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College of Engineering and Computing

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Aerospace Engineering

Our Research

More than two dozen University of South Carolina faculty are conducting aerospace-related research in the areas of composite and multifunctional materials, non-destructive evaluation, smart structures, additive manufacturing, condition-based maintenance, lightning response, friction stir processing, integrated design manufacturing and integrated information technology

Aerospace-related research centers and labs at USC

The McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research

Created in 2011 and located in the USC-SCRA Columbia Innovation Center, the Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research strives to advance South Carolina's knowledge-based economy through innovative aerospace research, interdisciplinary education, economic development, outreach and collaboration with the aerospace and allied industries and related government agencies. The main thrust areas of the McNAIR Aerospace Center’s core research include steered fiber nonconventional laminate design, automated novel structural composite part production, multi-disciplinary design optimization of composite (aircraft) structures and system and automated, fusion based, assembly. SmartStateTM Center for Multifunctional Materials and Structures (MFMS)

Advanced Composite Manufacturing Laboratory

The Advanced Composite Manufacturing Lab (ACML) is located in the McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research. The ACML focuses on advanced fiber steering, automated manufacturing, robotics, and joining technologies.

Center for Friction Stir Processing, NSF I/UCRC

The Center for Friction Stir Processing (CFSP) is a multi-University I/UCRC focused on research and development in the area of friction based materials processing technologies and science. At USC, we are focused mainly on light metals for transportation applications. 

Center for Mechanics, Materials Non-Destructive Evaluation

Areas of expertise include material characterization at the macro and nano-scale, dynamic and static mechanical testing, structural analysis, state-of-the-art non-contacting strain measurement methods, advanced numerical simulations and fracture mechanics. 

Condition-Based Maintenance

The CBM Research Center tests the performance of components, subsystems, and systems of the U.S. Army Apache, Blackhawk, and Chinook helicopter platforms through measurements of vibration, speed, load, acoustic emission, and temperature to develop diagnosis and prognosis algorithms for better predictive and proactive maintenance of aircraft. Additionally, the CBM generates value engineering and cost benefit analysis (CBA) models of the U.S. Army CBM program.

Dynamic Behavior and Multifunctional Materials Laboratory

Our research focuses on the dynamic behavior of materials, functionally graded materials, multifunctional composite, impact and dynamic loading.


The laboratory has the state-of-the-art customized Scanning Acoustic Microscope (SAM) 300 manufactured by PVA TePla, Germany. Characterization of engineering materials (metals and composites), failure analysis of electronic chips (finding failure modes in electronic packaging), characterizing thin films, photovoltaic, MEMS devices, mechanical property determination of biological tissues and cluster of cells can be performed using SAM 300.

Laboratory for Active Material and Smart Structures

The research focus of LAMSS is on developing innovative sensor and enabling technologies for nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and structural health monitoring (SHM) of aerospace, mechanical, infrastructure, and civil structures.

Virtual Test Bed

Software for virtual prototyping of large-scale, multi-technical dynamic systems.