RMIT has packed up its stand after a successful week at the 2015 Australian International Airshow in Avalon.
The airshow is a bi-annual event to promote new industrial, manufacturing and ICT technologies and developments in the aviation, aerospace and defence sectors.
The futuristic RMIT stand was a huge attraction for many attendees at the show, receiving thousands of visitors throughout the week.
The event was also an opportunity for RMIT to acknowledge its industry partners when Professor Aleksandar Subic, Dean of Engineering and Head of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, hosted an event at the stand.
"I am pleased that more than 50 of our industry partners attended the industry networking event that we hosted at the Avalon Airshow, including senior representatives from Boeing, BAE, Siemens, Thales, Rolls Royce, Telstra, DSTO, DMTC, the Victorian Government and many others,” Professor Subic said.
“This event reinforced our commitment to industry engagement and to building strategic alliances with industry in aerospace and aviation, defence and advanced manufacturing sectors." ?
Other highlights for RMIT included the launch of a new specialist postgraduate degree in airworthiness, aerospace engineering students in the 2015 Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition, and the presentation of a prestigious aviation innovation award to a high-achieving PhD candidate.
The $10,000 Aerospace Australia Limited Young Innovator Scholarship for Civil Industry was awarded to Abdulghani Mohamed for his thesis work in turbulence mitigation for micro air vehicles.
Mr Mohamed and his fellow researchers from RMIT's Unmanned Aircraft Systems research team have been working to develop an innovative system that decreases the effect of turbulence by mimicking the way feathers help birds detect disturbances in the air.
Mr Mohamed said he had always been amazed by birds’ ability to defy gravity and fly.
“During my PhD program I found out a lot more about how these creatures can gracefully fly in very turbulent conditions, by studying them closely to learn about the different biological sensors they use to negotiate turbulence,” he said.
“Through hours of watching birds, especially kestrels hovering over mountains, I came to realise how feathers are being used for sensory feedback.
“With the guidance and mentorship of my academic supervisors, Professor Simon Watkins and Dr Reece Clothier, I started developing what we termed phase-advanced altitude sensors, which significantly enhanced the flight stability and performance of micro air vehicles in extremely turbulent conditions.”
Mr Mohamed said that due to the simplicity of the technology, it could be scaled to general aviation aircraft or even commercial jets.
“We have provisionally patented this technology and are in the process of negotiating commercialisation pathways with major aerospace companies,” he said.
“We are also collaborating with Delft University to further develop the control side of this technology.”
In other news, a team of RMIT aerospace engineering students were selected by Airbus to compete in the semi-finals of the Fly Your Ideas competition.
Supported by UNESCO, the Airbus Fly Your Ideas is a biennial competition that challenges students worldwide to develop ideas for a more sustainable aviation industry.
Supervised by RMIT academics, five teams from RMIT entered the competition – Aerofloat, Aeroweave, Airs, Aeroheat and Ivy.
Students from team Ivy were selected to go through to the next round for their fascinating work on improving the bonding of titanium fittings, similar to the way ivy clings to walls.
Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Engineering)(Honours)/Bachelor of Business (Management) student Chamendra Amarasinghe said he had a mix of emotions when he found out his team made it through.
“I was thrilled and at the same time relieved because explaining a bio-inspired engineering concept is tricky - and this award meant that our team were successful in conveying our idea.
“RMIT has been perfectly equipped to provide us with the specific tools we needed for this idea – most significantly a titanium 3D printer which is at the forefront of its technology,” he said.
Mr Amarasinghe said if his team did manage to secure the major prize (to be announced later in 2015) the money would go towards refining the technology so that it passes industry certification.
“I’d love to one day point at an aircraft and say I helped to make that happen.”