KU News: KU aerospace engineering students earn international design awards

Today's News from the University of Kansas

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From the Office of Public Affairs | http://www.news.ku.edu

Editors: Updates dean candidate presentation date to Nov. 2 in the headline.

KU aerospace engineering students earn international design awards

LAWRENCE — Aerospace engineering students from the University of Kansas collected three awards in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics design competitions, adding to the school’s record number of such honors. Students finished first and third in the AIAA Undergraduate Individual Design Competition for their designs of efficient aircraft that can land or take off using either land or water. In addition, a team of six students finished second in AIAA’s Graduate Team Missile Design Competition for a missile featuring new modular design and innovative propulsion.

 

Final dean candidate for School of Engineering to present Nov. 2

LAWRENCE — Atul Kelkar, the fourth and final candidate for the University of Kansas School of Engineering dean position, will give a public presentation on his vision for the school. His presentation will take place 9:30-10:30 a.m. Nov. 2 in Burge Union Forum A. The event will additionally be livestreamed, and the passcode is 367292. Kelkar is the D.W. Reynolds distinguished professor and department chair of mechanical engineering at Clemson University. Early in his career, he was a faculty member at Kansas State University.

 

Full stories below.

 

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Contact: Cody Howard, School of Engineering, 785-864-2936, [email protected], @kuengineering

KU aerospace engineering students earn international design awards

LAWRENCE — Aerospace engineering students from the University of Kansas collected three awards in two major international design competitions, adding to the school’s record number of such honors.

Students finished first and third in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Undergraduate Individual Design Competition for their designs of efficient aircraft that can land or take off using either land or water.

In addition, a team of six students finished second in the AIAA’s Graduate Team Missile Design Competition for a missile featuring new modular design and innovative propulsion.

During the past decade, 125 aerospace engineering students have collected awards in international design competitions, said Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, professor of aerospace engineering. The three awards are numbers 100, 101 and 102 won by Jayhawks since 1980.

“We’re the first in the world to achieve 100, and that’s big,” said Barrett-Gonzalez, who served as faculty sponsor for the students’ entries. “A lot of companies look at this and know that they are getting good, strong, all-around students they can move around seamlessly. They stand out.”

AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace technical society, with nearly 100 corporate members and an additional 30,000 individual members from 91 countries. The annual design competitions give students a chance to solve design problems requiring specialized technical solutions, allowing students to perform theoretical work and gain real-world insight into the design process.

Daniel Pacheco won first place in Undergraduate Individual Aircraft Design for his design and analysis of “Little Goose,” an “amphibian” airplane capable of connecting communities both on land and adjacent to water. In the congested Bay Area of California, for example, the plane would be able to haul commuters from Sacramento to San Francisco without ever touching an airport.

“You could land on the water right off Pier 39 — hopefully avoid the tourists — and go right to work,” Barrett-Gonzalez said.

The commute might sound simple, but the design and analysis behind the Pacheco’s NEWT (New Efficient Water and Terrestrial aircraft) covered 76 pages filled with drawings, calculations, theories, history, graphics, weight ratios and more. As envisioned, the Little Goose would be able to carry up to 20 passengers at speeds of up to 185 miles per hour.

Pacheco graduated in December 2022 and now works as an aerospace engineer for Avcon Industries, which designs and performs modifications for special-mission and ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) aircraft as a subsidiary of Butler National Corp.

Also in the Undergraduate Individual Design Competition, Riley Schwartzhoff won third place for his entry “Frog Hopper,” another NEWT concept deigned to skim above the water efficiently for both fuel and time while protecting the environment and wildlife both in the air and underwater.

In the Graduate Team Missile Design Competition, a six-member team devised the AIGM-138 Chimera, a tube-launched, modular weapon. Its propulsion assembly is designed to both shrink the size of such weapons by up to 30% while increasing their ranges and while enabling top speeds approaching four times the speed of sound. The team — Adam Andresen, Kang Chen, Jonas Knickenberg, Chukwuemeka Mba, Nicholas Sandusky and Muhammad Yakawu — have patents pending, both in the U.S. and internationally.

“Design is like the decathlon of aerospace engineering,” Barrett-Gonzalez said. “You can’t only be good at structures, or aerodynamics, or stability and control, or propulsion. Our students are known in the industry for being great all-arounders, and this gives them a leg up applying for jobs and graduate school.”

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Contact: Savannah Rattanavong, Office of the Provost, 785-864-6402, [email protected], @KUProvost

Final dean candidate for School of Engineering to present Nov. 2

LAWRENCE — Atul Kelkar, the fourth and final candidate for the University of Kansas School of Engineering dean position, will give a public presentation on his vision for the school.

His presentation will take place 9:30-10:30 a.m. Nov. 2 in Burge Union Forum A. The event will additionally be livestreamed, and the passcode is 367292.

Kelkar is the D.W. Reynolds distinguished professor and department chair of mechanical engineering at Clemson University.

A candidate feedback survey will be open for two business days following the conclusion of Kelkar’s visit. Members of the KU community are encouraged to attend the presentation and provide feedback to the search committee.

The survey and a recording of Kelkar’s presentation will be available after the presentation on the search page until the survey closes.

Additional search information, including Kelkar’s CV, is also available on the search page.

In his current role, Kelkar manages the largest department at Clemson University, including personnel, research enterprise, development, curriculum and finances.

Prior to joining Clemson in 2018, Kelkar served as a program director at the National Science Foundation, helping lead the dynamics, control and system diagnostics program in the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation. He previously worked as the associate chair for research and technology transfer and professor-in-charge of industry research and entrepreneurship for the College of Engineering at Iowa State University.

Early in his career, Kelkar was a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Energy at Kansas State University.

In addition to co-founding and serving as the chief executive of five technology startups that specialize in areas from smart materials to educational software, Kelkar is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He is a steering committee member of the World Manufacturing Foundation and serves on the board of directors for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems International.

Within the ASME and IEEE, Kelkar has served as an associate editor for organizational journals and on conference-related program committees, as well as organized and chaired multiple technical sessions at these conferences. He previously received the National Science Foundation Career award and the 1997 NASA Creativity and Innovation Program award.

Kelkar has more than 170 archival publications, including a book titled “Control of Nonlinear Multibody Flexible Space Structures.” He holds six patents or patents-pending.

Kelkar earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pune in India and his master’s degree and doctorate in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University.

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http://www.news.ku.edu

 

Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, [email protected]

 

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