Technical Seminar: Understanding the Flight of the Boomerang

Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Programs Hamid Rahai left, welcomes John Vassberg to CSULB.

Have you ever wondered how boomerangs fly? John Vassberg has. One of Boeing’s top aerodynamicists, Vassberg was at CSULB Friday to deliver one his most popular lectures—one that delves into the aerodynamic capabilities of a hunting tool developed by Aboriginal Australians thousands of years ago.

“It’s turned out to be a cult classic,” said Vassberg, who has given the talk in Paris and Brussels and at Caltech and University of Southern California. “Maybe I’ll teach you something so you’ll have something to do over the weekend,” he told faculty and students at the Spring Technical Seminar.

Now Technical Lead and Chief Aerodynamicist of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Advanced Concepts Design Center in Southern California, Vassberg did the research back in 2012 when he was asked to present at an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) conference. Continue reading “Technical Seminar: Understanding the Flight of the Boomerang”

Boeing Technical Fellow to Discuss Boomerang Aerodynamics

Boeing Technical Fellow John Vassberg will discuss the aerodynamic characteristics and flight dynamics of boomerangs at the Spring Technical Seminar at noon on Friday, Feb. 23 in the Niggli Conference Center (ECS-312). Students and faculty are invited to attend.

Dr. Vassberg will explain how blade theory can be used to expand upon a basic aerodynamic model developed in the 1960s. The new aerodynamic model is coupled with a gyroscope model for rudimentary analyses. The approach has generated significant findings regarding the radius of a boomerang’s circular flight path, the required inclination angle of its axis-of-rotation, its trim state, as well as its dynamic stability. These discoveries provide a basic understanding of how the interplay between aerodynamic forces and moments, and gyroscopic precession combine to return the boomerang to its rightful owner by way of a circular flight path. Continue reading “Boeing Technical Fellow to Discuss Boomerang Aerodynamics”

Award-Winning Ph.D. Student Jeremy Bonifacio’s Healthy Ambition

Jeremy Bonifacio receiving METRANS Transportation Center’s “Student of the Year” Award from Greg Winfree, Acting Administrator of the US Research and Innovative Technology Administration

By Todd Howard

Engineering Ph.D. student Jeremy Bonifacio is distinguishing himself on the national stage as an innovator of high-tech solutions to longstanding environmental and public-health issues. Last year, he traveled to the Transportation Research Board’s annual conference in Washington D.C. to receive the METRANS Transportation Center’s “Student of the Year” award as well as a certificate of commendation from the U.S. Department of Transportation for his academic excellence and research in the reduction of airborne pollution.

A student in the “Engineering and Industrial Applied Math” doctoral program that is a joint endeavor between the College of Engineering and Claremont Graduate University, Bonifacio’s research in Fluid Dynamics is creating technologies that disperse indoor and outdoor pollutants before they can reach dangerously high levels of concentrations, as well as biomedical instruments for treating pollution-related illnesses. “The number of people who are getting sick from airborne pollutants is on the rise in developed and developing nations alike,” says Bonifacio. “There is urgent need for a comprehensive range of solutions.” Bonifacio recently served as the student team leader on a $1.8 million joint research endeavor between CSULB and the Port of Los Angeles that developed “seawater scrubber” technology for reducing the high concentrations of diesel particulate matter that are emitted from oceangoing vessels. The project’s principle investigator was Dr. Hamid Rahai, Bonifacio’s PhD advisor.

In addition to his research in Fluid Dynamics, Bonifacio is developing biomedical technology that holds the promise of providing more accurate diagnoses and targeted treatment of pollution-related illnesses such as respiratory infections, heart disease, and lung cancer. He presently teaches Aerodynamics Laboratory classes in CSULB’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and is preparing for a career as a consultant in the field of environmental pollutants and as an entrepreneur in the field of biomedical technologies.