Seven Daniel Guggenheim School students have been selected to receive Spring 2020 President’s Undergraduate Research Awards (PURAs) to support their research with AE faculty.
The $1,500 awards came from two separate endowments of the late Donald W. Richardson, AE '51, a former chair of the Aerospace Engineering School Advisory Council (AESAC). Jude Augustine, Abhishek Khandal, Sahaj Patel, Shanmurugan Selvamurugan, and Chandler Thompson received the Donald W. Richardson PURA. Yunqing Jia and Saba Shaik each received a Jane J. Richardson PURA, a scholarship established to honor Richardson's late wife of 62 years.
An AE third-year, Saba Shaik will use her PURA to continue working with AE professor Claudio Di Leo to evaluate and model the mechanical behavior of certain swellable elastomers. Their goal is to understand the coupling between deformation and fluid diffusion in these materials, in order to exploit their properties in microfluidic devices, actuators, and other technologies.
“I enjoy learning about and contributing to the discipline through research, so I'm happy to be funded by a PURA. There are plenty of opportunities for undergrads to get involved in really cool research projects here."
Jude Augustine’s research is aimed at improving accuracy and widening the scope of reduced-order modeling capabilities developed at Georgia Tech for rapid modeling in conceptual design stages. This is his second semester working on this research with Prof. Marilyn Smith.
“I have aspirations to get an MS in AE, and the distinction that earning a PURA award provides will help me a great deal in getting a graduate research assistant or graduate teaching assistant position."
Chandler Thompson will work with Prof. Mitchell Walker to determine the most efficient orientation (spanwise or streamwise) of plasma actuator electrodes for reducing the flow separation at high angles of attack.
“I've always wanted to conduct research in the aerospace field, and being given the opportunity to achieve that dream is a great honor."
Shanmurugan Selvamurugan will work jointly with AE professor Mitchell Walker and Georgia Tech School of Material Science professor Jud Ready. Together, they will focus on developing cold cathodes comprised from carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to protect electric propulsion-based spacecraft from electrostatic discharge and arcing damage.
“I'm thrilled to have been selected for this award. It serves as a validation of everything we have done so far and the work we have yet to complete in this project."
The PURA will allow Sahaj Patel to continue working with Prof. E. Glenn Lightsey in the Space Systems Design Lab (SSDL) where they will now focus on Lunar Flashlight, a new NASA JPL CubeSat mission to the moon.
The Lunar Flashlight mission aims to enter a lunar polar orbit and map the poles of the moon in search of ice deposits. The SSDL research team will design and deliver the propulsion system for the CubeSat.
"To me, this award indicates that I've reached a point in my research career where I'm working on a well-defined, recognized project. Working on the development of new space-related technology has always been my goal in research, this award signifies to me that I'm now working on a project that meets that goal by having a defined plan and clear purpose."
Yunqing Jia will continue her research with Prof. Vigor Yang on utilizing deep learning methods to accelerate real fluid property evaluations. Their goal is to implement and optimize a neural network that can be adapted to accelerate the computational evaluation of fluid properties.
“I am honored to have received this award. Professor Yang and [graduate student] Petro Junior Milan have been incredible mentors. I am very grateful to have this opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research on a topic that I am interested in, since I am also pursuing a minor in Computer Science."
Abhishek Khandal will continue working with Prof.Tim Lieuwen’s group in the Ben T. Zinn Combustion Lab to improve turbine fuel efficiency by characterizing reacting jet in crossflow (RJCF) so that governing equations can be developed.
“This award to me, demonstrates Georgia Tech’s commitment to involving and rewarding undergraduates in research, and I’m really thankful I was given this opportunity."