Travis King | Iowa State University
Ames Research Center | June 5 – August 11, 2017
WHAT WERE THE GOALS OF THE PROJECT?
The goal of my project was to create a methodology and framework to convert complex structural models of wings into equivalent cantilever beam models. This framework will derive the wing’s structural stiffness, and allow for the high level optimization of these structural properties.
DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DID DURING THE INTERNSHIP?
First, I completed a literature review over the basics of the PAAW project, and the VCCTEF. I reviewed several of the publications of my team and specifically those related to the structural analysis of the wing. Then, I began my own research and literature review into projects similar to mine and relevant equations from a Mechanics of Materials textbook. I then began testing some of these methods using back of the envelope calculations, and eliminated many of the possibilities. I then began writing Matlab scripts to analyze simple example cantilever beams given by my mentor. I began with simple straight beams with constant properties, then with straight beams with non constant properties, and the last test of my framework was on a non straight beam. These tests allowed me to prove that my methods would work on a complex model, such as a NASTRAN model. The last of my internship was spent documenting and streamlining my code. This will allow for the group I worked with to learn my method, improve upon it, and adjust it to integrate with data from a NASTRAN model.
WHAT WERE THE RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS?
The result of my internship work were successful proofs of my method on complex example beam models. This proof showed that my developed framework and methodology could perform the high level optimization required.
WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS?
I learned a couple lessons from my experience as an intern at NASA. First, that heavily theoretical research work takes the form of sprints and lulls. I found that I would hit a dead end and be looking for an answer for quite a while, and it would feel like I wasn’t accomplishing much. Then, I would find an, or several, answers and I would progress a lot in a short amount of time. Second, that it was normal and acceptable that I did not accomplish the full extent of my research goals. I did not get to work with NASTRAN as much as I would have liked or to fine tune my methodology, but my mentor assured me that he appreciated what I had accomplished and that my work would be used in the group. Finally, I ultimately learned that I enjoyed the work that I was doing, and I would like to do more research work in the future.