Kristin Yvonne Rozier | NSF

Investigator:

Kristin Yvonne Rozier

Sponsor:

National Science Foundation

Award Title: 

CAREER: Theoretical Foundations of the UAS in the NAS Problem (Unmanned Aerial Systems in the National Air Space)

Award Amount:

$105,054

Award Period Date:

February 15, 2016 – November 30, 2016

 

Status:

Completed

Summary:

Due to their increasing use by civil and federal authorities and vast commercial and amateur applications, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) will be introduced into the National Air Space (NAS); the question is only how this can be done safely. Today, NASA and the FAA are designing a new, (NextGen) automated air traffic control system for all aircraft, manned or unmanned. New algorithms and tools will need to be developed to enable computation of the complex questions inherent in designing such a system while proving adherence to rigorous safety standards. Researchers must develop the tools of formal analysis to be able to address the UAS in the NAS problem, reason about UAS integration during the design phase of NextGen, and tie this design to on-board capabilities to provide runtime System Health Management (SHM), ensuring the safety of people and property on the ground. Read more.

Kristin Yvonne Rozier | NASA

Investigator:

Kristin Yvonne Rozier

Sponsor:

NASA

Award Title: 

Multi-Platform, Multi-Architecture Runtime Verification of Autonomous Space Systems

Award Amount:

$600,000

Award Period Date:

2016-2019

 

Status:

Active

Summary:

Autonomous systems are only capable of effective self-governing if they can reliably sense their own faults and respond to failures and uncertain environmental conditions. We propose to design a real-time, onboard runtime verification and system health management (SHM) framework called R2U2, to continuously monitor essential system components such as sensors, software, and hardware for detection and diagnosis of failures and violations of safety or performance rules during the mission of autonomous space systems, such as rovers, small satellites, or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) flying in the skies of other planets. Read more about the research on NASA’s website.

Anupam Sharma | Argonne National Laboratory

sharma_argonne-grant

Investigator:

Anupam Sharma

Sponsor:

Argonne National Laboratory

Award Title: 

Unraveling Silent Owl Flight to Develop Ultra-­Quiet Energy Conversion Machines

Year:

2016

Summary:

Acoustic  emission  (noise)  from  wind  turbines  is  curtailing  the  growth  of  wind  energy,  which  is  currently  the  primary  renewable  energy  source  in  the  US  and  in  the  world.  A majority of the noise radiated from wind turbines is generated aerodynamically – due to interaction of wind with blade surfaces. Aerodynamic sound (aeroacoustics) is an issue not just  for  wind  turbines  but  also  for  aircraft,  jet  engines,  combustion  turbines  used  for  electricity generation, cooling fans, and ventilation systems.

A solution to the problem of aerodynamic noise generation is available in nature but has not yet been leveraged to develop silent machines. The nocturnal owl is known to have a silent  flight  both  when  gliding  and  flapping.  This  has  been  known  for  decades,  but  the  physical  mechanisms  enabling  its  silent  flight  are  not  well  understood.  Previous investigations  have  identified  three  feather  features  that  are  unique  to  the  owl.  Experimental  investigations  have  demonstrated  that  these  unique  feather  features  are responsible for the owl’s acoustic stealth.  However, these experiments alone are unable to identify  the  reasons/mechanisms  behind  noise  reduction.

This project supports very high resolution simulations to bridge the scientific gap between experimental results and theoretical understanding. A systematic numerical investigation of  the  unique  owl  feather  features  is  proposed  to  answer  key  questions  that  will  help  unravel  the  mystery  behind  owl’s  silent  flight.  The  extremely  high  spatial  and  temporal resolution offered by high-­fidelity numerical simulations will enable source diagnostics to identify  how  the  unique  feather  features  curb  noise  generation.  The  knowledge  and  understanding  gained  from  these  simulations  can  empower  us  to  design  nearly  silent energy conversion-­‐ and various other engineering machines.

Read more

 

Christina Bloebaum | National Science Foundation

Christina Bloebaum Grand Header_NSF

Investigator:

Christina Bloebaum

Sponsor:

National Science Foundation

Award Title: 

EAGER: Collaborative Research: Lectures for Foundations in Systems Engineering

Award Amount:

$150,000

Award Period Date: 

August 1, 2016-July 31, 2018

Current Status: 

Active

Summary:

The objective of the Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) collaborative project is to create a series of educational videos on foundational areas from which systems engineering theory will be able to draw. Dr. Bloebaum, along with Dr. Abbas from the University of Southern California, will promote the use of rigorous foundations in the development of a theory of systems engineering in ways that are accessible to a broad group of educators, researchers and practitioners.

For more information on the award, please visit the NSF website.

Wei Hong | Partners of the Americas

Wei Hong_Grant Header

Investigator:

Wei Hong

Sponsor:

Partners of the Americas

Award Title: 

Self-Sustainable Study Abroad Programs at Xi’an Jiaotong University for U.S. Engineering Students

Award Amount:

$49,977

Award Period Date: 

July 1, 2016-August 31, 2017

Current Status: 

Active

Summary:

This is a newly developed semester-long exchange program between ISU and Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an, China. Each year, equal number of American and Chinese students will spend one semester in the host universities, taking courses just like regular students. The first group of ISU students will depart in January 2017. Xi’an Jiaotong will offer Engineering courses in English, in addition to a variety of Chinese language/culture courses. No prior knowledge of Chinese language/culture is needed to enter the program.  The students will be able to keep up with the regular study plan after the semester, in addition to the unique study-abroad experience and some foreign language proficiency.

 

Bilgunde wins award from the American Nuclear Society

Prathamesh Bilgunde, a graduate student majoring in Engineering Mechanics, received the Robert Uhrig Graduate Scholarship Award from the American Nuclear Society for his work on high temperature transducers in nuclear reactors. The scholarship, which awards students pursuing graduate research with a focus in the field of nuclear instrumentation and controls, is named after Robert Uhrig, a former Iowa State professor in the 1960’s. During his time at Iowa State, Uhrig worked in the building adjacent to where Bilgunde has been doing his research. 

Bilgunde’s graduate research is funded under the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) by the Department of Energy. It is a continuation of the work done by his professor, Leonard Bond, while he was at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.

“This transducer technology is a key to enable safe and economic operation of a liquid metal cooled reactor, and is used for under-coolant viewing and in-situ non-destructive inspection of critical components,” Bilgunde said.

Prathamesh Bilgunde
Bilgunde is the first Iowa State student to win the award.

Bilgunde’s goal is to understand why previous designs did not give desired performance and demonstrate a novel methodology that could significantly improve the transducer sensitivity to provide better images of the reactor under the silvery liquid metal while it continues to operate.

“If you don’t have an ultra-sonic viewing system, you’re basically flying blind inside the liquid sodium, it’s optically opaque,” Bond says. “Say you want to move fuel rods around then you would like to be able to monitor or inspect the inside of the reactor for cracks or broken parts.”

The transducers that Bilgunde is working with are not the ultrasound scanning probes that you would normally see in a medical ultrasound machine. The ultrasonic scanning capabilities needed for nuclear reactors must operate with an optimum signal to noise ratio at temperatures up to 260 degrees centigrade for eight hours, and still continue work at the end of the day.

“His task was to go beyond something that just survives, to give something that works better,” Bond said. “You can develop good phased array transducers which operate at room temperature, that part is well understood. High temperature transducers are a lot more challenging and complicated.” 

The United States does not currently have a working sodium-cooled fast reactor and a working transducer is imperative for this technology to exist. China, Japan, and India are currently the only countries that have operational sodium-cooled fast reactors. Bilgunde wants to ensure that if a sodium reactor does come to the U.S., the transducer is capable of handling the rigorous workload and temperatures.

“The objective of my graduate research is to quantify each factor that causes the degradation of the transducer sensitivity at an elevated temperature.” Bilgunde said. “Using a physics based modeling approach, we have been able to quantify the causality between thermal degradation of the piezoelectric material and ultrasonic transduction. This has helped in selecting a new high temperature piezo-electric material which can give the required sensitivity at 260 degrees centigrade.

As the first Iowa State student to win this award, Bilgunde sees it as a motivator to continue his research.

“It is a nice recognition as well as an encouragement to continue the fundamental work in developing robust transducers for harsh environment” Bilgunde said.

His professor meanwhile, sees it as recognition that they are on to something big.

“In terms of sodium fast reactor instrumentation, this project is absolutely on the cutting edge,” Bond says. “It’s the leading work in the U.S., and he’s had his head down and worked really hard.”

Levitas receives ISU award for outstanding achievement in research

Dr. Valery Levitas, Iowa State’s Schafer Professor of aerospace engineering and of mechanical engineering, has been named the 2016 recipient of the ISU Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research. This award recognizes faculty members for outstanding career achievements in research, outstanding national and international recognition in the academic community, and a substantial positive impact of their mentorship and/or teaching on undergraduate students, graduate students and/or postdoctoral associates.

Dr. Levitas developed the first conceptual multiscale approach for high pressure mechanochemistry. This theory predicts new methods of material synthesis (in particular, for superhard materials) and search for new materials. Notably, his team transformed boron nitride from graphite-like to superhard at record low pressure, which may serve as a precursor of new technologies.

He also discovered virtual melting as a new mechanism of crystal-crystal and crystal-amorphous phase transformations and plastic deformation  at temperatures hundreds and thousands degrees below the melting temperature. Virtual melting is predicted using a developed, advanced thermodynamic approach and confirmed by large-scale molecular dynamics simulations of shockwave propagation in metals,  by experiments on phase transformations in ferroelectric nanofibers, and by phase field simulations for energetic materials.

Currently, Dr. Levitas is working on two long-term projects supported by National Science Foundation and projects from Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office, and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.