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Case Study in University Colaboration with Commercial Software Vendor and Aerospace Companies

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Aerospace Curriculum and Collaborations

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Paper Authors

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Todd Leighton Aeronautical Testing Service, Inc.

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Case Study in University Colaboration with Commercial Software Vendor and Aerospace CompaniesThe University of Washington's College Aeronautics and Astronautics has been refining theirCapstone Senior Design Program for many years with the help of commercial companies. Thechallenge of the Senior Design Capstone Program is design and build a flying unmanned aircraftthat can complete the program requirements within a six month time frame. While the programrequirements change from year to year, the requirements are typically driven by technicalchallenges being faced by both academic researchers and commerical companies in the field ofaviation.In 2004 one significant area of weakness with the UW Capstone Senior Design Program wasrecognised, the lack of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis capability. This was andcontinues to be no small challenge for undergraduate students with little or no background inCFD and computer aided design (CAD) tools. This challenge becomes more significant giventhe time restrictions imposed on the program as the students are required to learn to use thedesign tools at the same time they are learning the design methodology.The UW Capstone Senior Design Program has since worked to address this challenge through acolaboration with industry partners, specifically CD-Adapco, the Boeing Company andAeronautical Testing Service. Each company has worked to provide specific solutions andexpertise to the problem faced by the UW Capstone Senior Design Program. In turn, eachcompany is also allowed input to help mold the design requirements for the course or to test newmanufacturing approaches and design concepts. This provides incentive for commercialcompanies to become and stay involved with the program.In CD-Adapco's case they provide a CFD software package known as STAR-CCM+. STAR-CCM+ has proven to be the only CFD software package available that is capable of beinglearned and used productively in the span of one to two months by a non-expert CFD analysist.As a result, the quality of the UW Capstone Senior Design Program has increased significantlyover the last six years.The approach taken by the UW Capstone Senior Design Program can serve as a model for otheruniversities and educational institutions to provide access to commerical quality design tools andexpertise with the goal of creating lasting educational programs that produce high calibergraduates with relavent experience to commercial companies.

Leighton, T. (2011, June), Case Study in University Colaboration with Commercial Software Vendor and Aerospace Companies Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17591

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