AME was one of the selected schools to be featured on the TECAID Webiste with WEPAN. This website focuses on transforming engineering culture to advance inclusion and diversity. TECAID is an active program in which engineers can learn about the environment they are in, while learning about their skills and knowledge. They focus on how to create the best personalized experience for their engineers.

We are now highlighted in multiple Webinars (2 and 3) along with a photo of the OU team. An interview was done with our director, Dr. Zahed Saddique. The interview can be found at this link:

We would like thank Phil Dineen who served as TECAID’s web designer and ASME who provided funds to make these final updates possible.

This past Friday, AME had the honor of observing a presentation from Auburn professor Russell W. Mailen Ph.D. Mailen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace engineering at Auburn University. His research focuses on the time-dependent properties of polymers, polymer composites, and computational modeling of shape memory polymers.

His presentation was over Thermo-Mechanical Behavior of Light Stimulated Shape Memory Polymer Sheets. In general, he is researching self-folding systems that use heat to cause motion. His research objectives include:

  • Formulating and implementing a coupled thermo-mechanical model into a 3D nonlinear finite element framework
  • Model material recovery in response to heat. (Validate model through uniform shrinkage and Demonstrate hinged folding which is critical for self-folding origami)


  • Generalize model for different coupled thermal and mechanical loading conditions to obtain optimized origami structures (Optimize structures by control of thermos-mechanical response to external stimuli)


Thanks to Professor Yingtao Liu who reached out to Mailen to come to OU and thanks to him for an interesting and dynamic presentation!

If you are interested in more information on his research, here is his abstract:

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) represent a class of active materials that can change shape in response to external stimuli such as heat, light, and solvents. Although SMPs have many applications, we are primarily interested in using the material as environmentally responsive actuators for self-folding origami structures. Previously, we developed a method to activate SMPs using light. Ink patterned on the polymer surface absorbs thermal energy from an infrared (IR) light which results in localized heating and shrinking of the sheet. The shrinking behavior can be harnessed to produce folded and curved structures. We investigate the thermo-mechanical response of this system by developing a three-dimensional (3D), non-linear finite element model. This model accounts for external heat sources, such as the IR light, as well as internal heat generation caused by dissipation of viscous energy. The model shows how the coupled thermo-mechanical loading conditions affect folding and unfolding of SMP sheets in response to localized heating in ink patterned regions. We conduct a parametric study of sheet thickness, hinge width, degree of pre-strain, and hinge surface temperature, and we demonstrate methods for generating 3D, curved structures. Self-folding can be used to obtain 3D structures from planar sheets for an array of applications, including medical stents, antennas, and engineered, origami applications, such as space telescopes.

Dr. Chung-Hao Lee and Dr. Yingtao Liu have received an award from the Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. It is a $45,000 award from the State of Oklahoma for the research project titled “(HR) Novel Shape Memory Polymer Devices for Optimal Endovascular Embolization of Intracranial Aneurysms.”

The collaborative team for this interdisciplinary research has been established among bioengineer Dr. Chung-Hao Lee, material scientist Dr. Yingtao Liu, and neurosurgeon Dr. Bradley Bohnstedt (OUHSC), as well as student researchers in various engineering disciplines of the Gallogly College of Engineering. This project is currently supported by the 2017 Gallogly SEED Funding for Interdisciplinary Research, Faculty Investment Program (FIP) sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Pilot Research Program from the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources (OSCTR).

The project is the development of a novel medical device for surgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms. Incidental rupture of an intracranial aneurysm results in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), which causes about 10% of an individual’s death before reaching medical attention. The overall objective of this research project is to identify objective hemodynamic and biomechanical criteria derived from predictive computer simulations for designing embolic devices and to develop the prototypes of embolic devices using aliphatic urethane shape memory polymers (SMPs), which possess excellent shape memory property, as a novel therapeutic technique for patient-specific endovascular embolization of intracranial aneurysms. The developed SMP foam-based embolic devices are expected to achieve short preparation time, optimal complete occlusion, and a significantly reduced rate of aneurysm recurrence. The development of such innovative technologies is expected to be beneficial to the healthcare of Americans with a stroke history and will dramatically reduce the corresponding in-hospital expenditure.

Tuesday September 11th, we had the honor of listening to David Bert give Career Fair and Resume advise for this week’s career fair. The Engineering Career Fair is Thursday September 13th from 12:30-4:30 at Lloyd Nobel Center.  David Bert is the Vice President of Drilling at Chesapeake Energy Corporation and had a lot of real world advise to give to our students.

Career Fair Advise:

  • Victim vs. Leader – Make yourself a Leader while pursuing a career. Execute your goals rather than procrastinate, concentrate rather than being distracted, and embrace change instead of resisting it.
  • Utilize OU Career services help – Use HireSooner and Handshake to apply for jobs and internships.
  • Before the career fair make sure to do your research – Know about the companies you are interested in. (Their current research, jobs available, dress code they expect)
  • Have a goal! – Know your own career interests and be confident as you talk to employers.
  • Keep in mind that you are competing with students from other universities. It takes a lot of effort so do not be discouraged and keep looking.
  • Internships are key!!! – Internships are a pipeline to a permanent job. Most companies like to hire students who they have already had as an intern.
  • Use unconventional job search engines – apply online, subscribe to industry publications, work with AME and see how they can help you.
  • Ask smart questions while showing passion and interest in their company.

Resume Advise:

  • Ultimate goal: Get an Interview! You want your employer to look at it for 8 seconds to get a good idea of what you have to bring to the table.
  • Always include an objective or position if possible
  • Include accomplishments, not just responsibilities – What differentiates you?
  • Be prepaid to explain your summer activities and what you did.
  • Maximize related skills with a combination of your GPA and classes.

AME wishes everyone luck for the Career Fair! Y’all will do great!!!!

At the ASME’s 2018 IDETC, Design Automation Conference, Lin Guo’s paper was recognized as a Paper of Distinction. This paper is one of 20 invited papers to appear in a special issue of the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design. Thomas Neeson and Hamed Zamanisabzi from the School of Geography, also contributed to this paper.

Lin Guo studies Industrial and Systems Engineering and is a Ph.D. candidate, starting her third year. The title of her paper is “Managing Conflicting Water Resource Goals and Uncertainties in a Dam Network by Exploring the Solution Space.” ASME Design Automation Conference, Quebec City, Canada.  Paper Number:  DETC2018-86018, L. Guo, H. Zamanisabzi, T. Neeson, J. Allen and F. Mistree , 2018.

Guo began with research of dams and reservoirs and asked the question “do they meet our expectations?”. After further research learning of the damage, death, and costly hazards faulty dam and reservoir networks can cause, she worked towards a solution of how to improve the conditions.

The most difficult part of her research was using industrial-engineering knowledge to improve a social-ecological system. This required expertise in both industrial engineering and geography so that she could give added-value in both domains. Guo had to create value to multiple groups in a way that everyone understands. She said that this challenge was also her favorite part of the process. With her coauthors from the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, she was provided valuable knowledge to keep her work on track. She wants to thank OU for giving her tons of opportunities searching for collaborations and the chance to find a multi-disciplinary project.

Guo is a member of SRL at OU and has used her opportunities and advisors to further her knowledge through laboratory work, academic research, and writing. She enjoys the multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural working environment, having the chance to collaborate with scholars and experts in design, manufacturing, data science in universities or industry in different countries.

If you are interested in learning more about Lin Guo’s research, here is the abstract:

“In a multi-reservoir system, ensuring adequate water availability across reservoirs while managing conflicting goals is critical to making the social-ecological system sustainable in the presence of considerable uncertainty. The priorities of multiple user-groups and availability of the water resource may vary with time, weather and other factors. Uncertainties such as variations in precipitation bring more complexity, which intensifies the discrepancies between water supply and water demand for each user-group. To reduce such discrepancies, we seek to satisfice conflicting goals, considering typical uncertainties.
We observe that models are incomplete and inaccurate, which calls into question using a single point solution and suggests the need for solutions which are robust to uncertainties. So, we explore satisficing solutions that are relatively insensitive to uncertainties, by incorporating different design preferences, identifying sensitive segments and improving the design accordingly. In this article we present an example of the exploration of the solution space to enhance sustainability in multi-disciplinary systems, when goals conflict, preferences are evolving, and uncertainties add complexity.”



This past labor day weekend, the University of Oklahoma launched three rockets at the Kansas Kloudbusters’ Airfest event. A student research team lead by Dr. Thomas Hays performed the launches.

The research role is to fly a variety of material testing payloads under real flight conditions for the customer.   The top segment of the rocket is a general purpose volume that can be easily changed to fit their devices.  In addition to our UGRA students, Dr. Hays brought along Boomer Rocket Team leadership and some AE capstone leaders to make the best use of this opportunity to spread knowledge.

Dr. Hays commented that he is “happy to say our students represented the university very well in all aspects during the weekend!  The general manager of Aerotech rocket motors came running and tripping across the field to congratulate us on the rocket structure holding together under the thrust of his M6000 motor.” OU’s research team is the first civilian group to launch successfully on that design.

The AME department would like to thank the donor who provided the REPF truck that made the event possible.

Dr. Hays’ research team will be having a meeting in the next two weeks to set out their future goals and funding!

Assistant Professor Andrea L’Afflitto Ph.D. has received the prestigious DARPA Young Faculty Award. The objective of this program is to identify and engage research in faculty positions by providing funding, mentoring and industry contacts. Professor L’Afflitto’s main interests in research in state and output-feedback optimal control theory for aerospace and mechanical engineering. This specific research project is going to focusing on training a drone that can be used for military purposes.

DARPA takes research proposals every year to give grant awards. They focus on the candidate and their backgrounds to make sure the research will be successful. L’Affitto prepared a pre-selection one-page summary of his research plan and then submitted a full proposal. He will have collaborator from Penn State, Eric Johnson, a very distinguished professor.

Today, drones fly in a straight line from point A to Point B, but if these need to be employed in combat scenarios or situations the involved the element of an animal or an opponent they may impede the goal of the mission. The ultimate goal is to find the best trajectory. The idea of his research is to mimic the behavior of prey animals. For example, a prey animal tries to avoid direct sunlight or tries to walk as close as possible to walls so that it can conceal its presence. To some extent this is the behavior that some ground troops have when they move around, trying to walk close to walls and hide their presence as much as possible. L’Affitto will work towards teaching a drone how to behave in such a manor. The drone should be able to understand its surroundings and respond accordingly. So, if the target is not reachable and there is a constraint of completing the mission, the drone could seek shelter, land, and wait for better conditions.

This research will have many challenges for L’Affitto to face, however he has a strong team to support him. The project started in July and will last for 2 years. If the program manager is satisfied with his research, they may recommend him for the presidential award which is even more prestigious. He says this is incentive to do even better.

L’Affitto’s final comments on this project:

“I am more thrilled than excited because the project is ambitious. Defiantly, the greatest challenge is instilling some kind of reasoning within a machine, in particular to a machine that is light weight and small, low power. Drones have the same power as a laptop from 4 years ago. I want to believe it can be done with my great collaborator and very motivated students, so I have a sense to believe that we will make it.”

Last Friday, we had the Shell Fall Festival at the Engineering quad where students had the opportunity to learn more about the different student organizations within AME and also get advice on how to thrive as an Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering major. One of the highlights included the dunk booth where students got to dunk their professors into the water tank! Here are some highlights and the different organizations to get involved with.

AIAA – American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

A community of Aerospace Engineering students working with the governement, industry, and acedemia to achieve goals for the school and peers.


AMSE – American Society of Mechanical Engineers


Boomer Rocket Team

Partake in competions on local and national levels, offer opportunties to students to explore Aerospace and other STEM opportinties not in the classroom, and have fun with students in your field!


Crimson Skies Design Build Fly

Design, fabricate, and test an R/C aircraft for various competitions.


Graduate Student Community (GSC)

Made up of graduate students at AME to spotlight their work and research.


Sooner Off Road (SOR)

Student competition team that builds off road racing cars and attends competitions each year.


Sooner Powered Vehicle (SPV)

Compete in challenges with the OU team using human powered vehicles.


Sooner Racing Team (SRT)

Compete in events across the US with OU while developing a Formula SAE race car.

Engineering Fraternaties:

Pi Tau Sigma – National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society

Sigma Gamma Tau – National Aerospace Engineering Honor Society

Blake Anderson is a first year Masters student in Aerospace engineering and had the opportunity to work at the Army Research Lab for the Autonomous Systems Division in Aberdeen, Maryland. He was selected as one of the top 8 undergraduate student interns among the six directorates of the Army Research Lab.  Blake was recognized with other selected graduate and undergraduate students working as intern at ARL from all over the country.

Blake explained how it was his second summer to work for the ARL and was an extremely valuable opportunity to work with experienced researchers on cutting edge projects. The experienced arrose directly from a collaboration with Dr. L’Afflitto’s lab at OU, where they worked together on designing advanced autopilots for small flying vehicles. Dr. L’Afflitto said “with his exceptional work, he has brought a relevant contribution to my research partners at ARL, my lab, and AME in general”. During his internship, the ARL let Blake sit in on meetings, provided travel assitance to attend conferences, and even provided tours to see other research work at ARL. Blake says “It was a great experience to see how a national lab operates, and I highly recommend any student interested in research to apply for similar internships.”

Blake works at the Advanced Control Systems Lab (ACSL) at OU, which is part of a big collaboration with the Army Research Lab and several other universities called the Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance (RCTA). This summer, he attended a huge conference in Philadelphia where research by leading universities such as MIT and CalTech was presented. Blake said it was awesome to see OU on the same stage as these groups.

He wants to pursue applied research when he graduates. Working alongside experienced researches at a top national lab has given him the experience and motavation to keep pursuing his goal. ARL taught him how to work on challenging and innovative projects while collaborating with people from other groups who had differenet background and skill sets.


A Norman based startup company, Next Frontier LLC, received nearly a million dollars in funding from US Department of Defense through the STTR program. Next Frontier LLC is focused on developing innovative software relevant to design of next generation hypersonic vehicles. Dr. Prakash Vedula is the Founder and CEO of Next Frontier LLC. He is also a Professor in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at University of Oklahoma (OU). His journey into exploration of high-impact fundamental research and entrepreneurship for the benefit of the local community and the nation at large is sure to inspire other entrepreneurs in the OU community.

Dr. Vedula and his research group pursue high-risk research relevant to fundamental discoveries and innovations in computational algorithms applicable to a broad class of complex systems in nature and engineering. One of the long-term objectives of his research is to enable development of intelligent and energy-efficient complex systems via integration of fundamental knowledge with fast and innovative algorithms for prediction control and sensor fusion for real-time applications.

His recent startup focuses on development of fast and innovative algorithms for prediction of complex flow behavior relevant to hypersonic flows. Product innovations relevant to these algorithms will not only enable efficient design of hypersonic vehicles but will also fill an important need in the context of national security. From recent news and events around the world, it appears that there has been increased emphasis to strengthen the US position in global hypersonic battlespace and Dr. Vedula believes that his company’s product could be a key player in this context.

At a community level, Dr. Vedula believes that there is a great opportunity to make an impact (beyond job creation) in the great state of Oklahoma. He thinks that the environment for entrepreneurship is very promising in Norman. He believes that such an entrepreneurship friendly environment could not have been possible without the visionary efforts of many leaders (and donors) in the university and local community. His company has close collaborations with the OU Gallogly College of Engineering and Tom Love Innovation Hub, Norman Economic Development Coalition and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Engineering dean Tom Landers says “the Gallogly College of Engineering leads the Norman campus in bringing scientific discoveries and technology to our innovation ecosystem through invention disclosures, patents and startups. Daniel Pullin, dean of Michael F. Price College of Business, said “Dr. Vedula’s intellectual leadership, energy, and enthusiasm are emblematic of the growing innovation ecosystem we are creating at the University of Oklahoma. His engagement with the Tom Love Innovation Hub and other collaborators is catalyzing the future economy of Oklahoma and advancing the global competitiveness of the nation.” Tom Wavering, Executive Director of Tom Love Innovation Hub, said “The mission of the Tom Love Innovation Hub is to increase innovation and entrepreneurship and Dr. Vedula is a great example of our model at work. We are so excited for his success and proud to have been a critical resource to help him realize his vision and secure SBIR/STTR funding for Next Frontier, LLC.”

Next Frontier LLC is also part of a business incubator program, Startup 405, operated by the Norman Economic Development Coalition (NEDC). Maureen Hammond, Vice President of NEDC said, “It is exciting to see the results of our joint efforts to cultivate entrepreneurial activity materialize through success stories such as Next Frontier LLC. Dr. Vedula’s leadership and commitment to research and development of his innovative products will have a considerable impact within the state of Oklahoma and nation, yielding job, knowledge and wealth creation.”

The abstract of Phase I award titled “Computational tools for reliable prediction of complex hypersonic flows, reads: In order to enable reliable predictions based on full scale vehicle simulations relevant to high-speed ISR missions, detailed interactions among various nonequilibrium physical phenomena and their coupling to turbulent flow structures, characterized by a broad range of length/time scales, need to be accurately modeled. Although detailed predictions can be obtained using detailed state-to-state kinetics in conjunction with numerical schemes of high order accuracy in space and time, the computational cost associated with it is prohibitively high. The focus of this STTR project is to address some challenges in existing tools for prediction of nonequilibrium laminar hypersonic flows via development of a high-order accurate hypersonic flow code with capabilities for both detailed state-to-state kinetics and reduced order models of state-to-state kinetics based on coarse graining. Novel contributions in this project include: (a) high-fidelity tools based on high-order accurate formulations of hypersonic flow predictions with detailed state kinetics, along with relevant code development and implementation, (b) development and implementation of low/variable fidelity tools based on novel coarse grained models for state-to-state kinetics, (c) development of modules for assessment of performance of reduced order models of state-kinetics and (d) development of criteria for model selection based on local flow and/or thermochemical nonequilibrium conditions.

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