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Knoxville — A newly renovated physics laboratory at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma was dedicated Wednesday.

UT President J. Wade Gilley attended the dedication ceremony for the Fluid Dynamics Research Laboratory, renovated with $1.5 million in state funds.

A UTSI physics professor who oversees the lab said it helps fulfill two of the university’s goals.

“The lab’s research tools are generally used for research as well as education,” said Dr. Ahmad Vakili. “When we perform research, our graduate students are contributing as members of the research teams, and they are also learning a lot.”

The fluid dynamics laboratory can also be used to perform experiments in the dynamics of air flow. In recent years UTSI has won research contracts to study how air flows around items such as sports equipment and automobiles.

Vakili said part of the renovation funds were spent on improving the look of the lab, to attract more contracts from private businesses.

“When the customer comes to the site, it has to be clean and presentable,” Vakili said. “Theoretically they come to look at the research, but the presentation and the environment should leave a good impression.”