Deep Dive into Physics

Acoustic Levitation

Researcher: Elijah Reeves | Faculty Advisor: Wayne Strasser

Levitation is the suspension of objects in the air. There are various methods used to achieve levitation. Acoustic levitation suspends objects with sound waves generated from different direction to create a standing wave to keep objects stationary. Combining this phenomenon with the manipulation of some thermodynamics applications, this research seeks to use acoustic levitation to aid in generating phase change from a solid object to a liquid object with minimum environmental or frictional loss.

Review of UAV design development for exploration on other planets

Researcher: Aaron Young | Faculty Advisor: Wayne Strasser

Our knowledge of outer space and celestial bodies is ever-expanding. As time moves on, we push further and further into space using new methods and innovations. The best way to acquire such knowledge is to experience it firsthand. Over the next decade, we as a species aim to send a group of our own kind to earth’s moon and beyond. An important aspect of this pursuit of knowledge is safety. Finding new ways for astronauts to survey and observe vast landscapes and points of interest is beneficial as one must be careful within the hazardous environments we plan to explore. This presentation seeks to examine the current state of development of UAVs with sustainable propulsion systems as an effective way for explorers to safely take data and scope out large areas without the risk of traveling long distances and using crucial resources. Current designs by NASA incorporate a multi-rotor copter that lacks the ability to carry any significant payload. A juxtaposing design for a fixed wing craft has been in the works since 2006. By using atmospheric data gathered by the Japanese government, researchers have theorized an optimal cruising altitude based upon assumed Reynolds numbers of Mars and Earth atmospheres being 10^5 and 10^7 respectively. This was reviewed more closely in 2018 at the University of Maryland. Measurements of lift, drag, and an inspection of flow boundary separation were recorded at the low Reynolds numbers found in Mars’ atmosphere. Lastly, a theoretical prototype was simulated using ANSYS fluent. Researchers in Mexico approximated masses of various UAV components and observed the behavior of several airfoil geometries during flight. The conglomeration of these various data sources provides a solid starting point for a concrete initial design of a fixed-wing prototype.