Department of Aerospace Engineering

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Dr. Jose Palacios

Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Phone: 814-867-4871,

Jose would like to develop the physical understanding of ice accretion and adhesion processes to provide solutions towards all-weather aircraft. Fixed-wing, rotorcraft, wind turbine and engine icing events continue to limit the safe operation of the vehicles and reduce the power production of wind turbines.

Jose is an assistant professor of aerospace engineering specializing in aircraft icing and rotorcraft flight mechanics with emphasis on experimental testing. Jose is currently the leading principal investigator in projects related to mentioned topics and sponsored by the Army Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence, NASA Glenn, NASA Langley, General Electric and other Small businesses. He currently advises 6 graduate students and 10 undergraduate students.

Jose Palacios Competing on High Bar, NCAA Championship 2001

You will find Jose in his office, in his laboratory, or in transit between the two. Jose believes that daily interaction with his students is critical not only for research task implementation, but also to instruct the students on experimental techniques and testing procedures. Daily interaction with students in the lab is also needed to sustain and to continue to increase the testing capabilities of the Adverse Environment Rotor Test Stand facility. This facility (a 10 ft. diameter rotor test stand that operates in controllable icing conditions) was design, constructed and calibrated by Jose and his students.

Jose’s daily routine, in addition to testing exciting technologies with his students (active, semi-passive, and passive ice protection systems, vibration control devices, engine icing visualization techniques…), also involves teaching aircraft structures courses. He truly enjoys teaching students the fundamental physics behind structural analysis tools, especially when he can conduct an experiment to demonstrate such physics. Is for this reason that Jose is currently putting together a course that will be titled “Smart structures” which will cover piezoelectric actuators, shape memory alloys, magnetostrictive materials, MR fluids and active non-linear isolators. The course will cover hands-on fabrication and testing of some of these actuator and isolator systems. A second course that he is currently developing is “Aircraft Icing” in where students will learn ice accretion modeling, de-icing system modeling, ice testing scaling laws, and rotor and wind tunnel testing techniques. This course will have a large component of experimental testing, Jose’s favorite part of his daily routine. Jose enjoys teaching classes and advising students. As he says “the best way to learn something is to do it 1,000 times or to have to teach it to an upper-classmen.” In spite of how multi-tasking related to having a faculty position can reduce the testing time in the lab, Jose enjoys the ability to select research direction and approaches, and truly enjoys his interaction with students.

Jose came to the United States when he was 17 years old from Spain with no more than two bags full of clothes and his parents blessing and support. In Spain, he was a gymnast competing with the Spanish National Team. His athletic abilities allowed him to obtain a scholarship at Penn State to pursuit a bachelor degree at the same time that he competed NCAA Div. I.” You can find out why Jose decided to become an aerospace engineering iif you watch the video above. Jose "signed up" to become an Aerospace Engineer, and he discovered the rewards of design, fabrication and testing his Junior year, when he started to work at the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence. “Dreaming a system, putting it together with your hands, to then have a needed working product is extremely enjoyable,” says Jose, to which he adds, “Specially when the design pushes the limit of what is possible with available resources."

After he obtained his bachelor degree, Jose continued to obtain his Masters and Ph.D. degrees also at Penn State. “I decided to stay at Penn State because because I admire the creativity and enthusiasm of our students and faculty, and because I love the tranquility of the area. I do not think we could have developed the testing capabilities we have in our lab in any other university.” Jose also has an entrepreneur streak on him that compelled him (and his advisor, paying for his tuition) to take several business courses during the summer time. It was in one of these courses at Penn State where he met his wife, Vivian. Both decided to stay at Penn State so they could raise a family in Happy Valley. Jose continued his research at Penn State during post-doctorate studies, to then become a faculty member in August 2013.

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