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Washkewicz College of Engineering Team Takes First Place at AIAA SciTech 2016

A team of recent mechanical engineering graduates from Cleveland State University’s Washkewicz College of Engineering took first place at an international student design competition sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). For their winning project they designed, built and tested an engine air particle separator for an Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) using 3D printing technology.

Jason Wolf, Erick Shelley and Dan Stralka topped teams from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the University of Memphis and Virginia Tech to take first place in the student team category at the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition’s International Student Conference (AIAA SciTech 2016).

“We were excited and somewhat surprised to take first, given the caliber of our competition,” said Wolf. “Our performance speaks volumes about the quality of CSU’s engineering program. It proves we can compete with any school in the nation.” 

The purpose of the air particle separator is to keep sand and other airborne particles from negatively affecting the performance of UAV engines that are often used in desert environments. 3D printing could greatly reduce costs and build times for this essential component. The project was sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) through the AFRL Student Challenge Program.

The CSU team earned the right to present at AIAA SciTech after their first place performance at the 2015 AIAA Region III Student Conference at Wright State University. Prior to that, the team took second place at the Washkewicz College of Engineering's 2015 Senior Design Symposium.

AIAA SciTech 2016, held January 4-8 in San Diego, Calif., is the world’s largest event for aerospace research, development and technology. It draws over 3,500 participants and more than 2,500 technical presentations from nearly 800 institutions and 39 countries.