NASA grant supports Saint Martin’s mechanical engineering students

May 7, 2007

Students present designs to NASA scientists on May 10

Lacey, Wash. – Saint Martin’s University senior mechanical engineering students will present their final heat flux simulator designs to two, visiting National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engineering scientists on Thursday, May 10 at 4 p.m. in the University’s Norman Worthington Center. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

During the past school year, NASA supported Saint Martin’s senior design mechanical engineering class with a $25,000 grant and over $5,000 in equipment. The space agency asked the Saint Martin’s students to design and build an apparatus characterizing heat fluxes to vehicles and crews leaving and re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Extreme conditions of pressure, stress and heat are encountered by hypersonic travel. In order to withstand these extreme conditions, extensive study and testing of heat fluxes, material behavior, and aerodynamics are required.

The simulator design was executed by five students under the supervision of Dr. Amanie Abdelmessih, engineering professor and director of Saint Martin’s Thermal Engineering Laboratories. The students are: Pedro Aguilar, James Byrne, Jeff De Arman, Brian Middlebrook and Matthew Moholt.

The student-designed heat flux simulator will be shipped to NASA immediately following the student’s May 10 presentation. “The apparatus will be used at NASA’s research center to better understand how materials behave in extreme conditions and to develop composites that can repeatedly withstand these conditions,” according to Dr. Abdelmessih.

Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. A Catholic, Benedictine university, Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey, Washington main campus, and 650 more to four extension campuses.

For additional information:

Anne Kirske
Interim communication director
Saint Martin’s University


Amanie Abdelmessih, Ph.D.
Professor and director of Thermal Engineering Laboratories
Mechanical Engineering Department
Saint Martin’s University