Student: Francisco Pena
California State University, Los Angeles
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Degree Level: Master of Science
Internship Site: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California
Mentor: Dr. Lance Richards
Abstract: The Dryden Aero-Elastic Lab located at the AERO Institute is developing cutting-edge research in fiber optic strain sensing. The innovative fiber optics systems are capable of monitoring mechanical and thermal strains, which allow engineers to monitor real-time deformation of a structure. Utilizing the NASA University Research Center (S.P.A.C.E.) Uninhabited Air Vehicle (Odyssey) as a test bed for the fiber optics strain sensors, engineers will validate the capabilities of the Fiber Bragg Grating sensors. The use of finite element modeling will aid in the further development of embedded Fiber Bragg Grating sensors for Uninhabited Air Vehicles. With real-time, deformation-shape prediction, it will be possible to accurately measure mode-shape deformations of aircraft wings due to aero-elastic effects on the aircraft during flight. Structural deformation data can be sent to a feedback control system to mitigate the aero-elastic effects on the airframe. Methods developed by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center for real-time deformation-shape prediction of lightweight unmanned flying aerospace structures can potentially reduce the risk of in-flight breakups, such as that of the Helios Wing.
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