SROP/SURE project descriptions
2013 Summer Research Opportunity Projects (SROP) and Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) Projects
Aerospace Engineering (AERO)
How to Apply:
Below is a list of projects available in AERO. You are welcome to contact faculty if you have additional questions regarding these projects. If you are interested in working with a faculty mentor that is not listed here, you should contact them directly.
Before applying, applicants are required to write a statement explaining why they want to work on the project, the relevant skills that they bring, and what they expect from their experience. The statement should be no longer than one page (12pt font and 1" margins), and can be uploaded in "Other" at the bottom of the online application.
List of Projects:
Aero Project 1: Structural Health Monitoring of Aerospace Structures
Faculty Mentor: Prof. Carlos E.S. Cesnik
Project description: Using specially designed sensors, detect damage in composite plates, panels and other aerospace structures. Experimentally oriented project that involves scanning laser vibrometer tests, composite plate manufacturing, and data processing. Previous experimental experience is desirable but not required.
Aero Project 2: X-HALE aircraft
Faculty mentor: Prof. Carlos E.S. Cesnik
Project description: A very flexible aircraft is being developed to test aeroelastic response under large deformations. The project involves computational and experimental problems involving aerodynamics, structures, flight software, controls, composite manufacturing, wind tunnel test, etc. It is a sample of a true aeronautical development. Different skills are desirable depending on the area of work.
Aero Project 3: Nanosatellite Modeling, Design, and Flight
Faculty mentor: Prof. James Cutler
Prerequisites: Hands-on project work or programming or analytical modeling
Description: We are developing novel small satellite missions built on fundamental advancements in spacecraft technology. This work is multi disciplinary and involves topics such as space systems design, flight dynamics and control, astrodynamics, electrical engineering, thermal management, and structural systems. Three satellite are currently in development and a fourth one has been launched. A variety of sensors and optimization algorithms are being researched as well. Regular flights of high altitude balloon flights occur during prototyping of satellite systems.
Aero Project 4: Adaptive Autonomous Fuel Economy Model Agent
Project description: The objective of the project is to create an autonomous learning ``composite car” fuel economy model agent for use in vehicle routing optimization projects. We will use the model to test several hypothesis related to automotive vehicles and their fuel consumption. In the first stage of the project, data mining techniques in Excel and Matlab will be applied to publicly available data (such as in Consumer Reports) to model highway, city and combined fuel economy of various vehicles as a function of vehicle parameters (weight, engine displacement, etc.). We will investigate which parameters the model should depend on and determine the coefficients using statistical least squares fitting techniques. In the second phase of the project, we will use the model to test several hypothesis related to automotive vehicles, automotive companies and vehicle fuel consumption. In the third phase of the project we will seek to convert the model to an autonomous software agent that is capable of automatically fetching the data on fuel consumption of new vehicles over the internet and updating the model coefficients on the fly.
Aero Project 5: Aircraft Design Optimization Studies
Faculty mentor: Prof. Joaquim R. R. A. Martins
Prerequisites: Good programming skills Project description: Using the aircraft conceptual design software developed in the MDO Lab (http://mdolab.engin.umich.edu), the student will evaluate various aircraft configurations and analyze the trade-offs between fuel burn, operating cost, and environmental impact, while optimizing cruise speed, altitude, and the wing shape.
Aero Project 6: Microstructure reconstruction and analysis
Faculty mentor: Prof. Veera Sundararaghavan
Prerequisites: Good working knowledge of Matlab is required.
Project description: The student will develop a practical software tool for 3D reconstruction of experimental 2D images of polycrystalline and composite microstructures using the technique of Markov random fields. The dependence of the features of reconstructed microstructures on the free parameters used in the model (eg. window sizes and error thresholds) will be studied. The software tool, if successful, will greatly accelerate design and analysis of engineering properties of new aerospace materials.
Aero Project 7: Buckling and Post-buckling Response of Stiffened 3D textile Composite Panels
Faculty mentor: Prof. Anthony M. Waas
Prerequisites: AE315 or equivalent; some knowledge of numerical simulations
Project description: 3D textile composites (3DTC) are materials that are composed of warp and weft fiber tows and Z-fiber tows that weave in and out of the already existing warp/weft fiber tows. The percentage of Z-fiber tows in the composite is variable and determines the out-of-plane stiffness enhancement of the 3DTC. In this project, thin gage stiffened 3D composite panels are evaluated for their buckling and postbuckling response through a combined numerical/experimental approach. Because of the unitized construction of these panels, the pathological deficiency of stiffener separation in tape laminated panels is a non-starter, providing designs that can sustain loads well into the post-buckled regime. The textile architecture, the stiffener profile and the panel geometry are kept as variables and evaluated against design and weight requirements.
Aero Project 8: Hall Effect Thruster Plume Measurements
Faculty mentor: Prof. Alec Gallimore and Prof. Ben Longmier
Prerequisites: Hands-on project work in both mechanical and electrical
engineering. Programming experience in MatLab and LabView.
Project description: The purpose of this project will be to assist with time-resolved measurements of high speed transients in the plasma plume of a Hall Effect Thruster (HET) at the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (http://pepl.engin.umich.edu/). The student will assist with probe fabrication and experimental setup for measuring plasma properties. Additional work will involve GUI development for data visualization and developing tools for real-time diagnostics of HET operational modes.
Project 9: A Statistical Treatment of Numerical Error
Faculty mentor: Prof. Chris Fidkowski
Project Description: Numerical error affects many computational simulations, especially those of fluid dynamics. This error arises from insufficient mesh or time step resolution, but it is difficult to quantify for many realistic simulations in aerospace engineering. Existing methods for quantifying these errors often involve expensive additional calculations, and the estimated errors can themselves be inaccurate. An improved method may come from a statistical interpretation of how finite mesh resolution leads to numerical error. This project would involve preliminary experimentation using existing computational fluid dynamics codes, as well as fundamental research using simplified models. The project is geared for students with some background in programming and probability/statistics.
Aero Project 10: Interplanetary CubeSat Propulsion
Faculty mentor: Prof. Ben Longmier
Prerequisites: Hands-on project work in both mechanical and electrical engineering. Programming experience in MatLab and LabView, and/or CAD experience.
Project description: The purpose of this project will be to assist with either design of components for a CubeSat thruster unit and/or to help in the initial setup of a new vacuum chamber for testing small (~10 Watt) plasma thrusters and associated subsystems. This work will be conducted in the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (http://pepl.engin.umich.edu/). The student will assist with diagnostics fabrication, and experimental setup for measuring plasma properties of a prototype thruster. Some work may also involve testing components on high altitude weather balloons in realistic temperature, pressure, and radiation environments.