Research

Research Activities and Facilities

 
 
Aero Fluid Mechanics  
Laboratory

(Rms. 051, 053, 725-3290)

The Aero Fluid Mechanics Lab is dedicated to basic studies of the fundamental properties of turbulent and reacting flow. Areas of interest include measurements of the structure of turbulent flames, direct numerical simulation of free shear flows, and use of topological methods for interpretation of complex three-dimensional vector fields. Recent projects include studies of fast-burning fuels for hybrid propulsion and decomposition of nitrous oxide for space propulsion.
Aerospace Computing Lab
(Rms. 005, 723-6021)

The Aerospace Computing Lab (ACL) focuses on the development and application of numerical techniques in the design of aerospace products. The basis of these numerical techniques lies in the application of multigrid methods pioneered by Professor Jameson in the past decades. These methods are being used to solve mathematical models of fluid flow ranging from the linearized potential flow equations to the fully non-linear unsteady Navier-Stokes equations. The computational efficiency of these techniques has made them the de facto standard in the aerospace industry. These codes have been used to analyze and design vehicles ranging from sailboats to commercial airliners.
Aerospace Design Lab
(Rm. 010a, 723-9564)
The Aerospace Design Laboratory (ADL) was established in order to foster the use of high-fidelity analysis and design tools in a variety of aerospace design problems including aircraft, turbomachinery, launch vehicles, helicopters, and spacecraft. The lab has three main areas of interest: development of discipline-specific advanced algorithms for the simulation of complex physical phenomena, advanced methods for design of complex systems, and practical applications of these advanced design tools. The goal at the ADL is to develop and test new algorithms and methodologies in abstractions of design problems that contain all the ingredients of industrial, real-life design problems, not just academic examples. This work is (or has been) funded by NASA, DARPA, DoE, AFRL, AFOSR, Boeing, Raytheon Aircraft, and the US Navy, among others.
Aerospace Robotics Laboratory
(Rm. 017, 723-3608, -3677)
(Rm. 10) 
The ARL continually creates experimental systems for developing advanced robot systems and new control techniques with applications to free-flying space robots, to undersea and air systems, to mobile ground robots, and to industrial automation. The focus is on the human-robot team, with the human at the strategy and task-command level and the robot system doing the real-time planning and precise task execution. The modus operandi is to pursue entirely new control system concepts, one after another, to full experimental proof of concept. Outdoor and indoor precision GPS (2 cm) systems are an integral part of each of the above vehicle systems (except undersea). Joint projects are underway with the Computer Science Robotics Laboratory in the full vertical integration of task conceptualization, planning, and quick, precise execution. Experimental extension of these concepts to deep-underwater robotic vehicle development is being advanced with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. 
Aircraft Aerodynamics and
Design Group

(Rm. 464; 723-1640) 
The Aircraft Aerodynamics and Design Group is involved with research in applied aerodynamics and aircraft design. Work ranges from the development of computational and experimental methods for aerodynamic analysis to studies of unconventional aircraft concepts and new architectures for multidisciplinary design optimization. The auxiliary Flight Research Lab is devoted to studies of unusual aircraft configurations and novel flight control concepts; there, flight experiments involving small remotely-piloted aircraft instrumented with computers and sensors are used to augment results from analytical design studies. 
Autonomous Systems Lab
(Rm. 009)
The Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) develops methodologies for the analysis, design, and control of autonomous systems, with a particular emphasis on large-scale robotic networks and autonomous aerospace vehicles. The lab combines expertise from control theory, robotics, optimization, and operations research to develop the theoretical foundations for networked autonomous systems operating in uncertain, rapidly-changing, and potentially adversarial environments. Theoretical insights are then used to devise practical, computationally-efficient, and provably-correct algorithms for field deployment. Applications include robotic transportation networks, sensor networks, agile control of spacecraft during proximity operations, and mobility platforms for extreme planetary environments (such as outgassing irregular satellites). Collaborations with NASA centers are a key component of the research portfolio.
EXtreme Environment
Microsystems (XLab)

(Rm. 012B)
The EXtreme Environment Microsystems Laboratory (XLab) is focused on the development of micro- and nano-systems for operation within extreme harsh environments. Sensors and electronic devices for such environments are realized through the synthesis of temperature tolerant, chemically resistant, and radiation-hardened wide-bandgap semiconductor thin films and nanostructures. The lab supports applications including deep space systems, hypersonic aircrafts, combustion monitoring, and subsurface monitoring. 
Farhat Research Group
(Rm. 028, 733-8482)  
(Rm. 023, 723-7098) 
The Farhat Research Group (FRG) develops mathematical models, advanced computational algorithms, and high-performance software for the design and analysis of complex systems in aerospace, marine, mechanical, and naval engineering. They contribute major advances to Simulation-Based Engineering Science. Current engineering foci in research are on the aerodynamics of Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAV's) and Formula 1 cars, ballistic fabric for lightweight shields, nonlinear aeroelasticity of fighter jets and High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft, thermal management of hypersonic vehicles, underwater acoustics and imaging, and underwater implosion. Current theoretical and computational emphases in research are on high-performance, multi-scale modeling for the high-fidelity analysis of multi-physics problems, and efficient model order reduction for time-critical applications such as design and active control.
GPS Laboratory
(Rm. 452, 723-3755) 
The GPS Laboratory studies and builds systems for vehicle navigation and attitude determination. Since the GPS satellite navigation system became operational in 1993, there is increasing interest in an array of applications for this technology. Specific Stanford accomplishments to date include: the demonstration of attitude determination with GPS in aircraft and spacecraft; the demonstration of centimeter-level accuracy in aircraft navigation during automatic landings; the demonstration of meter-level accuracy over continental areas using wide area differential techniques; the demonstration of the use of GPS for precision farming and open pit mining; and the demonstration of precision formation flight. In addition, the laboratory has been instrumental in the design of the new 3-frequency signals for future GPS satellites, and expects to be a leader in the development of this capability. 
Networked Systems and Control Laboratory
(Packard 260) 
 
The Networked Systems and Control Lab is developing algorithms and techniques for modeling, analysis, and robust design of complex interconnected and distributed systems. This research is at the intersection of dynamics, control, and computation. Applications include systems of multiple, semi-autonomous vehicles and data networks.
Space and Systems Development
Laboratory

(Rm. 001) 
The Space and Systems Development Laboratory (SSDL) provides graduate students with a world-class education and research in the field of space system design, technology, and operation. SSDL's Satellite Quick Research Testbed (SQUIRT) trains students in all aspects of the spacecraft design life cycle through hands-on work on real, student-engineered satellites - intended to be excellent examples of simple, fast, cheap, flexible, and intelligent micro-satellite design, launched into orbit and operated from Stanford. SQUIRT also prepares students for participation in SSDL's advanced space research projects. Scientific and engineering partners in these projects include a variety of academic research centers, government laboratories, and industrial corporations. SSDL's flagship satellites are SAPPHIRE and OPAL.
Space Environment and Satellite Systems
(Rm. 032B) 
The Space Environment and Satellite Systems (SESS) laboratory encompasses both ground-based and space-based detection of the space environment and modeling to understanding how the space environment affects spacecraft. In particular, SESS is developing the Meteoroid and Energetic Detector for Understanding Space Situational Awareness (MEDUSSA) spacecraft aimed at characterizing the electrical effects that result when a meteoroid or energetic particle impacts a satellite. This research also includes ground-based hypervelocity impact tests to characterize the RF emission as a function of frequency, point of impact, and material strength. SESS is also focusing on understanding atmospheric effects on the ionosphere and how these ionospheric irregularities can disrupt or halt ground-to-space communication. Finally, we use ground-based radars from around the world, including Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, EISCAT in Sweden, and ALTAIR on the Kwajalein Atoll to collect plasma data formed when a meteoroid enters Earth's atmosphere. We use these data with sophisticated models to understand the natural debris population and their potential damage mechanism to satellites.
Space Rendezvous
 
The Space Rendezvous Laboratory (SLAB) develops advanced Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) subsystems for future distributed space systems. These include spacecraft formation-flying, rendezvous and docking, swarms, and fractionated space architectures. Multi-satellite systems will help address fundamental questions of space science, technology, and exploration. To respond to the ever increasing demand of positioning accuracy posed by these missions, SLAB's objective is to develop, validate, and embed the necessary cutting-edge technologies into a formation of autonomous nanosatellites. To this end, high-fidelity hardware-in-the-loop testbeds are under development, which include spaceborne radio-frequency and optical navigation sensors. The experience available at SLAB in the implementation and flight operations of GNC subsystems for formation-flying and on-orbit servicing missions, together with strategic national and international partnerships, will pave the way for breakthrough demonstrations of new technology.
Stanford Intelligent Systems Lab
 
The Stanford Intelligent Systems Laboratory (SISL) researches advanced algorithms and analytical methods for the design of robust decision making systems. Of particular interest are systems for air traffic control, unmanned aircraft, and other aerospace applications where decisions must be made in uncertain, dynamic environments while maintaining safety and efficiency. Research at SISL focuses on efficient computational methods for deriving optimal decision strategies from high-dimensional, probabilistic problem representations.
Structures and Composites
Laboratory

(Rms. 052, 054, 723-3524) 
The Structures and Composites Laboratory includes composite structural design, including vibration, stability, impact damage, and environmental effects; biological applications of composites; grid structures; composites in sports equipment; composite manufacturing; fiber optic and piezoelectric sensors; structural health monitoring; and smart structures. The laboratory is providing the data, design methods, and tools to make the most effective use of these materials. 
Unsteady Flow Physics and Aeroacoustics Lab
(Rm. 267) 
The Unsteady Flow Physics and Aeroacoustics Lab conducts research on turbulence simulations, compressible shear flows, transition in boundary layers, aeroacoustics, jet noise, turbine blade heat transfer, aircraft vortex wakes and condensation trails, and numerical methods. Computational techniques are developed and used to study the fluid dynamics of a variety of problems. 

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