Putting Research to the Test: AE Doctoral Dissertations

Each year, the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering graduates between 30 and 40 doctoral students - each with unique contributions to make in research, academia, industry, and the evolution of the discipline itself. On this page, we provide links to their abstracts and their published dissertations. We're also introducing Hypersonic Summaries, a video series in which our doctoral candidates will have ~ 3 minutes to explain research that took them years to produce. (No one ever said aerospace engineering was easy.) Click on the image above to get started.


Recent Doctoral Dissertations

Kevin Jacobson: "Adjoint-based Aeroelastic Optimization with High-fidelity Time-accurate Analysis"
(Advisors: Prof. Marilyn Smith and Prof. Graeme Kennedy)

Kevin JacobsonAs engineers are pursuing aggressive performance goals and exploring nontraditional aircraft configurations, the applicability of traditional aeroelastic design tools based on linear models and empirical data is diminishing. However, computer hardware and algorithms are advancing, and the use of high-fidelity tools, which utilize computational fluid dynamics and structural finite element modeling, is becoming a more realistic possibility for aircraft design. read the abstract

Adam Sidor: "Design and Manufacturing of Conformal Ablative Heatshields" (Advisor Prof. Robert Braun and Prof. Graeme Kennedy)

Adam SidorConformal ablators, first introduced in the early 2000s under the NASA Hypersonics Project, are a type of rigid ablative thermal protection system that uses flexible, rather than rigid, fibrous substrates. These materials are impregnated with resin in a mold to yield a part that is close to the final geometry and requires little post-process machining (a near net shape part).
read the abstract

Peter Z. Schulte: "A State Machine Architecture for Aerospace Vehicle Fault Protection" (Advisor: Prof. David Spencer

Peter SchulteBecause of their complexity and the unforgiving environment in which they operate, aerospace vehicles are vulnerable to mission-critical failures. In order to prevent these failures, aerospace vehicles often employ Fault Detection, Isolation, and Recovery (FDIR) systems to sense, identify the source of, and recover from faults. 
read the dissertation

Kaivalya Bakshi: "Large Scale Stochastic Control: Algorithms, Optimality and Stability" (Advisor: Prof. Evangelos Theodorou)

Kaivalya BakshiOptimal control of large-scale multi-agent networked systems which describe social networks, macro-economies, traffic and robot swarms is a topic of interest in engineering, biophysics and economics.A central issue is constructing scalable control-theoretic frameworks when the number of agents is infinite. read the abstract

Terry Stevenson: "Development of Multi-Functional Structures for Small Satellites​" (Advisor: Prof. Glenn Lightsey)

Terry StevensonImprovements in miniature electronics have allowed CubeSats and other small satellites to perform increasingly complex missions. In contrast to typical space missions, many small satellites are more limited by available volume than by mass, since they must fit into small deployment pods. read the dissertation

Leah Ruckle: "Approaches to Solving the Express Shipment Service Network Design Problem" (Advisor: Prof. Dimitri Mavris)

Leah Ruckle

Express shipment, the delivery of same-day, overnight and two-day packages, is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States and abroad. It has become an essential part of business operations and, with the rise of e-commerce, an expectation of the everyday consumer. read the dissertation

Seth Gordon "A Stochastic Agent Approach (SAA) for Mission Effectiveness" (Advisor: Prof. Dimitri Mavris)

Seth Gordon

A process for using stochastic and probabilistic agent decision-making was proposed. This process is employed to conduct a Mission Space Exploration to evaluate a wide assortment of possible matériel and non-matériel solutions to an identified capability gap. read the dissertation

Hossein Salahshoor "Topics in Stress-Induced Instabilities and Phase Transitions in Lattice-Based Solids” (Advisor: Prof. Julian J. Rimoli) Hossein Salahshoor

Mechanical response of a lattice-based solid, where the entire system is built up by a repetitive translation of a unit cell along its principal axes, manifests itself in changes either in the macro or the microstructure of the system.  read the abstract

Murali Gopal Murali Gopal Muraleedharan: “Combustion of Nanoenergetic Materials: A Heat Conduction Perspective” (Advisor: Prof. Vigor Yang)

Metal-based composite energetic materials have substantially high volumetric energy density when compared with monomolecular compounds such as trinitrotoluene (TNT). Micron-sized metal particles have been routinely used for energetic applications since the 1950’s.
read the abstract

Yu-Hung Chang: “High-Fidelity Emulation of Spatiotemporally Evolving Flow Dynamics ” (Advisor: Prof. Vigor Yang)

This dissertation utilizes a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to demonstrate a paradigm for a novel design strategy for new generation engineering. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), reduced-basis modeling, statistics, uncertainty quantification, and machine learning are employed to develop this strategy. read the abstract

Debolina DasguptaDebolina Dasgupta:  “Turbulence Effects on Chemical Pathways for Lean Premixed Flames” (Advisor: Prof. Tim Lieuwen)

Turbulent combustion, particularly premixed combustion has great practical importance due to their extensive industrial usage in gas turbines, internal combustion engines etc. However, the physics governing the inherent multi- scale interactions of turbulence, flow-field and chemistry is not yet well established.  read the abstract