Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

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Mohit Gupta

Georgia Institute of Technology

With a deep interest in applications to rotor blade and flapping wing analyses, to further enhance the knowledge in structural aspects of this subject, Mohit joined Dr. Dewey Hodges's research group at Georgia Institute of Technology, whose team has developed an exhaustive and efficient theory to analyze rotor blades without requiring a huge computational power. Mohit is working on the development of a unified beam model which would analyze the transverse shear deformation and boundary layer effects simultaneously. The project is funded by the Vertical Lift Research Centre of Excellence at Georgia Tech. This new model would be a blend of two different models i.e., Generalized Timoshenko and Generalized Vlasov beam models. Additionally, he is working on a few other advancements in the field of Variational Asymptotic analyses of the structural elements that would facilitate the enhancement of the in-house developed tool, VABS, currently a popular, high fidelity tool among the people working in rotorcraft applications. In addition, he participated in “Fly Your Ideas 2015” competition, conducted by Airbus and supported by UNESCO. His team, “MultiFun”, was chosen to be the Global Champion during the finals held at Hamburg, Germany and they were awarded with a cash prize amounting to €30,000. The geographically diverse team (Atlanta, London, Delft and Bangalore) spread over 4 time zones, started 2 months before the Round 1 submission in December 2014, to design and develop Piezo-Battery Fiber Reinforced Composites (P-BFRC) for application to harvest energy from vibrations during flight. The energy harvested will be stored in the battery fibers which would be embedded in the fuselage, thus eliminating storage of any hazardous battery components as well as strengthening its structure. Finally, the work was submitted and presented during “Sustainability 2015” Conference conducted by the AHS Montreal-Ottawa Chapter. Recently, Mohit was also invited by Al Jazeera English Channel to talk with CMDR Chris Hadfield, former NASA astronaut, on their TV Show “The Stream”.

How did you get interested in vertical flight?

"During Summer 2013, I joined Dr. Dineshkumar Harursampath (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India) as a Joint Academies' Research Fellow. That was the moment when I became familiar with the mechanisms developed for vertical flight and the challenges faced by rotorcraft. That moment sparked an interest in me towards the research in rotorcraft. Initially, I focused on the dynamic modeling of a rotor blade using Nonlinear Composite Beam Theory developed by Dr. Dewey Hodges. Furthermore, I worked to develop a novel design to eliminate the use of swashplate and collective blade control mechanisms. Modeling the rotor blades using smart materials in such a way that a superposition of flapping and rotation of the blades, produce the same effect as tilting the rotor blades using swashplate. The application of these multifunctional composites enable the change in angle of attack of the blades, based on feedback. Completion of this task gave me confidence to pursue a research career in the rotorcraft field. Then, I decided to join the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence at Georgia Tech. under the guidance of Dr. Hodges."

What impact has receiving the VFF scholarship had for you?

"VFF Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship being awarded to a student researcher in the rotorcraft field. Winning VFF scholarship gave me a chance to attend the AHS Forum 71 held at Virginia Beach, VA. It was really a great experience to witness the exhibition of the state of the art research and technology in the field of rotorcraft. Because of winning the VFF Scholarship and Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2015, I was invited by Al Jazeera English Channel to talk with CMDR Chris Hadfield, a former NASA astronaut, on their TV Show “The Stream”. Winning this prestigious VFF scholarship has given me confidence to work more efficiently and be more focused in my research career. It has provided me a motivation to pursue a research career and has provided a sense of satisfaction that my work is being recognized as well, which means a lot to me. I came to know about the VFF scholarship when Prof. Marilyn Smith at Georgia Tech., after seeing my Robert L. Lichten Competition presentation, motivated me to apply for the scholarship award. I am grateful to my advisor, Dr. Dewey H. Hodges, at Georgia Tech. for providing his support in the form of a recommendation letter. I have learnt a lot under his guidance and he has been a constant support throughout my entire research stint in his research group which is still ongoing. Besides, I wish to thank Prof. Dineshkumar Harursampath, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, to provide me an opportunity to work on exciting projects and finally use the research work to present and compete for Robert L. Lichten Competition."

Tell us about your future plans.

"I wish to continue my research towards numerous futuristic applications in the field of rotorcraft as they always intrigue and inspire me. Regarding my career aspects, I wish to look at the challenges related to structural analysis and use of smart composite materials for high fidelity applications."

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