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Research

Aerospace Engineering Research Activities

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The Department of Aerospace Engineering currently is working to obtain external funding for a center in the area of wind energy to improve rotor design, and increase efficiency and longevity of wind turbines. General topics of interest are wind resource assessment and sitting, atmospheric boundary layer interactions, energy storage and distribution, systems engineering and design, and wind energy economics and policy. Specific areas related to wind energy include:

  • Aeroelasticity – blade deformation, vibration and stability
  • Aerodynamics – unsteady loading and turbulence
  • Structures – advanced materials, composites, and elasticity
  • Aeroservoelasticity – load-mitigation control, flow control devices, sensors and actuators
  • Integrated wind turbine design

The widespread utilization of air travel, both nationally and internationally, has brought with it the important environmental concerns of aircraft emissions and noise. Aircraft certification ensures that no new aircraft will enter production that is not environmentally compatible both with the local airport communities and the atmosphere at high altitude. Furthermore, the combination of steadily increasing volume of air traffic (expected to double in the next 20 years) and the increasingly stringent noise regulations (at local, national and international levels) ensures that current aircraft must be replaced by ever-quieter vehicles.

In addition to controlling aerospace vehicle emissions and noise, the aerospace industry provides both the platforms and sensing technology to provide both short term and long-term observations of climate and terrestrial and marine ecosystems. These sensors provide the information system necessary to develop a comprehensive understanding of how the Earth functions as a unified system. Aerospace technology also plays a vital role in the development of alternative and environmentally friendly energy sources, such as wind turbines, fuel cells and solar cells. The Department of Aerospace Engineering has developed and maintained a strong emphasis in aeroacoustics, turbomachinery, and high-performance computing.

The Aerospace Engineering faculty and student research interests include a number of environmentally significant topics, including:

  • Aircraft airframe noise
  • Computational aeroacoustics
  • Emissions from aerospace propulsors (both rocket and turbomachinery)
  • Jet noise
  • Rotorcraft acoustics
  • Earth observation of climate and terrestrial and marine ecosystems (i.e., remote sensing with both satellite and aircraft platforms)
  • Wind turbines for clean energy generation