weSTEM Illinois 2017

Posted on February 13, 2017 by

On January 28th, 2017, during the weSTEM Illinois Conference, hosted by GradSWE at the University of Illinois, Professor Aimy Wissa led a breakout session where she was able to engage with graduate students and share her experiences in a STEM field. The weSTEM Illinois Conference is designed for graduate students, by graduate students with goals of helping current students to be inspired to excel in their field, stay motivated to complete their degree, and grow passionate about the positive impact they can have on the world with a graduate degree in STEM.

ICAST 2016

Posted on November 1, 2016 by


Earlier this month, graduate student Josiah Waite traveled to Lake George, NY to present at ICAST, the International Conference on Adaptive Structures and Technologies. Josiah presented an aeroelastic model that showed passive deployment of covert-inspired devices was possible and likely to improve lift on UAVs. He had a great time and is looking forward to presenting more in the future.



Posted on October 31, 2016 by


On September 28, graduate students Boris Mandadzhiev and Michael Lynch traveled to Stowe, VT to present their research papers to the ASME SMASIS 2016 Conference. Boris presented a paper titled, ALULA-INSPIRED LEADING EDGE DEVICE FOR LOW REYNOLDS NUMBER FLIGHT, and Michael presented a technical presentation on Bio-Inspired Wingtip Devices for Low Reynolds Number Flight. Both students had a great time and are looking forward to their next conference!


BAM Lab Summer Progress

Posted on August 15, 2016 by


This summer, members of the BAM Lab have been hard at work on their respective projects. The lab is excited to share the tremendous progress made across many projects.


Michael Lynch, a graduate student researcher in the BAM Lab, has been designing an experiment to examine the effect of wingtip slots seen on many species of birds. He has created a physical model wing for wind tunnel testing to examine various parameters such as wingtip spacing and wingtip angle of attack at various wind speeds. Michael hopes to better understand the reason why birds have these wingtip structures and eventually wishes to implement adaptive wingtip structures on unmanned aerial vehicles.


Graduate Student Boris Mandadzhiev has been hard at work trying to understand the effects of an alula feather on bird wings. He has spent this summer conducting experiments on a 2D wing setup as well as designing a fully 3D setup. Boris hopes to conduct hotwire and PIV measurements on his model so as to better understand the effect of the alula feather on the flow over a bird’s wing, and eventually, wishes to create a deployable alula device for the ornithopter.


Graduate students Josiah Waite and Chengfang Duan have spent their summer creating a low fidelity, aeroelastic model to better understand the effect of covert feathers seen on bird species. They have worked in conjunction with the Wright Patterson Airforce Base in developing this model. The pair hopes to eventually validate their model with wind tunnel experiments, and then implement the devices on an unmanned aerial vehicle.


Luis Urrutia, an undergraduate student in the BAM Lab, has spent this summer working on many different projects for the BAM Lab. He has worked on setting up and calibrating an open source 3D printer, implementing a wing rotation device (as shown in the picture) for wind tunnel testing, and helped conducted experiments in the wind tunnel.


Undergraduate student Brian Chien has spent the summer working design improvements for a crawling robot, a project in conjunction with the Kinetic Materials Research Group. He has implemented many design improvements that have increased the crawling efficiency of the robot significantly. Brian hopes to eventually create a multi-gait robot capable of operating in unique and adverse conditions.


Undergraduate student Ben Smet has spent the summer implementing a sensor and data logging package for the ornithopter. His goal is to create baseline measurements of the power requirements and operational forces associated with the ornithopter at various conditions. In the future, the goal will be to see how improvements such as adaptive wingtips, flexible wing spars, deployable coverts, and other devices affect the ornithopter.

Girls Building Awesome Machines (GBAM) Outreach

Posted on July 21, 2016 by


Prof. Wissa, center in orange, and grad student Boris Mandadzhiev, first row in blue, pose together with the GBAM students and the ornithopter.

 This summer, the BAM lab participated in the Girls Building Awesome Machines, GBAM, summer camp hosted by the Women in Engineering. The high school students were able to experiment with glider designs so as to better understand the mechanics of unpowered flight, exploring the relationship between wing area, lifting center, and mass. Check out the full article about the event.

Undergraduate Research Award

Posted on February 16, 2016 by

Brandon Leung

Undergraduate Brandon Leung has won the department’s award for undergraduate research. Congratulations Brandon! We look forward to working with you in the Lab.

Lab Progress

Posted on September 10, 2015 by


Since the start of the semester, we have been working hard to order equipment to get our lab in MEB 64 up and running. In just a few short weeks, our lab has gone from an empty room to one where most of our furniture is setup. We are very excited to begin working in the lab and getting experiments underway in the near future.