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ERAU Prescott Partners In Growing Aerospace Technologies

12 January 2011   Susan Larsen
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The titanium blast shields on this QF-4 Phantom II were extensively damaged. Aircraft structural engineers repaired the full-scale aerial target drone saving the military $620,000. Courtesy of the Air Force Military

Embry-Riddle Prescott Joins Industry and Education Partners to Grow Aerospace and Defense Technologies.

Prescott, Ariz., January 3, 2011 – Engineers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott will soon begin work on a research project that could help them understand the effects of damage to titanium alloys used in aircraft turbine engines. The project is part of Embry-Riddle Prescott’s contribution to a coalition of academic and industry partners that was formed to create a competitive advantage for the aerospace and defense sector in Arizona, announced Dr. Ron Madler, Dean of the College of Engineering at Embry-Riddle Prescott.

The initiative, known as the Aerospace and Defense (A&D) Research Collaboratory, is funded by a $1 million grant from Science Foundation Arizona’s (SFAz) Aerospace and Defense Initiative (ADI). Arizona State University is leading the collaboratory, which aims to further develop and strengthen technologies used in aerospace and military applications. The ADI is a statewide effort created, in part, with the support of federal stimulus funding, to streamline partnerships that will advance aerospace and defense in Arizona and bring more A&D companies to the state.

Embry-Riddle College of Engineering faculty Dr. David Lanning will lead the $62,427 research project, which specifically tests how much a titanium alloy can endure when affected by notches. Notches in the metal are one aspect of foreign object damage that is created by dust, sand, debris, birds and other objects that get sucked into the turbine engines. Dr. Madler credits this research opportunity to Dr. Lanning’s experience and dedication to developing Embry-Riddle’s state-of-the-art facilities.

“Dr. David Lanning has devoted much of his career to the topic of high cycle fatigue. He has developed an entire suite of structural testing labs that make this kind of critical research possible,” Dr. Madler stated.

“We will be manufacturing some test specimens of a titanium alloy that is common in the cooler sections of turbine engines,” Dr. Lanning explained. “This will allow us to research what small nicks can do to the metal. We will be testing our specimens under a variety of loading conditions.” The parts of the engine affected are critical to the safety of the aircraft as well as being expensive to manufacture and replace.

“Embry-Riddle is proud to be lending our expertise to this extraordinary effort by state leaders in education and aerospace. This collaboration of our state’s resources for research, development and innovation will ultimately impact the future for our engineering graduates,” said Dr. Frank Ayers, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of the Embry-Riddle Prescott campus.

Besides ASU and Embry-Riddle, the A&D Research Collaboratory partners also include the University of Arizona, Alion Science & Technology, Wiseman Technologies Inc., Honeywell Aerospace, Raytheon, General Atomics and Renaissance Science Corporation.

For more information on the A&D Research Collaboratory or the materials testing project, contact Dr. Ron Madler, 928-777-3896.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus at more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, and the Middle East, and through online learning. For more information, visit