Mailform   Sitemap   Print view  

Joseph B. Tipton, Jr., Ph.D.

Home > Research > Undergraduate



NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunity Program
  • Served during 2001-2002 as project manager for an undergraduate two-phase flow, microgravity experiment that flew aboard NASA’s KC-135 “Weightless Wonder.”
  • Accomplished research that simulated forced convection film boiling in microgravity and ascertained how static mixer geometries affected heat transfer to fluid.
Conference Papers
Honors Thesis

NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunity Program (RGSFOP)

"The Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program provides a unique academic experience for undergraduate students to successfully propose, design, fabricate, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment of their choice over the course of six months. The overall experience includes scientific research, hands-on experimental design, test operations and educational/public outreach activities.

"The reduced gravity aircraft generally flies 30 parabolic maneuvers over the Gulf of Mexico. This parabolic pattern provides about 30 seconds of hypergravity (about 1.8G-2G) as the plane climbs to the top of the parabola. Once the plane starts to “nose over” the top of the parabola to descend toward Earth, the plane experiences about 25 seconds of microgravity (0G). At the very top and bottom of the parabola, flyers experience a mix of partial G's between 0 and 1.8 (called 'dirty air')."  [Taken from the RGSFROP website]

From 2000-2002, I was a founding member of a group of students from UT who participated in this program as an extracurricular activity. In 2002, I served as project leader for the group. Our desire was to augment our undergraduate education with a "real" engineering experience. In the process, we brought great publicity to the UT College of Engineering and established the NASA RGSFOP as a viable senior capstone design course for the mechanical engineering program.

Our research sought to simulate film boiling (an unwanted engineering scenario) in a pipe under forced convection. Several geometrical pipe changes were then used to mix the separated two-phase flow in an effort to augment heat transfer in microgravity conditions. These devices were compared both qualitatively and quantitatively to a smooth pipe configuration to ascertain their effectiveness. More information, including the final report, can be found here.

The project offered many opportunities for educational outreach, as NASA intended. Above, I am explaining microgravity research to a group of middle school students during the UT College of Engineering 2002 "Engineer's Day". Below are several publications produced by the University of Tennessee that featured my work. Click on them to view the larger document.

RIP Prof. Gerhart & Prof. Taylor

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

The year 2017 has seen the passing of two great mentors.  Phil Gerhart was my Dean at the University of Evansville.  Larry Taylor was Director of the Planetary Geosciences Institute at the University of Tennessee.  Both were wonderful mentors at different points in my life and are greatly missed.

New Article Published

Tipton Jr, J. B., Lumsdaine, A., Schaich, C., & Hanson, G. R. (2017). Design and Analysis of 140-Degree Miter Bend for High Power Electron Cyclotron Heating Transmission Lines. Fusion Science and Technology, 1-7.

A journal article was recently published from work that I presented at the 22nd Topical Meeting on the Technology of Fusion Energy (TOFE).  You can view the article here.

Therapeutic Playground Project in Trujillo, Honduras

I'm a proud part of a 3 year project to build a therapeutic playground for children with disabilities in Trujillo, Honduras.  Read more HERE to learn how Lipscomb engineering is working with the Little Hands, Big Hearts ministry!