Dr John Dunham (1932-2019)

03 October 2019



John Dunham MA PhD CEng FRAeS FIMechE


We report with great sadness that our old friend and colleague John Dunham passed away on 15th August, 2019. John Dunham was born on 9th July, 1932 in Walsall, UK to Edward and Marjorie. A gifted mathematician, he won scholarships to both Repton School and then to Cambridge where he studied Mechanical Sciences, gaining first class honours with distinction and winning the Ricardo Prize in Applied Thermodynamics. After a short period with Rolls-Royce, where he won the NE Rowe Medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society, he returned to Cambridge to work on axial compressor aerodynamics, gaining his PhD in 1962.

Then began his long and successful career at the National Gas Turbine Establishment, Pyestock, UK. There, one of John's earliest fields of study was axial turbine performance; this research, when subsequently published (Dunham and Came, 1970) by ASME, became his most widely known and used work, adopted and further developed at least twice in later years by other research teams (Kacker and Okapuu, 1980), (Moustapha et al, 1989). During this period he played a leading role in AGARD, serving on the Propulsion and Energetics panel. At NGTE he was promoted to Head of Turbomachinery and later to Head of Engine Research. In 1990, satisfying a long-held desire to return to his own research, he gained a Special Merit appointment and was able to focus on the continuing development of his streamline curvature program for axial turbomachinery, known first as SC87 and later as SC90.

When John retired from the NGTE in 1996, PCA Engineers was delighted to offer him a position as Consultant Engineer.  Working with others at PCA, he made rapid developments in his streamline curvature method, which became divided into a compressor program, SC90C, and a turbine program, SC90T. These codes quickly became two of PCA's most-used design and analysis tools, both within the company itself and by its clients in the turbomachinery industry worldwide. They remain in regular use and are likely to be at the heart of PCA's axial turbine and compressor design systems well into the future.

John finally retired from PCA in 2015. A devoted family man, John is survived by his wife, Charlotte, his three children Anne, Liz, and Peter, and seven grandchildren.