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Oklahoma State University's Aerospace Propulsion and Power Program dominates the Air Force Aerospace Propulsion Outreach Program challenge

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

OSU's Aerospace Propulsion and Power senior capstone team. Left to right: Michael Mines, Riley Johnson, Thomas Coulon, Colton Swart, Grant Schumacher and Lauren Jones (team lead).

The Aerospace Propulsion and Power Program in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) at OSU scored the highest turbojet thrust-to-weight improvement at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) sponsored Aerospace Propulsion Outreach Program (APOP) challenge held in Dayton, OH at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on May 15 – 18th. 

The Air Force started APOP in 2009, funding undergraduate aircraft engine capstone challenges at universities across the country.  Students design, build and test modifications for small, 22-pound thrust turbojet engines.  Each year, topics for the challenge are different and are chosen by participating universities.  Engines are compared and tested at Wright Patterson Air Force Base at the end of the academic year, with a final poster session in which students present their work to AFRL scientists and engineers. 

This year, the APOP challenge was to modify a JetCat P100 turbojet for improved thrust-to-weight.   AFRL provided engines to each of the universities using an Educational Partnering Agreement.  Each team had a budget of $14,000 plus $5,000 for teams that require travel to the competition.  This was the first year for the OSU program and competed against student teams from ten different universities. 

OSU’s team, named Pistol Pete’s Propulsion Posse, designed an exhaust nozzle with integrated turbine exit guide vanes to remove exhaust swirl, increasing thrust by about 4 pounds.  They fabricated their nozzle from titanium for reduced weight, and they had the highest percent thrust-to-weight improvement, far greater than any other team, with an improvement of 33.5 percent.

The OSU senior capstone team members included Thomas Coulon, Riley Johnson, Lauren Jones, Michael Mines, Grant Schumacher and Colton Swart.  Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering assistant professor Kurt Rouser acted as their mentor.

“This will be an annual event for us,” said Rouser.  “It’s an incredible hands-on opportunity for our students to design, build and test actual jet engine components.  Our team excelled at their design approach and analysis, drawing on practical knowledge gained from academics in compressible flow, thermodynamics, applied aerodynamics and aerospace propulsion.”

For more information about OSU’s Aerospace Propulsion and Power Program visit:  https://aeropropulsion.okstate.edu/

Media Contact:  Kristi Wheeler | CEAT Marketing and Communications | 405-744-5831 | kristi.wheeler@okstate.edu

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