Engineering graduate student works to change the future of aviation

Jorge Betancourt is a Godown Family Graduate Fellow

Jorge Betancourt, an aerospace engineering doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati, is researching rotating detonation combustors that are slated to impact the future of aviation and rocketry. So far during his time at UC, Betancourt has had the opportunity to create assignments that challenge and help students understand material as a teaching assistant and was named Graduate Student Engineer of the Month by the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

How did you end up choosing UC?

I originally chose UC for my undergraduate degree because of the excellent cooperative education (co-op) program and the resources available to help me build an exciting career. I had a great experience with the dedicated and helpful professors here, and I felt very eager to continue learning, and dive even deeper into propulsive technologies through graduate school. After learning about Dr. Ephraim Gutmark's project, I joined his team working on the research of rotating detonation combustors and the driving physics.

Why did you choose your field of study?

Jorge Betancourt headshot

Jorge Betancourt

Since I was young, I have always been amazed by the airplanes flying through our skies and the rockets that can take people and machines beyond the Earth. I have also always loved tinkering with machines and toys, and wanted to be one of the people designing those things.

Describe your research work. Why does it inspire you?

I work on research with rotating detonation combustors. These are a form of the next generation of combustors for turbine engines in aircrafts. The hope is that this technology can usher in the next age of aviation and work to increase aircraft efficiency and the reduction of emissions. I am inspired to contribute to the research happening with this technology as it's on the cutting edge and I'm excited to be a part of a revolutionary change in combustion devices that may change the future of aviation and rocketry.

What are some of the most impactful experiences during your time at UC?

As a graduate student I've attended three aerospace conferences and have been exposed to the work of so many brilliant people in the industry. I've had the opportunity to meet others in the field and learn from their work, as well as find great motivation to push my own work forward in new and exciting ways.

What are a few accomplishments you are most proud of?

I am very proud of the work I've done with my fellow graduate students. We've designed and constructed a new combustion facility at UC, and the culmination of thousands of hours of work has been incredibly gratifying. I have also published a few conference papers and am proud to be able to share that work with others in the community.

When do you expect to graduate? What are your plans after earning your degree?

I expect to graduate in 2025 and hope to continue working in aerospace research. I am interested in continuing to help with the development of next-generation propulsion systems and conducting research to learn about the world.

Interested in engineering graduate programs?

Featured Image at top: Photo/Pixabay. 

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