Recent School of Engineer graduate, Finn van Donkelaar, won a regional American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Masters student presentation award this past weekend in Seattle.
The winning presentation focused on the math, computer modeling and experimental data behind a new method of accelerating projectiles.
Using high-speed gas, van Donkelaar created a projectile launcher that is extremely compact and can launch projectiles over 1,900 metres per second.
The project has military and space launch applications.
According to van Donkelaar, a lot of credit for his recent success is directly related to his undergraduate studies at the School of Engineering.
“Through opportunities in the machine shop, I was able to go beyond the theoretical components of engineering and build tangible prototypes similar to the projectile launcher project.”
“I think the practical nature of the shop classes empower young engineers enabling them to design, construct and test systems.”
Following his graduation from UBC Okanagan, van Donkelaar worked in the forestry industry over the summer, and started graduate studies at the University of Washington (UW) Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics in September.
Since joining UW, van Donkelaar has been developing various components of his projectile launch project.
Now that the project is complete, he will be joining the UW Ram Facility which is one of the world’s leading ram accelerator research facilities. The facility is building upon its ground-breaking work in creating a scalable, hypervelocity launcher capable of accelerating projectiles at velocities greater than 8,000 metres per second. Van Donkelaar’s work will be focused on methods of triggering gas discharges in the accelerator.
By virtue of winning the presentation award, van Donkelaar will travel to the national conference in San Diego to present in January.