After two days of interviewing and filming and a week of work by Uprooted Productions, we are excited to share the story of our team:
As humankind steps into new frontiers in space exploration, satellites and space vehicles will need to pack more cargo for the long haul. However, certain items, like dish antennas used for wireless communication, pose a challenge since they cannot be very densely packed for flight because of their signature bowl shape.
Now, researchers at Texas A&M University have used the principles of origami — the ancient Japanese art of paper folding — to create a parabolic structure from a flat surface using a shape-memory polymer. When heated, the researchers showed that the shape-memory polymer changes its shape in a systematic way that mimics folds. This reshaping lifts the material into the shape of a dish. Further, they also showed that their origami-engineered dish antennas performed as efficiently as conventional smooth dish antennas.
Dr. Brent Bielefeldt ’16, ’20 discovered his interest for structural design in middle school when, during career day, his friend’s dad designed an entire airplane on the computer in less than 30 minutes. He was fascinated by the tools and their capabilities at this engineer’s fingertips. Eventually, Bielefeldt’s interest in engineering led him to pursue his master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University, where he began developing a tool of his own that would solve a current concern in the field of topology optimization. (Original story here; credit Felysha Walker)
Three countries, five time zones and a range of technical and business backgrounds. Jessica Zamarripa, a graduate student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and member of the MAESTRO Lab, along with a team of international researchers, is working to create a novel wearable patch to help medical professionals remotely monitor patients’ vitals and reduce hospital overcrowding during and after COVID-19.
Given the various constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual summer research experiences for undergraduates at Texas A&M looked a little different this year. The Materials Science and Engineering Department proceeded to develop and manage a very successful Online Research Experience for Undergraduates (O-REU), which included two students advised by Dr. Hartl. [Videos provided below]
In early September, a research presentation developed by undergraduates Kevin Lieb and Ryan Lotz (and recorded by Dr. Darren Hartl) will be given virtually to the smart materials and adaptive structures communities regarding the design, fabrication, and testing of a shape memory alloy-driven “flow modification system,” all performed at the MAESTRO Laboratory in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University.
To help in the promotion of the various student successes stemming from the multiple University Leadership Initiative (ULI) sites, NASA worked with researchers across the US to produce short videos highlighting their work. MAESTRO Ph.D. student Pedro Leal was a natural candidate to be featured given the wide range of work he has performed in support of this project. His summary, in collaboration with that of Maddie Hetlage, has been recently shared by NASA.
Researchers in the Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory are working to develop a drone with the ability to morph while in flight to better fit its mission — for example, shortening and lengthening the wing for efficiency and speed. To begin their work, they turned to the expertise of researchers at Texas A&M University for assistance with the complex analysis and design stage. (Original Story) (Also shared on foxnews.com here).
The team of Aerospace Engineering Senior Design Capstone students reviewed in a previous post has completed their project. Their work has been summarized in a comprehensive video published this week. Work will continue in the fall as the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering team efforts are combined into a single software/hardware final project.
Hannah Stroud is a second year Master of Science student advised by Drs. Hartl and Shryock. Her masters work focuses on FEA modeling of knitted shape memory alloy structures. She proposed augmenting this work to the NSF GRFP: Through methods of non-linear substructuring in FEA, efficient analyses of functional, patterned fabrics can be performed. Hannah also highlighted her department involvement and commitment to STEM outreach with initiatives such as the Pitch Up! Competition, Camp SOAR activities, and demonstration development for the Physics and Engineering Festival.
On March 2, 2020, Brent Bielefeldt became Dr. Hartl’s second advisee to complete all necessary requirements for his doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering. The contributions of his dissertation, entitled “Multiobjective Topology Optimization for Preliminary Design Using Graph Theory and L-System Languages,” have already been adopted by the Air Force Research Laboratory, where he is now working as a prestigious National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow.