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Prospective Graduate Students

Join our current graduate students who are working with our faculty in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to push the frontiers of research. Meet a few of our students and learn about the research they are doing.

 

Keir daniels

 

Keir Daniels

Research Focus Area: Aerospace engineering
Requirements for global communication, earth observation, and space studies, coupled with technological improvements have generated a rocketing growth in the demand for small satellites. A current challenge for small satellites involves the lack of propulsion technology, which is required for orbital maneuvers that would extend the life of a satellite. As part of the micropropulsion and nanotechnology laboratory (MPNL), my research focuses on developing small-scale plasma thrusters that use solid metal as a primary propellant. This type of technology is an electrical propulsion device that produces lower levels of thrust, but they have smaller dimensions than traditional thruster designs. 

 

Rachel Gray

 

Rachel Gray

Research Focus Area: Design and Manufacturing of Mechanical Engineering Systems
As the climate changes and urban communities grow, we need to find ways to provide energy that are efficient, reliable, resilient, and cost effective. My research focuses on modeling and analyzing various combinations of energy generation and storage technologies to determine their impact on urban communities. Our goal is to increase the community’s energy security and energy literacy. 

 

Charles Fort

 

Charles Fort

Research Focus Area: Fluid mechanics
The skin friction drag measures the fluid resistance against a moving object: e.g. water resistance against ships and submarines, or air resistance against airplanes and rockets. Manufacturers use numerical simulations as a powerful tool to design efficient vehicles with minimum energy loss. My research focuses on developing new laser-based diagnostics to measure skin friction and inform those numerical models with high-resolution experimental data. Namely, I rely on a fascinating fractal optical interference feature, Talbot-Effect Structured Illumination (TESI), which I implemented in molecular tagging velocimetry (MTV) to tag and track fine patterns inside the fluid and understand how vehicles are slowed down by it at very high speed.

 

Elizabeth Gregorio

 

Elizabeth Gregorio

Research Focus Area: Fluid mechanics
Olympic divers are able to achieve better scores when they enter the water with little to no splash. As a result they developed what is called a rip dive, a technique in which they manipulate the fluids during entry to consistently create negligible splash. I conduct experiments and simulations to understand how the air cavity behaves and what aspects of this dynamic movement contribute the most to splash formation. Understanding how the biomechanics and fluids of this problem work together will allow us to extend the technique to mechanical applications.

 

Cameron Parvini

 

Cameron Parvini   

Research Focus Area: Solid mechanics and materials science
My research focuses on using a nanoscale surface scanning tool, called an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), and a few special mathematical techniques to extract interesting information about samples without harming them. That information could be how stiff the sample is, whether it responds more like a solid or a liquid, and whether any of those characteristics change with how long (or how fast!) you press the surface with the probe. This research is especially interesting for studying cancer, where how the infected cells act at different times could lead to new early detection methods or treatment schemes.

 

Caroline Zalud

 

Caroline Zalud

Research Focus Area: Fluid mechanics/Biomedical engineering
Cardiovascular diseases are among today’s major health problems. Many of them are caused by the long term exposure of vascular cells to the stress produced by blood flow. My interdisciplinary research focuses on studying the blood flow in the regions of human arteries prone to build up a stenosis, the narrowing of a blood vessel. Through computational simulations, I aim to identify flow structures that expose the cells to damaging stresses and to gain knowledge about the interaction between fluid dynamics and biochemical cell responses.


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