Professors in aerospace engineering earn NASA EPSCoR grant

Published: January 25, 2023

Article body

Self-folding polymer sheets may enable lightweight mechanical actuators used to open and close antennas, deploy solar arrays or unfurl solar sails in space. However, this poses many questions on the behavior of these smart materials in space environments. For example, how does microgravity impact the self-folding dynamics of shape memory polymer sheets?

This is the question Russell Mailen and Davide Guzzetti, assistant professors in aerospace engineering, are determined to answer in their recently awarded NASA Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, Suborbital study, “Activation of Self-Folding Origami in Microgravity Environment.”

EPSCoR grants enable recipients to conduct research aimed at developing long-term, competitive capabilities in aerospace, according to NASA.

“Receiving this NASA EPSCoR grant reflects years of hard work and a continuous and growing collaboration between myself and Dr. Guzzetti,” Mailen said. “The EPSCoR grant represents an investment in the research capabilities of Auburn University and our laboratories. In addition, the grant provides us an opportunity to advance the field of shape memory polymer actuators for deployment of space structures.”

Read the full story.

Submitted by: Joe McAdory