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:
Patrick Walgren and Hannah Stroud, doctoral students in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, traveled to Alaska to spend a few days helping first- and second-graders learn about space.
Growing up there, Walgren had one of his first introductions to aerospace at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska. Now that he’s preparing for a career as an aerospace engineer, on a whim, he reached out to the center about volunteering at the Space Academy, their aerospace-themed camp. He and Stroud were invited to join the staff as “flight directors” and help facilitate activities for the students.
When she was 10 years old, Collette Gillaspie caught her first glimpse of a future on Mars. While visiting a nature and science museum during a family road trip, Gillaspie was mesmerized by an exhibit about a Martian habitat, memorizing all the bite-sized facts the information display had to offer and letting her mind imagine what it would be like to visit the red planet. Today, she’s a doctoral student studying aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University and conducting research in the MAESTRO Lab related to habitats and getting humans to the moon and Mars sustainably.
Dr. Hartl was recently interviewed by ambitious high school student Balamir Sahin for his “Skytalks” website, which has the mission of gathering a wide range of opinions and inputs regarding the field of aerospace engineering for informing young students from around the world regarding our amazing profession. Balamir asked some really wonderful questions, and Hartl did his best to give his perspective. Interested students can watch the interview with Dr. Hartl here and see similar perspectives from other aerospace professors and professionals here.
Continuing the tradition that was postponed last year, MAESTRO students and a distinguished guest converged on Ponca, AR for four days of technical activities and outdoor recreation. The event was held at the “Cedar Creek Lodge,” a stunning venue nestled in Ozark National Forest near the Buffalo National River. Senior PhD students Allen Davis, Jacob Mingear, and Patrick Walgren gave in-depth technical presentations on their current research projects, showing the other students “how it is done.” [Read more…] about MAESTRO “retreats” to the Ozarks
Three MAESTRO graduate students presented their work at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Materials and Manufacturing Directorate Summer Student Poster Session on August 5th, 2021. Incoming Master’s student Jared Lilly discussed his efforts on designing bending cylinders for high-temperature environments, current Master’s student Jessica Zamarripa presented her work on extending SPIDRS L-System encodings to circuit design and fabricating flexible capacitors, and current PhD student Patrick Walgren discussed novel reduced order design methods for efficient structural optimization. Great job guys!
Researchers at Texas A&M University have conducted a computational study that validates using a shape-memory alloy to reduce the jarring sounds of commercial airplanes during landing. They say these materials could be inserted as passive, seamless fillers within airplane wings that automatically deploy themselves into the perfect position during descent.
“When landing, aircraft engines are throttled way back, and so they are very quiet. Any other source of noise, like that from the wings, becomes quite noticeable to the people on the ground,” said Darren Hartl, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. “We want to create structures that will not change anything about the flight characteristics of the plane and yet dramatically reduce the noise problem.”
The researchers have described their findings in the Journal of Aircraft.
Trent White, a doctoral student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, was awarded the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.
The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program is funded by the Department of Defense (DOD) and provides students full tuition to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. After graduation, SMART scholars apply their education and research experience as civilian employees with the DOD.
White has been recruited to join the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) – Weapons and Materials Research Directorate after graduation to work on developing algorithmic advances and computational tools for evaluating aeroelasticity problems.
Aeroelasticity is a branch of applied mechanics that studies the interaction between fluid and flexible solid structures. According to White, aeroelastic problems are notoriously difficult and expensive to evaluate when highly accurate solutions are desired, so such tools cannot practically be used during system design.
“The hope is that my research will lead to significant reductions in the cost and complexity associated with analyzing these problems, thereby enabling engineers to incorporate high-fidelity aeroelasticity into more system design frameworks,” he said.
White already has experience with this research and working with the ARL. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at Texas A&M, he participated in ARL’s summer internship program, working with a team in the Vehicle Technology Directorate. Later, he was awarded a Journeyman Fellowship from the ARL, which funded the first two years of his doctoral program.
Since then, he’s contributed to a Texas A&M collaboration with ARL to develop morphing drones using a novel fluid-structure interaction algorithm. This opportunity came from his involvement as a student research assistant in the Multifunctional Materials and Aerospace Structures Optimization (M2AESTRO) Lab.
“Trent is the perfect student to challenge with these difficult problems,” said his advisor, Dr. Darren Hartl, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and director of the M2AESTRO Lab. “He is curious and careful but optimistic and easy to work with. He is just the kind of high-performance scholar that deserves a fellowship like the SMART.”
White recently joined another collaborative project between Texas A&M, The Boeing Company and the Army to design and develop morphing rotorcraft technologies.
“The current motivation behind our research is to develop those aeroelastic analysis algorithms and computational tools so that we can use them to design morphing aerial vehicles,” said White.
On May 28, 2021, Pedro B. C. Leal became the latest student to successfully complete the journey to a doctoral degree under Dr. Hartl. Pedro was one of the first students recruited into the MAESTRO Laboratory at its founding, having also spent his senior year working under Dr. Hartl before returning to Brazil to complete his undergraduate degree and also obtain a Masters of Science.
The second AERO 402 capstone design team to address Retro Rocket development challenges completed their work this week, releasing a second summary video that provides project history and updates.