FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Dr. Patrick Musgrave

Dr. Patrick Musgrave recently joined the UF Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department as an Assistant Professor, and he is also affiliated with the Center for Coastal Solutions as part of the cluster hire for Artificial Intelligence in Coastal Systems. His research focuses on the development of adaptive & morphing structures operating in fluidic environments and emphasizes the understanding of the complex fluid-structure coupling in these systems. Applications of interest include bio-inspired underwater propulsion, novel maritime sensing methods, underwater robotics systems, and compliant aerospace vehicles. By leveraging the fluid-structure interactions, Dr Musgrave aims to develop adaptive structures that are lighter weight, have better performance, and provide novel capabilities not achievable through conventional designs.

One of Dr Musgrave’s research aims is to develop bio-inspired underwater propulsors that leverage the propulsor’s own structural dynamics. By using a propulsor’s inherent resonant properties, flexible propulsors could be designed that are highly-maneuverable and can operate near obstructions. To pursue this work, multi-physics models are used to capture and understand the relationships between the flexible structure, the surrounding fluid, and the electro-mechanically excited actuators. By then leveraging recent advances in soft robotic actuators, flexible propulsors can be experimentally designed and evaluated for use on unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). With these novel bio-inspired propulsors, UUVs could more easily operate across environments (coastal, open ocean, and marshland) and in fragile ecosystems. 

Prior to joining the University of Florida, Dr. Musgrave was a research scientist at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. At NRL, he was Principal Investigator on a project investigating novel structural-borne traveling wave motions as a method of underwater propulsion and fluid pumping. Dr. Musgrave received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech during which he investigated actively excited surfaces for aerodynamic drag reduction. He has Bachelor’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from the University of Pittsburgh and is a DAAD Scholar.