Research Areas


ISU’s aerospace engineering graduate program offers research opportunities that go beyond traditional aircraft and spacecraft. Asteroid deflection, tornado simulation, and UAS formation flight control are only a few of the fields you can explore. You’ll collaborate with our faculty on challenging problems that are important to economic, societal, and defense needs, such as renewable energy, complex system design, and nondestructive evaluation. Working in our exceptional facilities-like our tornado microburst simulators and revolutionary icing wind tunnel-will give you the chance to test and experiment. Explore new ideas while making advancements to research advancements that makes a difference. Our faculty and their students conduct cutting-edge research in nondestructive evaluation, computational fluid dynamics, wind engineering and experimental aerodynamics, guidance and control, aircraft icing, rotorcraft/UAS/MAV, turbine science and technology, and micro/nano mechanics of materials.

Advanced Materials

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Aerodynamics, Combustion and Aero-Structural Interaction

2 Research spans experimental and theoretical turbulence, fluid dynamics and combustion. Key areas of interest include analytical models, theory, and simulations of complex flows; advanced flow diagnostics; bio-inspired aerodynamics; aircraft icing physics and anti-icing technology; aerodynamics of helicopters and wind turbines; wind tunnel simulations of unconventional winds (e.g. Microburst, tornado, etc.); aero-acoustics; microfluidics for heat and mass transport; and detonations, detonation initiation, and shock wave interactions with dense particle clouds. Read more

Aviation Biofuels

Regele Biofuel used for aircraft. Primary means by which the aviation industry can reduce its carbon footprint. After a multi-year technical review from aircraft makers, engine manufacturers and oil companies, biofuels were approved for commercial use. Airlines have experimented with using of biofuels on commercial flights. The focus of the industry has now turned to second generation sustainable biofuels that do not compete with food supplies.

Complex Systems and Optimization

Bloebaum Research (1) The increasing complexity of engineered systems, particularly in the aerospace field, requires new methods, tools, and processes. In the complex systems and optimization group, research focuses on: the development of optimization methods for large-scale complex systems, such as are found in MDO applications; rapid CAD-centric vehicle design; networked systems guidance, navigation and control algorithms for cooperative robotics; development of cyberinfrastructure technologies to provide decision support for complex design; and value driven approaches for design under uncertainty. Read more

Guidance, Controls, and Astrodynamics

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 1.29.17 PM Research areas in dynamics, stability, guidance, control, navigation, optimization, electronics, avionics, and information processing related to aeronautical, astronautical, and marine systems. Which demonstrate the application of recent research to practical engineering problems. Describing the aspects of the dynamics and control of significant recent developments, such as a new or different aircraft or spacecraft, also are desired. Read more

Non-destructive Testing and Evaluation

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 10.18.34 AM Nondestructive testing and evaluation utilizes a number of techniques to determine the health of an engineering component or structure without affecting its usefulness. Engineers use these and other techniques to decide if material properties are within an acceptable range, if a component was well manufactured, or if damage has occurred in service that would warrant retirement. Read more

Positions Available

Three Ph.D. positions, Engineering Mechanics program in mechanics and materials, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor Valery Levitas group

Three positions available to perform work on federally funded projects on modeling stress-induced phase transformations, plasticity, and their interactions at nano-, micro-, and macroscales. For more information and how to apply, click here.

Aerospace Engineering Hours

  • Office, 1200 Howe: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Howe Hall: Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
  • Holiday hours: Thanksgiving week, Nov. 19-23: Main Office, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Advising Center 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Graduate Office 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Winter Break, Dec. 16-Jan. 12: Main Office, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Advising Center 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Graduate Office 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Emergency contact: Building supervisor Jim Benson, 515-294-4946