New grant will expand structural dynamics research.

Assistant Professor Cristina Riso has been selected for the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. Riso will receive $5,000 from ORAU and $5,000 matched from Georgia Tech to enhance her research. This competitive one-year grant is open to full-time assistant professors within two years of their tenure-track appointment at a participating ORAU institution.

“I am extremely excited about this award because it will support my group in exploring a new line of research in dynamics of composite structures for high-temperature environments, which is relevant to aerospace applications such as high-speed flight as well as applications outside aerospace,” Riso said.

Riso’s research focuses on structural dynamics and aeroelasticity as it relates to the vibrations of aerospace structures and their interaction with surrounding aerodynamic flows. Specifically, her group develops new computational models and analysis methods to predict dynamic structural and aeroelastic phenomena (especially aeroelastic instabilities called flutter), trading off accuracy and simulation cost to enable extensive computational studies. Using these capabilities, Riso’s group investigates how novel wing and vehicle designs respond to various kinds of excitations to understand key behaviors and how they depend on different design parameters. The resulting insights can then enable engineers to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of future wings and aircraft.

“The ability to conduct accurate and computationally efficient simulations is critical to advancing our current understanding of basic physical mechanisms that drive different structural and aeroelastic dynamics to the point where we can harness them to develop faster, safer, and more environmentally sustainable aerospace vehicles,” she explained.

Recently, her research has been focused on understanding the aeroelastic behavior of future transport aircraft with high-aspect-ratio wings, which offer lower fuel burn but result in new aeroelastic dynamics that are still poorly understood.

Since starting at Georgia Tech in January 2022, the awardee has been expanding her research focus to include vertical takeoff-landing applications as part of the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence, where her team investigates dynamic aeroelastic instabilities in future tiltrotors and other multi-rotor configurations. 

“The AE School was a perfect match for me due to the breadth and depth of research in areas that align with my interests, such as computational aeroelasticity and design optimization, and for the collaborative culture at Georgia Tech,” Riso shared.

Besides conducting research, Riso teaches an introductory course on structural dynamics and aeroelasticity for senior undergraduates and a graduate course in structural dynamics, and she particularly enjoys observing student growth during the semester. She serves on the Structural Dynamics Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Dynamics Technical Committee of the Vertical Flight Society (VFS).

Cristina Riso
Assistant Professor