Dr. Pedro Cortes has been awarded a Summer Faculty Fellowship to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where he will spend 10 weeks working in the area of smart materials. Dr. Cortes will be working with the adaptive research group in the Materials & Manufacturing Directorate. The current fellowship is an extension of work carried out during the summer of 2011 which resulted in a technical paper presented at the SPIE (the International Society of Optics and Photonics) conference in San Diego, CA.
Funding for this work also comes from the Ohio Space Grant Consortium, which is part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program administrated through the Office of Education at NASA Headquarters.
Dr. Cortes and his team (George Kubas a student from Chemical Engineering and Eric Schubert a student from Civil Engineering) are currently investigating morphing structures for the aerospace sector. They have developed a novel adaptive structure that is activated by internal smart tubes that induce geometrical modifications on the shape of the structure. The novel morphing structure is able to hold a temporary structural configuration without continuous thermal supply, and is capable of returning to its original shape in less than a second by passing a cold fluid through the internal smart tubing system. This new breed of adaptive material opens the possibility of lightweight morphing materials for the transportation sector.