Astronautics is the study of navigation outside of Earth's atmosphere. Our faculty are actively involved in research in several sub-fields of astronautics, as described below. We also have several projects related to dynamics issues for aeronautics.
Vibrations and controls
Professor Matt Allen manages a variety of projects that combine experimental and analytical methods for dynamical systems. For example, he leads a project funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research that studies nonlinear vibrations in structural panels on hypersonic aircraft. He also has a project funded by the National Science Foundation to develop system identification techniques that determine the order, model form and parameters of nonlinear dynamic systems by approximating them as linear time-periodic over a certain limit cycle. These methods are being used to seek to obtain a better understanding of neuro-muscular function in human gait.
Professor Kammer studies the vibrations of a variety of structures, including the space shuttle and the space station, in order to facilitate vibration experiments on these structures and to identify damage before it becomes problematic. He applies a variety of strategies to pursue these outcomes, including optimal sensor placement, inverse methods for force identification, the remote sensing system for damage detection, and error propogation using metamodeling.
Professor Bonazza built and runs a vertical shock tube for studying the mixing of fluids as a shock wave encounters an interface between two fluids of different densities. These studies have application to inertial confinement fusion experiments (the implosion of a spherical shell containing fusion fuels) and supersonic combustion (where the shock-induced mixing produces more complete burning and thus reduces pollution).