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STRUCTURES AND MATERIALS

Aerospace structures research at the University of Kansas comprises fundamental and applied research in support of transportation, defense, airborne remote sensing and energy.

OVERVIEW

In addition to advancing the state-of-the-art in adaptive and/or multifunctional structures, students, faculty and staff design, analyze, fabricate, ground test, flight test and field custom aircraft, sensors and other aerospace systems to enable interdisciplinary scientific discovery. For instance, primary funded research addresses ice-penetrating radar that can assist CReSIS researchers in the quest to capture data and create accurate 3-D maps of ice sheets all the way to the bedrock. Airborne sensor suites have also been developed for fine scale measurements of terrestrial ecosystem structure and biomass. Past projects include small and large unmanned aircraft, radar arrays and fairings, wind turbine blades, telescopes and fuel containment devices.

 

COMPOSITE MATERIALS LABORATORY

The Composite Materials Laboratory addresses applied and developmental research in environmental remote sensing, energy and transportation.  This laboratory supports researchers to design and construct aircraft, sensors and systems to enable airborne environmental remote sensing, with the primary funded research addressing ice-penetrating radar that can assist CReSIS researchers in the quest to capture data and create accurate 3-D maps of ice sheets all the way to the bedrock. Sensor suites have also been developed for fine scale measurements of terrestrial ecosystem structure and biomass. Past projects include small and large unmanned aircraft, radar arrays and fairings, wind turbine blades, telescopes and fuel containment devices.  Teams of faculty, staff and students in recent years have designed, fabricated and flight-tested unmanned aircraft and manned aircraft sensor suites, predominantly for remote sensing in Greenland and Antarctica.

The composite lay-up facility is a 59 m2 “clean” room with a 6.7 m2 lay-up table and 24.3 m3 of –30° C material storage.  The composite tooling and processing laboratory encompasses 128.4 m2, and contains a radial diamond saw, 17.8 cm diamond blade precision sectioning saw, 22.9 cm abrasive cutter, two hydraulic specimen mounting presses, orbital and vibrating polishers and a microhardness tester.  Sample inspection and documentation is aided with a Nikon Epiphot inverted reflected light photomicroscope capable of magnification to 1000X, with Polaroid and 35mm film or digital video capture. The composite curing facility encompasses 66.3 m2 and includes an autoclave for curing thermoset and thermoplastic composite materials, 107kN and 667 kN electrically heated water cooled platen presses, and electronically controlled ovens. The autoclave is rated to 2.4 MPa and 370° C and has a usable space of 30x30x91 cm.  The smallest oven is rated to 370° C and has a usable space of 51x51x46 cm. and the intermediate oven is rated to 370C and has a usable space of 1.5m x 1 m x .8m.  The composite materials laboratory also houses an electronically controlled walk-in curing oven capable of 260° C, with a usable space of 2.1 x 2 x 6.1 m.

ADAPTIVE AEROSTRUCTURES
LABORATORY

The Adaptive Aerostructures Laboratory supports the design, research development and flight testing of a wide variety of UASs which are 3m and smaller ranging in flight speed from hover through hypersonic. The lab has pioneered in aircraft that convert from hover-mode flight to missile-mode flight by pitching through 90° rotation angles. We also build the world's fastest quad-copters known as QuadRockets, which can reach up to 130mph.

 

FACULTY


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