School of Engineering
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Edward C. Wells Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering
BioProfessor Cantwell's research interests are in the area of turbulent flow. Recent work has centered in three areas: the direct numerical simulation of turbulent shear flows, theoretical studies of the fine-scale structure of turbulence, and experimental measurements of turbulent structure in flames. Experimental studies include the development of particle-tracking methods for measuring velocity fields in unsteady flames and variable density jets. Research in turbulence simulation includes the development of spectral methods for simulating vortex rings, the development of topological methods for interpreting complex fields of data, and simulations of high Reynolds number compressible and incompressible wakes. Theoretical studies include predictions of the asymptotic behavior of drifting vortex pairs and vortex rings and use of group theoretical methods to study the nonlinear dynamics of turbulent fine-scale motions. Current projects include studies of fast-burning fuels for hybrid propulsion and decomposition of nitrous oxide for space propulsion.
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
BioProfessor Chang's primary research interest is in the areas of multi-functional materials and intelligent structures with particular emphases on structural health monitoring, intelligent self-sensing diagnostics, and integrated health management for space and aircraft structures as well safety-critical assets and medical devices. His specialties include sensors and sensor network development, built-in self-diagnostics, integrated diagnostics and prognostics, damage tolerance and failure analysis for composite materials, and advanced multi-physics computational methods for multi-functional structures. Most of his work involves system integration and multi-disciplinary engineering in structural mechanics, electrical engineering, signal processing, and multi-scale fabrication of materials. His recent research topics include: Integrated health management for aircraft structures, bio-inspired intelligent sensory materials for fly-by-feel autonomous vehicles, active sensing diagnostics for composite structures, self-diagnostics for high-temperature materials, etc.
Professor (Research) of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus
BioProfessor Christensen's research is concerned with the mechanics of materials. The behavior of polymers and polymeric fiber composites are areas of specialization. Of particular interest is the field of micro-mechanics that focuses on materials' functionality at intermediate-length scales between atomic and the usual macro scale. Applicable techniques involve the methods of homogenization for all types of composite materials. The intended outcomes of his research are useful means of characterizing the yielding, damage accumulation, and failure behavior of modern materials. A related website has been developed to provide critical evaluations for the mathematical failure criteria used with the various classes of engineering materials. Most of these materials types are employed in aerospace structures and products.
Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering
BioProf. Close's research involves space weather detection and modeling for improved spacecraft designs, and advanced signal processing and electromagnetic wave interactions with plasma for ground-to-satellite communication systems. These topics fall under the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) umbrella that include environmental remote sensing using satellite systems and ground-based radar. Her current efforts are the MEDUSSA (Meteoroid, Energetics, and Debris Understanding for Space Situational Awareness) program, which uses dust accelerators to understand the effects of hypervelocity particle impacts on spacecraft along with Particle-In-Cell simulations, and using ground-based radars to characterize the space debris and meteoroid population remotely. She also has active programs in hypersonic plasmas associated with re-entry vehicles.