Beloved faculty member retires after 47 years at AFIT

  • Published
  • By Katie Scott
  • Air Force Institute of Technology

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Anthony Palazotto, distinguished professor of aerospace engineering within the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management, retired in December after 47 years.

Palazotto received the distinguished professor title in 2011 in recognition of his exceptional leadership and research. He is the author of over 700 presentations and publications; 272 are archival.

He has received over $5 million in Air Force research funding while at AFIT. To date, Palazotto has advised over 190 theses in Air Force technology with an additional 39 Ph.D. dissertations. Every topic he worked on has been sponsored by Air Force directorates in some form or other. 

Palazotto and his AFIT students made significant contributions related to the development of a lighter-than-air structure with an interior vacuum. Current vacuum chambers are massive metal spaces that require a lot of stability and strength. As part of this research, several designs analytically demonstrated the stability and strength capacity needed to withstand one atmosphere of pressure while being light enough to float in air at sea level.

In addition, a design of experiments method was incorporated to produce the best geometric arrangement possible (hexakis icosahedron). This is a unique structure requiring a great deal of nonlinear static and dynamic analysis and experimentation.

Potential use for this lighter-than-air structure within the Department of Defense would be as a sensor platform used for remote observation of hazardous environments inaccessible to ground vehicles. In 2020, Palazotto and Brian Cranston received a patent for their research in this area (patent No. 10,843,783).

He has a new book coming out at the end of December co-authored with Lt. Col. Derek Spears titled “Testing and Modeling of Cellular Materials,” published by CRC Press. The book is a report on work related to lattice structures produced in the field of additive manufacturing.

Palazotto is a fellow in four different prestigious engineering societies: the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Academy of Mechanics and Engineering Mechanics Institute.

He is highly involved in technical society activity as chairperson and founder of various committees, including the committee on metals and composite materials of ASCE’s Aerospace Division. He served on the editorial board of Aerospace Journal, ASCE and Composite Structures, an international journal.

In 1986, Palazotto received the Aerospace Division Structures and Material Award for exceptional contribution to the advancement of aerospace technology in civil engineering. He further was honored with the Hetanyi Award from the Society of Experimental Mechanics for his paper on fatigue-crack growth in 1982.

Palazotto also earned the Outstanding Engineer and Scientist Award from the Affiliate Society of Dayton in 2011, AIAA Achievement Award in 2004 and Air Force Research Laboratory’s Charles J. Cleary Award for Scientific Achievement in 1981.