Two Aerospace Engineering undergraduate students, Madalyn Mikkelsen and Elise Koock, recently had the opportunity to travel to the 2017 Shape Memory and Superelastic Technologies (SMST) conference in San Diego, CA to compete in the 2nd Annual Consortium for the Advancement of Shape Memory Alloy Research and Technology (CASMART) student design competition.
In this competition, students were challenged to design a collapsible habitat to be used during transport to Mars that could be automatically deployed using embedded shape memory alloy components. Undergraduate students Madalyn Mikkelsen, Lane Kirstein, Elise Koock, and Luis Gonzales worked on this problem for a semester as part of a special undergraduate directed research course under the direction of Dr. Darren Hartl, Assistant Professor in the department. With graduate student Pedro Leal assisting, this group of two juniors and two sophomores competed against teams exclusively comprised of graduate students and graduating seniors.
Madalyn and Elise were chosen to represent the full team in San Diego and presented their final design to peers, industry experts, and a panel of 13 distinguished judges. Despite the youth of the team, these M2AESTRO students placed 1st in the design portion of the competition. A second design competition focusing on materials development was won by another A&M team from MSEN advised by department head Dr. Ibrahim Karaman. This impressive showing follows another win by students from this department in the 1st Annual CASMART student design competition two years ago, further asserting Texas A&M University as a leader in the design and development of shape memory alloy materials and applications.