Dan Oropeza




Mechanical Engineering

PhD Student, 1st Year



Munich, Germany

Undergraduate institution

University of Texas at Austin

What sparked your interest in your current field, and what do you love about it?

My family used to visit air shows when I was a kid, I loved watching planes fly; that let me to Aerospace Engineering. A desire to learn more about the materials and manufacturing methods for advanced technologies and platforms has led me to Mechanical Engineering. I love the challenges we face as engineers, I truly believe the work we do can have huge impact on the world. For me the most exciting application of engineering is space exploration which holds so many unique challenges and holds great power to inspire new generations of engineers and scientists.

Personal research summary

As an undergraduate at the University of Texas, I conducted research into the heating of the rails of electromagnetic railguns. Our research led to material selection recommendations for our sponsor. I had the opportunity to intern at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for two summers, performing research in the areas of titanium fatigue and o-ring stiction. As part of these technology initiative projects, we identified failure mechanisms related to titanium post-processing and o-ring material selection. During my time at Stanford, I assisted in developing new high-temperature piezoelectric transducers for structural health monitoring of composite materials. This new transducer development allowed for implementation of structural health monitoring techniques at elevated temperatures. We also developed an innovative concept for a multi-functional energy-storing vehicle chassis. At Lockheed Martin, I was part of a cross-disciplinary team which developed pilot projects for emerging technologies. I developed a project to study the correlation between non-destructive testing data and mechanical properties for additively manufactured materials; this data was used to develop part and process qualification criteria. Additionally, I developed and managed research into the manufacturability of a low work function material for use in a novel thermal management technique.

Personal interests

Soccer, movies.