MAE Colloquium - Winter 2016

The Aerospace Engineering Colloquium (AE 598) is a required course that satisfies the professional development component of the Master of Aerospace Engineering (MAE). MAE students are required to complete nine (9) credits of colloquium participation to satisfy the degree requirements. However, all members of the UW community are welcome to attend and participate.

Topics may include current research and advances in aerospace technology as well as other themes relevant to the professional development of aerospace engineers. To earn credit for this course, students must complete a required set of writing assignments.

Download Course Description, Grading, and Assignment Details

Winter 2016

Mondays, 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Loew Hall 216

Faculty Coordinator: Prof. James Hermanson

Current Week's Information

January 4

Algorithms and Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are a disruptive technology with the potential to dramatically change the aerospace field. They have applications in search and rescue, remote sensing, persistent surveillance, agriculture and many others. This talk will present some of the past, present, and future work related to UAS at the University of Washington. It will cover theoretical systems and algorithm development as well as novel payloads and sensors such as multi-spectral imagers and magnetometers. The talk will also investigate issues related to transitioning technology to industry platforms as well as the regulatory environment associated with operating UAS as a public research entity.

Dr. Lum is a research scientist in the William E. Boing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics. As a research scientist, Dr. Lum has been involved with projects associated with autonomous algorithm design and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Along with Professor Juris Vagners, Dr. Lum runs the Autonomous Flight Systems Laboratory where he has developed algorithms for coordinated multi-vehicle searching, automatic target recognition, formation flight of swarms of vehicles, risk assessment of unmanned aerial systems in the national airspace, collision avoidance and deconfliction, and other related projects. As an educator, Dr. Lum is dedicated to the teaching aspects of academia and has taught both undergraduate and graduate course on automatic control, flight mechanics, modeling and simulation, mathematical tools for engineers, and many others. He has been awarded the department's "Instructor of the Year" award twice (2012 and 2013). Dr. Lum has served as an adjunct professor at Seattle University and as a visiting fellow at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is also the faculty advisor to the department's design, build, fly team.

Suggested Readings:

January 11

Electrokinetic Locomotion

Locomotion of microorganisms is commonly observed in nature. Although microorganism locomotion is commonly attributed to mechanical deformation of solid appendages, Nobel Laureate Peter Mitchell (1956) proposed that an asymmetric ion flux on a bacterium’s surface could generate electric fields that drive locomotion via self-electrophoresis. Recent advances in nanofabrication have enabled the engineering of synthetic analogues that swim due to asymmetric ion flux originally proposed by Mitchell. The development of these synthetic motors may represent a step towards the development of practical nanomachines, directed drug delivery, and autonomous microsystems.

We are investigating the fabrication, locomotion physics, and engineered functionality of bimetallic synthetic nanomotors that harvest chemical energy from their local environment and convert it to useful work, analogous to their biological counterparts. Bimetallic nanorods can autonomously propel themselves at a hundred body lengths per second through aqueous solutions through electrochemical decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. These swimming motors (i) can be controlled using magnetic and chemical fields; (ii) can load, transport, and release colloidal cargo; and (iii) exhibit chemokinesis, a collective dynamic behavior similar to biological chemotaxis. Scaling analyses and computational simulations show that locomotion results from electrical body forces, which are generated by a coupling of an asymmetric dipolar charge density distribution and the electric field it generates.

Dr. Jonathan D. Posner is the Bryan T. McMinn Endowed Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Washington. Dr. Posner came to UW in 2011 from Arizona State University where he continues his role as an Affiliate in the Consortium for Science, Policy, & Outcomes (CSPO). Dr. Posner earned his Ph.D. (2001) degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. He spent 18 months as a fellow at the von Karman Institute for Fluid Mechanics in Rhode Saint Genèse, Belgium and two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford University. His interests include micro/nanofluidics, electrokinetics, colloids, electrochemistry, and the physics of nanoparticles at interfaces as it applies to applications in energy, health, and the environment. At CSPO, Posner has interest in the social implications of technology, role of science in policy and regulation, as well as ethics education. Dr. Posner was honored as a 2011 Washington State Strategically Targeted Academic Researcher and a 2008 NSF CAREER award. He has also been recognized for an ASU Mentor Award and for his Excellence in Experimental Research by the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics.

Suggested Readings:

January 25


February 1

On the kinematics of flame surfaces in a turbulent flow

An important aspect of the dispersive influence of turbulent flows is their ability to rapidly increase the area of fluid surfaces. An example of such a surface is the stoichiometric surface in a non-premixed, chemical reaction, which approximates the flame surface. The stoichiometric surface can itself be approximated by a surface of constant value of a passive scalar, the mixture fraction. In this presentation results will be presented for the growth and decay of iso-surfaces in turbulent flow. Direct measurements of iso-surfaces from numerical simulation will be presented, along with their indirect measurement using Rice's theorem (1944). This theorem leads to two separate modeling approaches to predict the evolution of the iso-surfaces. Comparisons of the predictions of these models with simulation results will be presented.

James J. Riley is the PACCAR Professor of Engineering at the University of Washington. He received his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University in 1972, having worked under the guidance of Stanley Corrsin. After a year as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, he spent ten years in industry at Flow Research Company in Kent, Washington, ultimately as the Director of the Fluid Mechanics Division. He joined the University of Washington in 1983, where he is now a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and an Adjunct Professor in both the Departments of Applied Mathematics and of Aeronautics and Astronautics. While on sabbatical at the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, Professor Riley occupied the Visiting Chair in Industrial Mathematics. More recently he was a Senior Fellow at the Newton Institute for the Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University. Professor Riley’s research interests have included particle dispersion in turbulent flows, waves and turbulence in stably-stratified and in rotating fluids, boundary layer and shear layer transition, fluid/compliant surface interactions, and chemically-reacting turbulent flows. Professor Riley is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and of the Washington State Academy of Sciences. Among other things he is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and of the Journal of Turbulence, and until recently was a member of the editorial boards of the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics and of the Applied Mechanics Reviews.

Suggested Readings:
  1. R. W. Bilger. 1989. Turbulent Diffusion Flames. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 21, p. 101, especially section 2.1 on the mixture fraction.

February 8

Man vs. Machine or Man + Machine?

Allocating roles and functions between the human and computer is critical in defining efficient and effective system architectures. However, past methodologies for balancing the roles and functionalities between humans and computers in complex systems have been based on heuristics that focus on assigning role to either the human or the computer. Instead of focusing on mutually exclusive role assignments, this presentation will focus on how to design systems that leverage the symbiotic strengths of humans and computers such that humans harness the raw computational and search power of computers, but also allow them the latitude to apply inductive reasoning for potentially creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Successful systems of the future will be those that combine the human and computer as a team instead of simply replacing humans with automation.

Mary (Missy) Cummings received her B.S. in Mathematics from the US Naval Academy in 1988, her M.S. in Space Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994, and her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2004. A naval officer and military pilot from 1988-1999, she was one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots. She is currently an associate professor in the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences, and is the director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory. Her research interests include human-unmanned vehicle interaction, human-autonomous system collaboration, human-systems engineering, public policy implications of unmanned vehicles, and the ethical and social impact of technology.

Suggested Readings:
  1. Man versus Machine or Man + Machine

February 22

Origami and Engineering? Surprising Opportunities for Devices with Unprecedented Performance

For centuries origami artists have invested immeasurable effort developing origami models under extreme self-imposed constraints (e.g. only paper, no cutting or gluing, one regular-shaped sheet). The accessible and formable medium of paper has enabled swift prototyping of vast numbers of possible designs. This has resulted in stunning origami structures and mechanisms that were created in a simple medium and using a single fabrication process (folding). The origami artists’ methods and perspectives have created systems that have not previously been conceived using traditional engineering methods. Using origami-inspired methods, it may be possible to design origami-like systems, but using different materials and processes to meet emerging product requirements. This presentation will highlight research in origami-adapted design, show applications being developed at Brigham Young University, and explore future possibilities of origami-based mechanism design.

Larry L Howell is a Professor and past chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU) where he holds a University Professorship. Prof. Howell received his B.S. degree from BYU and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University. Prior to joining BYU in 1994 he was a visiting professor at Purdue University, a finite element analysis consultant for Engineering Methods, Inc., and an engineer on the design of the YF-22 (the prototype for the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor). He is a Fellow of ASME, past chair of the ASME Mechanisms & Robotics Committee, and has been associate editor for the Journal of Mechanisms & Robotics and the Journal of Mechanical Design. He is the recipient of the ASME Machine Design Award, ASME Mechanisms & Robotics Award, Theodore von Kármán Fellowship, NSF Career Award, BYU Technology Transfer Award, and the Maeser Research Award. Prof. Howell’s patents and technical publications focus on compliant mechanisms, including origami-inspired mechanisms, space mechanisms, microelectromechanical systems, and medical devices. He is the co-editor of the Handbook of Compliant Mechanisms and the author of Compliant Mechanisms published by John Wiley & Sons, which has also been translated into Chinese.

Suggested Readings:
  1. “Folding Frontier,” ASEE Prism, January 2013
  2. “Origami Design Inspires Eight National Science Foundation Grants: Origami Looks to the Future,” The Paper, The Magazine of Origami USA, Issue 112, Winter 2013, pp. 27-29.

February 29

New Design Paradigms for Additive Manufacturing

  • Emmett Lalish

First off, how did an A&A grad with a PhD in controls end up in 3D printing at Microsoft? I’ll talk a bit about my nonlinear career, and then focus on how additive manufacturing is changing not just product development, but the products themselves, and how the aerospace industry is leading the charge. To realize its full potential, we must rethink and reinvent the most fundamental aspects of how we approach CAD; I’ll talk about my part in driving this transformation.

Emmett Lalish (UWAA BS ’05, MS ’07, PhD ’09) is a high school drop-out who may (?) be the youngest doctor graduated by the UWAA department. He studied controls, lead the UW DBF team for three years, designed unmanned vehicles for DARPA and took up 3D printing and design as a hobby. This hobby lead to some internet notoriety and a new career at Microsoft, where he’s been for 2 and a half years.

March 7

Pre- to Post- CubeSats

CubeSats sprung from a formative picosatellite effort at a university in the heart of Silicon Valley, took root in a university-led university environment, and have grown into complex-shaped explorers in both near and soon-to-be deep space. Private citizens, businesses, government are building and launching a variety of science, technology demonstration, and service missions. A new generation of space explorers is gaining first hand experience in space missions at all educational levels. There is new life and new energy in the space program. However, space is still difficult. The environment is harsh. Funding is sparse. This talk explores this history and the future of CubeSats from the context of a university-centric laboratory that emphasizes teaching, research, and entrepreneurial impact. It will explore the following questions: What sparked the CubeSat innovation? What are longer lasting lessons of this community? Where are places we can go next? What does it take to get there? The talk will draw on lessons learned from building over six on-orbit CubeSat missions and training hundreds of space engineers.

James Cutler is an associate professor in the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. His research interests center on space systems--a multidisciplinary approach to enabling future space capability with particular emphasis on novel, nanosatellite missions. He is developing next generation communication capability and robust space computing infrastructure. His lab has multiple missions on orbit performing missions for NASA and NSF.