Aurel Stodola

Aurel Boreslav Stodola (1859-1942) was a Slovak engineer, physicist, and inventor. He was a pioneer in the area of technical thermodynamics and its applications and published his book Die Dampfturbine in 1903. In addition to the thermodynamic issues involved in turbine design the book discussed aspects of fluid flow, vibration, stress analysis of plates, shells and rotating discs and stress concentrations at holes and fillets. Stodola was a professor of mechanical engineering at the Swiss Polytechnical Institute in Zurich.

Aurel Stodola's Steam and Gas Turbines was cited by Soviet rocket scientist Fridrikh Tsander in the 1920s. Published in English in 1927 and reprinted many times up to 1945, it was a basic reference for engineers working on the first generation of jet propulsion engines in the United States. Stodola worked closely with industries on the development of the first practical gas turbines, in particular Brown, Boveri & Cie, who built the first turbine-powered electric generator in 1939.

In 1915-1916 Stodola collaborated with Ferdinand Sauerbruch a German surgeon to develop an advanced mechanically driven prosthetic arm. This collaboration marked one of the first documented examples of a surgeon and engineer merging efforts. Sauerbruch said, “Henceforth, surgeon, physiologist, and technician (prosthetist/engineer) will have to work together.”


Corresponding member of French Academy of Sciences.


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