Paul Burke graduated with his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2021. He is from Bel Air, Maryland and is interested in partial gravity human space flight and multi-phase fluid systems. Paul researched bubble formation and detachment in 1 g, partial gravity, and microgravity. Paul’s research produced computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models of bubble formation and detachment from a submerged orifice across various gravity levels. By using an Earth-based experimental apparatus, 1 g bubble formation and detachment models were developed and validated. The experiment included a low speed gas injection system and a custom-built, multi-axis high speed imaging system. The 1 g models was then extended and scaled to partial gravity levels. All CFD models were developed using a Volume of Fluid (VOF) solver in OpenFOAM. Understanding bubble formation, growth, and detachment, specifically in microgravity and partial gravity, is a critical component of designing more efficient multi-phase thermal management systems, phase separators, and life support systems.
Outside of his research in CFD and bubble formation experiments, Paul was involved with all projects in the lab, including full-body human scanning systems (laser scanning and stereophotogrammetry scanning), particle imaging velocimetry, and experimental design. More specifically, along with other members of AHSL, Paul wrote code which can generate a human subject’s reach volume from motion scan sequences.
Paul enjoyed working in the research lab and will continue in academia, becoming a principal investigator in the areas of partial gravity human spaceflight and fluid systems. He continues being involved with the United States’ space program, with the ultimate goal of being an astronaut. Paul has a number of interests including photography, DJing for KANM, and cheering on the Virginia Cavalier’s Basketball team.
Ph.D., Texas A&M University, May 2021
Committee Members: Drs. Bonnie J. Dunbar, Helen Reed, Edward White, Cable Kurwitz, Katherine Hurlbert
Bachelor of Science, University of Virginia (2017)
- Double major:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Engineering Science
- Double Minor:
- Material Science and Engineering
- Applied Mathematics
- 1st place in the graduate and undergraduate division of the 2019 International Space Station Research and Development (ISS R&D) Conference Poster Competition
- Texas A&M College of Engineering Enhancement Top-Off Fellowship
- Texas A&M Aerospace Engineering Graduate Excellence Fellowship
- Graduated from the University of Virginia with Highest Distinction
- Award for highest GPA in University of Virginia’s Aerospace Engineering 2017 graduating class
- Raven Society (Academic Honor Society at the University of Virginia)
- Lawn Resident at the University of Virginia
- Immediate Honors at the University of Virginia (Awarded to the top twenty percent of the class after 60 credit hours)
- George B. Matthews Aerospace Engineering Scholarship
- Teaching Assistant / Flight Simulator Instructor for MAE 3730 (Flight Vehicle Dynamics), University of Virginia, January – May 2017
- Undergraduate Researcher, Wadley Materials Group, January – May 2017
- Aerospace Engineering Intern, Rolls Royce, May – August 2016
- Pathways Engineering Intern, United States Army, June – August 2015
- Hall, Dillon C.; Dunbar, Bonnie J.; Burke, Paul A.; Hajda, Callen J. Range of Motion (ROM) Analysis for Pressure Garments (EVA and LES) using 3D Photogrammetric Motion Capture. Abstract accepted for the 50th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Lisbon, Portugal, July 12-16, 2020.
- Burke, Paul Andrew; Varnum-Lowry, Daniel; Dunbar, Bonnie J. Microgravity and Partial Gravity Fluid Physics: Bubble Formation and Movement in Variable Gravity Environments. Presented and Published at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference, Atlanta, GA, July 31, 2019.
- Burke, Paul Andrew; et al. Use of Logistics Nodes in Cargo Missions to Mars. Presented and published at the 2017 AIAA Region I Student Conference, 2017.
- Burke, Paul Andrew. Virginia CubeSat Constellation (VCC) Mission: An Examination of Atmospheric Drag and Orbital Decay of a Constellation of CubeSats. Senior Thesis. University of Virginia, 2017.
- Burke, Paul Andrew. Public and Private: Explaining NASA’s Support. Senior Research Thesis. University of Virginia, 2017.