The David and Lorraine Freed Undergraduate Research Symposium: Katheryn Yoder

Katheryn Yoder
"The Aerodynamics of Flying Gyroscopes"
Department: Mechanical Engineering (Lafayette College)
Advisor: Professor Jenn Rossman

A flying gyroscope is an object (such as a football or a Frisbee) that exhibits the characteristics of a gyroscope as it moves through the air. The focus of this study is the X-Zylo, a lightweight, plastic tube that can fly as far as 600 ft. It is widely believed that the spin of the toy produces gyroscopic precession, which allows it to maintain a stable flight. This research investigates these claims in an attempt to better understand the flight of these unique toys. High speed camera tests have shown that the toy does undergo gyroscopic precession, and from this information a formula relating the rate of precession to linear and angular velocity was derived. Wind tunnel tests are being conducted to collect lift and drag coefficients at various angles, which are being used in a Matlab code that will predict the trajectory of the toy. A launcher is also being built to standardize the launch angle, spin rate, and linear velocity of the toy. Once it is complete it will be used with a glow-in-the-dark version of the toy that will allow us to capture the actual path of the X-Zylo.

About Katheryn:
Katheryn Yoder is a senior mechanical engineering student at Lafayette College. Her first research experience was during sophomore year, when she worked with the Civil Engineering department to investigate the importance of panel zone rotation in steel moment frames under seismic conditions. In addition to completing an honors thesis, Katheryn is funded by Minteq in Easton, PA to study high conductivity materials in electronics cooling. She is also a consistent Deanís List student and a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering fraternity.

Undergraduate Research Symposium Results

Congratulations to this year's
winner of the Symposium:

Nadia Krook, "In Vitro Examination
of Poly(glycerol sebacate)
Degradation Kinetics: Effects of
Porosity and Cure Temperature"

2nd Place: Isaac Lavine

3rd Place: Michael Beddow
and Matthew Tessitore

People's Choice: Corrin Pimentel

"Turning The Tables On Learning"

Dean David Wu's latest contribution in the February 25, 2013 issue of the Brown & White covered a variety of topics, including the Undergraduate Research Symposium's impact on past graduates.