Aerospace

Aerospace engineering involves the design of vehicles that fly within and above Earth’s atmosphere. The design of a flight vehicle demands a knowledge of many engineering disciplines such as fluid mechanics, chemical propulsion, stability and control, and structures. Therefore, aerospace engineers need to build skills and understanding in physics, mathematics, aerodynamics, computational science, and materials. We prepare our students for success and leadership in the creation of advanced aerospace systems. We achieve this through our commitment to train and educate next-generation engineers and scientists with state-of-the-art computational and experimental expertise. The aerospace faculty work closely with government research laboratories such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and aerospace industry such as the Boeing Company and Woodward, providing our students exposure to challenging professional environments and interaction with multidisciplinary teams of top researchers.

Our current research thrusts focus on:

  1. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), with emphasis on the development of state-of-the-art high-performance CFD algorithms on energy-efficient parallel computer architectures for applications to aerospace propulsion systems, including engine fan systems and gas turbine combustor systems.
  2. Space-based applications of plasma technology, with goals of designing, building, and operating ion and halleffect thrusters.
  3. Development of laser and plasma ignition systems, with particular application to aero-turbines and propulsion devices; laser diagnostics to study erosion and plasma-material interactions in electric propulsion devices; and the development of trace-gas laser sensors on unmanned aerial vehicles.