CNO 2.0 Notes 6/18/21: Allan Crasto, PhD, University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI)

CNO 2.0 Venue and Details

The venue for tonight’s CNO 2.0 meeting was at Poelking Lanes South in Miami Township, Ohio. Thank you to Joe Poelking, the owner of the venue, for donating the VIP Bowling Lounge for our meeting with complimentary bowling.

The next CNO 2.0 meeting will be on July 15, 2021 at 5:30 PM at Heavier than Air Brewery. It is always on the third Thursday of the month at 5:30 PM. All members of any CNO club are invited to these monthly meetings.

There were 22 people at the meeting (16 members and 6 guests).


Gail Aiken, Americana 5K run on 7/5/2021, announced that they need help passing out packets days before the event and lots of help for the day of the event.

Gail Aiken also announced that the Haunted Trail community event will return this year and be held on October 12th and 13th and it has been moved to the Washington Township RecPlex (formerly named Rec Center). They need volunteers for trail guides. Each group of 30 participants needs 2 trail guides, one in the front and one in the back.

Tom Novak, Avenue of Flags, announced that we now deliver over 3000 flags on each flag holiday and we can always use more volunteers to help deliver/retrieve flags.

Debe Dockins announced that 144 golfers have signed up for the sold-out Tom Fraizer Tee Off for Youth Golf Classic. They need “day of event” volunteers for lots of tasks on Monday, July 12, 2021. There are jobs for all times of the day including early morning, mid-day and at the end of the day. They are also looking for donations and silent auction items like bottles of wine and gift cards.

Allan Crasto, Ph.D, UDRI

Ron Tinnerman introduced tonight’s speaker, Allan Crasto, Ph.D, the recently retired Executive Director of  University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) and former engineer. He joined UDRI in 1988 and worked there for 32 years.

What is UDRI?

The website for UDRI says, “Research for the Common Good”. They deliver innovative practical science and engineering solutions on budget and on time. They serve government, industry and nonprofit customers.

UDRI was created 65 years ago at UD in partnership with Wright-Patterson  Air Force Base (called Wright Field at the time). UDRI is unique in that it has remained an integral part of the University. All other similar research institutes that were part of universities across the nation have been spun off and are no longer part of their original universities.

UDRI is self-supporting and no tuition money from students are used by UDRI. Engineers are hired for their expertise. Engineers are moved around UDRI to help with projects as their expertise is needed. Engineering talents are internally networked at UDRI. When projects end, they find another project for engineers to use their skills.

Dr. Crasto said UDRI is a great place to work. It is not uncommon to hear about employees that retire after 40 or even 45 years.

Major Research Areas

  • Energy and the environment
  • Aero propulsion
  • Structures
  • Mechanical systems
  • Sensors
  • Human factors
  • Lasers and robotics

Software Research Areas

  • Image recognition
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka UAV or Drones) guidance
  • Machine learning

Example Projects and Services

  • They keep old Air Force planes flying. This is very profitable while at the same time saving the U.S. Government money.  Techniques used to extend the life of the aircrafts flying include 3D printing or additive manufacturing of parts, corrosion mitigation and testing of existing materials and their interaction with aged metal.
  • A lot of progress is being made in lithium battery technology.
  • Simulation of the effects of weather from various regions of the world are studied. There is a full sized 2 story home fully contained inside a controlled climate building. They study effects on the home’s systems like HVAC under different conditions.
  • Various experiments are run on a complete supermarket setup they have.
  • All Air Force aircraft must be periodically repainted. UDRI has developed a robotic laser process to remove the old paint while vaporizing it. This is a lot safer than the previous process since a lot of dangerous chemicals go airborne during paint removal. Vaporization greatly reduces what needs to be disposed of as well.
  • The insulated Domino’s Pizza containers used for delivery are made with material developed by UDRI.
  • UDRI has a sustainability training program for Air Force personnel.

UDRI is financially good for the Dayton Region

  • UDRI helped get GE to do research for their jet engines here in Ohio. UDRI worked with the State of Ohio to make this happen.
  • $1.1 Billion in projects are waiting to be completed.
  • 80% of revenue comes from the Air Force.
  • UDRI total revenue so far is over $3 billion.


Patents often earn UD money. If UDRI receives a patent, then UD owns it and the Air Force gets to use it for free. UD has the right to sell the patent for use in industries outside of the Air Force.

US Government Security Clearances

UDRI employees need security clearances that can take months to obtain to work on many projects. UD students planning on working for UDRI after graduation start the clearance application process before graduation. This makes them immediately productive right after graduation on secure projects much earlier than possible in the past.

Buildings in the Miami Valley Used by UDRI

  • UDRI occupies the previous NCR headquarters. It took 10 years to complete the renovation and move into the building. They converted it from office space to labs. There is 380,000 square feet of useable area in the building. UDRI occupies 300,000 square feet of this space. The total square footage of the building is 550,000 square feet, but areas such as hallways and mechanical rooms are not considered usable space.
  • UDRI has 30,000 square feet of space at the Greene. The rapid sustainment office, a state-of-the-art facility, is located at the Greene.
  • The DESI building on Wilmington Pike has been converted for use by UDRI.

Quick Facts about UDRI

  • They have 740 full time research staff.
  • There were $170 million in sponsored projects in 2020.
  • Project revenues range from $500 to $350,000,000.

Thank You

Thank you, Allan Crasto, Ph.D, for sharing information about UDRI with us this evening.

More Information about UDRI

On 8/25/2020, Pamela Gregg, the Communication Administrator at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), spoke to CNO at a weekly lunch meeting. Click to view the article.

Link to Pictures from the Meeting

The photos taken at Today’s Meeting are here.

August 25, 2020 – Pamela Gregg – UDRI (University of Dayton Research Institute)


Tom Novak, co-chair of Avenue of Flags, announced that starting 9/2/2020, 2,884 flags will be delivered for Labor Day. Last week, Diane Arehart posted on the CNO Facebook page and 20 new subscriptions were received just before the cut off for Labor Day. We have seen a large increase in subscriptions in 2020. For comparison to the current 2,884 flags for Labor Day, on Veterans Day 2019 we had 2,411 flags.

Pamela Gregg, University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI)

Greg Griffin introduced Pamela Gregg, the Communication Administrator at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI).

Pam has been at UD for more than 20 years, the last 17 as communication administrator for the University of Dayton Research Institute, where she manages internal and external communication and media relations. She was a writer and photographer for the Dayton Daily News for 12 years before joining UD. Pam loves getting to know people and telling stories about them and their work, especially research stories, which involve a bit of “foreign language translation”—science to non-science.

If you would like to contact Pamela Gregg click here.

Gregg said she enjoys being the communication administrator at UDRI since the researchers do all the work and she gets to brag about it. She came today to talk about various areas of research and projects that UDRI engages in. They are a very busy research facility and because of security and time constraints, she only covered a subset of all the projects.

Testing Silkies for Harness Racing

UDRI does a lot of research and work that is not done anywhere else. UDRI is the only place on the planet that certifies the safety of newly designed silkies for harness racing. A silkie is the cart that sits behind the horse that the jockey rides in. UDRI was asked to create a machine to test silkies 30 years ago. The industry was concerned about the composite materials being used to make the silkies lighter and they wanted to make sure the designs were safe.

The machine tests the silkie with pressures and stress that is higher than they will receive during a race. Until a prototype is approved by UDRI, a manufacturer cannot produce their silkie for sale.

Printing 3D Spare Parts for Airplanes

There is a C130 airplane in the UDRI parking lot. It did not land there. It was taken apart in Florida and sent up to UD via several flatbed trucks. Once all the parts arrived in the UDRI parking lot, it was reassembled and is now a working laboratory.

The U.S. Air Force wants to find ways to maintain aging airplanes. Parts are not being made anymore for several old but still useable models. UDRI is working on 3D printing methods for replacement parts. It is very expensive to have parts made one at a time by hand by machine shops.

Before printing a part, they first scan it using a sophisticated 3D scanner. After the parts are printed, UDRI tests if a part can be used in actual flights. It is not that hard to produce parts, what is difficult is to produce parts that can handle the stress of real-world flight.

Robotic Painting and Drag Reduction

UDRI is researching the use of robots for complicated painting. Industrial processes can be very dangerous for humans.

UD Students help with several of their projects. One research project involves attaching 4 ft strips to airplanes to reduce the drag caused by the air turbulence airplanes create by flying.

Researching Bird and Debris Strikes on Airplanes

UDRI has done bird strike research for 40 years. Their facility is very tall and they have the largest test facility in the world for this research. They shoot various materials in various ways. Various parts of the plane are tested including wings and windscreen. They test various debris including hail, but mainly they shoot artificial or pre-deceased birds at airplanes.

Researching Drone Strikes on Airplanes

The number of drones in the air has dramatically increased in use in the past few years. UDRI wanted to know if a drone strike would result in different damage to an airplane than that from other debris.

UDRI ran an experiment. They shot a bird with the same mass as a drone. It did almost no damage. Then the drone without its battery was shot at a wing and the damage was extensive and affected the control wires in the wing. UDRI funded this initial test on their own, hoping there would be interest in further testing. They received interest almost immediately after the release of the video. They would like to see drones built to be more frangible. If an object is more frangible it means it is better at breaking into smaller parts on impact, which should reduce the effects of impact.

Watch this video of a drone hitting an airplane wing at high speed.

NASA Research

UDRI is testing materials that will be used to build space vehicles for NASA. To test the materials, they are simulating space debris by shooting small aluminum pellets at high speeds. UDRI has the fastest light-gas gun in the world.

NASA will land its next rover mission Perseverance in February, 2021. NASA wants to land the rover closer to the Martian equator than on previous missions and it will be warmer. UDRI was asked to analyze the effects of the higher temperature on the plutonium powered electric generator (RTG). Just a few degrees increase in outside temperature when combined with the heat of other rover systems can make a large difference and reduce the integrity of the RTG. UDRI was able to show that the RTG should be ok.

Artificial Intelligence

UDRI does a lot of work in AI. They are trying to understand how AI works. There are a lot of rapid medical diagnosis methods powered by AI. Even though AI works, the medical industry does not trust it because so far no one can accurately explain how the AI is coming up with its results. AI can accurately help with lung disease diagnosis by evaluating lung x-rays. This may help with the COVID pandemic.

Other UDRI Information

  • More material research is done at UDRI than anywhere else.
  • Their 2-story steel frame structure allows them to accurately test C130 landing gear.
  • The do sensor research.
  • They do energy research.
  • They are the FAA clearinghouse for alternative fuels and they coordinate the approval of new fuels.

Thank you, Pamela Gregg, for joining us to educate CNO on some of the research done at UDRI.

Who can Attend Zoom Meetings?

Any member of any type of Centerville Noon Optimist can attend Zoom meetings. CNO 2.0, St Leonard’s and CNO full members or CNO monthly members can ALL attend.

Guests are also welcome. Please invite guests and introduce them if you like. Just share the Zoom link with them for that week.

Membership Anniversaries

Member Month Day Joined # Years
Mary Madden August 26 8/26/1998 22
Anne Kessler August 29 8/29/2002 18
Jeff Busch August 31 8/31/2001 19
Ken Peacock August 31 8/31/2001 19


Member Birthday
Debbie Parks August 25
Rick Altvater August 25
Sharon Silverberg August 25
Rick Kempfer August 28
Scott Rheaume August 28
Joe Cantrell August 30
Julie Cochran August 31
Jesse Lightle August 31
Chris McAlpine August 31
Jim Mogan August 31

Happy Bucks

Member Reason
Beth Duncan $90 in Happy Bucks for her father celebrating his 90th birthday. We recorded Happy Birthday as a group for Beth to play for him while they roast him on his birthday.
Vida McDowell Her son recently earned his MBA from Ohio State that adds to his pharmacy related degrees while working full time. He graduated Magna Cum Laude and Ohio State gave him a full scholarship to earn the MBA.
Julie Noeth Grandson took a long nap so she was able to be on the Zoom meeting today. In 2016, Pam Gregg (today’s speaker) hired Julie to photograph the UDRI 60th Anniversary which consisted of hundreds of employees on bleachers in front of the Curran Place building.

Thank You Notes sent to CNO

No Thank You Notes received this week.

CNO Donations 2013 through July 2020

Click this link to see a summary of the donations our club has made.

Over 50 years, we have donated close to $2,000,000 to our youth community. In the past 6 years, we have donated nearly $753,000.

Sergeants at Arms

No Sergeants this week.

Welcome Guests!

No Guests this week.

New Member Readings and Inductions

No Readings or Inductions this week.

Zoom Meeting This Week

We had another meeting using Zoom. We will continue our weekly meetings via computer, cell phone or tablet for at least the next several weeks. Please join us and keep inviting guests.

Who can Attend Zoom Meetings?

Any member of any type of Centerville Noon Optimist can attend Zoom meetings. CNO 2.0, St Leonard’s and CNO full members or CNO monthly members can ALL attend.

Guests are also welcome. Please invite guests and introduce them if you like. Just share the Zoom link with them for that week.


In keeping with social distancing requirements – our CNO Meetings have transitioned temporarily to a online format using ZOOM.

Club Member Joe Madden was inspired to rewrite The Optimist Creed – so we give you now – The Corona Creed -with apologies to Christian D. Larson, Author of The Optimist Creed.