation and land-based applications,” said Nicole Key, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue. “Stall is a type of flow instability in compressors that sets the low-flow limit for gas turbine engine operation. When the compressor stalls, it can cause severe damage to gas turbine engines. Like a heart attack in humans, compressor stall can happen without apparent precursors.”

The Purdue compressor stall warning technology uses sensors to record the data during operation and then uses a novel signal processing procedure to determine the engine’s status.

“It is hard to identify the small disturbances associated with compressor stall from the ones associated with turbulent flow,” said Fangyuan Lou, a researcher in Key’s lab. “When evident precursors occur, the gas turbine engine runs into stall within a few milliseconds. That is not enough warning time for action.”

The Purdue engineers used a nonlinear feature extraction algorithm to extract the early and small stall precursors, providing enough warning time for action to correct the situation.

The innovators worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent their technology.


stall-warning Purdue University researchers developed an electrocardiogram-type technology for gas turbine engines to monitor rhythms and warn of potential compressor stall. (Image provided) Download image

The innovators and OTC are looking for partners to continue developing their technology. For more information on licensing and other opportunities, contact Matthew Halladay of OTC at and mention track code 2019-LOU-68639.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office is located in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. In fiscal year 2020, the office reported 148 deals finalized with 225 technologies signed, 408 disclosures received and 180 issued U.S. patents. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Contact for more information.      

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Writer: Chris Adam, 

Nicole Key,

Fangyuan Lou,

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