College of EngineeringDepartment of Aerospace EngineeringResearchSeminarsEventsDr. Aimy Wissa, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Aimy Wissa, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Avian-inspired Deployable Structures for Lift Enhancement and Stall Mitigation
April 19, 2019


For thousands of years, bird flight has inspired and challenged our imaginations and dreams. Man has always aspired to build machines to help him fly like birds. Even today, there are still significant efforts underway focused on understanding the physics of avian flight. There is an increasing need for small aerial robots to conduct a variety of civilian and military mission scenarios. This talk starts by showing that avian-inspired flight has the potential to combine the desired capabilities of hovering, maneuverability, agility, safety, and stealth. The concept of wings as multifunctional adaptive structures will be discussed and several flight devices found on birds’ wings will be introduced as a pathway toward revolutionizing the current design of small unmanned air vehicles. These devices include adaptive wing tips and alula-inspired leading-edge devices. Experimental, analytical, and numerical results will be presented to prove the efficacy of such devices. The fundamental science at the core of all systems presented is the discovery of new insights about avian flight physics and the development of a design framework to achieve superior flight performance in engineered vehicles.


Dr. Caleb Fassett

Assistant Professor at the Mechanical Science and Engineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also the director of the Bio-inspired Adaptive Morphology (BAM) Lab. Before arriving at UIUC in 2015, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University. Wissa earned her doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in 2014 and her Bachelor of Science degree in the same field from Pennsylvania State University. Wissa’s work primarily focuses on the design and control of adaptive bioinspired structures and systems such as morphing wings and robots with multiple modes of locomotion. She has distinguished herself and her research by publishing and presenting several conference papers and peer refereed journal papers for which she received several best paper awards. Wissa is a McNair Scholar. She is the recipient of the Air Force Research Laboratory Summer Faculty
Fellowship and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program award.