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About Us

We are innovation-minded faculty, staff and students on a journey together of scholarship and discovery, passionate about learning and solving emerging government and industry aerospace propulsion and power challenges. We approach learning with a cohesive, application-based curriculum and research emphasizing piston and gas turbine engines for unmanned aerial system (UAS) platforms, including engine, airframe, subsystem and payload integration. 


Our Curriculum 

  • MAE 4010 Independent Research 

    Inquiry-Based Learning


    Select undergraduate students have the opportunity to research a current, authentic technical challenge related to aerospace propulsion and power.  This hands-on learning experience includes a literature review, design of an experiment, fabrication and assembly of a test article, data collection and reduction, analysis and publication of results in a technical conference paper.  The course objectives are to provide students with graduate-level experience and to explore potential research areas for further study.

  • MAE 4243 Aerospace Propulsion & Power

    Gas Turbine Engine Cycle Design


    This senior undergraduate aerospace propulsion and power design course is taught in coordination with two other senior undegraduate design courses on aircraft structures and stability and control.  The three classes collaborate on a single, authentic design project with relevance to current or emerging military and/or commercial requirements.  The 3-part design project integrated throughout the course provides a great learning experience with preliminary design processes (mission and cycle analysis) utilized by practicing engine designers.  


    The course focuses on aerospace propulsion and power engines that utilize a gas as the working fluid. By successfully completing MAE 4243, students possess the ability to explain basic propulsion principles and apply fundamental relations through preliminary aircraft engine cycle design and analysis.  Students are expected to be able to demonstrate the following capabilities:

    • Apply control volume and fundamental aero-thermodynamic principles to analyze and describe propulsion systems and components.
    • Explain and perform single-point, on-design performance analysis of a variety of air-breathing propulsion and power systems, including ramjets, turbojets, turbofans, and other internal combustion engines through aero-thermodynamic parametric cycle analysis.
    • Explain and perform off-design engine performance analysis to characterize operation of a variety of gas turbine power systems including the effects of inlet, compressor, burner, turbine, and nozzle technology levels.
    • Apply design tools to solve an authentic open-ended problem, including engine performance optimization on a specified mission profile and report results through effective written and oral communication.
    • Explain contemporary issues constraining the design space of gas propulsion and power systems, addressing the impact of engineering solutions in a societal context



    • ENSC 3233 Fluid Mechanics
    • MAE 3293 Compressible Fluid Flow

    Course textbook:  Elements of Propulsion: Gas Turbines and Rockets (2nd Edition) by Jack D. Mattingly and Keith M. Boyer.

  • MAE 5973 Unmanned Aerial System Propulsion

    Project-Based Learning


    This graduate course covers propulsion topics related to Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). These will include: historical perspective on UAS propulsion systems; classification of propulsion types; propulsion requirements for UAS; propeller performance and design; rotor performance and design; internal combustion engine (ICE) performance; heavy-fuel ICE; ICE muffler design and performance; electric motor performance; hybrid-electric engine performance; fuel cell engine performance; flapping wing propulsion; jet engine fundamentals; propulsion system integration and installation effects.
    The choice of propulsion system for is a crucial decision in the design process of UAS. As such, a thorough understanding of the propulsion choices and their associated performance is needed. The course objectives are to provide students with knowledge of classes of UAS propulsion options that fit the requirements for the total system design. This includes understanding how vehicle performance is affected by the propulsion choice and its integration with the airframe. Since a large number of UAS rely on propeller as the prime mover, the student will learn how to analyze and design propellers for performance and low acoustic signature. Rotor propulsion systems will be examined for vertical takeoff and landing UAS. Further objectives are to provide the student with the knowledge of the basic performance analysis of specific propulsion systems such as: IC engines, Electric motors, hybrid electric motors, fuel cells, and jet propulsion. Moreover how these different propulsion systems affect the vehicle design requirements such as range, payload capacity, endurance, and stealth. Finally, the student will be exposed experimental determination of IC engine performance measurements by conducting a laboratory incorporates a dynamometer and axial thrust load cells. Furthermore, allow students to perform research and present data in front of an audience.
    Upon successful completion of the course, students are expected to be able to demonstrate the following capabilities:

    • Define, discuss, and apply the above concepts.
    • Estimate the performance requirements and specifications of the propulsion system of a given UAS
    • Develop and apply appropriate trade studies for the propulsion system of a UAS.
    • Measure/quantify the performance of a ICE and propeller propulsion system
    • Apply these concepts to a specific unmanned system design project
    • Improvement in research and presentation skills

    Course textbook: Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals by John Heywood.

  • MAE 5343 Advanced Aerospace Propulsion & Power

    Gas Turbine Engine Component Design


    This is the second course in an aerospace propulsion and power sequence.  It is an applications-, project-based course focused on detailed design of gas turbine engine components.  Topics include aerodynamic and structural design of major engine components including inlets, fans, compressors, combustors, turbines, mixers, afterburners, and nozzles.  Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and structural design analyses of the components for turbojet, high-bypass turbofan and mixed-flow turbofan engines.  Homework assignments involve complete component-level design of an engine cycle proposed by students in MAE 4243.  Students also work in teams to complete a research project, publishing results in a technical conference paper.


    Upon successful completion of MAE 5343, students should have the ability to:

    • Apply control volume and fundamental aero-thermodynamic and structural analyses to the design of turbojet, high-bypass turbofan, and mixed-flow turbofan engines and their components.
    • Demonstrate sound engineering analyses, including an ability to assess impact of assumptions, and reasonableness of solution. 

    Pre-requisite:  MAE 4243 Aerospace Propulsion & Power


    Course textbooks:

    • Aircraft Engine Design (2nd Edition) by Jack D. Mattingly, William H. Heiser, and David T. Pratt.
    • Elements of Propulsion:  Gas Turbines and Rockets (2nd Edition) by Jack D. Mattingly and Keith M. Boyer.
  • MAE 4374 Capstone Design 

    Aerospace Propulsion Outreach Program

    • Air Force Research Laboratory
    • Aerospace Systems Directorate
    • Turbine Engine Division

    Started in 2009, currently in 8 universities.

    • Funded undergraduate capstone experience at universities across the country.
    • Students design, build, and test modifications for a small turbine engine.
    • Topic historically chosen by participating schools.
    • Engines are compared and tested at Wright Patterson Air Force Base at the end of the year.
    • Final poster session with AFRL scientists and engineers.


    2018-2019 APOP Project

    • Increase thrust to weight ratio on a JetCat P100-RXi small turbine engine.
    • Engines are provided by AFRL to each school using an Educational Partnering Agreement.
    • Budget is $12,000 plus $5,000 to schools that must fly their teams to WPAFB for test week.
    • Project manager will visit each school in Nov/Dec to attend design reviews and provide customer input.

    Full PDF

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