Graduate Catalog
2018-2019
 
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Aerospace Engineering
College of Engineering
Academics and laboratories; west section completed 1952; dedicated Oct. 24, 1953. Cost $884,070. East section completed Fall 1959; cost $889,944. Building contains 165,918 sq. ft. Attached to the building is a six-foot stability wind tunnel, acquired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958 and made a part of building in 1959. Valued at $1,000,000 at the time, the tunnel was acquired for about $1,700 as surplus equipment.
Aerospace & Ocean Engineering (MC 0203) Randolph Hall, RM 215 Virginia Tech 460 Old Turner St. Blacksburg VA 24061
Randolph Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MS
MS Degree in Aerospace Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
Virtual
• MEng
MEng Degree in Aerospace Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
Virtual
• PhD
PhD Degree in Aerospace Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Blacksburg
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
540/231-3579
540/231-6612
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Dec 30
Spring: Sep 01
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Randolph Hall

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Department Head : Eric Paterson
Graduate Program Director : Christopher Roy (Assistant Department Head for Graduate Studies)
Professors: Alan Brown; Robert Canfield; William Devenport; Rakesh Kapania; Lin Ma; Eric Paterson; Mark Psiaki; Pradeep Raj; Christopher Roy; Joseph Schetz; Craig Woolsey
Associate Professors: Jonathan Black; Stefano Brizzolara; Scott England; Mazen Farhood; Kevin Lowe; Mayuresh Patil; Michael Philen; Gary Seidel; Cornel Sultan
Assistant Professors: Colin Adams; William Alexander; Seongim Choi; Christine Gilbert; Luca Massa; Bhuvana Srinivasan; Kyriakos Vamvoudakis; Kevin Wang; Heng Xiao
NAVSEA Professor of Naval Ship Design: Alan Brown
Norris and Laura Mitchell Professor of Aerospace Engineering: Rakesh Kapania
Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion: Eric Paterson
Fred D. Durham Endowed Chair Professor: Joseph Schetz
Kevin Crofton Professor: Mark Psiaki

Aerospace Engineering Introduction

Master of Science Degree

The Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering offers a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering and in Ocean Engineering. Each of these degrees has two options, a Master of Science with or without thesis. Although both degrees require the same number of credit hours for graduation, the thesis option requires some of these credits be devoted to a research project. The non-thesis option can be obtained by taking only course work, or it can include credits for a project and report. Such a project and report is generally not research oriented, but deals with other aspects of an engineering problem and may involve a team of students. 

In order to ensure that all our students can communicate with scientists and engineers outside their primary field of interest, all students take at least one course in the general areas of aerodynamics, structures, flight mechanics and control, and numerical methods. In addition, students in the non-thesis program are required to take additional courses in their area of study. Students in this program have the opportunity to work on advanced research projects in the three areas mentioned previously as well as in the interdisciplinary arena where familiarity with two or more disciplines is required. As a result many of our students are in a position to satisfy the rapidly growing demand for well rounded engineers and scientists.

In addition, the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department participates in the Systems Engineering interdisciplinary program where students take courses across several engineering departments and outside of the College of Engineering. The requirements for this program are set by the Systems Engineering Advisory Committee and are different from those indicated previously.

Students following the thesis route work with faculty that have both national and international reputations in their respective areas of research. These areas pose exciting new challenges to the students who have the opportunity to work closely with their faculty advisor on current problems. These problems reflect the latest interests in new advancements in science and technology by NASA, Navy, Air Force, and various aerospace and non-aerospace industries. 

Our masters students do significant hands-on research and often work in teams with other masters and Ph.D. students on wide-range of topics, some focused in a newly developing area, and some multidisciplinary in nature. These activities include state-of-the art research in aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design. Students are encouraged to present their research results at conferences and in archival journals tied to industry and/or government or sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

The requirements for the degrees focused on applied physics or applied mathematics are slightly different from those of the other categories in that some required courses from the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department are replaced with others from either Physics or Mathematics respectively. These programs are specially tailored for students whose backgrounds are from outside the engineering environment and are interested in applying their skills to solving aerospace problems. Such programs encourage interaction with disciplines outside the usual engineering environment and result in new approaches to analyzing and solving problems.

Master of Engineering Degree

The Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department offers a Master of Engineering degree in Aerospace Engineering. This degree requires the completion of a project and report which in some cases is required to be in conjunction with other students. 

For the Aerospace Engineering Degree, students are required to take at least one course in each general area of aerodynamics, structures, and flight mechanics and control. This requirement is to insure that graduates from this program can operate in a multidisciplinary environment. In all cases the Master of Engineering program focuses on engineering type problems and their solutions.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department offers a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Aerospace Engineering. This degree is a research oriented degree which can be focused toward one (or more) of several disciplines. These disciplines include aerodynamics, structures and structural dynamics, flight dynamics and control, ocean engineering, multidisciplinary design, applied mathematics, and applied physics. 

All of these degrees require an in depth research project which will serve as the subject of the final dissertation. Research projects have been carried out in the areas of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), experimental fluid mechanics (both high and low speed), instrumentation development, composite materials, structural optimization, flutter analysis, nonlinear flight control, pilot- aircraft interactions, aerodynamic modeling, computer aided design, interdisciplinary design and optimization, trajectory analysis and optimization, space mechanics and space vehicle design, to name a few. Many of these programs are tied to industry and/or government sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

The requirements for the degrees focused on applied physics or applied mathematics are slightly different from those of the other categories in that some required courses from the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department are replaced with others from either Physics or Mathematics respectively. These programs are specially tailored for students whose backgrounds are from outside the engineering environment and are interested in applying their skills to solving aerospace problems. Such programs encourage interaction with disciplines outside the usual engineering environment and result in new approaches to analyzing and solving problems.

Students in the PhD program work with faculty members known nationally and internationally for their contributions in their research area. Opportunities exist to work on the very latest research projects in the areas of aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design. Many of these projects are in support of aerospace and non-aerospace industry, NASA, Navy and Air Force initiatives and include both analytical and experimental components. Modern computational and experimental facilities are available to each student including four subsonic wind tunnels and one supersonic wind tunnel. Advanced instrumentation is available for taking measurements of all type in these facilities.

Offered In (Blacksburg, Virtual)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General Test
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
      • Analytical :

Master of Science Requirements: Thesis and (Non-Thesis)

1.  A minimum of 30 credit hours is required.

  • For thesis students, up to 10 credit hours may be allotted for Research and Thesis (AOE 5994).
  • For non-thesis students, up to 6 credit hours may be allotted for Project and Report (AOE 5904)[1].

2.  A minimum of 12 credit hours (15 for non-thesis) of graded course work numbered 5000 and higher must be included in the Plan of Study. These credit hours do not include the AOE Seminar (AOE 5944), Research and Thesis (AOE 5994) hours, or Project and Report (AOE 5904) hours.

3.  A maximum of 6 credit hours (9 for non-thesis) of 5974 and 5984 is allowed.

4.  A maximum of 6 credit hours of approved 4000 level course work is allowed.

5.  Up to 50% of the courses on the Plan of Study may be transferred from a graduate program at another institution, subject to the approval of the Advisory Committee. Substitution of a transferred course for a specific required course is subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director or a designee, usually the responsible instructor. Each transferred course must have a grade of B (3.0/4.0) or better.

6.  All Aerospace Engineering M.S. candidates are required to take:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • AOE 5024, Vehicle Structures;
  • AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics; and
  • AOE 5204, Vehicle Dynamics and Control.

The following additional required courses pertain to the three areas of specialization.

Aero-Hydrodynamics: Thesis (non-thesis) students must take 9 (18) credit hours of approved electives.

  • Electives for thesis students are determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee Chair.
  • Non-thesis aero-hydrodynamics students must take two of the following three courses:

  1. AOE 5114, High Speed Aerodynamics;
  2. AOE 5135, Vehicle Propulsion; or
  3. AOE 5144, Boundary Layer Theory and Heat Transfer.

Dynamics and Control: Thesis (non-thesis) students must take 9 (18) credit hours of approved electives.

  • Electives for thesis students are determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee Chair.
  • Non-thesis dynamics and control students must take one of the following two courses:

  1. AOE 5754, Applied Linear Systems; or
  2. AOE 5744, Linear Systems Theory;
and students must take two of the following four courses:
  1. AOE 5234, Orbital Mechanics; 
  2. AOE 5764, Applied Linear Control;
  3. AOE 5774, Nonlinear Systems Theory; or
  4. AOE 6744, Linear Control Theory.

Structures and Structural Dynamics: Thesis (non-thesis) students must take 9 (18) hours of approved electives.

  • Electives for thesis students are determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee Chair.
  • Non-thesis structures and structural dynamics students must take the following two courses:

  1. AOE 5034, Mechanical and Structural Vibrations; and
  2. MATH 4574, Vector and Complex Analysis for Engineers.

7.  All Ocean Engineering M.S. candidates are required to take:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • AOE 5074, Advanced Ship Structural Analysis[3];
  • AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics; and
  • AOE 5334, Advanced Ship Dynamics.

In addition, thesis (non-thesis) students must take 9 (18) hours of approved electives, and non-thesis students must take 6 units of "Project and Report" or complete a 6 unit Capstone Naval Ship Design Project (AOE 5315 and AOE 5316).

  • Electives for thesis students are determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee Chair.
  • Non-thesis ocean engineering students must take two of the following courses:

  1. AOE 4024, An Introduction to the Finite Element Method;
  2. AOE 4264, Principles of Naval Engineering;
  3. AOE 5034, Mechanical and Structural Vibrations;
  4. AOE 5084, Submarine Design;
  5. AOE 5144, Boundary Layer Theory and Heat Transfer;
  6. AOE 5304, Advanced Naval Architecture;
  7. AOE 5305, Marine Engineering;
  8. AOE 5314, Naval Ship System Design and Effectiveness[4]; 
  9. AOE 5374, Rationally-Based Design of Ocean Structures;
  10. AOE 5434G, Advanced Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics;
  11. AOE 5444G, Advanced Dynamics of High-Speed Craft;
  12. AOE 5454, Advanced Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Instrumentation; and
  13. AOE 6145, Computational Fluid Dynamics.

8.  If a student has previously taken any of the required courses listed above or equivalent, while a Virginia Tech undergraduate or a student elsewhere, that course must be replaced with another course approved by the Advisory Committee. A student will not be allowed to repeat a Virginia Tech course (or an equivalent course from another institution) for a grade. A required AOE course can only be replaced with another AOE course.

Master of Science or Master of Engineering Requirements (AOE, Systems Option)

The AOE Department, in conjunction with other interested departments in the College of Engineering, e.g. Industrial and Systems Engineering, offers an interdisciplinary degree in Systems Engineering.  The requirements for the degree are essentially the same as those outlined above with the exception of the interdisciplinary aspect of the curriculum, which will be prescribed by the student's Advisory committee consisting of faculty from the AOE Department and the other relevant departments.

 

[1] Non-thesis Ocean Engineering M.S. candidates may take both AOE 5315-5316: Naval Ship Design to meet the 6 unit Capstone Naval Ship Design Project in place of 6 units of AOE 5904: Project and Report.

[2] It is strongly recommended that students who wish to take AOE 6744, first take AOE 5744, Linear Systems Theory or an equivalent course on linear, time-varying systems.

[3] If AOE 4274: Computer-Based Design of Ocean Structures has already been taken, then one of the following two courses must be substituted: AOE 5024: Vehicle Structures or AOE 5374: Rationally-Based Design of Ocean Structures.

[4] It is strongly recommended that students who wish to take AOE 5314: Naval Ship System Design and Effectiveness, first take AOE 4264: Principles of Naval Engineering.

 

Offered In (Blacksburg, Virtual)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General Test
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
      • Analytical :

Master of Engineering Requirements

1.  The M. Eng. degree is a non-thesis degree. However, each candidate is required to prepare a paper, the subject and outline of which must be approved by the student's Advisor and Advisory Committee. The purpose of this paper is to develop and demonstrate the student's ability to plan and carry out projects or problems relating to engineering practice. This project is carried out under the auspices of a special project (AOE 5904: Project and Report).

2.  A minimum of 30 credit hours is required, of which 3-6 credit hours must be allotted for AOE 5904.

3.  A minimum of 15 credit hours (including 5974 and 5984) of graded course work numbered 5000 and higher must be included in the Plan of Study.

4.  A maximum of 6 credit hours of approved 4000 level course work is allowed.

5.  A maximum of 9 credit hours of 5974 and 5984 is allowed.

6.  Up to 50% of the courses on the Plan of Study may be transferred from a graduate program at another institution, subject to the approval of the Advisory Committee. Substitution of a transferred course for a specific required course is subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director or a designee, usually the responsible instructor. Each transferred course must have a grade of B (3.0/4.0) or better.

7.  A minimum of one approved math course is required.

8.  All M. Engr. candidates are required to take:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • AOE 5024, Vehicle Structures;
  • AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics;
  • AOE 5204, Vehicle Dynamics and Control; and
  • One additional AOE course. 
If a student has previously taken, while an undergraduate or student elsewhere, any of the specific required AOE courses above or equivalent, that course must be replaced with another AOE course acceptable to the Advisory Committee. A student will not be allowed to repeat a course from Virginia Tech or one that is equivalent from another institution for a grade.

9.  The project described in requirement (1) may be carried out in conjunction with other students in the same program (e.g., a design project with several students of varied interests).

Master of Science or Master of Engineering Requirements (AOE, Systems Option).

The AOE Department, in conjunction with other interested departments in the College of Engineering, e.g. Industrial and Systems Engineering, offers an interdisciplinary degree in Systems Engineering.  The requirements for the degree are essentially the same as those outlined above with the exception of the interdisciplinary aspect of the curriculum, which will be prescribed by the student's Advisory committee consisting of faculty from the AOE Department and the other relevant departments.

Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 80.0
  • GRE
    • General Test
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
      • Analytical :

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements (beyond B.S.)

1.  A minimum of 90 credit hours beyond the B.S. degree are required.

2.  A minimum of 30 hours of Research and Dissertation (AOE 7994) must be included on the Plan of Study.

3.  A minimum of 27 credit hours of graded course work numbered 5000 or above must be included.

4.  A maximum of 18 credit hours of Independent Study (5974) and Special Study (5984) may be included.

5.  A maximum of 4 credit hours may be seminars (unstructured courses), not including AOE Graduate Seminar (AOE 5944).

6.  A minimum of two consecutive semesters of full time enrollment must be spent in residence at the Blacksburg campus (or with prior approval at some designated off-campus graduate center). At least 15 credit hours of course work (not including AOE 7994) must be earned while in residence.

7.  Transfer credit hours may not exceed 50% of graded graduate level credit hours numbered 5000 or higher needed to satisfy the requirements for a Ph.D. (as described below) and are subject to the approval of the Advisory Committee. Substitution of a transferred course for a specific required course is subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director or a designee, usually the responsible instructor. Each transferred course must have a grade of B (3.0/4.0) or better.

8.  All Ph.D. candidates are required to complete selected courses. Some of the courses are required prior to taking the Preliminary Written Examination and the remaining courses are required prior to completion of the degree. The following additional courses are required according to the area of specialization:

Aero-Hydrodynamics

i. Before taking the Preliminary Written Examination:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • AOE 5024, Vehicle Structures;
  • AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics;
  • AOE 5114, High Speed Aerodynamics;
  • AOE 5135, Vehicle Propulsion;
  • AOE 5144, Boundary Layer Theory and Heat Transfer; and
  • AOE 5204, Vehicle Dynamics and Control.

ii. Before taking the Final Examination:

  • AOE 5454, Advanced Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Instrumentation;
  • One of the following courses: AOE 5434G, Advanced Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics; AOE 6145, Computational Fluid Dynamics; or AOE 6434, Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer;
  • AOE 6114, Transonic Aerodynamics; and
  • Any two of the following courses: AOE 6124, Hypersonic Aerodynamics; AOE 6154, Turbulent Shear Flow; AOE 6174, Computational Plasma Dynamics; or AOE 6444, Verification and Validation in Scientific Computing.

Dynamics and Control

i. Before taking the Preliminary Written Examination:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • AOE 5024, Vehicle Structures;
  • AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics;
  • AOE 5204, Vehicle Dynamics and Control;
  • One of the following two courses: AOE 5754, Applied Linear Systems; or AOE 5744, Linear Systems Theory; and
  • Two of the following three courses: AOE 5234, Orbital Mechanics; AOE 5774, Nonlinear Systems Theory; or AOE 6744, Linear Control Theory[1].

ii. Before taking the Final Examination, courses determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee.

Ocean Engineering

i. Before taking the Preliminary Written Examination:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • AOE 5074, Advanced Ship Structural Analysis[2]; 
  • AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics; and
  • AOE 5334, Advanced Ship Dynamics.

ii. Plus any two of the following:

  • AOE 4024, An Introduction to the Finite Element Method;
  • AOE 5034, Mechanical and Structural Vibrations;
  • AOE 5144, Boundary Layer Theory and Heat Transfer;
  • AOE 5434G, Advanced Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics;
  • AOE 5444G, Advanced Dynamics of High-Speed Craft;
  • AOE 5744, Linear Systems Theory;
  • ESM 5314, Intermediate Dynamics;
  • ESM 5734, Introduction to Finite Element Method;
  • MATH 5425, Applied Partial Differential Equations; or
  • MATH 5474, Finite Difference Methods for Partial Differential Equations.

iii. Before taking the Final Examination, take two of the following courses:

  • Courses in group (ii) not taken prior to the Preliminary Written Examination;
  • AOE 5064, Structural Optimization;
  • AOE 5314, Naval Ship System Design and Effectiveness[3];
  • AOE 5374, Rationally-Based Design of Ocean Structures;
  • AOE 5454, Advanced Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Instrumentation;
  • AOE 6145, Computational Fluid Dynamics;
  • AOE 6434, Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer; or
  • ESM 6314, Advanced Dynamics.

Structures and Structural Dynamics

i. Before taking the Preliminary Written Examination:

  • AOE 4054, Stability of Structures or AOE 5054, Elastic Stability; 
  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • AOE 5024, Vehicle Structures;
  • AOE 5034, Mechanical and Structural Vibrations;
  • AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics; and
  • AOE 5204, Vehicle Dynamics and Control.

ii. Before taking the Final Examination, any two of the following courses:

  • AOE 5054, Elastic Stability;
  • AOE 5064, Structural Optimization;
  • AOE 5074, Advanced Ship Structural Analysis[4]; or
  • AOE 6024, Aeroelasticity.


Applied Physics & Space Engineering

i. Before taking the Preliminary Written Examination:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • One from ECE 5105, Electromagnetic Waves; ECE 5106, Electromagnetic Waves; PHYS 5405, Classical Electromagnetism; ECE 5104G, Microwave and RF Engineering; or AOE 5174, Introduction to Space Plasmas;
  • One graduate level course in Mathematics, as determined by Advisory Committee;
  • Three graduate level courses in AOE, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Physics, and/or Mechanical Engineering as described by the Advisory Committee;

ii. Before taking the Final Examination:

  • Any two from AOE 5024, Vehicle Structures; AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics; or AOE 5204, Vehicle Dynamics and Control; and
  • Courses determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee.

Applied Mathematics

i. Before taking the Preliminary Written Examination:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • Two from AOE 5024, Vehicle Structures; AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics; or AOE 5204, Vehicle Dynamics and Control;
  • Four additional graduate level Math courses determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee.

ii. Before taking the Final Examination:

  • Courses determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee.

9.  If a graduate student has previously taken, while an undergraduate or a student elsewhere, any of the required courses listed above or equivalent, that course must be replaced with another course acceptable to the Advisory Committee. A student will not be allowed to repeat a course from Virginia Tech or one that is equivalent from another institution for a grade.

10.  Students are required to repeat any courses on the Plan of Study for which a grade of "C-" or below has been earned.  Transfer credits must have been earned while in good standing in graduate status, must have been graduate courses (numbered 5000 or higher, or equivalent) at the institution where the courses were taken, and must show a grade of "B" or better.  Courses that are double-counted for both an undergraduate and graduate degree for students in Virginia Tech's Undergraduate/Graduate Degree Program are subject to the grade requirements for transfer courses.

11.  A person who graduates from this department with a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering is expected to have a broad understanding of the field. The student satisfies this requirement by completing each of the introductory graduate courses in aerodynamics (AOE 5104), dynamics and control (AOE 5204 or AOE 5334), structures (AOE 5024 or AOE 5074), and numerical methods (AOE 4404) with a grade of B or better. That grade will be considered sufficient evidence of knowledge in these areas. Transfer credits for these courses are approved by including them in a properly formulated Plan of Study approved by the student's Advisory committee.  For students in the "Applied Physics & Space Engineering" or "Applied Mathematics" track, these requirements apply to the courses above which appear on the Plan of Study.

12.  If a student obtains less than a B in the introductory courses listed in Item 3 above, then that student must repeat the course, either formally (grade less than C-) or informally (grade equal or greater than C- and less than a B) and receive a grade of B or better in the course. In the case of an informal retake, the instructor will write a letter to the students file indicating the achievement of a grade of B or better. If this requirement is not completed at the time of the preliminary examination, and the student passes the preliminary examination, the student will be given a conditional pass. Under these circumstances, this requirement must be satisfied within two semesters (i.e. at the first opportunity) after completing the preliminary examination.



[1] It is strongly recommended that students who wish to take AOE 6744: Linear Control Theory, first take AOE 5744: Linear Systems Theory or an equivalent course on linear, time-varying systems.

[2] If AOE 4274: Computer-Based Design of Ocean Structures has already been taken, then one of the following two courses must be substituted: AOE 5024: Vehicle Structures or AOE 5374: Rationally-Based Design of Ocean Structures.

[3] It is strongly recommended that students who wish to take AOE 5314: Naval Ship System Design and Effectiveness, first take AOE 4264: Principles of Naval Engineering.

[4] If AOE 4274: Computer-Based Design of Ocean Structures has already been taken, then one of the following two courses must be substituted: AOE 5024: Vehicle Structures or AOE 5374: Rationally-Based Design of Ocean Structures.

Aerospace Engineering Facilities Introduction

Research in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering poses exciting new challenges to the students who have the opportunity to work closely with their faculty advisor on current problems. These problems reflect the latest interests in new advancements in science and technology by NASA, Navy, Air Force, and various aerospace and non-aerospace industries.

Our graduate students do significant hands-on research and often work in teams with other graduate students on wide-range of topics, some focused in a newly developing area, and some multidisciplinary in nature.

These activities include state-of-the art research in aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design Students are encouraged to present their research results at conferences and in archival journals tied to industry and/or government sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

Research in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering poses exciting new challenges to the students who have the opportunity to work closely with their faculty advisor on current problems. These problems reflect the latest interests in new advancements in science and technology by NASA, Navy, Air Force, and various aerospace and non-aerospace industries. Our graduate students do significant hands-on research and often work in teams with other graduate students on wide-range of topics, some focused in a newly developing area, and some multidisciplinary in nature. These activities include state-of-the art research in aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design Students are encouraged to present their research results at conferences and in archival journals tied to industry and/or government sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

Aerospace Structures and Materials Laboratory (ASML)

The Aerospace Structures and Materials Laboratory (ASML) in the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering department at Virginia Tech is a research and educational facility dedicated to the understanding of structures and materials. The laboratory serves as an instructional center for students who are learning about structures related research at the undergraduate and graduate level. The facility is located in Room 15 of Randolph Hall.

Aerostructures Axial-Torsional Test Facility

This equipment is a large, multi-axial, servo-hydraulic testing machine purchased in 1988 from the MTS Systems Corporation (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), and it is located in 107 Hancock Hall. This machine is capable of simultaneously loading of test articles axially and torsionally, controlling either the axial load or axial displacement and controlling either torque or rotation. The computer automation (MTS TestStar workstation and Model 490 Digital controller) makes it possible to specify random independent biaxial loading on each axis in fatigue, or of a controlled phase relationship between each axis, or to input load spectrums obtained from field measurements, as well as providing data acquisition. The load unit has a fatigue load rating of 110,000 lbs axial and 50,000 lbs-in. torsional. The usable test space is 60 inches vertical spacing between actuator and load cell. Horizontal clearance between the load frame columns is 30 inches. The maximum stroke of the linear actuator is 6 inches, and the maximum rotation of the rotary actuator is 100 degrees.

Boundary Layer Research Wind Tunnel Laboratory

This research laboratory consists of a low-speed low-turbulence-intensity open-loop pressurized wind tunnel and associated equipment and instrumentation. Downstream of the blower a feedback-controlled rotating-blade damper can produce large-amplitude gusts up to 2 Hz, which is useful for simulating unsteady separating turbulent boundary layers in the test section.

The test section is 3 feet wide and 24 feet long, has an adjustable upper wall that permits various streamwise pressure gradients, and has active suction and tangential wall-jet boundary controls on the non-test walls that are used to prevent unwanted stalls in strong adverse-pressure-gradient and unsteady flows.

This facility has been used over the past 28 years in a number of experimental studies. Custom-designed and constructed laser-Doppler anemometers have been used. The results have revealed new features of the turbulence structure of turbulent boundary layers and separated flows. Recently Olcmen and Simpson (1995) developed a fiber-optic "5-velocity-component" laser-Doppler velocimeter system for measuring 3 velocity components simultaneously at one point (30 um diameter) and 2 other velocity components at 2 other points. Turbulent convective heat transfer in 3-D and separated flows have also been examined in this facility (Lewis and Simpson, 1996). Currently, this facility and instrumentation are being used to define the second-order turbulence structure of three-dimensional flows around hull/appendage and wing/body junctions.

Center for Space Science and Engineering Research

The Center for Space Science and Engineering (Space@VT) comprises a group of faculty, students and staff devoted to the investigation of the space environment.  We presently include members from the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. The Center resides in the College of Engineering.  

Our mission is to provide forefront research, instruction, and educational outreach in the fields of space science and engineering utilizing a holistic approach of theoretical modeling, advanced simulation techniques, space system and instrument design, and experimental data acquisition, analysis and interpretation. 

 

Dynamic Plunge-Pitch-Roll Apparatus (DyPPiR)

The DyPPiR represents the next generation in wind tunnel testing methodologies: simulation of true unsteady aerodynamics. The DyPPiR is essentially a hydraulically powered, computer controlled, three degree-of-freedom robotic arm that is used to force sting mounted wind tunnel models through general, large excursion, high rate, high Reynolds number maneuvers. The DyPPiR is being used to study the maneuvering performance of submarines and fighter aircraft, and future work will involve even transient racecar aerodynamics. In addition to standard force and moment measurements, surface skin friction measurements (for three-dimensional separation location detection) and surface pressure measurements are made, and a Doppler Global Velocimeter (DGV) will permit 3-component velocity measurements to be made in a plane in the flow at specific instances during a maneuver.

Graduate Computational Laboratory

The computational requirements for Aerospace and Ocean Engineering are often very demanding. Students require access to graphical workstations, super-computers, networking applications, and document processing facilities.

Graduate students in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering have access to a wide variety of computer facilities. In addition to those resources provided by Virginia Tech and the College of Engineering, the Department maintains personal computers, graphics workstations, and powerful servers. The Graduate Computer Laboratory includes workstations all of which are equipped with a wide variety of application software.

Hypersonic Wind Tunnel

The Virginia Tech blow-down type high-speed wind tunnel which operates at speeds ranging from Mach 2 to 7 is shown in Figures 1 and 2. The blow-down type wind tunnel offers run times on the order of a few seconds at high Mach numbers with relatively steady flow conditions. This facility was obtained through our close and long-term collaborations with the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk, Russia. Air (or other working gas) is supplied from a compressor to charge the storage bottles visible within the frame at the bottom. A special fast-acting control valve initiates flow into the plenum chamber. The flow then passes through a contoured, converging-diverging nozzle and out through the diffuser. Due to the working principle of the tunnel and the fast-acting control valve, there is only a slow decrease in total pressure during the run. The variation of the total pressure during the run is in the range of approximately 10%. For Mach numbers above 4, an electric heater raises the total temperature up to 800 K to prevent liquefaction. The nozzle exit diameter is 100 mm. The test cabin arrangement permits the use of relatively large instream models, especially at the higher Mach numbers.

This facility can be used for aerodynamic problem investigations which involve proper values of Mach and Reynolds number, to try out new measurement methods in high-speed flows, and for laboratory instruction of students. This laboratory type facility produces a gas flow with good metrology features, which are comparable to the corresponding features of steady flow in modern wind tunnels. -Working gases: air, nitrogen, argon, helium, and other safe gases. The total mass of storage air in 8*40 dm 3 bottles with pressure of 150 bars is 56 kg. Each run uses about 2.7 kg/s of pressurized gas. It is possible that standard bottles or a high-pressure compressor with low delivery (capacity) will be used as a working gas supply.

The upper limit of stagnation pressure in the storage bottles is Pb = 15 MPa. The upper limit of stagnation temperature is To = 800 K. The minimal values of stagnation pressure Ps and temperature Ts within the test chamber and diffuser are Table No. 1. test section size is 100mm.
-Electric heater (220/380 V) with capacity 15 - 20 kW provides the flow stagnation temperature up to 800 K to prevent condensation of air at hypersonic speeds.
-Tested models usually have the length 200 - 300 mm at the angle of attack 00 - 100 and 80 - 120 mm at the angle attack up to 400 - 500. The diameter of tested models is 20 - 40 mm.
-Inner dimensions of test chamber are 360*226*200 mm.
-Run duration depends on the test conditions and is usually from 1.0 to 2.0 s. During this time the flow stagnation pressure and temperature decrease smoothly nevertheless relative flow parameters and Mach number keep their constant values.
-Axisymmetric replaceable contoured nozzles are fitted to the flange of a settling chamber.

 

Kentland Experimental Aerial Systems (KEAS) Laboratory

The Kentland Experimental Aerial Systems (KEAS) Laboratory is located at Virginia Tech's Kentland Farm agricultural research facility, which includes about 1800 acres of university-owned farmland in a sparsely populated area southwest of the main campus. The 300 ft by 70 ft asphalt airstrip located at the center of the Kentland Farm is routinely used to support small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight operations. The airfield includes a state-of-the-art weather station to log meteorological data. A wireless network covering the area provides direct internet access. The adjacent UAV hangar provides nearly 2000 sq ft of workspace to support research, education, and outreach.

The KEAS Lab was developed with support from the:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
  • College of Engineering
  • Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science
  • Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems

The KEAS Lab's primary purpose is to enable research collaborations involving UAVs among university faculty. However, the facility is available to others in the university community who have a research, educational, or outreach related need.

Low Speed Cascade Wind Tunnel

The Low Speed Compressor Cascade Wind Tunnel was designed to simulate conditions found near the tips of fan blades in high bypass ratio aircraft engines. Coincidentally it is also a fairly good representation of flow near the blade tips of a marine propulsion pump. It is sited in the basement of Randolph hall. The cascade consists 8 cantilevered GE rotor B section blades mounted with an adjustable tip gap. The blades are fabricated from aluminum and have a total chord of 10" and an effective span of 10". The blades are instrumented with mean surface pressure taps, and a microphone array for unsteady surface pressure measurement. The cascade configuration has a rectangular cross section of 65" by 10". The blade spacing is 9.29", and the stagger angle of the cascade is 56.93 degrees. The inlet angle of the cascade is 65.1 degrees. The centrifugal fan powering the facility produces a free steam velocity of about 25m/s resulting in a chord Reynolds number of close to 400,000.

Instrumentation regularly used with the facility includes a two-axis computerized traverse, single and 3-component hot-wire anemometry, a 3-component fiber-optic LDV system, and instrumentation to sense the instantaneous position and speed of the belt. Work is being conducted on this facility by research groups under the direction of Dr. William Devenport and Dr. Roger Simpson. Recent sponsors include the Office of Naval Research and NASA Langley.

 

Nonlinear Sytems Laboratory (NSL)

The Nonlinear Systems Laboratory (NSL) in the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering department at Virginia Tech provides a facility for research and instruction in dynamics and control of nonlinear systems. Founded by Dr. Craig Woolsey and Dr. Naira Hovakimyan in 2005, the NSL is now co-directed by Dr. Cornel Sultan, Dr. Mazen Farhood, and Dr. Woolsey. The NSL is a Core Laboratory in the Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems (VaCAS).

Open Jet Wind Tunnel

The open jet wind tunnel was designed in the Fall of 2008 by members of the Aerospace & Ocean Engineering faculty and constructed in 2009 in the AOE machine shop. This research quality facility main purpose is to serve as an educational tool for undergraduate instruction.

The open-jet wind tunnel is a blower type, open circuit facility shown in Figure 1. A steel frame at the base of the facility provides stability while the combination of aluminum composite panels and extruded aluminum frame results in a light weight yet strong structure. The tunnel is powered by a 30hp BC-SW Size 365 Twin City centrifugal fan capable of up to 15m3/s.

The fan discharges into a 6o, 4m-long diffuser. The flow is then directed into a 1.47m-high by 1.78m-wide settling chamber. A combination of 0.01m-cell size, 0.09m long honeycomb followed by three turbulence reduction screens (made of 0.3mm-diameter fiberglass screen with a 55% open area ratio) ensure a low turbulence and uniform flow. The flow then discharges in the atmosphere through a 5.5:1 contraction nozzle based on a 5th degree polynomial profile.

Flow speed is controlled by an AF-600 General Electric variable frequency drive. At a maximum fan speed of 1180 RPM, the flow exits the 5.5:1 contraction at 30m/s. The flow velocity is measured using static pressure taps located at the exit of the settling chamber. A manometer mounted on the side of the tunnel measures the difference between the settling chamber static pressure and the atmospheric.

To minimize the impact of the flow on the lab environment, the tunnel is equipped with a jet catcher located 1.2m downstream of the contraction exit (as seen in Figure 2). The main purpose of the jet catcher is to deflect and defuse the stream of air. The jet catcher is made of an extruded aluminum frame with composite panels. Two fiberglass high-loss screens inside the catcher deflect the flow towards the ground and ceiling. Further high-loss screens located at the top and bottom of the jet catcher reduce the flow velocity before it enters the room.

For model mounting, the tunnel is also equipped with an adjustable support frame (show in Figure 2). The frame is built out of extruded aluminum beams. The various slots on these beams provide great flexibility for positioning models.

 

Supersonic Wind Tunnel

The Virginia Tech 23 x 23 cm supersonic/transonic wind tunnel was designed and originally constructed at the NASA Langley Research Center. In 1958, the tunnel was purchased by Virginia Tech and put into operation in 1963. During recent years, several modifications were introduced into the air pumping, tunnel control, and instrumentation equipment which increased the capabilities of the facility.

The air pumping system consists of an Ingersoll-Rand Type 4-HHE-4 4-stage reciprocating air compressor driven by a 500 hp, 480V Marathon Electric Co. motor. The compressor can pump the storage system up to 51 atm. A drying and filtering system is provided which includes both drying by cooling and drying by absorption. Air storage system consists of two tanks with a total volume of 23 m. Tunnel control system includes quick opening butterfly valve and a hydraulically actuated pressure regulating 30.5 cm diameter valve.

The settling chamber contains a perforated transition cone, several damping screens, and probes measuring stagnation pressure and temperature. The nozzle chamber is interchangeable with two-dimensional contoured nozzle blocks made of steel. The tunnel is equipped with three complete nozzle chambers which presently are fitted with the nozzles for the Mach numbers 2.4, 3.0, and 4.0.

The working section of the tunnel is equipped with a remotely controlled model support which allows one to vary the position of a model in the vertical plane. An arrangement for side wall model mounting is also available. An extractable mechanism can be provided for supporting the model during the starting and stopping of the flow. Due to large doors containing the windows in the nozzle and working sections a very good access to the model is ensured.

Instrumentation

A 30 cm Schlieren apparatus uses two parabolic mirrors and air cooled high pressure mercury lamp. Shadowgraph pictures can be taken either with a direct-shadowgraph system or with a focused shadowgraph arrangement. A 1 microsecond spark source is used for this purpose. Interferograms may be taken with a laser-based single plate interferometer system and a CCD camera.

To record flow phenomena of very rapid action and short time duration, the Hycam high speed motion picture camera can be used. The camera can be optically coupled with either Schlieren or shadowgraph apparatus. Operating speed limits are from 1,000 to 45,000 pictures per second. A six-component force and moment balance is also available.

The main pressure measuring system includes a PSI Model 780B electronically scanned pressure system. The system is IBM PC computer controlled and presently can handle 32 pressure inputs (0 to 1 atm) simultaneously but, if a need arises, it can be expanded up to 512 pressure inputs. Pressure data rate is up to 20,000 measurements per second and the accuracy is 0.1% of span. In addition to the electronically scanned pressure system, there are two Scanivalve systems available, each allowing to record up to 48 pressures (0-3 atm) during a run of a few seconds duration.

Temperature and heat transfer measurements can be made using an automatic multipoint thermocouple reference system and high-speed potentiometric recorders.

Data acquisition is all IBM PC based using modern software such as LabView.

 

Towing Basin

Modeling ship resistance is done by towing a model in a towing basin. The basin, located in the basement of Norris Hall is made of reinforced concrete painted with a chemical and moisture resistant enamel. The width of the basin is 6 feet and the maximum water depth is 4 feet. The overall length of the basin is 98 feet but the first 4 feet and the last 24 feet are used for braking the carriage. The usable test length is then approximately 70 feet. There are two glass walled observation pits along the side of the tank, one located approximately in the middle of the test region and the other pit located at the starting end. The observation pit at the starting end is intended for use in the study of wave reflection and absorption.

The carriage and rails were designed and constructed by the firm of Kempf and Remmers of Hamburg, Germany and were shipped in sub-assemblies to Virginia Tech. The allowable tolerance on rail height was 0.1mm. Wedges were used to give final straight alignment of each rail. The allowable tolerance on alignment was 0.2mm. Final alignment was done optically. After final adjustments in height were made, the space between the bearing plates and the bottom of the rail was filled with concrete.

A 400 V DC motor drives the carriage through a gear reduction box. The DC power is supplied from a 220 V AC motor-generator set. A maximum speed of the carriage of 3.0 meters per second can be obtained.

The carriage braking is done automatically using trips installed at both ends. An emergency brake button is also on the console. The brake is of the magnetic clutch type and brakes the DC motor directly. The brake is applied if power to the carriage is interrupted. Braking deceleration is 0.7 meter per second per second.

Ocean Engineering undergraduate students perform two experiments in the basin. They test the resistance of both a surface ship and a submarine.

Transonic Cascade Wind Tunnel

The Virginia Tech Transonic Cascade Wind Tunnel is a blow down transonic facility capable of a twenty second run time. An overall layout is given in Figure X, and a photo is shown in Figure Y. The air supply is pressurized by a four-stage Ingersoll-Rand compressor and stored in large outdoor tanks. The maximum tank pressure used for transonic tests is about 1725 kPa (250 psig).

A representative test section for gas turbine cascade testing is given in Fig. Y. Test sections for other types of testing such as a steam turbine cascade and compressor cascades have been used in this facility.

During a run, the upstream total pressure is held constant by varying the opening of a butterfly valve controlled by a computerized feedback circuit. There is also a safety valve upstream of the control valve to start and stop the tunnel. The test section area is 37.3 cm high, and is designed for blades with an outlet angle of approximately 70 degrees. The blade isentropic exit Mach number is varied by changing the upstream total pressure; the usual range for exit Mach number is 0.7 to 1.35. The throat Reynolds number for typical tests is 340,000.

Figure Z is a diagram of the test section. The tunnel mean flow is left to right on the figure, and is turned through 68 degrees by the blade passages, which act as the tunnel throat. Upstream of the blades, the bundle of three shock shapers protrudes from the test section top block; the shocks propagate down from the shaper exit to the bottom of the test section. The high-response total pressure probe for downstream surveys is also shown on the figure, pointing into the cascade exit flow. The probe moves up and down in line with wall static pressure taps. No tailboard is used downstream of the cascade, which means that a free shear layer forms between the exit plane of the blades and the test section back wall. Note also the upstream total pressure probe, which is fixed at mid-pitch of the Lower passage.

Instrumentation

A 30 cm Schlieren apparatus uses two parabolic mirrors and air cooled high pressure mercury lamp. Shadowgraph pictures can be taken either with a direct-shadowgraph system or with a focused shadowgraph arrangement. A 1 microsecond spark source is used for this purpose. Interferograms may be taken with a laser-based single plate interferometer system and a CCD camera.

To record flow phenomena of very rapid action and short time duration, the Hycam high speed motion picture camera can be used. The camera can be optically coupled with either Schlieren or shadowgraph apparatus. Operating speed limits are from 1,000 to 45,000 pictures per second. A six-component force and moment balance is also available.

The main pressure measuring system includes a PSI Model 780B electronically scanned pressure system. The system is IBM PC computer controlled and presently can handle 32 pressure inputs (0 to 1 atm) simultaneously but, if a need arises, it can be expanded up to 512 pressure inputs. Pressure data rate is up to 20,000 measurements per second and the accuracy is 0.1% of span. In addition to the electronically scanned pressure system, there are two Scanivalve systems available, each allowing to record up to 48 pressures (0-3 atm) during a run of a few seconds duration.

Temperature and heat transfer measurements can be made using an automatic multipoint thermocouple reference system and high-speed potentiometric recorders.

Data acquisition is all IBM PC based using modern software such as LabView.

 

Virginia Tech Stability Wind Tunnel

The Stability Wind Tunnel is operated by the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department. With a 1.83m-by-1.83m test-section, it is one of the largest university operated wind tunnels in the United States with maximum speeds of 80m/s (corresponding to a Reynolds number of 5,000,000 per meter). In addition to its size, the flow quality is remarkable making it a prime research facility. The aerodynamic capabilities were recently increased by the addition of a removable anechoic test-section allowing for full-scale aero-acoustic testing. Since May, 2004, the facility has been under the direction of Dr. William Devenport, and currently employs one full time test engineer and several part time student employees. Detailed information about the Virginia Tech Stability Wind Tunnel can be found in the sections below. You can download the Stability Tunnel brochure for a summary of key features.

The Virginia Tech Six Foot Stability Wind Tunnel was originally built at the NACA Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in 1940. It was designed to determine dynamic stability derivatives using a fixed model position, and was known at Langley as the "stability tunnel." Many of the NACA reports containing stability derivative data describe wind tunnel tests conducted in this tunnel. The wind tunnel was acquired by VPI in 1958, and the tunnel was erected in 1959 in a specially designed wing of Randolph Hall. Calibration of the tunnel was carried out from 1959 to 1961, when it became operational again. In 1994 the fan motor was completely overhauled and the windings reinsulated. In 1996 new fan blades were installed increasing the overall tunnel efficiency.

 

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