Brandon D. Smith
Ph.D. (Aerospace Engineering) University of Michigan, 2015
B.S. (Aerospace Engineering) Georgia Institute of Technology, 2010
Dr. Smith joined Spectral Sciences, Inc. as a Senior Scientist in July 2018. His current activities include application of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to generate numerical databases to facilitate reduced-order modeling techniques. Prior to joining SSI, he held a position as Research Investigator at the University of Michigan’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, where he performed numerical simulations of rocket exhaust flow expanding around a body into a vacuum. His graduate work consisted of developing a tool to simulate discharge channel erosion in Hall thrusters. This tool consisted of a hybrid fluid/kinetic model of the Hall thruster discharge and a database of sputter yields for hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) generated using a hardware-accelerated molecular dynamics model. Through this work, Dr. Smith demonstrated that h-BN sputters largely as atomic boron and molecular nitrogen, and that sputtered particles do not undergo ionization or electronic excitation as they travel through the thruster’s plasma discharge. Furthermore, he found the calculated spatial distribution of boron atoms in a Hall thruster to agree well with independent experimental measurements.