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EECS Student Research Selected for Graduate Research Summit

March 4, 2011

EECS doctoral student Brian Cordill was among the 33 graduate students from KU, Kansas State, and Wichita State who were selected to present their research and how it benefited Kansas to elected officials and the public on Feb. 17.

 “I was pretty excited when I heard I was selected for the summit. It’s not every day you are able to present your research to the Board of Regents and members of the Legislature,” Cordill said. “I think the work we’re doing can have a pretty big impact on Kansas businesses.”

Jumbo jetliners to single-engine airplanes are now being made from a wafer-thin, granite-tough plastic material, known as carbon composite, which reduces fuel consumption by up to 20 percent. While composites offer greater durability and design flexibility, they can’t protect sensitive electronic equipment like their aluminum counterparts. Metal provides a natural shield from weather, military, and other high-power radar signals that can jam equipment and cause other problems through electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Currently, manufacturers are unable to conduct EMI tests until a prototype is built, making changes costly and difficult. But under the direction of EECS Assistant Professor Sarah Seguin, Cordill is using electromagnetic modeling software to identify possible EMI problems in the design phase. He compared virtual findings with physical measurements to ensure the accuracy of the software. The software was developed in collaboration with Mark Ewing, chairman of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and director of the Flight Research Laboratory, at KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC).

 “EMI is a pretty wide-open problem with a lot of research focused on identifying and fixing problems, but what companies really need now is a way to bring down cost,” said Cordill, who graduated with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 2007. He attended the University of California-Los Angles for graduate school before returning to KU for his Ph.D.

The research was funded by the Aircraft Design and Manufacturing Research Center (ADMRC), a consortium of university and industry partners who address the technology needs of aircraft manufacturers and subcontractors.

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