What is the overall goal of your project?

This transformative research effort will explore new engineering tools and materials demonstrating that small-scale distributed structural adaptivity can enable robust low boom performance in supersonic aircraft operating in changing flight conditions. The Texas A&M leadership is natural for this effort given its many previous interdisciplinary research successes and long history of “smart materials and structures” developments and supersonics/hypersonics exploration.

Which grand challenge are you addressing?

To enable commercially-viable civil supersonic transport (SST) aircraft, innovative solutions must be developed to meet noise and efficiency requirements for overland flight. Restrictions on overland supersonic flight represent a major barrier to supersonic aircraft adoption, and environmental impact of supersonic flight must continue to be an overarching consideration.

What is the key challenge your project is trying to solve?

We will address overland sonic boom by: understanding the relationship between flight conditions and optimal geometric configurations to reduce perceived sonic boom noise on the ground; sensing environmental conditions between the aircraft and the ground that effect boom propagation during flight; making distributed and localized adjustments to the shape of various aircraft components using shape memory alloys to reduce boom for all flight conditions.

What is the impact on society your project has?

Commercial supersonic flight represents a potentially large new market for aircraft manufacturers and operators as this technology can sharply decrease the flight time for long-distance flights. Moreover, new supersonic vehicle production will lead to more high-quality jobs in the US.

Faculty Mentors: AERO: Dr. Lagoudas, Dr. Hartl, Jim Mabe, Dr. Bowersox, Dr. Cizmas, and Dr. Reed. MEEN: Dr. Malak. MSEN: Dr. Karaman

Graduate Student Mentors: Pedro Leal, Daniel Martin, Lei Xu, and Alex Solomou (PostDoc) 

Targeted Engineering Majors: Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Material Science Engineering