Professor Diann Brei was featured in an American Society of Mechanical Engineers video about new developments in aerospace materials. In the short video, Brei describes how shape memory alloys — lightweight materials that mimic muscles — are being used to create bio-inspired air vehicles and improve aerodynamics of motor vehicles.
Brei also said many wind turbines are now equipped with these malleable alloys to help engineers understand the structural stresses they undergo during severe turbulence.
The expertise of mechanical engineers, according to Brei, is an important component of any aerospace system.
“A good example of this is the recent landing of the Mars Rover Curiosity,” Brei said in the video. “They really had to figure out how to get across the surface of Mars and that was a challenge because they have this black-glassy volcanic rock which is really slippery — there’s almost no friction on it.”