Research Opportunities at the Aerospace multi-Physical and Unconventional System Lab

The research activities in the APUS Lab ( are motivated by the desire to expand the last frontier of aerospace engineering, represented by hypersonic vehicles and high-speed vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. The development of these advanced aerospace systems has been constrained by their inherent complex multi-physics nature and the adverse uncertain working environment. While there are relatively mature solutions for each single disciplinary involved in multi-physics problems, these problems cannot be completely understood and solved without integrating the multi-disciplinary tools for the modeling, testing, and robust design of future unconventional aircraft.

The following undergraduate research project opportunities are available:

  1. Multi-disciplinary design of hypersonic vehicle structure: The structural components of a hypersonic vehicle experience strong aerodynamic loading and heating during hypersonic flight and thus are prone to failure. A multi-disciplinary computational tool based on the commercial software ABAQUS is available for analyzing the coupled structural and thermal responses of the vehicle structure in hypersonic flow. The purpose of this study is to apply this computational tool to design a hypersonic vehicle structure for optimal flight endurance.
  2. Design of light-weight truss structure in complex environment: It is a chance for you to learn about the adjoint method for large scale design optimization for engineering problems. You will be using a Python-based code to analyze and design truss structures in working conditions involving complex loads that are representative of unconventional aircraft configurations. Interesting nonlinear behaviors like buckling and snap-through would happen. The performance of truss structures can be eventually 3D-printed and validated.
  3. Novel teaching activity support: We are developing novel Python-based interactive examples to visualize critical mathematical concepts in the AERSP curriculum. Help is needed in designing, developing, and testing these examples, as well as developing a website to host these examples.
University Park
Work Setting(s): 
On campus, Remote, Variable
Engineering, Information Technology and Computer Science, Mathematics
Description of responsibilities: 
  • Review literature
  • Contribute to new research ideas
  • Learn and apply computational tools
  • Post-processing computational results
Minimum Qualifications: 

Junior or Senior in an Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, or related degree program.

Other Requirements: 

Proficiency in math and programming is favorable.

Opportunity Timeframe(s): 
Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year
Position Type(s): 
Credit, Volunteer
design and optimization, machine learning, programming
Number of positions available: 
Application Procedure: 
Requested Materials: 
  • Your complete educational background
  • Your unofficial transcripts
  • Your relevant research/academic/industrial experiences
  • A 300-word statement on your research interest in the lab
Posting Date: 
Monday, August 26, 2019
Last Updated: 
September 8, 2021