Researcher explores new concepts for air transportation

May 20, 2014

Research under way at Clarkson University on possible configurations for green aircraft is resulting in designs that look a lot like nothing most people would imagine. The future calls for out-of-the-box thinking however—and Clarkson's motto is "defy convention"—so researchers there have a head start on innovation.

Pier Marzocca, of mechanical & aeronautical engineering in the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering at Clarkson, discusses advances in air transportation in the May 7 issue of SAE International. The article is based on a technical paper that he co-wrote along with Clarkson graduate student Casey Stockbridge and Allesandro Ceruti of the University of Bologna. In part, it discusses a process called (RP). (Read the full article at http://bit.ly/1n6SdPf , page 6.)

"Rapid prototyping is revolutionizing the way products are designed and manufactured," Marzocca says. "This enables us to identify possible mistakes and misfits in parts so solutions can be found and corrected more rapidly and economically. We use it often to produce models that can be tested in wind tunnel."  

In a general sense, RP is an additive manufacturing process, he adds, and a research group from Clarkson recently received funding from NYSERDA to improve current the state-of-the-art metal additive manufacturing process.

This project, led by Marzocca and Assistant Professors of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Ajit Achuthan and James Gibert, is in collaboration with General Electric and the U.S. DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory, among others.

The new unconventional airship research was inspired by the European-funded project MAAT (a Multibody Advanced Airship for Transport concept) led by University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. MAAT is a green transportation system with zero emission, powered by photovoltaic and fuel cells, using hydrogen as lifting gas.

Marzocca received his doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from Politecnico di Torino, Italy, and worked as a postdoctoral researcher and visiting assistant professor in Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech before joining the Clarkson faculty in 2003. He has been working in the field of aerospace engineering since 1996.

He was recently awarded a visiting professor research fellowship from the Sapienza University of Rome, where he is spending the summer. "This fellowship will allow our group to continue research in exciting areas of green and also explore collaborative opportunities in Europe, particularly in the aerospace and renewable energy arena," he says.

Explore further: Meeting the global need for clean cook stoves

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Meeting the global need for clean cook stoves

May 19, 2014

At some point, everyone's ancestors depended on a three-stone fire. It's exactly what the name suggests: three stones of roughly the same size that hold cookware over an open flame.

New insights into cell death

Mar 18, 2011

A Cardiff team has contributed to a study of a novel model of cell death which helps to explain how cells in the breast die through an archaic mechanism that is relevant to breast cancer.

Recommended for you

Tiny UAVs and hummingbirds are put to test

11 hours ago

Hummingbirds in nature exhibit expert engineering skills, the only birds capable of sustained hovering. A team from the US, British Columbia, and the Netherlands have completed tests to learn more about the ...

Printing the metals of the future

Jul 29, 2014

3-D printers can create all kinds of things, from eyeglasses to implantable medical devices, straight from a computer model and without the need for molds. But for making spacecraft, engineers sometimes need ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) May 20, 2014
a picture or two would have been nice....