The Center for Directed Energy provides summer internship opportunities in STEM, beginning in May 2021 for a duration of 10 to 12 weeks. Each intern is matched to specific projects and mentors for this duration. Interns are paid an hourly rate as contractors and are part of the Center staff here at Wright-Patterson AFB. Relocation and travel are not provided, however, some projects will be able to be completed remotely. Phone interviews will follow for selected applicants.
Project Description: : Atmospheric aerosols, especially anthropogenic man-made aerosols, are known to be sources for fog / cloud droplets. However the quantitative link between aerosol physiochemical properties (i.e. shape, composition, and tendency to attract and absorb water vapor) and fog droplet microphysics, and indeed their optical properties, is still a subject for research. This is especially so in the vicinity of airfields given their unique mix of aerosol sources (i.e. aircraft turbine engines, vehicular engines, and heating/cooling plants). AFIT Graduate students and staff are investigating and modeling aerosols and their physiochemical properties as well as aerosol-induced fog droplets and their light scattering properties. Besides affecting air base operations and aircraft mission availability rates, fog droplets degrade visibility and some sensors’ ability to find, fix, track and identify targets of interest. Improved understanding of fog droplet growth as a function of aerosol type and physiochemical properties as well as ambient atmospheric water vapor content, can support improved mission planning and alternative courses of action. Such fog droplet forensics requires specialized scientific which monitors condensation nuclei — the precursor to a fog droplet — as a function of water vapor saturation. The equipment will be deployed for extended periods to forensically characterize fog droplet growth as described above. Long-duration characterizations will help correlate the role of aerosol distributions–type, composition, size, shape, and source with fog droplet growth and perhaps even dissipation.