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AEDC's Andrew Fist wins first place at the Masters Division of the 64th AIAA Southeastern Regional Conference

Pictured above, from left to right, are Dimitrios A. Kakavelakis, III, Dr. Joseph Majdalani, UTSI’s H.H. Arnold Chair of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and AEDC’s Andrew Fist. A technical paper authored by Fist and Majdalani took first place at the recent Masters Division of the 64th American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics [AIAA] Southeastern Regional Conference in Raleigh, N.C. A technical paper authored by Kakavelakis and Majdalani took second place in the same competition. (Photo provided)

Pictured above, from left to right, are Dimitrios A. Kakavelakis, III, Dr. Joseph Majdalani, UTSI’s H.H. Arnold Chair of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and AEDC’s Andrew Fist. A technical paper authored by Fist and Majdalani took first place at the recent Masters Division of the 64th American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics [AIAA] Southeastern Regional Conference in Raleigh, N.C. A technical paper authored by Kakavelakis and Majdalani took second place in the same competition. (Photo provided)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Arnold Engineering Development Complex's (AEDC) Andrew Fist recently competed in the Masters Division of the 64th American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Southeastern Regional Conference in Raleigh, N.C., and won the first place award with a technical paper titled "Improved Mean Flow Solution for Solid Rocket Motors," which he coauthored with University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) professor Dr. Joe Majdalani.

UTSI student Dimitrios Kakavelakis III won second place with a paper titled "Nusselt Number Correlation for Cyclonically-Cooled Liquid Rocket Engines," which was also coauthored with Dr. Majdalani.

Dr. Majdalani is UTSI's H.H. Arnold Chair of Excellence in Advanced Propulsion and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

Fist, a turbine engine test manager at AEDC, is pursuing a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering at UTSI.

He spoke about the inspiration for the award-winning technical paper.

"The content of the paper stemmed from Dr. Majdalani's work in flow field analysis, an effort that has been a significant research area at UTSI for almost 15 years," said Fist.

"Essentially, we looked at an equation that estimates how particles in a solid rocket motor move through the rocket on the way to the nozzle. By making some slightly different assumptions than those made by researchers in the 1950's and 1960's, we found that a new solution was possible that described a swirling flow issue identified in a number of laboratory experiments over the years."

Fist added, "I think the key to the success of the paper was that the new equation was nearly identical to a set of solutions (Bessel Function Solutions) that I learned about in Dr. Majdalani's heat transfer course in the previous semester."

Fist said working at AEDC for the past three years has also contributed to his success with the technical paper that placed first in the recent competition.

"Working at AEDC has certainly inspired me to try my best to make a lasting contribution to the aerospace community," he said. "I feel extremely fortunate to have had the support of the Air Force and UTSI ever since I arrived here, and I'm hopeful that follow-on work on the topic will bring about more concrete tools for both researchers and industry to use in the coming years."

Fist said winning the award was an honor, but also a humbling experience.

"It's always exciting to be recognized for your effort, but more than anything the process has reminded me about how much there is to be learned, and how much I respect the researchers that came before me that had far fewer tools to aid them in their work," he said.

North Carolina State University and the Student Branch of AIAA in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., hosted the 64th Annual Southeastern Regional Student Conference. A total of 170 student delegates from 16 southeastern universities competed this year, an all-time high in the history of Region II.

Participating universities included, Auburn, Embry Riddle Aeronautical, Florida Tech, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, NCSU, Tuskegee, Alabama (Huntsville and Tuscaloosa), Central Florida, Memphis, Miami, UTSI and Vanderbilt.

As the first place winner, Fist will receive an AIAA supported trip to participate in next year's international student competition, which will be held in January as part of SciTech'14, in conjunction with the 52nd Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Maryland.

Fist is from Dayton, Ohio with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton. Kakavelakis is from Albuquerque, N.M., and is pursuing a master' degree in engineering science. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in pure mathematics from Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, Ga.