Cleveland, Ohio —23 MAY 10
Student Testing Sonic Boom with NASA USRP Internship
By: Jackie Juergens
Allison Ronning, Lenexa, KS resident, is working this spring as an intern at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio with the Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP).
Ronning has been working with NASA mentor, Ray Castner, for 15 weeks on a project entitled "Plume Effects on Sonic Booms." Ronning is researching and testing ways to weaken the sonic boom with supersonic travel. Presently there are restrictions on supersonic travel due to the intensity of the sonic boom. A weaker sonic boom would result in fewer restrictions on supersonic travel.
"In her 15-week period, she has become proficient with WIND–US and has been able to perform complex three-dimensional CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis on the wind tunnel model. Allison was focused and completed tasks with minimal distraction and yet managed to take advantage of the opportunities offered by NASA Glenn (e.g., attend lab tours and lectures by distinguished NASA researchers and speakers)," adds Castner.
Using Computational Fluid Dynamics, computer calculated equations that are designed to analyze liquid flow by simulating liquid interaction with solids and gases, Ronning is able to test different pressures on a supersonic nozzle. By comparing these results with a small wind tunnel she is able to research different methods to help weaken the sonic boom. "Allison proved herself to be a self-motivated individual as demonstrated by her eagerness to learn a number of new analysis, design and visualization software tools," comments Castner.
"Being immersed in the world of engineering is very inspiring to a young engineering student," states Ronning.
Currently a junior at Wichita State University, Ronning is planning to major in Aerospace Engineering and French. As well as working as an intern for NASA USRP Ronning is Wichita State’s Vice President of the Society for Women Engineers. She is also the Vice President of Social Standards for Delta Gamma Fraternity and is a member of the National Greek Honor Society.
"I have had a co-op assignment with Bombardier Learjet in Wichita, KS since November 2008. When I return to Wichita, I will continue to participate in this opportunity while continuing towards my degrees at WSU" Ronning says about her future plans.
NASA USRP internship opportunities are available year round to undergraduate STEM students. To learn more about NASA internships go to http://usrp.usra.edu.