Wright State engineering alumnus wins first place in aeronautics and astronautics master student paper competition

Francis Centlivre, center, a Wright State mechanical engineering alumnus, won first place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics master student paper competition. Also pictured are Basil Hassan, left, the institute’s immediate past president, and Mitch Wolff, professor of mechanical engineering at Wright State.

Wright State University mechanical engineering graduate Francis Centlivre took first place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics master student paper competition for his paper, “Optimization of Heat Release within a Dual-Mode Ramjet Using Ignition Delay Energy Source Terms.”

Prior to this international recognition, Centlivre won first place for the best paper in the “Atmospheric Vehicles and Propulsion” section at the Dayton-Cincinnati Aerospace Sciences Symposium as a DAGSI (Defense Associated Graduate Student Innovators) fellow.

“We were looking at ways to design engines for hypersonic flight, which refers to moving at more than Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound,” said Centlivre. “For reference, the Concorde flew at about Mach 2. This is two and a half times that speed which would allow us to fly from New York to London in an hour and a half. The U.S. Air Force and NASA have only flown these engines a handful of times. We were looking at ways to make them more efficient by testing different locations within the engine to add the fuel and changing the shape of the engines slightly. Our work was all done with computer simulations. So, we also looked at ways of making these simulations a bit more realistic.”

A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Centlivre enrolled in Wright State for his undergraduate studies as a National Merit Scholar. He said he liked the fact that studying at Wright State always afforded him opportunities to try something new and that he never felt crowded or like he was just another number.

“Class sizes were small and I was able to get direct feedback from and work directly with my professors,” he said.

He also said that Wright State’s relationship with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was essential for the type of research he wanted to do.

“I was able to access resources from both entities and the ability to do research on-base all day and then take classes on-campus in the evening was truly unique,” said Centlivre.

Centlivre earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Wright State. He participated in several internships, including as a grant writer at Wright State’s ONEIL Center, and opportunities through Wright State’s partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Centlivre served as vice president and president of the student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He also was a member of the club table tennis team and the hockey club, where he served as an assistant coach and then coach.

He said he appreciated Dayton as a whole because of its rich history and the fact that the community celebrates its engineers and entrepreneurs.

“It set the tone and provided motivation – that great things have been done here and that you can do great things here too,” he said.

After earning his master’s degree in 2022, Centlivre got married and moved to Lafayette, Indiana, to pursue his Ph.D. at Purdue University.

“I’m still working in hypersonic simulations, albeit a slightly different aspect of it. All of the skills I learned at Wright State have greatly helped in my transition to Purdue,” said Centlivre.

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