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Superconducting Coil Testing and Modeling for Future Electric Aircraft

You must apply through the external link. This position is on-site. Please apply by November 11, 2022 for best consideration.

NASA maintains a strong desire to develop technology that will enable future hybrid electric aircraft. Why electric? There are fewer emissions, less atmospheric heat release, quieter flight, better energy conservation, and more reliable systems. Currently, the largest contributor to fuel consumption is the large single aisle class. One particular electric aircraft vehicle concept of interest is the fully superconducting aircraft, which relies on high performing superconducting (SC) components such as wires and stator or rotor coils that are used to transfer power throughout the aircraft.
Recently a test rig named ICE BOX was designed and built to test components at cryogenic temperatures without the use of a hazardous fluid, allowing rapid testing. ICE BOX uses cryocoolers to chill down an interface plate where samples can be mounted and tested at reduced temperature. Tests on various SC coils, under different thermal and magnetic conditions are required in order to provide data for researchers and designers of future SC aircraft.
A coil testrig has also been built which will allow NASA to perform AC loss testing on superconducting coils. Work remains to conduct check out tests on both systems, including the drive electronics, instrumentation, flow system, and eventual coil testing.
In short, the selected student will be assisting lead cryogenic scientists to conduct testing and develop fundamental models for superconducting aircraft technology development at a fundamental level. The student may also be brought into other cryogenic fluid management tasks as needed.
This internship is applicable to the GRC’s core competencies of:
1. Aeronautics
2. Cryogenic fluid management
3. Power, energy conversion
4. Green propellants

Expected opportunity outcome (i.e. research, final report, poster presentation, etc.):
The main expected outcome is a detailed report of any test results, experimental methodology, uncertainty analysis, troubleshooting, and any associated modeling.
Student's Computer and/or Special Skills:
It is preferred that the assigned student be of junior or senior status and have already taken 1-2 semesters of undergraduate level Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, and Circuits and Control. Student must be proficient with all basic Microsoft Office programs, specifically Powerpoint, Word, and Excel. Knowledge of Matlab (or equivalent data processing/numerical code) is required. Student must have taken at least one semester in numerical techniques and have working knowledge on basic statistics, curve fitting techniques, and basic optimization. A basic understanding of two-phase flow is also desirable but not required.

Eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. Citizen
  • Cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • Full-time students (high school through graduate)
  • Enrollment in a degree granting institution
  • 16 years of age at the time of application (no exceptions)