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NMSU-secured grant to supply state-of-the-art engineering research capability

New Mexico State University honored three researchers from the College of Engineering Friday for securing a grant of $493,567 to purchase an integrated system for laser-assisted nonintrusive experimentation and data-driven reduced-order modeling of multidisciplinary phenomena occurring in structural and fluid dynamics.

A man gestures toward a screen of information.
NMSU Engineering Assistant Professor Young Lee speaks during a Research Rally event at O'Donnell Hall. Lee and his co-investigators recently secured a large grant to fund research in structural and fluid dynamics. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Assistant Professor Young Lee and co-investigators Assistant Professor Fangjun Shu and Associate Professor Mingjun Wei, all from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, have been working on various collaborative projects for two years, but this new equipment will allow expanded capabilities.

?That new grant enables us to expand our current research capability, which is limited in just single point measurements, and 2-D measurements,? Lee said. ?With this new equipment, we can perform our measurements in expanding, whole 3-dimensional space for structures and fluids, and all together, we can perform the advanced multidisciplinary research on fluid-structure interactions by establishing data-driven, yet physics-based reduced order models.?

Lee?s research expertise is in nonlinear dynamics and structural vibrations, aeroelasticity, nonlinear system identification, and time-delayed systems; Shu?s in experimental fluid dynamics, bio-inspired flow, biofluids, microfluidics, and turbulent flow; and Wei?s in computational fluid dynamics, reduced-order models, fluid control and optimization, micro air vehicles and aeroacoustics.

The research is supported by the Army Research Office, U.S. Department of Defense Research and Education Program, in order to provide equipment for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. The grant will allow the research team to continue and improve upon existing research programs at NMSU.

The purchased equipment includes a Polytec PSV-500 Scanning Vibrometer System for structural vibrations tests, LaVision 3-D Particle Image Velocimetry System for flow field measurements and analysis, and a 3-D Scanner System with ATOS Core Essential 2MP for generating CAD data for generating computational meshgrids. While each of these can be independently used for respective research purposes, two or all subcomponents can be synchronously linked to perform fluid and structure measurements.

?Our top priority is DoD-related research,? Lee said. ?One of the serious applications of DoD interests could be blast protection of structures, of which phenomenon involves multi-time scales in the order of microsecond to second range. You need a really, really fine timescale to get good accuracy for microscale second resolution, and hence, longer computational time for a greater number of iterations to converge to the accurate answer. Also, such phenomena are strongly nonlinear and nonstationary. Our novel research methodology with this newly acquired equipment reduces such efforts by extracting the most important phenomena from the measured data, and also from the existing computational data, then for future applications, things will get much easier.?

Research capability in their laboratories has been limited to 2-D measurements by simplifying 3-D phenomena until acquisition of this new equipment.

Engineering students also will benefit from the new system including its use in several classes taught by Lee, Shu or Wei; student use for the Senior Capstone Design course; and through support for extracurricular activities such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Design, Build and Fly Competition, and the NanoSat program.

?As for student education, these 3-D measurements can generate more realistic visualization of vibrations or fluid phenomena,? Lee said. ?We are planning to equip some additional facilities with 3-D TV, then we can feed these 3-D measurements, 3-D visualizations, into 3-D TV so students can really see what happens in structural fluidity and dynamics.?