This area involves study and research in experimental, theoretical, and computational aerodynamics, gas dynamics, turbulence, plasma dynamics, heat transfer, and combustion. Research is presently being conducted in non-equilibrium and rarefied gas flows, turbulence control, shock-boundary layer interactions, thermal and glow-discharge plasmas, turbulent mixing/combustion, numerical methods for turbulent reacting flows, multiphase combustion, nanoparticle synthesis in flames, and advanced optical diagnostics and sensors. Facilities include Mach 2 and Mach 5 blowdown wind tunnels, 1.25-second low-gravity drop tower, 5' by 7' low-speed wind tunnel, 15" by 20" water channel, laser sensors laboratory, combustion facilities, plasma engineering laboratory and extensive laser and camera systems for advanced flow diagnostics. The excellent computational facilities include a variety of workstations, a 256-core Linux cluster, and access to very large scale, high-performance computers.
This area involves study and research in mechanics of composite materials, fracture mechanics, nano and micromechanics of materials, constitutive equations, mechanical behavior at high strain rates, structural analysis, and structural stability.
Experimental facilities include equipment for static structural testing; digital data acquisition equipment; uniaxial and biaxial materials-testing machines; custom loading devices; environmental chambers; microscopes; photomechanics facilities; composites processing equipment; facilities for microstructural analysis; and high-speed imaging and high strain rate mechanical testing facilities. Equipment for nano and microscale scale experiments include an atomic force microscope, an interfacial force microscope, a nano indentor, a confocal microscope and an X-ray tomography device. Computing facilities include workstations, high-performance computers, and networks of workstations.
This area involves research in system theory, controls, networks, autonomy, and robotics with applications to the navigation, guidance, control, and flight mechanics of space, air, sea, and land based vehicles. Major research topics include onboard-optimal path-planning, differential games, hybrid-systems analysis, learning-based control, multi-vehicle coordination, swarm systems, vision and radio-based navigation, controlled-mobility wireless networks, robust communications, trust, and the study of human-robot interaction problems. Several of these projects are sponsored by: the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Missile Defense Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratories.
This area involves study and research in the applications of celestial mechanics, analytical dynamics, geophysics, numerical analysis, optimization theory, estimation theory, and computer technology to model the dynamic behavior of natural and artificial bodies in the solar system. Two specific areas of interest are satellite applications and spacecraft design.
Satellite applications involve the study of active and passive satellite remote sensing for research in earth, ocean, atmospheric, and planetary science; satellite positioning, primarily using the Global Positioning System (GPS) for earth science research; and satellite tracking and instrumentation, including altimeters, for a variety of geophysical and geodetic studies, including the study of Earth's gravity field and rotation. Research is supported by a large database of satellite remote sensing measurements, a variety of computer resources, GPS receivers, and image processing equipment.
Spacecraft design involves the application of all disciplines of aerospace engineering to the design of aerospace vehicles, missions, and related systems. Experimental facilities include a satellite laboratory containing high-gain antennas for satellite tracking and a clean room area for fabrication and testing of space flight hardware. Research is primarily applied in nature and involves the synthesis of information from all engineering disciplines, mathematics, the natural sciences, economics, project management, and public policy.