Research Expertise


Since 1989, Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI) researchers have advanced human knowledge and contributed to the missions of our customers. This has brought researchers to OAI from across the globe, often working on-site in close collaboration with their sponsoring organizations as fully integrated members of customer R&D teams. OAI’s community of researchers has continued to expand to currently involve OAI personnel working in close collaboration with their research sponsors at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Dayton, Ohio, the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio and with a variety of industry clients.

OAI researchers have achieved a track record of significant success and recognition including patented technologies, books and book chapters, hundreds of publications, numerous customer commendations and even “R&D 100” awards.

OAI’s researchers are organized into focused Research Teams in the areas of:
Computational Modeling

The Computational Modeling Research Team's capabilities encompass the whole field of fluid dynamics modeling, and include several multi-disciplinary skills. Researchers are involved with the development of physical models for turbulence, transition to turbulence, chemical kinetics, the interaction between chemical kinetics and turbulence, detonation and acoustics. In the area of numerical modeling, their expertise includes the development of flow solvers, grid generation codes, visualization tools as well as techniques to efficiently implement physical models into a variety of different codes. In addition to modeling skills, there is a wealth of experience in the application of numerical modeling tools to the design and development process.

Examples include simulations of pulse detonation engines, jet engine combustors and turbines, jet noise prediction and flow control. In addition, there is experience in coupling this work to finite element structures codes, as well as application of algorithms to the computational electromagnetic field.

The team supports activities at NASA Glenn Research Center and also supports the Air Vehicles Directorate Center for Excellence in Computational Modeling (AFRL/RBAC) in Dayton, Ohio.

For additional information, please contact Ms. Ann Heyward, Executive Vice President at 440.962.3030 or AnnHeyward@oai.org.


Materials-Metallics and Composites

The Materials-Metallics and Composites Research Team has expertise in several areas of materials design, processing and characterization which have provided essential developments for aeropropulsion programs and could facilitate development and testing of novel materials and structural concepts for a wide range of current and future applications. Ranging from revolutionary, fundamental research to specific applications and development programs, these areas include:
  1. Computational materials modeling for atomistic analysis and design of new alloys (high-temperature intermetallics, superalloys, shape memory alloys) and surface phenomena (surface alloys, thin films), including software development for PC-based alloy design at the atomic level;
  2. Processing methods for advanced metallic materials, including optimization of processing parameters for new copper-based alloys for the Next Generation Space Launch Technology program at NASA GRC;
  3. Microstructure/property relationships for ceramic matrix composites focusing on the constituent, architecture, and environment effects on the mechanical behavior of SiC/SiC composites and use of modal acoustic emission to characterize sources of local damage accumulation;
  4. Development and characterization of high-temperature alloys, including NiAl-base composites, foam sandwich structures for fan containment, ultralight high-temperature alloys and lightweight fan blade materials;
  5. Modeling in the nanoscale, introducing novel approaches for the formation of nanostructures (particles, wires, etc.); and
  6. Development of high-temperature alloys for specialized applications such as aircraft engines or structures, including process development and refinement coordinated with mechanical data collection to determine optimal combinations of processing and heat treatment for specific property requirements.
Team efforts include smart materials for use in high-temperature environments and experimental and theoretical work on new alloys expected to withstand temperatures up to 500°C while maintaining shape recovery and proper strength.

For additional information, please contact Ms. Ann Heyward, Executive Vice President at 440.962.3030 or AnnHeyward@oai.org.


Materials-Polymers

The Materials-Polymers Research Team, led by Dr. E. Eugene Shin, is focused on the development of molecularly engineered advanced polymeric materials and composites from design to end-use applications—including synthesis, characterization, process optimization, component design and prototyping, manufacturing optimization, and performance-durability evaluation and prediction for aeronautics, space, marine, auto, medical, and other applications.

High-performance materials include:
  • Polymers for high-temperature polymer matrix composites, e.g., polyimide families with higher temperature capabilities, improved hydrothermal and thermo-oxidative stability, and improved process ability for various processes including Resin Transfer Molding (RTM)
  • Specialty polymers including supramolecular materials, fluorescent molecules, and photo-responsive smart materials with noble synthesis processes
  • Nanocomposites or nanotechnology-based materials for both high and low temperature applications; the purification and fabrication of carbon nanotubes, and ultra-high thermal conductivity nanocomposite sheet forms for electronic thermal management
  • Polymer electrolyte materials for fuel cells, batteries, and ultra-sensitive sensors
  • Reinforced aerogels such as low density nanocasted or cross-linked aerogels, polymer-silica aerogel composite materials for thermal and structural applications
  • Lightweight high-performance materials, e.g., controlled stiffness and high-temperature capability, such as PMC-metal honeycomb sandwich structures and PMC-Carbon Foam Heat Exchangers
Performance and durability evaluation include:
  • In-service simulation testing, e.g., rapid heat-up thermal cycling, long-term thermal aging within a controlled environment, and accelerated aging
  • Fundamental aging mechanisms, characterization of damage mechanisms, and structure-process-property relations in various scales ranging from nanomaterial to structural levels
For additional information, please contact Dr. E. Eugene Shin, Research Team Leader, at 216.433.2544 or
EugeneShin@oai.org


Structures

The Structures Research Team, led by Dr. Sreeramesh Kalluri, has a wide variety of skills in mechanics and durability assessment of structural materials, structural optimization, and adaptive seals technology/smart materials. Such a diverse expertise enables the team to provide high-value design solutions to complex structural problems. The team members possess several years of experience in assessing the durability of high temperature structural materials (superalloys, intermetallics, composite materials, and coatings) used in aeronautical and space propulsion systems.

The Structures Research Team is involved in both experimentally characterizing and analytically estimating the deformation, fatigue, and fracture behaviors of these high-temperature structural materials. Technical areas of competency in this category include:
  1. Development of testing methodologies for high-temperature materials;
  2. Thermal and stress analyses of structural elements with finite element and boundary integral methods;
  3. Cyclic life estimation with fatigue crack initiation models and fracture mechanics; and
  4. Failure analysis of test specimens as well as structural elements with fractographic and metallographic techniques.
Specialist competency in design optimization and structural analysis rests with the team’s internationally recognized expert in the integrated force method (IFM). Particular multi-functional expertise exists in shape memory alloys, active (sensing/actuating) thermo-electro-magnetic materials, seals, and structures composed of these materials. Some of the recent accomplishments include patent applications for 1) the Self-Sealing, Smart, Variable Area Nozzle (S3VAN) (LEW-17494-1) and 2) the Torsional Magnetorheological Fluid Resistant Device (TMRFRD) (LEW-17510-1). General analytical/simulation capabilities exist in thermomechanics, manufacturing processes, and dynamics.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Sreeramesh Kalluri, Research Team Leader, at 216.433.6727 or SreerameshKalluri@oai.org


Turbomachinery and Propulsion Systems

The Turbomachinery and Propulsion Systems Research Team is led by Dr. Andrew L. Gyekenyesi. Multiple disciplines are included within the Turbomachinery and Propulsion Systems Team. Concerning the structures and materials arena, research is focused on: developing and enhancing nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques; developing and implementing diagnostic/prognostic health monitoring systems for aerospace components and systems; studying experimental and analytical mechanics in respect to advanced materials; and, performing critical aircraft safety research.

Efforts are also being carried out in the field of instrumentation and sensors. These efforts include designing and fabricating innovative, high-temperature silicon carbide (SiC) sensors and other electronics for monitoring aeronautical and space propulsion systems. Technologies such as planar optical diagnostics for flow field measurements, in-situ SiC emission monitoring sensor systems as well as the art of fabricating various, intricate SiC electronics and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are addressed. In addition, advanced optical techniques are applied for flow characterization. Experiments utilizing nozzle flow measurements allow for a better understanding of noise producing turbulence in turbojet engines as well as allowing for the verification of analytical models. Optical sensing techniques are also used for characterizing high-pressure flames within the combustors of turbine engines. Another arena for this team involves improving engine performance by enhancing numerical models related to gas flows in turbomachinery. In particular, design optimization and computational fluid dynamics are studied. Lastly, aircraft icing problems are dealt with by defining improved procedures for scaling in regard to subscale experiments and numerical analyses.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Andrew L. Gyekenyesi, Research Team Leader, at 216.443.8155 or AndrewGyekenyesi@oai.org


Space Science and Exploration Technologies

The Space Science and Exploration Technologies Research Team is led by Dr. James Gilland. The team has diverse expertise spanning theoretical and experimental research in plasma physics and conducting fluids, optical diagnostics, solid state physics and electromagnetic waves. These disciplines are currently focused on the areas of photovoltaic power, advanced space propulsion, space environmental effects, and terrestrial and space communications.

  • Space Power is involved with making solar cell devices in the OMVPE reactors, testing solar cells for arcing conditions in the Plasma Interactions Facility, and testing and designing electronics packages for space environments. There is also some limited capability in synthetic chemistry, quantum dot solar cells, and computer modeling.

  • Space Propulsion focuses on advanced plasma propulsion concepts, such as high power ion thrusters, electrodeless plasma generation, and megawatt-level electromagnetic thrusters. This thruster research is also applied to mission and systems analysis of advanced NASA missions.

  • Space Sciences deals with experimental investigations into fluid behavior in reduced gravity environments, such as in heat pipes or space power system fluid loops.

  • Space Communications examines communications for aviation via both terrestrial and satellite segments at HF through Ka frequency bands, through extensive component- and system-level development and testing.
For additional information, please contact Dr. James Gilland, Research Team Leader, at 440.962.3142 or JamesGilland@oai.org


Each team is led by a Research Team Manager, reporting directly to OAI’s Executive Vice President. OAI’s research staff members, depending on their educational qualifications and level of experience, fulfill positions as Researchers, Senior Researchers, Senior Scientists and Principal/Chief Scientists (in ascending order of career progression), meeting a variety of customer requirements for expertise at all levels.

OAI is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose purpose is to build Ohio’s aerospace economy through research and technology development, education and training, and collaboration and networking. OAI’s award-winning research has led to development of critical solutions and innovative technologies for a broad range of aerospace applications.