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Andrew Hirsh,
NSF Graduate Fellow

NSF GK-12 Project: Pennsylvania State University
Graduate Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Technology (GREATT)
URL: http://csats.psu.edu/GREATT/

Thesis Title: Design and Fabrication of Piezoelectric Actuators for a Nano Air Vehicle
College/University: Pennsylvania State University

Research Advisor: Chris Rahn, Srinivas Tadigadapa

Degree Sought
M.S. in Mechanical Engineering

University Department and/or Lab
Mechanical Engineering Department, Mechatronics Lab

Research Focus
My research focuses on fabrication and design of Piezoelectric actuators for use in small, insect-like air vehicle.

Description of Research
I have only been doing research for my thesis since the beginning of the Spring 2007 semester. My current research concentrates on designing and fabricating piezoelectric actuators for use in a nano air vehicle. The actuator beams will produce a flapping motion and will be attached to a wing structure on the insect-like air vehicle.

Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience
I enjoy talking about my research with the teachers and students. Most people think biomimetic robotics is fascinating and always have follow up questions. I like to use my nano air vehicle as an example when discussing air resistance and the principle of lift when teaching about aerodynamics with paper airplanes. Because I do the fabrication of the piezo electric actuators in a clean room, I show the younger students the outfit I have to wear while working. I also show the students videos of other projects my advisor is working on, mainly the octopus tentacle robot.

Profile date: September 2007
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