Aerospace Engineering Students win NASA Design Competition
University of Virginia Mechanical and Aerospace Department 4th year Aerospace Engineering students, led by Professor Jim McDaniel, won first place in a highly competitive NASA design contest: the NASA Environmentally Responsible (Green) Aviation College Student Challenge.
The goal of the design competition was to create an environmentally friendly airplane for the 2020 time frame. In order to achieve this, the UVA design class was divided up into three teams: Aerodynamics, Performance and Propulsion. The design process lasted the entire academic school year starting in September through May. The students received mentoring and guidance from Lockheed Martin – Skunk Works, Rolls Royce and NASA Langley, and of course Professor McDaniel. In the end, it was the combined efforts and creativity of 21 students that led to the development of VERDe Atrema.
The VERDe acronym stands for Virginia Environmentally Responsible Design, and “verde” means”green” — as in environmentally friendly — in Spanish; and Atrema is greek for “quietly”. The airplane stands up to its name as it represents the height of technology for quiet and clean aircraft. The critical project requirements were to achieve a reduction in noise by 42 decibels, fuel consumption by 50%, and NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions by 75%. Our aircraft achieves these goals with noise reduced by 43 decibels, fuel by 62.7%, and NOx by 75%.
The Atrema holds up to 216 passengers and can fly 8000 nautical miles at Mach 0.85. The use of a boundary layer ingestion engine with a distributed fan system as well as new composite materials reflects some of the state-of-the-art technology implemented in the Atrema. The aircraft itself is a unique and innovative design as it has a canard as well as forward-swept wings.
See a video  created by Ami Patel, an AE student that was part of the winning team, that summarizes the airplane design and design process.