Wednesday, January 17, 2018

URSP Student John Austin Studies the Structural Response of Submerged Structures Subject to Underwater Explosions

My name is John ‘Jack’ Austin and I am studying the structural response of submerged structures subjected to underwater explosions. In this research, I have been studying underwater explosions, analyzing the various parameters used to describe these explosions, modeling the underwater explosion, and analyzing the structural response to an underwater explosion. I wanted to get involved with research within Structural Engineering after seeing the research that one of my professors, Dr. Girum Urgessa. I also wanted to get involved with this researched because this research can impact the design of submerged structures such as submarines, and I have family history of working with submarines. My grandfather was a commanding officer of one of the first nuclear powered submarines and my father is currently in the business of construction of new, advanced nuclear powered submarines.

At the beginning of the project, most of my time was spent in literature review. This involved reading and learning from various scholarly articles, past experiments, and textbooks in order to have a good background knowledge of underwater explosions. On a weekly basis at this point in my research, most of my time is spent in the computer lab located in the Engineering Building here at George Mason which provides all of the software that I need to conduct this research. When I am in the computer lab, most of my time is spent between 3 different software programs; Matlab, Abaqus (Finite Element Analysis), and Excel. All of these are used together to accurately model a structure that is subjected to an explosion.

Conducting research as an undergraduate student will have lots of benefits to me in the long term. This gives me the great opportunity to learn how to conduct my own research project which will be very valuable when getting a graduate degree in the future and to branch out from my general engineering curriculum to learn and build on a topic that I am interested in but is not typically taught. Over the course of this semester, I have learned how much I enjoy conducting research and I definitely plan on continuing research in the future.