Sean Patrick Kelley
MIT AeroAstro | Northrop Grumman Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Electro-Aerodynamic Propulsion for Fixed-Wing Aircraft
While engine efficiency has seen dramatic improvement, environmental impact and noise pollution remain major problems facing the aviation industry. A promising solution to eliminating these negative aspects is the development of electric propulsion systems. Near-silent and requiring no onboard propellant, my research will focus on the application of electro-aerodynamic (EAD) propulsion, which requires no moving parts, on a fixed-wing prototype airframe. In addition to altering thruster integration methods to improve aerodynamic efficiency, we will explore such techniques as varying electrical discharge and implementing electric flow control. After experimenting with these different strategies, we will demonstrate a more practical and effective use of EAD thrust for fixed-wing aircraft.
I am participating in SuperUROP because I am passionate about conducting more in-depth research in aerospace engineering and expanding my undergraduate experience. From past projects, including my involvement in this research as a UROP during my sophomore year, I have grown fascinated by aerodynamics and electric propulsion technology. I look forward to contributing to the project again moving into my final year.