Developing Engineered Materials to Approach the Stars

Bostanabad is developing a design methodology that will help bring spacecraft closer to the stars

July 11, 2023 - Ramin Bostanabad, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCI, wants to send spacecraft closer to the stars. To that end, his research team aims to facilitate the design of new lightweight materials that are durable under extreme heat and unpredictable conditions, like those near the sun.

Ramin Bostanabad

Instead of having engineers spend limited resources on countless experiments and expensive simulations, Bostanabad is developing a design methodology to do the work for them. The envisioned computer algorithm will search through hundreds of potential combinations of high entropy metals and simulate their properties, and then model their response to unknown factors. This would greatly streamline the development of new aerospace materials.

His project aims to enable computer algorithms to predict the effects of future unknown factors on potential materials so that engineers can know how each new design would perform under those uncertain conditions. His group, the Probabilistic Modeling and Analysis of Complex Systems Laboratory, is developing a design framework that focuses on high entropy materials that could be invaluable for the aerospace industry.

The algorithm also has the potential to be used for a broad spectrum of design applications. Later this year, Bostanabad’s lab aims to make part of their algorithm open source so the community can leverage it to solve a wide range of engineering applications.

The valuable potential applications of this research was recently recognized by the National Science Foundation which gave Bostanabad a CAREER award and supported the project with $574,000 in funds. The NSF CAREER award is one the most prestigious and competitive awards for early career professors who are leading advances in their fields. Bostanabad is one of four recent recipients of the NSF CAREER award at the UCI Samueli School of Engineering.

- Natalie Tso