Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



Helicopters Hiding in the Hollows of Hammond

At one point or another while walking down College Ave, you’ve probably walked past the eyesore of a structure known as the Hammond Building. Stretching two blocks from Allen St. to Burrowes St., this monolithic monstrosity does more than suppress attacks on campus from the neighboring Huns. Buried deep within the lowest levels of Hammond lies the Adverse Environmental Rotor Test Stand: Penn State Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence. Now that you’ve caught your breath after trying to spit out that title, read on to learn what actually goes on in this unique research facility.

In order to gain insight into the work that is done there, I met and spoke with Research Associate and Facility Developer Jose Palacios (more on him later). After meeting Jose in the east end of the Hammond basement, he showed me around the research lab/classroom, and the actual AERTS test facility. The facility itself is probably one of the coolest things you’ll find on campus (if you’re into that sort of thing).

The facility is designed to test methods of shedding ice from helicopter rotors when flying in adverse conditions. To test these methods, a helicopter rotor up to 9 ft in diameter is spun inside a diamond plated steel clad room at speeds up to 1000 RPM. The room is then cooled to temperatures of up to -25 C, at which point water is sprayed at the spinning rotors through NASA issued nozzles. The water freezes to the rotors forming layers of ice, at which point the ice shedding capabilities of the rotors are tested.

The entire facility was designed and built by Jose Palacios, a 2008 grad from Penn State. After studying ultrasonic deicing as part of his Ph. D. research, he decided that Penn State needed a facility in which to conduct this sort of testing. Upon graduation, Palacios worked on this facility until its completion in 2009. Since then, the center has done research for both private and federal organizations such as Boeing, the Army,  and Bell Helicopter.

Check out the facility’s website for some cool videos of the deicing tests, as well as contact info for Jose and his research team. If you’re interested, feel free to drop them a line and go visit their facility for a full explanation of the lab and the work that goes on there. It’s definitely worth the time.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Eric Weiss

Eric is the Visual Editor, and a Photographer for Onward State, originally from Pittsburgh, PA. He is currently a 5th year student in the B.Arch program at Penn State.

Likes: Apple Products, Canon Products, any music Pitchfork tells me to listen to.

Dislikes: conversations via Facebook wall-to-wall, #hashtagsthataremorethanthreewords

Follow on Another Platform
State College Links
Other posts by Eric

Onward & Outward: Alan Seeger Natural Area & Greenwood Fire Tower

As the temperatures in Centre County start to drop, fall colors blanket the region’s mountains and valleys. To experience this seasonal change in full, however, you’ll need to venture out of the bubble of State College. In this edition of “Onward & Outward”, we take you to two hidden gems in Rothrock State Forest: the Alan Seeger Natural Area, and Greenwood Fire Tower.

Interactive Timeline: Jerry Sandusky Sex Abuse Scandal

Canning Map TEST

Five Prominent Penn State Athletics Employees No Longer In Staff Directory

An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.

Five Prominent Penn State Athletics Employees No Longer In Staff Directory

An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.

From Food Network To Happy Valley: Chef Gillian Clark Puts A French Spin On The Classic Diner

“Rather than kind of dig up a dinosaur, we thought we would do something a little bit more creative that gave us the ability to make some interesting food that’s a little bit upscale.”

Your Complete THON 2023 Dancer List

From 6 p.m. on Friday, February 17, to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 19, 707 students will dance in THON and help raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Send this to a friend