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MAE scholars Riley and She named 2018 Presidential Fellows

MAE doctoral candidates Logan Riley and Yu SheMAE doctoral candidates Logan Riley and Yu SheOn Nov. 27, MAE doctoral candidates Logan Riley and Yu She were named recipients of The Ohio State University’s esteemed Presidential Fellowship. This honor, which celebrates academic success and intellectual curiosity, is the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School.

The financial support that the Presidential Fellowship provides will allow Riley and She to devote their time – uninterrupted – to completing the final year of their dissertation research.

For Riley, that year will be spent exploring the unsteady operation of hypersonic vehicles. While hypersonic air-breathing engines are capable of propelling vehicles at five times the speed of sound, one engine concept – the scramjet – requires that fuel be injected, mixed and burned in less than a millisecond.

“The process has been likened to ‘lighting a match in a hurricane,’” said Riley.

Logan Riley As a Presidential Fellow, Logan Riley will spend his time exploring the unsteady operation of hypersonic vehicles. A major concern facing the scramjet engine is the fact that combustor pressure disturbances can result in an unstart event, whereby the pre-combustion shock-train is ejected out of the engine inlet, usually leading to catastrophic failure.

Riley will work alongside his faculty advisor, Professor Datta V. Gaitonde, an Ohio Research Scholar, to model the entire engine flow path and characterize the unstart process to predict and ultimately prevent the effects of unanticipated combustion-related disturbances. Riley’s work will push this area’s current body of research forward by identifying the regions within the scramjet engine that experience the most change during the unstart process.

“Understanding regions sensitive to unstart, such as those near walls, may help inform sensor placement for ground and flight test experiments to better anticipate unstart events,” Riley shared.

He is a Fellow of the Dayton Area Graduate Studies Institute (DAGSI), which aims to promote economic growth in Ohio by strengthening the state’s intellectual infrastructure in technology. As a student researcher in Professor Gaitonde’s High-Fidelity Computational Multi-Physics Lab, Riley also studies the impact of shock wave-turbulence interactions on flight safety. 

While Riley will use his Presidential Fellowship to help hypersonic vehicles fly faster and further, She’s dissertation research will keep humans safe when interacting with robots.

Yu She's Presidential Fellowship research will keep humans safe when interacting with robots. She, who is advised by Associate Professor Haijun Su, has been fascinated with robots since he was a youngster. As a mechanical engineering doctoral student, She is determined to make human and robot interaction as harmless as possible.

“Co-robots, which are designed to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace, will be the focus of the next generation of robots,” he shared. “The essential consideration of the co-robot is safety.”

He has developed a shape optimization framework, along with computational models, to design a variable stiffness arm that can be used to assist human employees during manufacturing and industrial processes, such as building a car door in an automotive plant. Unlike similar robots, the safety of She and Su’s design is inherently guaranteed.

“This research opens a gate for a co-design framework between design and control, from which the trade-off between safety and performance can be maximally optimized for physical human robot interactions,” said She.

As a student researcher in the Design Innovation and Simulation Laboratory, directed by Su, She researches design, compliant mechanisms, robotics and soft robots, in addition to physical human-robot interaction. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Robotics and Automation Society, and he is a reviewer for the Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, the Sensors journal, and the Robotica journal.

"Our congratulations to Logan Riley and Yu She and to their advisors, Professors Datta Gaitonde and Haijun Su on this university-wide prestigious recognition," said Professor Vish Subramaniam, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

“These awards are a testament to the quality of our PhD students, their research, and the excellent mentorship and tutelage provided by their respective advisors."


About the Presidential Fellowship

The Graduate School awards about 15 Presidential Fellowships each semester for outstanding academic achievement. The fellowship provides three consecutive semesters of support, and it is nonrenewable. Support includes a monthly stipend and payment of general/instructional fees, nonresident tuition and any fees related to classroom learning and technology.

Competitions are held during the autumn and spring semesters.