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Tucker Babcock Awarded NASA Fellowship

Tucker Babcock Awarded NASA Fellowship

By Torie Wells

September 2, 2020

Tucker Babcock, a doctoral student in aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been awarded a NASA fellowship.

Babcock is a member of the lab run by Jason Hicken, an associate professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering at Rensselaer. Babcock’s research has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of the aerospace industry by enabling the development of electric and hybrid-electric aircraft. With the support of this fellowship, Babcock will design a novel tool that will allow engineers to better model and optimize electric engines.

More specifically, Babcock will develop an electro-thermal topology optimization framework for electric motors. This will allow engineers to accurately model the electro-thermal physics that are present in electric motors. The results of this research will be shared as an open-source software library, enabling broader study of electric-propulsion aircraft.

The Rensselaer team will work closely with a NASA technical adviser to conduct studies that will help support the design of high-lift engines on the X-57 aircraft.


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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.