This summer I had the incredible opportunity to travel and work abroad for a period of eleven weeks, while immersed in wonderful German culture, friendships, and weather. My host institution was Technische Universitat Darmstadt; one of the leading European institutions on mechanical engineering and a member of the TU9.
My project was to develop a fully retractable hot-wire airspeed sensor to measure boundary layer velocity profiles and the impact of a dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuator. The sensor will be installed on a GROB G109 motor glider for in-flight testing.
The hot-wire anemometer probe is a very simple sensor based on the relationship between the forced convective heat loss of a heated wire and the mean velocity of the medium surrounding it. The probe was mostly constructed from reference designs and controlled using a previously implemented CTA box.
The mechanism for the retraction of the probe posed greater difficulty. It must be able to fully retract the probe and be able to extend it approximately 4 mm in the wing-normal direction to profile the entire boundary layer. It also must have a resolution of at least 0.1 mm and be no more than 10 mm thick.
The solution was to use a micro digital servo controlled by a NI USB-6210 data acquisition device, which also handles the data acquisition for the hot-wire probe.
The final device was tested in a custom-built wind-tunnel and verified to function as predicted.
Fortunately, I was accepted to TU Darmstadt as a member of the International Research Experience Program. The program co-ordinates housing and activities for its members and through it I met some truly amazing friends and travel companions.
Germany is an ideal home-base for European travels. It is but a few hours from many of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. I was lucky enough to visit Prague, Brussels, and several other cities which were located within Germany and very close to home.
During the three months, I lived at Burschenschaft Rheno-Markomannia; a fraternity house. It was a beautiful home filled with friendly people.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who made this experience possible. I highly recommend it to anyone with the opportunity.