Faculty Member Earns Trauma Project Grant

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Dr. Daniel Kirk, Florida Tech assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has earned a $20,950 one-year grant from the
University of Florida’s School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience to design and build a shock tube facility to study trauma events. The shock tube was
inspired by a past Florida Tech undergraduate design project.
The experiments will improve the current understanding of the detrimental effects that may occur when the brain and abdomen regions of the human body are
exposed to explosions or blasts. The data will ultimately be used to develop more effective protective safety gear for individuals working in such
hazardous environments. The experiments will use simulated tissue and flesh samples; no humans or animals will be used in the Florida Tech
“Our objective for this project,” said Kirk, “is to partner with the University of Florida to develop methods to better protect anyone working in
environments where blasts or explosions may take place. An essential first step is to develop models detailing how a surrogate tissue sample responds to a
range of blast types. The shock tube facility to be designed and built at Florida Tech will provide valuable data toward achieving that critical
He adds that, “What makes this endeavor unique is that it stemmed from a Florida Tech aerospace engineering senior design project conducted two years ago.
Those students put their shock tube design on the Web. Medical researchers from the
school of Medicine at the University of Florida found the project and were so impressed with the work that they sought us out to help with their unique
application. This is a wonderful example that illustrates the benefits of Florida Tech’s commitment to research opportunities at the undergraduate
Joseph Atkinson, a Florida Tech graduate aerospace engineering student, as well as several undergraduate students are involved in the project.
Florida Tech offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering.

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