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environmental • aerospace

Hitting a moving target P The team, lead by engineering professor Gopal Gaonkar, is using computer software and

Cleaning the garbage juice

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andfills are more than just smelly mountains of garbage — they also produce equally odorous streams of liquid that could seep into and pollute our environment. FAU’s environmental engineers are testing methods of removing organic compounds from this garbage juice, making the liquids less harmful to the environment. However, the reaction cannot take place on a large scale yet. For instance, the experiment will only happen under an ultra-violet light. Even though the sun has UV rays, the rays are not strong enough for the experiment to happen naturally outside, according to environmental engineer Daniel Meeroff. Another problem is that the catalyst — which is used to speed up the reaction — does not disappear after the experiment. This means that the scientists end up with small specks in the otherwise clear water. To get rid of the titania-magnetite photocatalyst, which is a white powdery substance, the FAU researchers coat a magnate with the chemical and place it in the water. The catalytic particles in the water are attracted to this magnate, so they move toward and stick to it. The researcher can then pull the magnate out of the water, leaving a clear liquid behind.

data from actual helicopter flights to look for similarities in the air wake’s turbulence. Unlike other fields of research, the aerospace researchers cannot conduct the experiment using physical structures, since any mistakes would be costly in terms of money and human safety. Instead, the scientists will create a digital model of the flying conditions — which are two to three times as intense as the air over the surrounding sea — and use it to simulate a helicopter flight in real time.

A scale model of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

This device is used to turn contaminated garbage runoff into an environmentally safe liquid by using powerful UV rays.

5 • January 15, 2009 • University Press • www.upressonline.com

enn State calls it “one of the most challenging, training-intensive and dangerous of all helicopter flight operations.” The layman, on the other hand, would just see it as a helicopter landing on a ship. FAU researchers in the aerospace field are trying to create a safe way for a rotorcraft to land on a moving object. While it may sound simple, the problem is that the boat distorts the wind in its wake, creating unsafe — as well as unpredictable — flying conditions.


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