Research Centers, Labs and Facilities

Our undergraduate and graduate students have access to facilities that rival major universities and with our small class sizes, students are able to actually use the equipment.

 Research Centers

Center for Aviation Safety Research (CASR)

casr-bannerSaint Louis University received $4.25 million from the Federal Aviation Administration to launch the Center for Aviation Safety Research (CASR). The Center – established by Congress to solve crucial aviation safety research questions and research Next-Generation Maintenance and Technology. This will allow SLU students to assist with research and enroll in dual-listed advanced courses.

 


Center for Fluids at All Scales (CFAS)

The purpose of CFAS is to promote research and disseminate knowledge on the study of fluids at all physical scales, from the microscopic to the macroscopic. The Center also aims at promoting research on the application of fluid knowledge to various areas of the sciences and engineering. Examples of current research include studies of the micron-sized channels in microfluidic devices and blood vessels, the turbulence found behind parachutes and aircraft (see photo, courtesy of US Army Natick Soldier Center), and the superfluid interiors of neutron stars. CFAS also aims at promoting joint research projects regrouping experts of various disciplines and academic departments.


Center for Sensors & Sensor Systems (CSSS)

The purpose of the center is to provide specialized technological research and development in the area of sensor and sensor systems design and integration.

The mission of the center is to lead multi-disciplinary efforts focused on the systemic development and evaluation of sensor systems aiding in the creation of automated safety and security applications. The goal of these efforts is to design, implement, and evaluate such embedded systems as solutions to emerging needs, and to disseminate these solutions as widely as possible through research, publication, education, training, and consulting.

 Labs & Facilities

Parks College focuses on providing hands-on opportunities for our students to apply their knowledge by investing millions of dollars in our laboratories and facilities.

 

Air Traffic Control (ATC) Laboratory

Students gain hands-on experience in our state of the art, 20’ x 20’ air traffic control lab. It is composed of a control tower simulator lab and a RADAR simulator lab. The ATC simulator system was purchased/installed from ADACEL company in May 2009. ADACEL has the ATC simulation contracts with both the FAA and the Department of Defense (DoD) which means we provide our students with the same simulation system that both the FAA and DoD uses to train their active Air Traffic Controllers. The program’s cutting-edge lab simulates the air traffic control tower environment, radar facilities and communication with pilots.


Aircraft Computational and Resource Aware Fault Tolerance (AirCRAFT) Laboratory

In the Aircraft laboratory, our goal is the design of flight control algorithms that are capable of handling a variety of failures (sensors and actuators) on an aircraft, especially under constraints on computational resource or control authority. Flight tests using Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) platforms will serve to validate the performance of these algorithms. Along a parallel path, our interests are in the application of UAS to facilitate interdisciplinary research in Agriculture and Environmental Monitoring.


Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) Simulator Laboratory

In our final Jet Flying Techniques courses students are provided the opportunity to further their learning by operating in an authentic environment, while serving as an airline crew-member in our CRJ 200 Advanced Aviation Training Device, developed by Paradigm Flight Simulation. Under the mentoring of lab instructors with real world industry experience, students begin to function as industry professionals, further developing the skills, knowledge and abilities required of a professional flight crew-member. By functioning as crew members operating realistic line oriented flights in an authentic environment, students move from a novice with the knowledge and skills to be a professional flight crew member, towards an industry professional that is able to put those skills into practice, able to overcome the types of challenges professional pilots experience throughout their career. The final culminating experience for graduating Flight Science students includes a simulated airline flight where students dynamically work together as a crew to overcome numerous real world challenges.


Concrete and Materials Laboratory

A materials testing laboratory is available for developing design criteria and evaluating various types of building materials, such as concrete, masonry, wood, and steel. The laboratory includes facilities for performing many tests on concrete. A 500,000 lbs. capacity testing machine, smaller testing machines and other equipment are also available.


Fluid Systems Laboratory

Subsonic Wind Tunnel

  • There is a 28x40 inch closed-throat, open circuit low speed wind tunnel, that is capable of continuous air speeds up to 150 mph. A six component strain gauge balance with  computerized data acquisition and analysis using LabVIEW is available. A helium bubble generator unit is available for flow visualization studies. A Laser Doppler Velocimetry system is available for flow measurements. This facility is utilized for undergraduate laboratory instruction. Students and faculty use this facility for model testing and experimental research. This facility is also used for graduate research as well as externally funded research.

  • There is a 12X12 inch closed-throat, open circuit low speed wind tunnel, that is capable of air speeds up to 120 mph. A four component strain gage balance is available for measuring forces on a sting mounted model. This facility is primarily used for undergraduate laboratory instruction.

Supersonic Wind Tunnel

  • There is a 4x4 inch supersonic blow down wind tunnel with speed to Mach 4. A four component strain gauge balance and computerized data reduction system is available. Flow visualization in the supersonic wind tunnel is done through a Schlieren Optical System. This facility is used primarily for undergraduate laboratory instruction.

Water Tunnel

  • There is a water tunnel (Eidetics 1520) for flow visualization studies as well as investigating other fluid flow behavior past bodies. A dynamic model support is available. This facility is used for undergraduate laboratory instruction as well as graduate research. A shear layer water tunnel is also available.

    There exists a state of the art Digital Particle Image Velocimetry System (DPIV) along with high-speed data acquisition system for flow visualization & analysis in the two water tunnels.


Interfacial Biomaterials/Biomechanics Laboratory

The Interfacial Biomaterials/Biomechanics Lab focuses on those healing phenomena that typically occur at a tissue material interface. While we must consider the biocompatibility of the material, we must also consider device function which is often dependent on the mechanics of the interface. For example, a simple fracture of the humerus is not difficult to treat non-operatively, but if the patient must be on crutches the mechanics are much different and the clinician may choose to plate the fracture. How big should the plate be? How stiff? Fractures of the pelvis are interesting because the loads on the pelvis are large, pelvis fractures can often be unstable, and fractures are often adjacent to nerves. How much hardware is needed to stabilize the fracture site to allow it to heal without affecting the spinal nerves? Similarly, a degenerated vertebral disc can be very painful, and treatment options are limited. What are some options for providing mechanical support without generating a response to the material that causes other maladies? These ideas are representative of our lab’s focus.


Laser Peening Laboratory

Laser Peening is an emerging technology to improve the durability of precision metal components ranging from turbine blades and transmission gears to medical implants. The laboratory consists of a 1064 nm infrared pulsed laser, target positioning table, and associated optics. The lab is used to perform experiments involving laser-induced residual stress fields in precision metal components, with the intent to extend the fatigue life cycles. The facility is operated in collaborative research projects with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. A student research group at Parks College has been formed to design and conduct computational and experimental research in laser peening.


Manufacturing System Laboratory

The manufacturing system lab includes MDH Machine Shop and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) machine shop in Oliver Hall. MDH machine shop has five (5) Jet lathes (model GHP 1340), one (1) Enco lathe, and five Jet Vertical Mills (model JM2). CAM machine shop in Oliver Hall has one (1) HAAS CNC machine center (model VF4), one (1) South Bend lathe,and  one (1) Bridgeport vertical mill.This manufacturing system lab provides students with hands-on experience with various manufacturing processes for teaching purposes and enables  faculty and students to fabricate various components for senior design projects and other student projects. In addition, the lab provides faculty and students the  opportunities to conduct  experimental investigations of machinability of newly developed materials and performance of innovatively designed cutting tools. 


Mechatronics Laboratory

Mechatronics lab is a teaching lab in Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Mechatronics refers to the synergistic integration of precision mechanical structure and motion, electronic control, and system concepts in the design of industrial products and processes. We have autonomous mobile robots, Programmable Logic Control (PLC) Systems, and industrial robots. By using these mechatronics systems we give the students the opportunities to get hands-on experience and prepare students to be able to design and fabricate electro-mechanical systems and get industrial positions and/or succeed in future graduate studies.


Soft Tissue Engineering Laboratory

The focus of our lab is on biomaterial design and evaluation towards the development of 3-dimensional (3D) in-vitro tissue models and high-throughput toxicity screening platforms, in order to address the growing concerns of the biopharmaceutical industry with late stage drug failures. We are primarily interested in models of solid tumors as well as models to study neurotoxicity, a side effect associated with chemotherapy. Specifically, we are striving to build tunable biomaterials, where mechanical, biochemical, and physical material properties are selectively and independently altered. We then explore cell-matrix relationships in the presence to various drugs, by assessing cell fate, including cell viability, proliferation, morphology, apoptosis, signaling, cell cycle as well as drug IC50. Our broad goal is to provide robust 3D platforms for systematic and quantitative investigation of the large number of drug candidates that are constantly being discovered, as well as environmental toxins associated with a negative impact on human health.


Smart Transportation Laboratory

The objective of the Smart Transportation Lab is to facilitate research development and provide a transportation environment for students and researchers to conduct transportation research. The lab helps to provide a brainstorming area for advanced transportation studies to allow students to work together with real time traffic equipment and data. Students can have hands on experience in the lab to understand traffic control methodology.


Space Systems Research Laboratory

The Space Systems Research Laboratory is a facility for conducting fundamental research and flight demonstrations related to the design, fabrication, testing and operation of space vehicles. A major objective of the laboratory is to improve the performance and reduce the cost of space systems, expressed in four related research topics: Design and Operation of Nano and Pico Spacecraft; Space Situational Awareness (SSA); Spacecraft Technologies; and Space History, Logistics and Mission Failures.


Thermal System Laboratory

Thermal-Fluid Sciences research efforts at Parks College address a full range of problems, including micro- and nano-scale phenomena and galaxy-sized events. Research efforts are underway to
simulate the clouds and large vortices that advect in the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune. More accurate aerial delivery is under investigation by studying the aerodynamics of parachutes and airdrop systems. In the area of turbomachinery, current work examines aerodynamic losses produced by turbine blades and vanes, the design of internal cooling schemes for such blades and vanes, and the development of improved means for film cooling, as measured within transonic turbine airfoil cascades using infrared thermography. Also of interest are micro-fluidic phenomena, as well as separation, fractionation, and purification of micro-particles and nano-particles. Unmanned aerial vehicles are also under development, including research on improving wing design and controlling aerodynamic flows. Research on the fundamentals of fluid physics examines means to identify the laminar-to- turbulent transition process, as part of investigations on the overall nature of turbulence itself.


Tinker Lab

The Tinker Lab is a learning, hands-on environment that welcomes all students and faculty. Equipped with computers, laser etchers, and 3D printers, the Tinker Lab is a multifaceted environment to help encourage and develop the innovation mindset within each individual.

Led by graduate students and the iScholars (innovation scholars), the Tinker Lab was created through the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) grant Dr. Sridhar Condoor received. KEEN is a collaboration of 19 universities around the U.S. that strive to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering students. KEEN’s mission is to “graduate engineers who will contribute to business success, and in doing so, transform the American workforce.”


Tissue Engineering Scaffold Fabrication Laboratory

The focus of our lab is the fabrication and evaluation of tissue engineering scaffolds capable of replicating both the form and function of the native extracellular matrix (ECM). Through the creation of idealized tissue engineering structures, we hope to harness the body’s own reparative potential and accelerate regeneration. We are primarily interested in utilization of the electrospinning process to create nanofibrous polymeric structures that can be applied to a wide range of applications. Of principal interest to our laboratory is the fabrication of scaffolds capable of promoting wound healing and the filling of large tissue defects, as well as orthopedic applications such as bone and ligament repair. Our lab is equipped for a number of scaffold fabrication techniques, scaffold mechanical evaluation, protein analysis, and the determination of cell-scaffold interactions.


Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Laboratory

SLU’s UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) was purchased from Simlat Ltd. (Israel) in 2012 to offer overall UAS familiarization to both the piloting and payload operations functions for FAA research and potential future Aviation Science curriculum development. Additionally Simlat is configuring our C-STAR (Crew - Stand Alone Trainer) to replicate our flagship Williams Aerospace “TAURUS” UAS so that we may use the C-STAR for pre-mission exploration and preparation as well as general operational characteristics proficiency. Another significant facet of this UAS simulation asset is the potential to integrate it with Park’s other manned aviation simulators such as: Paradigm CRJ-200 Regional Jet, Adacel Air Traffic Control simulator, Precision Flight Controls Re-Configurable simulator and remote PC-based simulators so that the integration of unmanned aviation assets with manned assets can be explored in real time with multiple students.”


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