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Dr. Dora Elia Musielak

Name

[Musielak, Dr. Dora Elia]
  • Adjunct Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Biography

Dr. Dora Musielak has a distinguished career in the aerospace  industry and in academia characterized by many contributions through her scientific research, education, community service, and her devotion and tireless work in STEM education. She is a NASA Fellow, AIAA Associate Fellow, and the recipient of many recognitions.

Dr. Dora Musielak research areas range from high speed air breathing propulsion to advanced space propulsion and plasma rockets, to chaos in complex systems and fractal statistics. Her specialties include heat transfer, fluid mechanics, thermal sciences, turbulence and combustion. Her research strength is in her unique command of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation and numerical modeling of the fundamental phenomena in high speed reacting flows for aero-space propulsion applications.

Dr. Musielak's career has spanned more than twenty years during which she has established a national and international reputation for contributions in high-speed propulsion, working at several aerospace companies including Northrop Grumman, MSE Technologies, and most recently for Allied Techsystems (ATK). She has been invited to lecture at universities in Mexico, Panama, Italy, England, Spain, and in the United States. She has presented her research at national and international conferences.

Dr. Musielak's accomplishments can be classified into three categories, namely, research, education, and service to the community.

* As a NASA Graduate Research Fellow, Dora Musielak demonstrated that magnetic insulation leads to an increased performance of plasma rockets by reducing the heat transfer to the nozzle walls. Later on, she showed that the injection of mixing of chemically reacting hypersonic flows could be controlled by special injection schemes in scramjet engines to power hypersonic vehicles. She was awarded a NASA Faculty Research Fellowship to carry out this work at NASA Langley. In her most recent work, Dr. Musielak investigated routes to chaos in coupled Duffing oscillators.

The list of Dr. Musielak's contributions to higher education is long. It includes establishing research and educational programs in hypersonics at UTA and in the industry, organizing and giving professional short courses for AIAA, disseminating results of research and progress in space exploration programs among students in schools and universities in Europe and Latin America, setting an initiative to expand focus of and leading AIAA undergraduate team engine design competitions, and working as a mentor with the ASME Young Engineers Committee.

Dr. Musielak's leadership is well recognized in the professional community. She is active with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), participating in conferences and meeting, working with several AIAA committees and chairing the Education Sub Committee of the Air Breathing Propulsion Technical Committee, and now she is the Communications chair of the High Speed Air Breathing Technical Committee (HSABPTC). She has also served on national review committees at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and was selected as a member of the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Breakthrough Technologies for Commercial Supersonic Aircraft.

Dr. Musielak is the first woman in Latin America to be awarded the degree and title of Aeronautical Engineer from the Polytechnic Institute of Mexico. Dr. Dora Musielak is also the author of several books, two of which she translated into Spanish.

Professional Preparation

    • 1994 Ph.D. in Aerospace & Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Alabama in Huntsville
    • 1980 M.S. in Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of Tennessee Space Institute
    • 1978 B.S. in Aeronautical EngineeringPolytechnic Institute of Mexico

Memberships

  • Professional
    • May 2012 to Present AIAA HSABP TC

News Articles

    • Dec 2016 Hypersonic Spy Planes, Civil Transports, and Spaceplanes: Projecting the Future of Transcontinetal Flight and Access to Space

      Can we say with certainty that we are getting closer to revolutionizing transcontinental military and commercial aeronautics? The optimistic side of me responds with a resounding Yes! At the same time, we are aiming even higher. Engineers continue developing scramjet engines that combine synergistically with rockets to propel innovative space launch systems. These launchers are intended to place satellites in low Earth orbit, and even to transport people to the edge of space. This article summarizes R&D developments in 2016 that show how hypersonic technology is maturing rapidly to achieve those goals.

    • Supercruising the Friendly Skies

      What would it take to make a round trip to Europe in one day and circumvent jetlag? Sexy new designs for a supersonic airliner and powerful fuel-efficient green engines!

      Read more...

    • Scramjets to LEO!
      This article highlights an innovative idea for a space launcher that includes a wedge-shaped vehicle powered by a scramjet engine launched horizontally along an electrified track, or gas powered sled, carrying a pod or spacecraft destined for low Earth orbit (LEO).
    • Scramjeting toward the Future
      Article to report on the successful flight of the X-51A waverider, the first hypersonic vehicle powered by jet fuel. The Mach 5 set a new world record and established the foundation for several hypersonic applications, including access to space, reconnaissance, strike, global reach and commercial transportation.
    • SABRE: A High Speed Air Breathing Rocket for the SSTO SKYLON Spaceplane

      To achieve truly single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) capability, a propulsion system must be able to provide high thrust from zero to hypersonic speed, to lift a vehicle from the ground to very high altitude, and do it reliably and with excellent efficiency throughout. The hybrid SABRE engine offers to deliver both high thrust-to-weight ratio and high performance over the Mach 0 to 25 flight range operating on a pre-cooled air-breathing/rocket combined cycle. This is a major advantage in comparison to alternate air-breathing engine design concepts. A propulsion technology being developed by Reaction Engines, Ltd. (REL) in the UK, SABRE is intended for propelling the reusable SKYLON launch vehicle to deliver payloads to low Earth orbit (LEO).

    • High Speed Air Breathing Propulsion 2011 Year in Review

      Despite unforeseen challenges, economic woes, and natural disasters, 2011 was a pivotal year for high-speed air-breathing propulsion. What will we remember? Highlights of some of the most important events that shaped this technology in 2011 are included in the 2011 Year in Review issue of Aerospace America. Read a more detailed account of advances made by the AFOSR/NASA National Center for Hypersonic Combined Cycle Propulsion, Aerojet, CUBRC, and the R&D centers at JAXA by downloading this article.

Other Activities

    • Uncategorized
      • NASA Research Fellow
      • AIAA Associate Fellow
      • National Academy of Sciences Committee
      • NASA Graduate Research Fellow
      • Ph.D. Academic Honor
      • AIP Spanish-Speaker Science Advisor
      • AIAA ABP TC Chair Award

Research and Expertise

  • Background and Expertise

    Dr. Dora Musielak has a distinguished career in the aerospace  industry and in academia characterized by many contributions through her scientific research, education, community service, and her devotion and tireless work in STEM education. She is a NASA Fellow, AIAA Associate Fellow, and the recipient of many recognitions.

    Dr. Dora Musielak research areas range from high speed air breathing propulsion to advanced space propulsion and plasma rockets, to chaos in complex systems and fractal statistics. Her specialties include heat transfer, fluid mechanics, thermal sciences, turbulence and combustion. Her research strength is in her unique command of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation and numerical modeling of the fundamental phenomena in high speed reacting flows for aero-space propulsion applications.

    Dr. Musielak's career has spanned more than twenty years during which she has established a national and international reputation for contributions in high-speed propulsion, working at several aerospace companies including Northrop Grumman, MSE Technologies, and most recently for Allied Techsystems (ATK). She has been invited to lecture at universities in Mexico, Panama, Italy, England, Spain, and in the United States. She has presented her research at national and international conferences.

    Dr. Musielak's accomplishments can be classified into three categories, namely, research, education, and service to the community.

    * As a NASA Graduate Research Fellow, Dora Musielak demonstrated that magnetic insulation leads to an increased performance of plasma rockets by reducing the heat transfer to the nozzle walls. Later on, she showed that the injection of mixing of chemically reacting hypersonic flows could be controlled by special injection schemes in scramjet engines to power hypersonic vehicles. She was awarded a NASA Faculty Research Fellowship to carry out this work at NASA Langley. In her most recent work, Dr. Musielak investigated routes to chaos in coupled Duffing oscillators.

    The list of Dr. Musielak's contributions to higher education is long. It includes establishing research and educational programs in hypersonics at UTA and in the industry, organizing and giving professional short courses for AIAA, disseminating results of research and progress in space exploration programs among students in schools and universities in Europe and Latin America, setting an initiative to expand focus of and leading AIAA undergraduate team engine design competitions, and working as a mentor with the ASME Young Engineers Committee.

    Dr. Musielak's leadership is well recognized in the professional community. She is active with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), participating in conferences and meeting, working with several AIAA committees and chairing the Education Sub Committee of the Air Breathing Propulsion Technical Committee, and now she is the Communications chair of the High Speed Air Breathing Technical Committee (HSABPTC). She has also served on national review committees at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and was selected as a member of the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Breakthrough Technologies for Commercial Supersonic Aircraft.

    Dr. Musielak is the first woman in Latin America to be awarded the degree and title of Aeronautical Engineer from the Polytechnic Institute of Mexico. Dr. Dora Musielak is also the author of several books, two of which she translated into Spanish.

  • Hypersonics
    My research in high speed propulsion has focused on the development of scramjets and other propulsion systems that use detonation combustion. I've carried out computer-based numerical modeling of fundamental physical phenomena incluidng fluid mechanics, heat transfer, turbulence, and chemical kinetics of high speed internal flows. I use CFD codes to simulate fuel injection, mixing, and reaction in scramjets.  Analytically, I’ve worked to develop different flowpaths for scramjet propulsion in the Mach 10 to 12 flight operating range. My work includes analysis of engine inlet flows and computational simulation of fuel injection, mixing, and chemical kinetics in the combustion chamber. This research relies heavily on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. I’ve used the NASA Navier-Stokes code VULCAN[1]. This CFD code is a state-of-the art tool developed by NASA Langley researchers and used extensively by the scramjet community, including NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and its research contractors. The code was procured from NASA Langley with permission to use it under a personal agreement. Multi-level, multi-block computational grids were generated with enough mesh fineness to resolve the structure of the flame and shock structures developed in the scramjet combustion chamber when supersonic fuel jets interact with the high-speed airstream. The research study required the acquisition of computer resources including a 12 node computer cluster, and sophisticated software to carry out the required pre- and post-processing of the CFD data obtained from the simulations. The physical model selected for the study was an axisymmetric full-size hypersonic vehicle with an annular inlet and combustion chamber. The combustor was modeled as having an array of hydrogen fuel injectors, the distribution of which was changed to study the effect of injector location, injection angle, and equivalence ratio. The hydrogen-air supersonic combustion process was modeled with a 7-species, 7-step reaction mechanism. The combustion species H2O and OH were selected as the mayor indicators of combustion (Fig. 1). In particular, the radical OH was determined computationally because it is a major combustion intermediate, playing a key role in the chemistry of combustion, and because its presence within the flame zone can serve as a qualitative marker of flame temperature. Another reason the combustion specie OH is tracked is that it can be compared with experimental data. Typically, laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) of OH is used to observe the flame structure within the post flame zone of a combustor. Numerical simulations of supersonic airflow over open cavities and its interaction with hydrogen jets for application to high Mach number scramjet engine were also conducted. Interesting results (Figs. 2, 3) were obtained from an assessment of various cavity/combustor sizes to help with the determination of an optimum design for a Mach 10-12 scramjet. Using different scramjet flow conditions at the entrance of the combustor, a comparison was made of several cavity/fuel injection configurations, using the amount of H2O and OH produced by the reaction of fuel and air as the measure of combustion. It was found that the location of the fuel injector dominates the reaction process and determines the effectiveness of a recessed cavity to perform as a flameholder. Injecting the fuel through a wall cavity in the combustion chamber was done to reduce the ignition delay time and provide a continuous source of radicals for the chemical reaction to be established in the shortest distance possible.
    [1]VULCAN (Viscous Upwind Algorithm for Complex Flow Analysis) is a turbulent, non-equilibrium, finite-rate chemical kinetics, Navier-Stokes flow solver for structured, cell-centered, multi-block grids that is currently maintained and distributed (restricted to US) by the Hypersonic Air Breathing Propulsion Branch of NASA Langley Research Center (http://vulcan-cfd.larc.nasa.gov/)
  • Space Propulsion

    Since 1989, my research focused on the physics of advanced plasma rockets. Have studied chemical and electrothermal thrusters. Main interest in advanced space propulsion for next generation launch vehicles and for human interplanetary spacecraft.

    The development of advanced propulsion is a crucial component of human exploration of space. For manned missions, spacecraft must possess key characteristics that are not as important in robotic systems, but which are essential for the preservation of human life. Crewed vehicles must be faster, more reliable, and be capable of abort options for crew survival. Their propulsion systems must be capable of handling, not just the cruise phase of the journey, but also provide sufficient maneuvering near the origin and destination planets.

    Human missions will require high specific energy and high exhaust velocity propulsion systems. Launch from the surface of the Earth to low Earth orbit (LEO) and return is just barely within the capability of conventional chemical propellant single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) launch vehicles. Ambitious manned missions such as fast trips to Mars will require spacecraft velocities that are well beyond the reach of chemical propulsion systems.

    I am currently studying the physics of advanced propulsion concepts that are being considered for manned missions to Mars and beyond, including the potential gains afforded by plasma rockets over the conventional chemical counterparts. In particular, my research has focused on magnetic confinement, a process wherby the highly energetic plasma flow is insulated from the rocket's material walls using applied magnetic fields that contour the plasma as it exits the nozzle. I also study nuclear fission and fusion rockets because they offer theoretical energy densities that are many times higher than that available from conventional chemical systems.

Publications

      Technical Report In-press
      • Musielak, D., Hypersonics: Spy Planes, Civil Transports, and Spaceplanes

        {Technical Report }

      Book 2012
      Conference Paper 2011
      • Musielak, D. and Musielak, Z. E., "Detection of Moons around Giant Exoplanets," 217th American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting, Seattle, WA, 2011.
        {Conference Paper }

      Journal Article 2011
      • High Speed Air Breathing Propulsion, Aerospace America 2011 Year in Review issue
        {Journal Article }

      Journal Article 2010
      • Musielak, D., "High Speed Air-Breathing Propulsion," Aerospace America, 2010,.
        {Journal Article }

      Journal Article 2009
      • Musielak ZE Musielak DE. 2009. High-dimensional Chaos in Dissipative and Driven Dynamical Systems. Chaos and Bifurcation.
        {Journal Article }

      Book 2008
      • Musielak, Dora. Kuxan Suum: Path to the Center of the Universe. 2008.
        {Book }

      Conference Paper 2006
      • Musielak, D., "Numerical Simulation of Fuel Injection for Application to Mach 10-12 Vehicles," 14th AIAA/AHI Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Canberra, Australia, 2006.
        {Conference Paper }

      Journal Article 2006
      • Musielak ZEM Mobashi H. 2006. Method to Determine Cutoff Frequencies for Acoustic Waves Propagating in Nonisothermal Media. Physical Review E 73.
        {Journal Article }

      Conference Proceeding 2006
      • D. Musielak. "Numerical Simulation of Cavity Flame Holders for Combustion and Flame Stabilization in a Mach 10-12 Scramjet Vehicle," in 2006 JANNAF CS/APS/PSHS Joint Meeting (San Diego, CA, 2006).
        {Conference Proceeding }

      Journal Article 2005
      • Musielak DE, Musielak ZE, Benner JS. 2005. Chaos and Routes to Chaos in Coupled Duffing Oscillators with Multiple Degrees of Freedom. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals 24(4):907-922.
        {Journal Article }
      2005
      • Musielak DE, Musielak ZE, Kennamer K. 2005. The Onset of Chaos in Nonlinear Dynamical Systems Determined with a New Fractal Technique. Fractals 13(1).
        {Journal Article }

      Book 2004
      • Musielak, Dora. Sophie's Diary. 2004.
        {Book }

Presentations

  • Past
    •  
      Sophie Germain and the Biharmonic Equation: Foundation of Vibration and Elasticity Theories

      The biharmonic equation is a fourth-order partial differential equation which arises as a result of modeling complex phenomena encountered in problems in science and engineering. One of its earliest applications deals with the classical theory of flexure of elastic plates developed by Euler and Bernoulli. But it was a woman, Sophie Germain, who first derived the form of the time dependent, two-dimensional biharmonic equation that was needed to explain Chladni's vibrating plates. In this talk, I will present a historical perspective of how the mathematical theory of thin plates, generally attributed to Poisson and Kirchhoff, and which is now extensively applied to the stress analysis and vibration of aerospace structures, is actually based on the pioneering work of Sophie Germain.

              In addition to her work to develop the mathematical theory of elasticity and vibration, Sophie Germain, a self-educated mathematician, is the first and only woman in history to make a substantial contribution to the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. This presentation will conclude with a brief introduction of Sophie's Diary, my book inspired by Germain and now published by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The story chronicles the coming of age of a young woman learning mathematics on her own, growing up during the most turbulent years of the French Revolution. Sophie's Diary contains a perfect blend of mathematics and history of mathematics, and it presents a portrait of a young scholar who defied convention and overcame all obstacles to pursue an education when the doors of the universities were shut to women.

Live Performances

  • 2019
    • Apr 2019 Spacecraft Orbit Design for Exoplanet Hunting Missions

      Is there is life in other worlds outside our Solar System? In just 24 years, astronomers have discovered many planets gravitating around other suns, confirming the existence of 4,023 such exobodies. This amazing achievement was accelerated by incorporating rocket technologies, as most exoplanets were discovered with space observatories.

      In this talk, I address this aspect of the space missions designed to discover exoplanets. Starting with an overview of rocket propulsion, I will introduce spacecraft trajectories in the Sun-Earth-Moon System, focusing especially on those appropriate for exoplanet detection spacecraft. First, I will highlight the lunar-resonant High Earth Orbit (HEO), a unique trajectory concept chosen for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), whose mission objective is to examine over 85% of the sky, an area 400 times larger than what the Kepler telescope observed. I will compare the features of the HEO with the heliocentric, Earth-trailing orbit selected for Kepler. I will conclude with a type of heliocentric orbit about a Sun-Earth equilibrium point, known as halo orbit. Both, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are expected to orbit there. The mission objectives of these spacecraft are to search for exoplanets while studying dark matter, and to study atmospheres of known exoplanets, respectively. I will also include a unique halo orbit on a radio-quiet zone located on the farside of the Moon.

      [Non-refereed/non-juried]

Other Creative Activities

  • 2019
    • Book Publication
      • Feb 2019 Euler Celestial Analysis

        Leonhard Euler stood at the center of mathematical development in the eighteenth century. Euler Celestial Analysis shines a bright light on the intellectual context of Euler’s contributions to mathematical astronomy.

        Offering an elegant and unbiased portrait of this remarkable mathematician, Dora Musielak uses Euler’s works to explore how he built the foundation for the rigorous study of motion in our Solar System. With his exquisite flair for analysis, Euler stated the three-body problem of celestial mechanics, and he derived the differential equations for the general n-body problem, identifying all the integrals of motion. He studied comets, eclipses, derived planetary orbits, and pioneered the study of planetary perturbations. Old and blind, Euler put forward the most advanced lunar theory of his time.

        Euler Celestial Analysis also provides an introduction to spacecraft orbit mechanics, a branch of celestial mechanics that studies spaceflight and that has revolutionized the direct exploration of the heavens.

        [Non-refereed/non-juried]

Courses

      • ME 5332-006 ENGINEERING ANALYSIS

        The main objective of this course is to study and solve partial differential equations (PDEs) and study complex variable theory suitable for application to modeling of physical engineering systems.

        Spring - Regular Academic Session - 2017Contact info & Office Hours
      • AE 5332-002 ENGINEERING ANALYSIS

        The main objective of this course is to study and solve partial differential equations (PDEs) and to study complex variable theory suitable for application to modeling of physical engineering systems.

        Spring - Regular Academic Session - 2017Contact info & Office Hours
      • ME 5331-006 Engineering Analysis

        Graduate course on mathematical methods for engineers. It includes differential equations, field theory, Fourier methods, Laplace transforms and other analytical methods required to solve problems in various engineering disciplines.

        Spring - Regular Academic Session - 2016Contact info & Office Hours
      • AE 5332-001 Engineering Analysis

        Applied mathematics graduate course devoted to the study of partial differential equations and the methods of solution. We study Fourier analysis focused on solution of the diffusion, wave, and Laplace's equations. This mathematical methods for engineering course also addressed complex analysis, including all Cauchy's theorems through the Residue Theorem

        Spring - Regular Academic Session - 2016Contact info & Office Hours1 Document
      • MAE 4321-001 AIR-BREATHING ENGINE PROPULSION

        The main objective of this course is to study air-breathing propulsion systems for aircraft applications. Study includes development of thrust and efficiency relations, cycle analysis for ramjet, turbojet, and turbofan engines, component design and performance analysis, and off-design performance analysis.

        Spring - Regular Academic Session - 2016Contact info & Office Hours
      • ME 5331-005 Engineering Analysis

        The main emphasis of this course is to study Ordinary Differential Equations, Field Theory, and Fourier Methods. Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree in engineering, physics, or mathematics.

        Fall - Regular Academic Session - 2015Contact info & Office Hours1 Document
      • ME 5331-006 Engineering Analysis

        The main emphasis of this course is to study Ordinary Differential Equations, Field Theory, and Fourier Methods. Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree in engineering, physics, or mathematics.

        Fall - Regular Academic Session - 2015Contact info & Office Hours
      • ME 5332-001 ENGINEERING ANALYSIS
        Mathematical Methods for Engineers. The main emphasis of ME 5332 is to study partial differential equations and complex variable theory with application to modeling of physical systems.
        Spring - Regular Academic Session - 20131 Link
      • PHYS 5312-001 Mathematical Methods for Physicists II
        The main emphasis of PHYS 5312 is to study mathematical methods found in physics. We will start with Cauchy’s Integral Theorem, proceed to Partial Differential Equations, and then study Special Functions of Mathematical Physics. See syllabus for complete list of topics.
        Spring - Regular Academic Session - 2013
      • AE 5332-001 Engineering Analysis

        The main emphasis of AE 5332 is to study partial differential equations and complex variable theory with application to modeling of physical systems.

        Spring - Regular Academic Session - 2012

Other Service Activities

  • Uncategorized
    • Dec  Referee Service

      Journal of Visualization

      AIAA Journals and Conference Papers

      Taylor & Francis textbook on thermodynamics

      International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos