Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
This work-in-progress paper describes the aerospace engineering initiative in the department of mechanical engineering (ME) at the University of X. The initiative began in 2009 by hiring an adjunct faculty with extensive experience and expertise in aerospace engineering, and it focused on establishing an Aerospace Engineering Concentration at the undergraduate level and an Aerospace Engineering Certificate at the graduate level. Two full-time faculty members with expertise in aerospace engineering were hired in 2013 and 2017 to help grow and expand the initiative.
Four new courses were developed, two at the senior level: (1) Aeronautics, (2) Astronautics, and two at the graduate level: (3) Flight Dynamics and Control of Aircraft, and (4) Spacecraft Orbit and Attitude Dynamics and Control. All four courses have been taught via distance technology with all the tests taken and proctored on campus. To complete the Concentration, an undergraduate ME student is required to complete both (1) and (2) along with either (3) or (4). To earn a certificate, a graduate student must complete all four courses. Since its inception, the total enrollment in the four courses has reached approximately 280 students, with seven completing the concentration and two earning the graduate certificate in aerospace engineering.
The senior-level capstone course sequence was expanded to allow and promote aerospace engineering related projects. In 2015, a closed circuit subsonic wind tunnel with a 75 cm x 75 cm test section and a top speed of approximately 130 km/h (80 mph) was designed and constructed as a capstone project. The tunnel is equipped with a hot wire anemometer and pitot-static probes. An LDV system is currently being updated for non-intrusive velocity measurements. Since its completion, the tunnel has been used successfully for offshore energy research, with planned projects in hybrid lift airships, energy efficiency, and the expansion of the instrumentation with a force-balance sting. A new senior-level course in fixed-wing aircraft design was developed in 2016 with another in aircraft structures currently under development. Other aerospace related courses include computational fluid dynamics and advanced fluid mechanics, both offered at the graduate level.
A student chapter of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) was established in 2016, which has sparked interest in students forming teams to design, build, and fly their own remote-control aircraft in preparation for entering the annual AIAA sponsored design-build-fly (DBF) competitions. To date, four teams have completed the DBF projects, and currently two teams are developing entries for the upcoming DBF competition.
Aerospace related research includes investigations involving fluid-structure-acoustic interactions associated with flapping wings for bio-inspired micro air vehicle applications as well as lighter-than-air unmanned aerial vehicles for long-endurance, low-altitude remote sensing.
To further grow the initiative, we are developing a plan to establish multiple concentrations or specializations, including aerospace engineering, for the students pursuing a master of science degree in mechanical engineering at the University of X.
Highlights of the aerospace engineering courses and projects will be included in the final manuscript along with feedback from the students who have pursued the concentration or the certificate program.
Rais-Rohani, M., & Rubenstein, D. S., & Friess, W. A. (2018, June), Aerospace Engineering Initiative at the University of Maine Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29761
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