David Mercado

 David Mercado
Mentor: Dr. Kamran Mohseni
College of Engineering
"Since my freshman year I've wanted to become involved in research with a professor in order to become more exposed to interesting work in my field. Furthermore, I wanted to know what it was like to do research and if that was something I'd want to do after graduating. I joined Professor Mohseni's lab in the summer of 2012 because I had become interested in fluid mechanics while he was teaching the course and his research group offered a wide variety of projects that I could become involved in. The structure of his lab and the quality of work expected from his undergraduates convinced me that working with him would be a worthwhile venture."


Mechanical Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Interests

  • Modeling of Dynamic and Kinematic Systems
  • Design of Electronically Actuated Mechanisms
  • Control of Dynamic Models
  • Biophysics

Academic Awards

  • UF University Scholars Program
  • Knox T. Millsaps Memorial Scholar
  • Melvin & Florence Eickhorst Scholar
  • Merton T. Hartman, Jr. Scholar
  • National Merit Scholar


  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Pi Tau Sigma


  • GatorTRAX
  • Habitat for Humanity

Hobbies and Interests

  • Listening to Music
  • Playing Basketball
  • Swimming
  • Exploring the Outdoors

Research Description

Modeling the Local Lift Created by Micro Air Vehicles
In recent years, micro air vehicles (MAVs) have been developed as small-scale, unmanned airplanes that can efficiently conduct aerial land survey, search and rescue, weather data collection, etc. Extensive research has been done on the total amount of lift created by different MAV models and rectangular plates of varying low-aspect ratios. My project involves resolving the lift forces created by the leading edge vortex, and other flow structures, that form on the top of the MAV wings. This will hopefully lead to comprehensive lift distribution models that will aid in the enhancement of the design and control of the aircraft. This will be accomplished with the aid of particle image velocimetry (PIV), a data collection system that resolves the velocity vectors in a flow using a high-power pulsed laser. Emphasis will be placed on steady-flow flight in the conference and journal publications for this coming year, but a transition to flapping-wing mechanisms is possible in the future.