After graduating from Frederick High School in Frederick, MD, Alex attended the University of Maryland in pursuit of a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He was part of the College Park Scholars in the Arts program, Ballroom at Maryland competition team and played the Tenor Drums in the Mighty Sound of Maryland Marching Band. In the Spring of his junior year, Alex traveled to Sydney, Australia where he attended one semester at the University of Sydney. Alex’s true interest in aerospace research came from being a member of Sigma Gamma Tau and doing undergraduate research with Dr. Sean Humbert in bio-inspired flight control of MAVs. Alex’s hobbies include building and riding bicycles and motorcycles, playing the guitar, tennis, rock climbing, art, and surfing.
Title: Active Flow Control with Synthetic Jet Actuators Applied to Flapping Wings
Active flow control seeks to utilize smart materials to influence flow over a surface where less than desirable flow attributes are detected. Synthetic Jet Actuators (SJAs) are used to inject energy into weakened boundary layers by resonating a small vessel which re-energizes the immediate flow field. Significant research has been done to characterize the effects of SJAs by varying size, shape and frequency. However, little has been done to explore the effects of multiple SJAs on a larger flow field such as a lifting surface. This project seeks to discover the effect of an array of SJAs and its applications to flapping wing flight. First research must be done to optimize the layout of an array of SJAs and the actuation sequence that most influences nearby flow. Second, this optimization will be applied to the lifting surface of an ornithopter (flapping) wing. Ultimately, a closed loop sensing/activation system will be developed to mitigate flow separation during a Hover and Perch maneuver with an ornithopter.
With a father as a pilot and a mother as a scientific researcher, graduate studies with the Morpheus team couldn’t be a better fit, for now. Alex dreams of one day combining both of these genetically engrained passions by flying helicopters in the US Coast Guard, obtaining a PhD in Aerospace and utilizing both skill sets to further the field of flight.