Clarkson Professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Craig Merrett led a team of students in Clarkson University’s mechanical and aeronautical engineering program to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)’s premier conference, SciTech. SciTech is the largest aerospace engineering conference in the world, where industry, academia, and government agencies meet to discuss current trends and deliver technical presentations. This year, SciTech was held in Orlando, Florida. The trip was funded by the Sung P. Lin Endowed Fund for Aeronautical Engineering.
Seniors, Matthew Bakowski and Kaleb Radford, conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Merrett about the structural properties of butterfly wings. This research is the result of a collaboration with Dr. Jayne Yack in the Department of Biology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Matthew and Kaleb conducted experiments on an enlarged, 3D printed butterfly wing manufactured via Clarkson’s Dorf Makerspace, and determined that a butterfly wing has a curved elastic axis. The elastic axis is a specific location where the wing will only bend rather than twist when a load is applied to the axis. Most aircraft wings have a straight elastic axis; therefore, the curved axis may contribute to butterflies’ ability to maneuver.
Kaleb also joined Dr. Merrett and members of the Structural Dynamics Technical Committee and Structures Technical Committee for an outreach event to Howard Middle School Academy of Arts. Kaleb and Dr. Merrett gave a demonstration about aircraft wing structures and design to 125 students.
James Adams, a second-year PhD student in the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, presented his work on thermo-viscoelastic spars that he conducts under the supervision of Dr. Merrett. James’ work has ramifications for composite aircraft life and for hypersonic aircraft design.
The presentations by Matthew Bakowski, Kaleb Radford, and James Adams cap a successful year of Dr. Merrett’s students presenting at AIAA conferences. In June, Erik Kocsis ‘19 and Matthew Turner ‘19, recent graduates of the aeronautical engineering program, presented their work on forward swept aircraft wings at the AIAA Aviation. Their work was achieved using the Department’s wind tunnel, Clarkson’s Dorf Makerspace to produce an aircraft fuselage, and invaluable experimental assistance from Dr. Marcias Martinez.
In August, Brandon Mackey ‘19, also a recent graduate of the aeronautical engineering program, presented his work on space module structures at AIAA’s Propulsion and Energy Conference. Brandon’s research explored the design space for module structures to be implemented on the proposed lunar orbit space station.