The Naviator | One of the best optimization projects at Rutgers University

Marco Maia, graduate student pursuing a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) working under Prof. F. J. Diez in the Rutgers Applied Fluids Lab and student in the Optimal Design course with Prof. Doyle D. Knight, realized an outstanding project using modeFRONTIER called the "Naviator".

"Most of our research thrusts involve fluids such as in electrokinetics, microfluidics & nanofluidics, wind energy, turbulence, laser diagnostics with PIV, biological flows. We pride ourselves on the applied nature of some of our research topics, such as in the development of electrokinetic thrusters, AUVs & seagliders and unmanned aerial systems" he said. The Naviator was the first project to demonstrate an unmanned aerial and submersible vehicle that could operate both in air and underwater. 

This vehicle - described Marco Maia - gained a great deal of attention and Prof. Diez was able to secure a grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in the amount of ~$600k. Since then, this research project has grown and has been showcased in several news outlets.

Recently, National Geographic visited Rutgers University to film our latest multi-medium vehicle in action for use in one of their pieces, which we were told would be unveiled later in the summer. The optimization project in the MAE Optimal Design course with Prof. Doyle Knight was a great opportunity to make the planned improvements to our new multi-medium vehicle platform. We cannot provide too many details on the vehicle itself until its unveiling, but when we designed the new platform we purposely made it into a skeleton that could benefit from aerodynamic volumetric additions.

"Thanks to ESTECO for kindly making available its technology for the students of this course. With modeFRONTIER I was able to easily integrate several software together, such as MATLAB, Solidworks or ANSYS Fluent and run the necessary simulations to determine the optimal geometry for these volumetric additions using several optimization algorithms. The result was an optimal set of solutions that minimized the drag and weight while maintaining near neutral buoyancy. The autonomy and visual aids of the software were truly remarkable--it definitely streamlines the optimization process. Thank you again for allowing us to use this very useful tool".



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