Discovery: Aircraft Composites, BRIT & TCU, Retail Discounts, Math Assessment

Researchers across North Texas are doing cutting-edge work in a variety of fields. Here are some examples.


$600K Boeing Grant Backs Aircraft Composite Research

Boeing Co. has given the University of Texas at Arlington a $600,000 grant to test composite components with the goal of creating longer-lasting aircraft and to help identify components that could fail.


Andrew Makeev [Photo: UT Arlington]

The project — Advanced Inspection and Analysis of Common Feature Test Component for Composite Airframe Life Extension Program — will be led by Andrew Makeev, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Advanced Materials and Structures Lab at UTA.

“At the end of the research, Boeing and the U.S. Air Force want to understand and have confidence that our analysis can be used to predict the remaining useful life of composite airframe structure,” Makeev said in a release.

Composite aircraft became the leading material for commercial aircraft with the production of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus 350, as well as expected legacy aircraft upgrades, according to the university.

Similarly, Fort Worth-based Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is scheduled to produce 3,000 of its F-35 aircraft for three branches of the military, and the U.S. Army and helicopter industry must replace more than 6,300 vertical-lift aircraft.

BRIT, TCU Partnership Benefits University’s Students

Texas Christian University and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas have announced a research and education partnership that will add plant science and field research to the university’s curricula.

Students in graduate and undergraduate programs at TCU’s College of Science & Engineering and the College of Education will work with BRIT’s botanists and research staff to perform field research and plant science research as a way of fulfilling their degree requirements, according to BRIT.

The program should be ready for its first students in fall 2018, BRIT said.

“BRIT’s unique experiential learning coupled with its research labs and herbarium add a new learning dimension to our educational programs.”

Nowell Donovan

“BRIT’s unique experiential learning coupled with its research labs and herbarium add a new learning dimension to our educational programs,” Nowell Donovan, TCU provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said in the release. “Graduates from these TCU schools will be better prepared to make substantial contributions to their employers and to the environment as they enter the fields of their choice.”

Under the agreement, qualified BRIT research scientists will be able to develop and teach classes through appointment as TCU adjunct faculty, BRIT said.


Brian Ratchford [Photo: UT Dallas]

Do promotional discounts work? A new study co-authored by a University of Texas at Dallas professor shows that the discounts increase store traffic and result in higher profits for retailers.

The study, published in the Journal of Retailing, shows that the increase in profits is especially pronounced when the items are staples such as meat and produce, according to a release from the University of Arkansas.

UT Dallas marketing professor Brian Ratchford co-authored the study with Dinesh Gauri of the University of Arkansas, Joseph Pancras of the University of Connecticut, and Debabrata Talukdar from the University of Buffalo. 

Over a 49-week period the researchers analyzed data on 27 product categories from 24 branches of a popular grocery chain in the northeastern U.S. Data monitored included overall traffic, sales per transaction, and profit margin from each store, the release said.

Their discovery? Deep discounting along with an advertising blitz on the promotions, helped the retailer’s goal of attracting more customers and increasing overall profits.


Lindsey Perry (left) and Leanne Ketterlin Geller will do research into the continuing struggle with mathematics by U.S. school children. [SMU Photo by HIllsman Stuart Jackson]


Researchers at Southern Methodist University are trying to figure out why U.S. elementary and high school students continue to struggle with math, and now they have help in the form of a $2.5 million four-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant to the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development will fund a project led by K-12 math education experts Leanne Ketterlin Geller and Lindsey Perry. The researchers will develop an assessment system composed of two universal screening tools to measure math reason skills in students from kindergarten through 12th grade, according to SMU.

“This is an opportunity to develop an assessment system that can help teachers support students at the earliest, and arguably one of the most critical, phases of a child’s mathematical development,” Ketterlin Geller said.

You’ll find more about the project on SMU’s Research website.

More reading on North Texas Research

Discovery: Facial Recognition, Big Leaves, Journalism & Tech

DFW Research Roundup: Stronger Bones, New PACCAR Chief, Defense Grant

DFW Research Roundup: Alleviating Pain, Plants & Snakes, $300K Grant for Protein Studies

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