Computational Design Innovation Laboratory

Official homepage of Prof. Kai A. James' research group

People

Principal Investigator

Kai A. James, PhD

Education: 

  • PhD, Aerospace Engineering, University of Toronto
  • MASc, Aerospace Engineering, University of Toronto
  • BASc, Engineering Science, University of Toronto

Appointments:

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015 – present
  • Affiliated Faculty, Computational Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2016 – present
  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University, 2012 – 2015

 

Dr. James’ research interests are in the areas of computational mechanics and multidisciplinary design optimization, with a particular focus on problems involving complex, nonlinear structures and aeroelasticity. He is especially interested in developing novel algorithms that leverage high-fidelity computational models and numerical optimization methods for the design of complex engineering systems. Some of his major research projects include aerostructural optimization of aircraft wings for electric aircraft, and design optimization of self-actuating morphable structures containing active materials.  Beyond his technical interests, Dr. James is also passionate about increasing diversity in the STEM fields through outreach to economically disadvantaged students and underrepresented minorities

Current Graduate Students

Anurag Bhattacharyya

  • PhD, Aerospace Engineering
  • Joined in August, 2015
  • Thesis topic: Design of adaptive morphing aeroelastic structures

 

 

Ziliang (Troy) Kang

  • PhD, Aerospace Engineering
  • Joined in August, 2016
  • Thesis topic: Topology optimization of active material for soft robotics applications

 

Prateek Ranjan

  • PhD, Aerospace Engineering
  • Joined in August, 2016
  • Thesis topic: Flow control using structural optimization

 

 

Kenny Swartz

  • PhD, Mechanical Science and Engineering
  • Joined in January, 2017
  • Thesis topic: Topology optimization of metamaterials with photonic band gaps

 

Pat Kelley

  • MS, Aerospace Engineering
  • Joined in August, 2019
  • Thesis topic: Computational synthesis of multi-body mechanisms

 

 

 

Ghanendra Das

  • MS, Aerospace Engineering
  • Joined in August, 2019
  • Thesis topic: Structural topology optimization of an electric aircraft wing

 

 

Corey Parrott

  • PhD, Aerospace Engineering
  • Joining in August 2020
  • Thesis topic: TBD

 


Lee Alacoque

  • PhD, Aerospace Engineering
  • Joining in August 2020
  • Thesis topic: TBD

 

 

Bello Waheed Babatunde

  • MS, Aerospace Engineering
  • Joining in August 2020
  • Thesis topic: TBD

 

 

Alumni

  • Cian Conlan-Smith, MS 2017: Topology optimization of functionally graded compliant mechanisms
  • Alex Jessee, MS 2019: Simultaneous Packing and Routing Optimization of Thermal-Fluid Systems

Undergraduate Students & Independent Study Projects

  • Wanzheng Zheng, AE597, Fall 2020 – Spring 2021: Computational design and experimental testing of a flexible bi-stable airfoil for flow control
  • Jin-Young Kim, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Summer 2020: Experimental characterization of shape-memory polymer mechanisms.
  • Tyler Turman, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Summer 2020: Multi-point design optimization of an electric aircraft wing
  • Arnav Srikanth, Undergraduate Research Opportunity (UROP) Summer 2019: Airfoil shape optimization using XFOIL
  • Yeshern Maharaj, AE597, Fall 2018 – SPring 2019: Topology optimization of a non-pneumatic tire with stress and buckling constraints
  • Nicholas Anderson, Undergraduate Research Opportunity (UROP)/Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) Summer 2018/Fall 2018: Design of shape memory polymer-based 4D-printed mechanisms
  • Charul Chadha, AE597 Spring 2018: Topology optimization of 3D-printed structures subject to design-dependent thermal loading
  • Connor Daly, NPRE Senior Project Spring 2018: Shape optimization of turbine blades
  • Darrius Stamps, AE497 Fall 2017 – Spring 2018: Optimal design of polymorphic shape memory polymers via 4D printing
  • Nicholas Napier, AE497 Fall 2016 – Spring 2017: Post-processing of topology optimized designs using an artificial neural network
  • Sai Sriraman, AE497 Fall 2016 – Spring 2017: Automated interpolation of topology optimized designs for 3D prototyping