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AEROSPACE ENGINEERING

Summary of Current Department & Faculty Research

Besides academic activities, the Aerospace Engineering department and faculty are responsible for a substantial amount of research. Much of this work is conducted collaboratively with industry and government. The theoretical, computational, experimental, and applied research efforts fall generally into three major areas:

  • Aerodynamics/Fluid Mechanics
  • Aircraft Structures/Solid Mechanics/Composites/Materials
  • Flight Mechanics/Controls/Simulation

The following sections summarize current faculty research interests & activities.

Dr. Animesh Chakravarthy - Research interests include flight dynamics & controls and multi-vehicle systems. Current/recent research includes the following (see also this link - click here):

  • Bio-inspired and morphing flight dynamics and controls
  • Path planning of autonomous vehicles in dynamic environments
  • Dynamics and control of time-varying systems
  • Systems of interconnected vehicles
  • Partial differential equation based modeling of multi-vehicle systems

Dr. Atri Dutta - Research interests include space dynamics, optimal control, spacecraft design, space environment and multi-disciplinary optimization applied to air and space operations. Current/recent research includes the following (see also this link - click here):

  • Design of propulsion and power subsystems of all-electric telecommunication satellites
  • Analysis of electric orbit-raising mission scenarios with focus on minimizing solar array degradation during transit through the Van Allen radiation belts
  • Development of conflict resolution algorithms for multiple En Route aircraft
  • Analysis of cooperative and non-cooperative strategies for servicing satellite constellations

Dr. Klaus A. Hoffmann, PhD Coordinator and Marvin J. Gordon Distinguished Professor - Research interests include supersonic and hypersonic flows, aero-acoustics, computational fluid dynamics, magnetohydrodynamics and bio-fluids.  Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Development and application of computer codes for Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS), including high speed turbulent flows (e.g., jet exhaust, Chevron design, heat transfer)
  • Development and application of computer codes for Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), including boundary conditions and flow control
  • Code development and application for Bio-fluids applications, including blood flow in arteries, heart valves, around knee and hip implants, and with pharmaceuticals
  • Development of codes for parallel computing
  • Noise prediction schemes for aircraft interior
  • Computation of chemically reacting hypersonic flows
  • Application of CFD to solar energy and wind energy developments

Dr. Suresh Keshavanarayana - Research interests include Aircraft structures/solid mechanics/composites.  Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Generation of fatigue based severity factors for fastener joints
  • Dynamic characterization of composite materials
  • Scaling effects on the tensile strain rate sensitivity of composite materials
  • Load signal modulation in dynamic tension and shear tests
  • Evaluation of FE fastener modeling techniques for airframe crash simulations
  • Process induced residual stresses around fastener holes in multi-directional laminates
  • Cure monitoring using embedded sensors for composite repair applications
  • Process induced residual stresses in repair patches bonded using heating pads
  • Parasitic effects of embedded tubular sensors in laminated composites

Dr. Linda Kliment - Research interests include applied aerodynamics and flight mechanics.  Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Experimental investigation of wake vortex filaments.  Dynamics and stability of the vortex are studied. 
  • Operational flight loads data is collected for a variety of aircraft.  The usage information and flight loads are analyzed. 

Dr. L. Scott Miller, Chair & Director of NASA in Kansas - Research interests include experimental aerodynamics, airfoil design, aircraft design, rotor aerodynamics, and engineering education.  Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Low-Reynolds number propeller performance measurement, prediction, and design
  • Small unmanned aircraft design, construction, and testing 
  • Airfoil performance enhancement using passive techniques
  • Use of experiential and historical case studies to enhance engineering education

Dr. Roy Myose - Teaching interests include biofluid mechanics, astrodynamics, aerodynamics, propulsion, and engineering mechanics. Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Low-Reynolds number cascade aerodynamics
  • Blood flow in aorto-coronary bypass CFD models
  • Engineering education

Dr. Michael Papadakis - Research interests include aircraft icing, theoretical/experimental/computational aerodynamics. Current/recent research includes the following (see also this link - click here):

  • Experimental and computational investigation of electro-thermal ice protection systems
  • Investigation of the aerodynamic effects of ground anti-icing fluids
  • Testing of hybrid ice protection systems for engine inlets
  • Large droplet impingement dynamics
  • Development and testing of electro-expulsive ice protection systems
  • Experimental and computational investigation of the effects of ice contamination on aircraft aerodynamic performance
  • Testing of bleed air ice protection systems
  • CFD analysis of pivot door and cascade thrust reversers
  • Aircraft ice accretion analysis
  • CFD analysis of high-lift systems for commercial transport aircraft
  • Airborne icing tanker spray rig development and testing
  • CFD analysis of bleed air ice protection systems

Dr. Kamran Rokhsaz, MS Coordinator - Research interests include theoretical and applied aerodynamics, flight mechanics.  Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Analysis of operational data collected by flight data recorders to develop ground-air-ground usage statistics and flight loads exceedance spectra, for a variety of aircraft.
  • Development of a fault tolerant flight control system, including aeroelastics effects, for application on general aviation aircraft.
  • Theoretical and experimental investigation of dynamics and stability of wake vortex filaments. 

Dr. Elizabeth Rollins – Research interests include the dynamics and control of aircraft with a specific interest in nonlinear adaptive dynamic inversion control, the improvement of teaching at the university level, and the promotion of academic integrity.

Dr. Bhisham Sharma - Research interests include solid mechanics and dynamics, acoustics, mechanics of composite/phononic/meta – materials, and advanced manufacturing. Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Study of wave attenuation and dynamic behavior of lightweight sandwich structures with resonator embedded cores.
  • Mechanics of bandgap development in acoustic metamaterials containing periodically inserted local resonators. Investigation of advanced materials displaying negative effective properties such as density and bulk modulus.
  • Development of experimental techniques to validate predictive engineering tools for injection molded long-carbon-fiber thermoplastics. Includes development of methods for high fidelity and high-throughput measurements of fiber orientation and length.
  • Microstructural characterization of composite materials using stress and strain measurements obtained via digital image correlation, synchrotron based in-situ x-ray diffraction, and particle image velocimetry.
  • In-situ study of mechanics of rock cutting using high-speed imaging and particle image velocimetry.
  • Development of tools (such as mobile apps) to enable the use of physics-based knowledge of manufacturing processes in decision making on the shop floor. Such tools help mitigate trial and error techniques and reduce development costs by using response surface modeling techniques.

Dr. Nick Smith - Research interests include solid mechanics, composite materials, micromechanics and processing simulation. Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Mold simulation of anisotropic, viscous fluids (e.g. long discontinuous composites)
  • Experimental visualization of melt fronts during processing
  • Strength characterization of long discontinuous composites
  • 3D printing with composite materials

Dr. James Steck - Research interests include aircraft flight controls, artificial neural networks, quantum computing, flight simulation, and acoustics. Current/recent research includes the following (see also these links - click here, here, and here):

  • Integrated resilient adaptive aircraft control for general aviation
  • Structural health monitoring of aircraft
  • Health monitoring of wind turbines
  • Lightning protection of composite aircraft
  • Quantum neural computing and quantum learning
  • EEG (brainwave) control of aircraft

Dr. Charles Yang - Research interests include solid mechanics, mechanics of materials, mechanics of advanced composite materials, and adhesively bonded joints. Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Bonded repair of composite airframe laminate and sandwich structures
  • Characterization of adhesive properties for the development of progressive damage growth analysis
  • Analysis of composite scarf-patch-repair
  • Finite element analysis of structures

Dr. Brandon T. Buerge - Research interests include Unmanned Aerial System/Lighter-Than-Air vehicles. Current/recent research includes the following:

  • Teaching and curriculum development (at the university and middle-school levels)
  • Concept-level aircraft and airship design
  • Propulsion system modeling and optimization
  • Flight and ground testing
  • Performance analysis
  • Experimental aerodynamics research