Winner of the AHS 2015 Robert Lichten Award - Southern Region
Aerospace engineering doctoral student Kevin Jacobson has been chosen as the winner of the American Helicopter Society's (AHS) 2015 Robert Lichten Award for the Southern Region.
The win means that Jacobson, 23, is invited to submit his paper, "Advanced Hybrid-CFD Techniques with Non-Contiguous Grids" for consideration in the national Lichten competition, where he will be up against nine other student scholars. The winner of that competition will be invited to present at the AHS 71st Forum and Technology Display in Virginia this May.
Joining Jacobson on the medal stand was fellow AE grad student Etienne Demers Bouchard, whose presentation, "Design Space Exploration of a Reconfigurable Rotor Helicopter Concept" was given the rare distinction of "runner-up" in the Southern Region competition.
Etienne Demers Bouchard
Runner-up for the 2015 Lichten Award -Southern Region
Should Jacobson not submit a paper for the national competition, Bouchard will be invited to submit his work.
"The competition was fierce," said Professor Marilyn Smith, who witnessed the presentations. "The judges had a hard time making their decisions because of the high quality of the research and presentations."
Jacobson said his work focuses on the development of a simpler, less costly way of testing new rotor designs.
"To model a rotor, you typically have to model all of the area around it," he said. "And that involves big CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations that can take a long time."
"With non-contiguous grids, we are making the area of testing a lot tighter. We're measuring the area around the blades, but not the wake."
The tighter focus allows researchers to capture the complex wave features of the blades without bogging them down in time-consuming analyses of extraneous area.
"We expected to lose some accuracy, but, really, we didn't," said Jacobson.
Bouchard's presentation looks at the feasibility of using multiple, vertical lift-off and landing aircraft to hoist a tethered payload that, itself, holds the electrical source of power.
"Electric propulsion allows us to explore new design opportunities," said Bouchard. "In practice, it would be very helpful lifting payloads over locations where you cannot land a traditional aircraft."