News and Events (Archive)
The MSSE Divison participates in sponsor-funded research and development and supports a number of conferences in scientific and technical areas. This area of our site contins archieve information regarding our research, publications, proposals, awards, technical directions, conferences, staffing, and student and faculty visitors.
To see our current events, please visit our MSSE Current News and Events page.
by Mike Blackerby
These are the students that Boyd Evans and John Mueller mentioned for the Simens award. The team's mentors are Boyd Evans and John Mueller in the Microelectronics Systems Research Group of the Measurement Science & Systems Engineering Division at ORNL.
Oak Ridge High School senior Cassee Cain remembers well one of her first class science projects way back in elementary school.
"I remember doing a classic plant-a-seed-and-watch-it-grow," said Cain with a laugh, speaking by phone from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., on Monday afternoon.
Cain has certainly blossomed into one of the nation's top high-school research students since that early rudimentary science project.
Cain and fellow Oak Ridge High senior Ziyuan Liu, both 17, were awarded the $100,000 grand prize Monday in the team category of the 13th annual Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
The competition is considered America's premier science research competition for high-school students.
Cain and Liu won the prestigious award by using new gaming technology to analyze human walking patterns.
Their bioengineering project, "Using Kinect for Xbox 360 and Computer Vision to Analyze Human Gait," provides an accurate understanding of a person's motion and is important in prescribing treatment for those with injuries or ailments that affect movement, such as for amputees or people with joint replacements. Their work could ultimately contribute to prosthesis design.
"This team's project involved the creative reuse of new gaming technology — the Kinect sensor — with advanced computer vision algorithms," said competition judge Sudeep Sarkar, a professor at the University of South Florida.
"When further developed, their system could open avenues to bring personalized rehabilitation to the home. This could potentially reduce medical costs, allowing clinicians to monitor a patient's progress from a remote site."
The students said they conceived the idea for their project while working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory last summer. The team's mentors on the project were Dr. John K. Mueller and Dr. Boyd McCutchen Evans III of ORNL.
Liu said a kids-being-kids moment sparked the final decision to go ahead with the project.
"This concept was developed between the two of us — we've been friends for so long," said Liu.
"I was at her house playing with Kinect and we were trying to figure out how does this thing critique our dance moves."
Both students credited their parental influences and Oak Ridge background for their successes.
"Being in Oak Ridge kind of automatically pushes you to math and science," said Cain, who has a 4.22 GPA and plans to major in chemical engineering.
"Oak Ridge has given us a very strong influence," said Liu, who has a 4.1 GPA and is mulling a business and computer science major. "Growing up with a laser scientist as a father has definitely piqued my interest in science."
An all-time record of 2,436 students, representing 1,541 projects, registered for the Siemens competition this year.
Ken Tobin, director of the Measurements Science & Systems Engineering division, has been elected an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow for his "contributions to computer vision technology instrumentation and measurement."
Ken was named a Corporate Research Fellow in 2003 for his contributions to the field of applied computer vision research that addressed industrial and economic competitiveness, biomedical measurement science, and national security. He has authored and co-authored more than 135 publications and currently holds 10 U.S. patents with three additional patents pending in areas of computer vision, photonics, radiography and microscopy.
In 2010, Ken received an R&D 100 Award for his work in content-based image retrieval applied to both industry and biomedicine.
William H. "Andy" Andrews, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is the new president of the Tennessee Academy of Science. He took office at the academy's annual meeting in late October at Union University in Jackson. Andrews, a staff member in ORNL's Measurement Science and Systems Engienering Division, had served as the academy's president-elect for the previous year.
The Tennessee Academy of Science promotes research and the spread of scientific knowledge and facilitates communication among scientists in the state.
Frank Munger on November 22, 2011 at 2:31 PM
Wayne William Manges has been named a Distinguished ISA Fellow by the International Society of Automation. He is a program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Two Oak Ridge High School seniors; Ziyuan Liu and Cassee Cain took the regional championship at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology on Saturday at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The two advance to nationals Dec. 2-5 in Washington D.C. and a shot at a $100,000 scholarship that goes to the winners, part of $500,000 that will be awarded at the event.
The team's mentors are Boyd Evans and John Mueller in the Microelectronics Systems Research Group of the Measurement Science & Systems Engineering Division at ORNL.
It should also be noted that Ziyuan is the son of ORNL employee, Bo Liu in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division.
Link to Knoxville News Sentinel Article:
Link to Oak Ridger Article before the competition:
Engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratories are developing new technology to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.
Posted: 3:55 PM Nov 9, 2011
Reporter: Kate Burgess
Email Address: email@example.com
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--American manufacturing has been on the decline for years. Furniture builders, automotive workers, electronics makers and thousands of other workers have watched their jobs go overseas.
That's why engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratories are developing new technology to bring manufacturing jobs back home.
"We're going to help mature this technology to take it from prototyping to manufacturing. And number two, we can take existing companies that are interested in being more competitive and introduce them to the technology, so that they can make new products," said Lonnie Love, Group Leader for ORNL's Automation and Robotics Manufacturing Group.
It all happens at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Hardin Valley. Special machines melt down powdered metal, then use lasers to build it back up.
Love said, "this is like bees building a honeycomb. You're actually building parts up, you're growing them layer, by layer, by layer."
Engineers at the MDF can build nearly anything. From prosthetic limbs to robotic hands; All at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing. Love said "additive manufacturing" is the future of American industry.
"We can start to get companies that we don't even know what they can make yet, to come in here look at the technology and have a vision for what they can create with this technology," he added.
One thing it's sure to create? Jobs. Biomedical development, automotive assembly, robotics....What Love called, "high value jobs."
He added, "If we can start to increase manufacturing, there will be not only new manufacturing jobs, but support jobs that go along with it."
He also expects East Tennessee to "become a hub. Not only for companies that make this type of equipment, but also companies that are interested in manufacturing this type of equipment."
ORNL expects hundreds of companies from across the country to come to the demo center over the next few years.
The DOE sponsored the project.
Frank Munger's Atomic City Underground
The 2011 Future of Instrumentation International Workshop will be held next week at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
According to organizers, the conference "will bring a unique mix of perspectives on advanced instruments, sensors, measurement science and related topics such as advanced functional materials. By having both applications and a technology focus, the workshop will provide an interesting intersection of emerging developments as well as an opportunity to learn about advancements in differing fields of industry and science."
Here's more: "Our aim is to inspire cross pollination of new approaches to challenging measurement problems by engaging researchers, government and business leaders. Each year there are a variety of meetings and conferences that pertain to various aspects of sensors, automation, instrumentation and applications. In many of these meetings there tends to be a look over the horizon at new technology with the bulk of the conference describing past and current efforts."
Organizers said the Oak Ridge conference will en opportunity to put some of his new knowledge into action by providing a roadmap for the future. "It is our goal that this roadmap will be referenced by investors and decision-makers to push the forefront of future instrumentation," the conference statement.
The conference has high ambitions.
"The goal is to focus on advanced instrumentation, measurement concepts and scientific underpinnings that enable new methods and applications of instrumentation. With instrumentation embedded into an expansive array of applications across virtually every aspect of life (e.g., biotechnology, health care, space exploration, consumer products, and all aspects of the nation's infrastructure ), we are striving to assemble a group of technologists, analysts, and business leaders to investigate the impact of current trends in instrumentation technology on application areas including the electric grid, industry, transportation, medicine, environment, nuclear power, buildings and food safety."
Posted by Frank Munger on November 3, 2011
The field of robotics is steadily advancing, one metallic step at a time.
Unconvinced? Just take a look at a new demonstration video from Massachusetts robotics company Boston Dynamics, featuring PETMAN, their anthropomorphic robot that walks in place, maintains its balance when pushed, crouches and does pushups with the fluidity of some humans. And all without a head. (H/T: Danger Room)
The robot is the latest eye-catching machine from Boston Dynamics, a robotics company spun off in 1992 and led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Marc Raibert. To date, the company is perhaps best known around the Web for videos of its Big Dog robotic pack animal in action. The new humanoid robot uses much of the same motion technology as the Big Dog.
PETMAN, though, is arguably an even more striking advancement, given how closely it mimics the dynamic range of human motions, even struggling to maintain its balance when buffeted in mid-stride.
As Boston Dynamics explains, the robot was designed to test “chemical protection clothing used by the US Army,” under a “variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents.”
In essence, PETMAN was designed to be destroyed, or at least get severely damaged: The robot will be dressed in new NBC suit materials and sprayed with chemical weapons in a chamber as Army scientists look on and record the effectiveness of the materials.
Not only that, Boston Dynamics reports that robot will even “simulate human physiology,” including sweat, to allow Army researchers to better understand how the new materials will actually perform.
Possessing such minute details, it seems that PETMAN has already crossed into the uncanny valley separating robots and humans.
The entire robot was developed and built in just two years time, with support from Midwest Research Institute (MRI), Measurement Technologies Northwest, Oak Ridge National Lab as well as Smith Carter CUH2A (SCC) and HHI Corporation, according to Boston Dynamics.
We’ve reached out to Boston Dynamics for more information on the cost of the robot and other details and we’ll update when we receive a response.Army, MIT, Military, Military Technology, Robots
Carl Franzen is TPM Idea Lab's tech reporter. He used to work for The Daily, AOL and The Atlantic Wire (though not simultaneously, thankfully). He's never met a button that didn't need to be pressed. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Knoxville News Sentinel
Terry Payne has been appointed to the Anderson County Chamber's board of directors. He is R&D program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Newswise — To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications and External Relations staff member identified at the end of each tip. For more information on ORNL and its research and development activities, please refer to one of our Media Contacts. If you have a general media-related question or comment, you can send it to email@example.com.
SENSORS -- Detection from afar . . .
A new instrument able to detect chemical residues from a distance overcomes a number of problems that have plagued laser-based detectors of the past, according to Marissa Morales of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division. Using a tunable mid-infrared quantum cascade laser and an infrared camera, Morales and colleagues were able to identify as little as 5 micrograms per square centimeter of an explosive residue on a stainless steel surface. The ORNL system avoids safety problems associated with high-power lasers and approaches that require the laser to methodically scan a large area, a slow process. ORNL’s technique also avoids problems of interference in the infrared region from background material. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; firstname.lastname@example.org]
Wayne Manges, ORNL Industrial Wireless Manager in the Measurement Science& Systems Engineering Division, and co-chair of the ISA100 committee, announces Wireless Standard Receives IEC Approval
Wayne Manges, ORNL MSSE, serving in a dual capacity as co-chair of the International Society of Automation's (ISA) ISA100, Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation, committee and the ISA100 Working Group 14, Trustworthy Wireless Working Group, heralded the first industrial wireless standard developed with direct end-user participation and support. ISA, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, announced on September 16, 2011, that ISA100.11a-2011, "Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications," has been approved by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as a publicly available specification, or PAS. This follows its approval earlier this year as an ISA standard, developed per ISA's open consensus process as accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
What is most noteworthy is that ISA100 was founded and guided by the Department of Energy’s Industrial Technology Program (ITP) and DOE’s Office of Electricity (OE) with a goal to help the nation in achieving the 10% potential energy impact that was outlined by National Academy of Sciences and a Presidential Advisory Committee in 1998 and 2002, respectively. IEC approval of ISA100.11a-2011 has substantial benefit to the world’s energy generation and delivery utilities for such entities are typically required to deploy devices that are IEC compliant. As ISA100.11a was evolving the implications of cybersecurity in relation to wireless devices deployed in industrial settings was strengthened by DOE-OE input and review. The standard was developed with hundreds of experts contributing through a conscious process driven by end users representing a wide array of industrial sectors (utilities, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, automotive). “Wayne Manges should be commended for guiding this, at times very contentious, ISA/ANSI/IEC approval process of this first standard for industrial wireless. His unique position at ORNL allowed him to bring DOE and other agencies’ input into the standard, the net result being an outstanding technical achievement in standards for industrial automation,” said Bill Allen (Alcoa).
Background on ISA100 (www.isa.org/isa100)
ISA-100.11a-2011 was developed to provide reliable and secure wireless
operation for noncritical monitoring, alerting, supervisory control, open
loop control and closed loop control applications. The standard defines the
protocol suite, system management, gateway and security specifications for
low-data-rate wireless connectivity with fixed, portable and moving devices
supporting very limited power consumption requirements. The application
focus is to address the performance needs of applications, such as
monitoring and process control, where latencies on the order of 100 ms can
be tolerated, with optional behavior for shorter latency.
With over 600 members from across the globe, ISA100 brings together
wireless experts representing diverse industrial and technical interests in
an open forum. For more information on ISA100, contact Linda Wolffe,
email@example.com or visit www.isa.org/standards.
A full article pertaining to this topic can be found at
ISA 100 Wireless Standards Receives IEC Approval
In the latest 10 Questions, meet Oak Ridge National Laboratory engineer Lonnie Love. From mesofluidics and hydraulics to solar photovoltaics and biogeneration, Dr. Love discusses his innovative approaches to advancing robotics, clean energy technology and nanomaterials. Get an insider’s look at all this and more below:
Ferris Jabr, New Scientist
Friday 22 July 2011
In 314 BC the Greek philosopher Theophrastus noticed something unusual: when he heated a black crystalline rock called tourmaline, it would suddenly attract ash and bits of straw. He had observed what we now call pyroelectricity - the ability of certain crystals to produce a voltage briefly when heated or cooled. Now the same phenomenon is being used to convert waste heat into electricity.
Nearly 55 per cent of all the energy generated in the US in 2009 was lost as waste heat, according to research by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. There have been many attempts at using this waste heat to generate electricity, so far with only limited success.
Pyroelectricity could be the key, say Scott Hunter and colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. They have built an energy harvester that sandwiches a layer of pyroelectric polymer between two electrodes made from different metals.
Just a few millimetres long, the device is deployed by wedging it between a hot surface and a cold surface - between a computer chip and a fan inside a laptop, for example. Crucially, the device is anchored to the hot surface alone and so acts as a cantilever - a beam supported at one end.
As the device warms, the polymer expands more than the electrode close to the cold surface, and the whole device bends like the bimetallic strip in a thermostat. It droops toward the cold surface, where it cools and then springs back toward the hot surface, warming up again. Soon the cantilever is thrumming between the hot and cold surfaces like the hammer of a wind-up alarm clock.
Each time it is heated, the polymer generates a small amount of electricity which is stored in a capacitor (Proceedings of SPIE, DOI: 10.1117/12.882125).
Previous attempts at using pyroelectric materials to recycle waste heat have only managed to turn 2 per cent of the heat into electricity. Hunter believes his device could achieve an efficiency of between 10 and 30 per cent.
Hunter says the device can also convert heat in exhaust gases into electricity. It might even be used to capture the energy that solar cells lose as heat, he says. Energy generation aside, he adds that the devices could soak up enough heat to play a significant role in cooling laptops and data centres.
Laurent Pilon of the University of California, Los Angeles, who also studies pyroelectric energy harvesting, says he likes the compactness of the device and its relative simplicity, but has some doubts about the potential efficiency.
"I think some of their expectations are a little exaggerated," he says. "They are relying on conduction to heat the device, which is a slow process." He and other groups have used fluids to heat or chill a pyroelectric material. This is much quicker, though the need to pump the fluid around does consume some of the energy generated.
Ferris Jabr, New Scientist
Graphene grains come in several different shapes. Hydrogen gas controls the grains' appearance. Credit: ORNL
A new approach to growing graphene greatly reduces problems that have plagued researchers in the past and clears a path to the crystalline form of graphite's use in sophisticated electronic devices of tomorrow.
Findings of researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrate that hydrogen rather than carbon dictates the graphene grain shape and size, according to a team led by ORNL's Ivan Vlassiouk, a Eugene Wigner Fellow, and Sergei Smirnov, a professor of chemistry at New Mexico State University. This research is published in ACS Nano.
"Hydrogen not only initiates the graphene growth, but controls the graphene shape and size," Vlassiouk said. "In our paper, we have described a method to grow well-defined graphene grains that have perfect hexagonal shapes pointing to the faultless single crystal structure."
In the past two years, graphene growth has involved the decomposition of carbon-containing gases such as methane on a copper foil under high temperatures, the so-called chemical vapor deposition method. Little was known about the exact process, but researchers knew they would have to gain a better understanding of the growth mechanism before they could produce high-quality graphene films.
Until now, grown graphene films have consisted of irregular- shaped graphene grains of different sizes, which were usually not single crystals.
"We have shown that, surprisingly, it is not only the carbon source and the substrate that dictate the growth rate, the shape and size of the graphene grain," Vlassiouk said. "We found that hydrogen, which was thought to play a rather passive role, is crucial for graphene growth as well. It contributes to both the activation of adsorbed molecules that initiate the growth of graphene and to the elimination of weak bonds at the grain edges that control the quality of the graphene."
Using their new recipe, Vlassiouk and colleagues have created a way to reliably synthesize graphene on a large scale. The fact that their technique allows them to control grain size and boundaries may result in improved functionality of the material in transistors, semiconductors and potentially hundreds of electronic devices.
Implications of this research are significant, according to Vlassiouk, who said, "Our findings are crucial for developing a method for growing ultra-large-scale single domain graphene that will constitute a major breakthrough toward graphene implementation in real-world devices."
More information: http://pubs.acs.or … 21/nn201978y
Wayne W. Manges of the Measurement Science & Systems Engineering Division has been elected to the distinguished grade of International Society of Automation (ISA) Fellow. Fellow membership is conveyed in acknowledgement of an outstanding achievement in scientific or engineering fields as recognized by ISA peers and is the highest grade of membership. Candidates must have a minimum of five years of ISA membership, currently be an ISA Senior Member, and have at least 10 years in instrumentation development, application, operation, management or teaching. Wayne currently serves ISA as co-chair for both ISA100, Wireless Systems for Automation, and the Trustworthy Wireless Working Group (TWWG). The criteria for selection are demanding and only a few members are elected each year, making the Fellow grade a coveted honor.
Award presentations will be made at the Annual ISA Honors & Awards Gala to be held on October 17, 2011, at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Alabama. This event is the opportunity for ISA to provide recognition and express appreciation for outstanding achievement to the honorees.
Lonnie Love of the Robotics & Energetic Systems group is one of 85 engineers selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering's 17th annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium. The participants -- engineers ages 30 to 45 who are performing exceptional engineering research and technical work in industry, academia, and government -- were nominated by fellow engineers or organizations and chosen from approximately 315 applicants.
"The young engineering innovators of today are solving the grand challenges that face us in the coming century," says NAE President Charles M. Vest. "We are proud that our Frontiers of Engineering program brings this diverse group of people together and gives them an opportunity to share and showcase their work."
The symposium will be held in September at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., and will examine additive manufacturing, engineering sustainable buildings, neuroprosthetics, and semantic processing.
The Microlectronic Systems Research Groups welcomes thirteen student interns for the summer 2011 session. We have a diverse group of student interns with varied educational disciplines coming to us from many different colleges and universities across the country, including two rising seniors from Oak Ridge High School.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 22, 2011 — Scientists and engineers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received seven R&D 100 Awards presented by R&D Magazine.
These awards, sometimes referred to as the "Academy Awards of Science," honor the 100 most outstanding advances in technology for the year and are chosen by an expert panel of independent judges and the editors of R&D Magazine.
"I want to congratulate this year's R&D 100 award winners," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. "The Department of Energy's national laboratories and sites are at the forefront of innovation, and it is gratifying to see their work recognized once again. The cutting-edge research and development done in our national labs and facilities is helping to meet our energy challenges, strengthen our national security and enhance our economic competitiveness."
The seven awards bring the total number of R&D 100 awards won by ORNL researchers over the years to 164.
"Winning seven of these prestigious awards is a testimony to the talent and creativity of a remarkable staff," ORNL Director Thom Mason said. "Our researchers do a tremendous job of delivering our mission of scientific discovery and innovation."
ORNL / MSSE researchers were recognized for the following technologies:
Standing left to right - James Patton, Scott Hunter, Nickolay Lavrik, Michael Sepaniak, Sitting - Panos Datskos, Barton Smith
Nano-Optomechanical Hydrogen Safety Sensor Based on Nanostructured Palladium Layers, jointly submitted and developed by Nickolay Lavrik of the ORNL Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, Panos Datskos, Scott Hunter and Barton Smith of the ORNL Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division, and the University of Tennessee's Michael Sepaniak and James Patton. This technology utilizes nano-sized palladium particles to more efficiently detect hydrogen levels at a lower cost than the competition. Palladium particles react immediately to the presence of hydrogen gas, making the sensor more sensitive when reading levels of hydrogen within any given environment. Other sensors utilize electricity to monitor hydrogen, but an electrical short could prove to be a fire hazard when working with the flammable element. This new technology eliminates that threat and can be used to monitor industrial building activities, rechargeable battery manufacturing and many other hydrogen-sensitive operations. This work was sponsored by DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program and conducted in part at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, which is sponsored at ORNL by the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences.
Isaac Mahderekal, Abdolreza Zaltash, Randall Linkous, Randall Wetherington, Ed Vineyard, Patrick Geoghegan
NextAire Packaged Gas Heat Pump, jointly developed and submitted by ORNL's Ed Vineyard, Abdolreza Zaltash, Randall Linkous and Isaac Mahderekal of the Energy and Transportation Science Division, Randall Wetherington of the Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division, Patrick Geoghegan of the Neutron Facilities Development Division and Southwest Gas, an investor-owned utility serving customers in Arizona, Nevada and portions of California and IntelliChoice Energy, headquartered in Phoenix. The gas heat pump technology is used to heat and cool small and medium sized buildings using fuel—typically natural gas—instead of electricity to power the compressor. To operate conventional electric heat pumps, fuel is converted to electricity at power plants, resulting in waste heat discharged to the environment. In addition, further energy losses occur as the electricity is transmitted over power lines and converted to mechanical power by the compressor. By reducing conversion and transmission losses, the NextAire unit significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. By converting fuel at the gas heat pump location, waste heat to the atmosphere is dramatically reduced and exhaust heat given off by the engine can be used to supplement the heat provided by the unit. The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Industrial Technologies Program and the National Energy Technology Laboratory funded this joint venture.
National Lab Produces Highly Efficient Waste Heat Generators
By: Jason Mick
Tiny cantilever generators could recycle as much as 30 percent of the heat chips put off
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory located about 23 miles south west of Knoxville, Tennessee has a storied history as the home of the Manhattan Project and birthplace of the atomic bomb. Today it has its sights set on many more tiny objectives, only this time it hopes to provide the world with cleaner energy, rather than destructive power.
The scientists at ORNL estimate that billions of dollars is lost every year in waste heat from electronic devices like central processing units (CPUs). Server farms spend millions a year to simply cool down their fields of racked computers. Waste heat is also a major source of energy loss in automobiles.
To that end, a team led by Scott Hunter has developed [press release] tiny piezoelectric generators that use a tiny cantilever, approximately 1 mm^2 in size. Approximately 1,000 of these tiny generators can be affixed to a 1 inch^2 CPU. Each tiny generator pumps out 1 to 10 milliwatts -- and together they can produce enough electricity to partially power fans or system sensors.
While that might not sound like much, it's actually significant progress.
Scientists have long hoped to use piezoeletric generators to recycle waste heat, but past designs have struggled with efficiencies, only able to convert between 1 and 5 percent of the waste heat to electricity. By contrast Professor Hunter's design has an efficiency of between 10 to 30 percent. The exact efficiency is dependent on the temperature of the waste heat generator (computer chip).
The tiny generator works using widely known physics principles. The tiny cantilever, anchored to the piezoelectric substrate bends due to the bi-material effect when heated. This is the same effect that traditional room thermostats rely upon.
As the cantilever bends it touches the heat sink, cooling it. It then flops back down on the hot surface. This flopping creates vibrations in the piezoelectric material that creates an alternating flow of current, which can be converted to usable DC current.
Describes Professor Hunter, "The tip of the hot cantilever comes into contact with a cold surface, the heat sink, where it rapidly loses its heat, causing the cantilever to move back and make contact with the hot surface. The cantilever then cools and cycles back to the cold heat sink. The cantilever continues to oscillate between the heat source and heat sink as long as the temperature difference is maintained between the hot and cold surfaces."
The key to higher efficiencies was to pick the right material and the right physical design. Professor Hunter comments, "The fast rate of exchange in the temperature across the pyroelectric material is the key to the energy conversion efficiency and high electrical power generation."
This kind of piezoelectric device is part of a growing class of devices known as micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS). Professor Hunter envisions his new MEMS device being installed inside PC and server coolers, saving businesses and home users money on their power bills.
By improving the efficiency of electricity usage, the devices would also reduce fossil fuel usage. Comments Professor Hunter, "In the United States, more than 50 percent of the energy generated annually from all sources is lost as waste heat, so this actually presents us with a great opportunity to save industry money through increased process efficiencies and reduced fuel costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
As the device is still pretty expensive, presumably, Professor Hunter is eyeing high-performance systems as the first target for commercial deployment. The tiny generator would allow additional cooling not currently available with a traditional block water-cooled system. By offering greater cooling to the chip, high performance mainframes could be run at higher speeds than ever before, a perfect proving ground for the new MEMS device.
Nickolay Lavrik, Thirumalesh Bannuru, Salwa Mostafa, Slo Rajic and Panos Datskos were among the other researchers who worked on the device for ORNL. The project was the the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program under the auspice of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Energy Harvesters Transform Waste Into Electricity
ScienceDaily (May 16, 2011) — Billions of dollars lost each year as waste heat from industrial processes can be converted into electricity with a technology being developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The high-efficiency thermal waste heat energy converter actively cools electronic devices, photovoltaic cells, computers and large waste heat-producing systems while generating electricity, according to Scott Hunter, who leads the development team. The potential for energy savings is enormous.
"In the United States, more than 50 percent of the energy generated annually from all sources is lost as waste heat," Hunter said, "so this actually presents us with a great opportunity to save industry money through increased process efficiencies and reduced fuel costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
Initially, Hunter envisions the technology being used for cooling high-performance computer chips, thereby helping to solve an enormous problem facing manufacturers of petaflop-scale computers. These mega machines generate massive amounts of heat that must be removed, and the more efficient the process the better. Turning some of that heat into electricity is an added bonus.
Hunter's technology uses cantilever structures that are about 1 millimeter square in size. About 1,000 of these energy converters can be attached to a 1-inch square surface such as a computer chip, concentrated photovoltaic cell or other devices that generate heat. Although the amount of electricity each device can generate is small -- 1 to 10 milliwatts per device -- many arrays of these devices can be used to generate sizable amounts of electricity that can power remote sensor systems or assist in the active cooling of the heat generating device, reducing cooling demands.
The underlying concept, pyroelectricity, is based on the use of pyroelectric materials, some of which have been known for centuries. First attempts to use this technology to generate electricity began several decades ago, but these studies have been plagued by low thermal to electricity conversion efficiencies -- from about 1 to 5 percent.
This is also the case for techniques using thermoelectric, piezoelectric and conventional pyroelectric platforms. However, using arrays of cantilevered energy converters that feature fast response and cycle times, Hunter's team expects to achieve efficiencies of 10 to 30 percent -- depending on the temperature of the waste heat generator -- in an inexpensive platform that can be fabricated using standard semiconductor manufacturing technology.
"The fast rate of exchange in the temperature across the pyroelectric material is the key to the energy conversion efficiency and high electrical power generation," Hunter said, adding that ORNL's energy scavenger technology is able to generate electrical energy from thermal waste streams with temperature gradients of just a few degrees up to several hundred degrees.
The device is based on an energy harvesting system that features a micro-electro-mechanical, or MEMS, pyroelectric capacitor structure that when heated and cooled causes current to flow in alternate directions, which can be used to generate electricity. In this configuration, cantilevers are attached to an anchor that is affixed to a waste heat generator substrate. As this substrate becomes hot, the cantilever also heats and bends because of the bi-material effect, similar in principle to the bimetal switch used in room and oven thermostats.
"The tip of the hot cantilever comes into contact with a cold surface, the heat sink, where it rapidly loses its heat, causing the cantilever to move back and make contact with the hot surface," Hunter said. "The cantilever then cools and cycles back to the cold heat sink.
"The cantilever continues to oscillate between the heat source and heat sink as long as the temperature difference is maintained between the hot and cold surfaces."
Other developers of this technology, which is funded by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, are Nickolay Lavrik, Thirumalesh Bannuru, Salwa Mostafa, Slo Rajic and Panos Datskos. UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE's Office of Science.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Team Design Can Recover Electricity From Waste Heat
By: Ishan Topre
Generating energy from waste is an interesting topic for many. It not only promises cleaning of environment from hazardous waste but also ensures a greener supply of energy. The energy can be recovered from such waste by many methods like biogas plants. However, the heat generated due to constant running and functioning of electrical gadgets presents us with a big problem. It seems that the problem is solved to a great extent by Mr. Scott Hunter led Oak Ridge National laboratory (ORNL) research team.
Every time we switch on an electrical device, a lot of heat energy is generated by electrical components, which is actually a waste of electrical energy. The solution to this is now available. The principal utilizes “pyroelectric materials” for conversion of thermal to electrical energy conversion. The basic structure designed by Scott is of the form of computer chips. The device is composed of cantilever structures of 1mm2 area each. About 1000 such structures are integrated in an area of 1 inch2 array. The ORNL team uses many such array structures together to save a lot of electricity. A single one can produce about 10 milliwatts of electricity. But when many such arrays are combined, the team expects that it can achieve an efficiency of about 10 to 30%. So this means that whenever a device generates heat during its functioning, the heat is again converted back to usable electricity.
The structure resembles a MEMS pyroelectric capacitor. The property of such a capacitor is that it generates a current in alternate directions when it is cooled or heated. The amount of electricity and efficiency however depends on the temperature of these “micro-electro-mechanical structured” pyroelectric capacitors. Earlier studies have suggested only an efficiency of about 1 to 5%.
Scott Hunter and his team are enthusiastic of the project. While telling about the actual mechanism he explains that the heat transfer takes place by this cantilever structure effectively which oscillates between hot and a cold surface. The cold surface acts as a heat sink for the hot cantilever tip. The team also focused on how there will be a fast transfer of electricity. The faster the temperature changes, the efficient will be the electricity production.
Speaking of the commercialization along with technology, Hunter said, “In the US, more than 50 per cent of the energy generated annually from all sources is lost as waste heat, so this actually presents us with a great opportunity to save industry money through increased process efficiencies and reduced fuel costs while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.” So it seems to be really a profitable deal to invest in this technology.
The technology is the latest among its kind and not many attempts have been made in this direction. A speedy commercialization of this would be a major contributing factor for achieving green energy not only for US but also for rest of world.
Fiber-Optic Sensors Set Stage for Extreme Snipers
By: William Pentland
Snipers equipped with today’s most advanced high-caliber rifles can send lethal payloads over distances of up to two miles. But long-distance extreme sniping of this sort is usually beyond the abilities of even the most talented marksman. Small barrel disruptions can cause even the most-skilled marksman to miss by wide margins. A new technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee may remove that limitation with lethal results.
A fiber-optic, laser-based sensor system, the Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor, automatically corrects for even tiny barrel disruptions. The system uses a combination of algorithms, optics and additional sensor inputs to adjust targeting for distance and other factors affecting the bullet trajectory. The new system is 250 performs with a level of precision 250 times high than traditional sensors.
“When a weapon is sighted in, the aim point and bullet point of impact coincide,” said Slobodan Rajic, who led the research team that developed the system. “However, in the field, anything that comes into contact with the barrel can cause perturbation of the barrel and induce errors.”
Here is how it works:
The sensor measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight with extreme precision and electronically realigns the crosshairs with the true position of the barrel. The typical barrel of a high-power rifle has exterior grooves, called flutes, to reduce weight and create more surface area to enable the barrel to cool faster. The barrel heats up as a result of the hot expanding gases in the barrel and the friction from the bullets that are propelled by these hot gases along a helical path inside the barrel. The new technology places glass optical fibers, which contain a laser diode that sends a signal beam into the optical, into the flutes.
Dyllis Elementary School Science Fair
Esther Parish (Envionrmental Science Division)
On May 2, 2011, Esther Parish of Environmental Science Division (ESD) judged the Dyllis Elementary School Science Fair alongside Ken Tobin, Director for the Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division (MSSED), and Shaun Gleason, Leader of the MSSED Imaging, Signals and Machine Learning Group. Approximately 30 fourth-graders and 1 third-grader participated in this second annual event organized by fourth grade science teacher, Mrs. Annette Tullock. The top three projects were related to biology and physics.
MSSE Participates in New Thermography Standard with ISA
New gas turbine subgroup studies thermographic phosphors
New gas turbine subgroup studies thermographic phosphors
Since the formation of ISA107, Advanced Measurement Techniques for Gas Turbine Engines, in summer 2010, the committee has established three working groups that have begun work on thermographic phosphors, tip timing, and tip clearance. The committee’s goal is to encompass measurement techniques for gas turbine engines developed for and used in aerospace and industrial applications. (See December InSights article, “New committee ignites on gas turbine engines,” www.isa.org/link/DecIN_turbine.) The group working on standardization of thermographic phosphors is interested in standardizing the definitions of coating durability, efficiency, temperature range, temperature sensitivity, and methods for establishing these characteristics to benefit engine manufacturers and sensor vendors.
While the current focus of funded technical development of thermographic phosphors is in the area of validating turbine engine temperature levels in the test cell environment, the technique is a valuable tool in nearly any other application in which high levels of reflected or extraneous radiation prevent the use of pyrometry. Thermographic phosphors also provide the ability to make optic-based measurements of cryogenic temperatures where there may be too little emitted radiation to enable pyrometric measurements.
The fluorescence-based methodologies involved in the development of the standards promise to provide crucial hot-section information not available before, with the potential for great cost savings by preventing expensive engine failures. The initial beneficiaries of this new set of standards would be the manufacturers of turbine engines, as these standards would allow much more accurate and repeatable measurements on their engines during their test cell evaluations, and could potentially provide them with the confidence in the measurement capability to transition the technology to on-wing application.
Various other potential users of the technology would benefit as well. For example, the thermographic phosphor technique has been successfully used to determine the temperature inside an operating piston engine, to measure the temperature of semi-molten steel as it is being formed, to determine the temperatures in uranium enrichment centrifuges, and to determine the cryogenic temperatures of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuel tanks.
Various sensor vendors would also benefit by having a single standardized set of requirements established, which would allow them to develop their new products and capabilities and be assured of meeting the needs of their customers as well as being accepted as industry standards.
If you are interested in contributing to the work of this subgroup, please contact the chair, Steve Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Written by William Stange, chair of ISA107 and test cell instrumentation lead for the U.S. Air Force. E-mail him at email@example.com.
BIMA Iris Imaging Improvement BAA Award
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The Imaging, Signals, and Machine Learning (ISML) group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been awarded a Department of Defense Biometric Identity Management Agency (BIMA) grant to improve off angle iris and pupil dilation issues to improve iris recognition. The ISML proposal submitted by principal investigator Chris Boehnen Ph.D. was one of four proposals selected out of 67 submissions entered via a BAA process.
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knoxville police are teaming up with Oak Ridge National Lab researchers to put more computer power into the fight against child sexual predators.
A new mini-super computer will decrease an investigators work load, helping find those who prey on children faster than ever.
Nicknamed Zeus, the loud and powerful computer at the Knoxville headquarters of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has a big job.
The National Organization to Protect Children donated the computer.
"This computer is a forensics monster that's going to change the game for law enforcement everywhere," said actor David Keith.
The computer is being used to enhance a computer program named Artemis, which was developed by ORNL scientists.
"Oak Ridge developed a thumb drive that you can stick in a bad guy's computer that downloads the child pornography in 15 minutes," explained Keith. "That used to take weeks."
With the software, the computer can quickly scan and search out computer addresses of people trafficking child porn.
"Prior to our involvement officers had to manually look at every image on the computer," said Chris Boehnen, an ORNL scientist who helped develop the program. "When you could be talking about 100,000 images, half a million, a million images, it's a lot of time to scroll through those images and find the ones that you're interested in."
Boehnen demonstrated how the software works using non-pornographic photos of women in bathing suits. He explained how the computer scans the images, then ranks them in the order of likelihood of child pornography by using key indicators like faces and the amount of skin shown.
"That computer could handle three cases where we'd have to sit on one case at a time," said Mel Pierce, a Knoxville Police investigator and member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, "and it'd take three to four hours to process it, 40 hours to go through every file."
Officer Pierce showed the monumental task he and other members of the task force are up against every day with a map of Tennessee covered in red dots. Each dot represented a computer that has accessed what appears to be child pornography images in just the last 30-days.
The entire state of TN was covered in red.
When Officer Pierce highlighted Knoxville, it looked like a fireworks display lit up with dozens of computer IP addresses.
"I think that one says it all. That's just in 30 days in and around Knoxville," said Pierce. "I think that should alarm every one."
Investigators estimate the new computer, combined with the software ORNL created, will save them a day and a half per case, allowing them to put more sexual predators behind bars more quickly.
ORNL has just secured additional funding from the National Institute of Justice to further the program and make Knoxville a model for the country.
Dr. Alina Alexeenko's Lecture
On March 8, 2011, Dr. Alina Alexeenko, Assistant Professor of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University was hosted by the Imaging, Signals, and Machine Learning Group. While at ORNL, she gave the presentation, “Knudsen Forces at the Microscale: Key Mechanisms, Modeling Approaches and Pathways to Practical Devices.” Below is the abstract from her presentation and her biography.
At the microscale, even moderate temperature differences can result in significant Knudsen forces generated by the non-equilibrium energy exchange between gas molecules and solids immersed in a gas. Knudsen forces appear, in principle, for any structure in a gaseous environment when the length scale of a surface temperature gradient is comparable to the gas molecular mean free path. This can occur for very low gas pressures or at extremely small length scales. Passian and co-workers at ORNL (PRL, 2003) have obtained the first direct measurement of Knudsen forces in a truly microscale setup using laser heating of silicon microcantilevers. Recently, we have applied deterministic solution of the Boltzmann kinetic equations to reproduce numerically the conditions of the experiment. The kinetic solution using the discrete ordinate/finite volume discretization in the high-dimensional phase space is circumventing difficulties associated with traditional stochastic DSMC approach in dealing with the slow bulk motion. The comparison to measurements shows that Knudsen force is well reproduced by simulations assuming full momentum accommodation between the gas and solid for nitrogen and argon gas. However, a significant difference has been observed for helium, attributed to an incomplete accommodation. Thus the Knudsen force measurement is a good setup for probing the gas-surface interaction. The modeling of Knudsen force for generic microscale geometries is presented. It provides a pathway for design and analysis of devices taking advantage of the benign mechanism of the Knudsen forces, in particular, the absence of high electric fields. We further discuss how exploiting the Knudsen force offers novel approaches for actuation, sensing, and energy harvesting in nano/microsystems.
Alina Alexeenko received her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in 2003 from the Pennsylvania State University and B.S. and M.S. degrees in Applied Mathematics from Novosibirsk State University, in 1997 and 1999. She was a WiSE postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California from 2004 to 2006. Alina Alexeenko is currently an assistant professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University and is an affiliate of NNSA Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems (PRISM). Her research interests are in computational rarefied gas dynamics and its applications in high-altitude aerothermodynamics, physics of microscale devices and vacuum gas dynamics.
Knox students build robots, aim for scholarships
"We were able to find some money from ORNL and we got two other companies engaged."
Students at Hardin Valley academy are in a competition that could lead to careers in high-tech jobs.
Mentors from Oak Ridge National Lab are guiding them as they build robots and compete for college scholarships.
A lecture by ORNL researcher Lonnie Love led student Philip Keller to an interest in a robotics career, and Philip turned to his dad.
"He brought me this flyer about this first robotics competition and he said, 'Dad can we do this?' I said, 'Let me look into this.'"
"Dad" just happens to be Martin Keller, associate director of ORNL.
Computer teacher Mary Lin also got involved but they only had two weeks to get a team together and raise the money for their application.
Keller was also able to get Lonnie Love and a few other lab scientists to help as mentors.
The team has to build a robot that is programmed to perform tasks on a course. They also have a mini-robot that must climb a pole.
Another group is creating a website about the team. They also have to write an essay.
Students in the program can win college scholarships worth up to four years of full tuition.
The first robotics regional competition is in Knoxville and open to the public April 1 and 2.
Winners will go on to the national competition in St. Louis.
SENSORS -- Setting standards...
Story Tips from the Department of Energy's ORNL
By: Ron Walli
By testing radiation detection equipment and helping establish national and international standards, a team of Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers protects the people who keep the nation safe. The Graduated Rad/Nuc Detector Evaluation and Reporting program fulfills a Congressional mandate to set capability standards and establish a test and evaluation program for radiation and nuclear detectors. “The basic idea is to ensure that we identify the functional limitations of radiological and nuclear detection equipment,” said Pete Chiaro, who leads numerous international and American National Standards Institute standards committees. “A key goal is to make sure our soldiers and front line officers have what they need to keep them and us safe.” [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; firstname.lastname@example.org]
Using neutron imaging to improve energy efficiency
By Agatha Bardoel (Janaury 14, 2011)
Neutron scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are partnering with industry to enhance engine and commercial cooling technologies in hopes of making improvements that will optimize fuel and energy efficiency.
Hassina Bilheux, a physicist and a neutron imaging scientist at ORNL, uses beam line CG-1D at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to image automobile engine system components, two-phase fluid components in commercial cooling systems, and electrodes used for lithium batteries.
Michael Cameron of DuPont, former chair of the SNS and HFIR Users Group, has cited applications in the auto industry and in transportation generally as highly promising for such partnerships.
Neutron imaging is just taking off at ORNL; there is currently no instrument at the laboratory devoted exclusively to it. Bilheux, the lead for developing ORNL's neutron imaging capabilities, works on industrial imaging projects with colleagues at ORNL and in industry.
CG-1D is a new facility developed in 2009 by Lee Robertson and his team in the Neutron Facilities Development Division. The CG-1 beam line runs off HFIR's HB4 Cold Source (a cold source provides neutrons cooled to a low temperature to make them move more slowly). "These are not imaging beam lines," said Bilheux. "They are not optimized for imaging. But we have been very successful since we started in December 2009 preparing CG1-D for imaging." When the neighboring beam CG 1-C becomes operational, Bilheux hopes to add it to the suite of imaging capabilities.
The CG-1D is a chopped beam instrument (i.e., neutrons are chopped into small packets, which allows their energy to be determined) and 1C is monochromatic (i.e., all the neutrons used in a single exposure have the same energy). Bilheux hopes eventually to bring neutron imaging capabilities to the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), where she can better and more cost-efficiently select the energy of the neutrons. SNS, she says, has a wide range of energies that makes it possible to image thick biological tissues. (That type of work cannot be done at HFIR, where the neutrons would be scattered by the high hydrogen content in tissues.) The higher the energy, the deeper the penetration, and the more researchers are able to see.
"One of the goals is to bring the science to SNS, so we can develop a partnership with the medical community to explore neutron imaging capabilities for biological tissues, and eventually to work with medical doctors, such as ORNL M.D./Ph.D.
Dr. Trent Nichols, and oncologists to look at tumor tissues. We are truly pioneering a new field and this is a unique time for all of us. I am very excited about all the progress we have made at CG1-D."
NASA selects NNU engineering students team to fly on "Vomit Coment"
Northwest Nazarene University
January 13, 2011 (Media Advisory)
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Nampa, Idaho—A team of six Northwest Nazarene University engineering students were notified today that they have been selected to participate in NASA's 2011 Microgravity University program, and will be flying on the famous “Vomit Comet” March 31-April 9, 2011. Also known as the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program, Microgravity University challenges undergraduate students to design, fabricate, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment to “advance human exploration, use and development of space.”
The NNU team was accepted into the Systems Engineering Educational Discovery (SEED) program segment, which pairs project concepts proposed by NASA principal investigators with student teams. The teams accepted represent the brightest young engineers and scientists in the country from universities such as MIT, Purdue, Yale, and Caltech. Microgravity University is designed to expose these promising young engineers to NASA operations, enabling them to gain research experience and play a role in advancing America’s space program. The NNU team, nicknamed “the SUPER-HYDROs” will investigate the properties of new superhydrophobic nanomaterials in zero-g and will be mentored by Gregory Pace, from NASA Ames Research Center in California, by Dr. John Simpson, senior scientist at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, and by NNU engineering & physics professors Steve Parke, Bill Packard, and Dan Lawrence.
Four NNU students and one faculty will perform their experiment aboard a specially-equipped NASA aircraft based at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This jet performs a series of 30 successive parabolic roller-coaster-like flight maneuvers over the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in 25 seconds of zero gravity at the top, and 25 seconds of double gravity at the bottom of each cycle. Each flight day begins with the administration of anti motion sickness medicine.
This nationwide program is highly competitive, with only 23 teams selected by NASA this year. Upon acceptance, each team designs, builds, and operates their experiment in zero-gravity, then formally reports their scientific results to NASA. The team will work through this winter to design, build and test their experiment in preparation for Flight Week the first week of April. The team is led by engineering junior, Weston Patrick, from Wasilla, AK. It is mentored by engineering faculty, Dr. Stephen Parke. Dr. Parke's 26-year engineering background at Purdue, Berkeley, IBM, Boise State, American Semiconductor, and Tennessee Tech has given him considerable experience in leading undergraduate research and design teams. Participating students include: Jesse Baggenstos (Renton, WA), Kevin Halle (Edmonds, WA), Jordan Hush (Boise,ID), Chad Larson (Medford, OR), and Grady Turner (Nampa, ID). The NNU team is also being advised by former astronaut and teacher in space, Barbara Morgan, from Boise State University, and their successful Microgravity U student team from last year.
During spaceflight and lunar or Martian exploration, water is a precious resource that must be conserved and reused aboard NASA spacecraft. Water adheres to equipment surfaces due to surface tension forces, which vary according to the type of surface coating used. New superhydrophobic (water repellent) surface coatings have recently been created by Dr. John Simpson’s team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A superhydrophobic (SH) surface is enhanced by surface nanostructure. This structure multiplies the effect of the normal surface tension of water. This work was inspired by surfaces found in nature, such as the Lotus leaf. Water binds so weakly to SH surfaces that a layer of air separates most of the interface between the water and surface. SH materials have potential applications such as drag reduction and self-cleaning surfaces. The “Moses Effect” of a circular wall of water standing up off of an SH-coated circular disc demonstrates the repellent quality of this nano-structured surface and can be viewed at the following site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys-fZuY03Gw&NR=1
This NNU project provides the first opportunity to study the fluid dynamics of these exciting new nanostructured material surfaces in both hyper (2g) and microgravity (0g) environments. The primary objective of this project is to produce data useful to NASA researchers in determining the feasibility of using these novel SH nanomaterials as coatings inside future spacecraft plumbing systems. This data will be collected using a high-speed video camera to photograph the fluid dynamics of water droplets at various diameters impinging at various velocities on different coated surfaces. In addition, continuous video observation of the ‘Moses Effect” during the transition from 2g to 0g will be performed for the first time ever.
Northwest Nazarene University, founded in 1913, is a Christian comprehensive university located in Nampa, ID, near Boise, offering over 60 bachelor’s degrees and 18 master's degrees. It’s beautiful 85-acre campus is home to over 2000 students and its satellite campus and on-line programs serve an additional 8,500 continuing education students. NNU has a 60 year history of educating quality Engineering Physics graduates. Many NNU alumni are now engineering managers, researchers, professors, entrepreneurs, and even a former Shuttle astronaut, Dr. Rick Hieb. In August 2010, NNU initiated a new BS Engineering program (with specializations in Electrical and Mechanical) with ABET accreditation planned in the next few years. NNU Engineering is housed on the first floor of the new 50,000 sq ft Thomas Health & Science Center. The initial faculty members, Dr. Dan Lawrence, Dr. Bill Packard, and Dr. Stephen Parke, all have extensive research and teaching experience. NNU’s new engineering program is unique in that it includes a senior year student design team project focused on compassionate Christian ministry to needy regions of the third world. Engineering is an especially attractive career choice for service-minded youth today who aspire to combine a highly technical career with compassionate and humanitarian service.
Dr. Dan Lawrence, chair of engineering and physics at NNU states, “I am thrilled. This is an incredible opportunity for our students and faculty, and shows the significant educational research experience all our students receive under the guidance of their professors. Our students are ambitious and deserving of this opportunity of distinction.” Dr. Stephen Parke states, “I am so proud of our engineering students! This is the only the beginning of great things to come.”
Sophomore team-member Kevin Halle said, “I’ve always wanted to feel what it is like to be weightless. The fact that we get to test a new material in zero gravity is really exciting! The substance we are testing is a huge breakthrough in super water repellent materials, and we have the privilege of helping to find more uses.”
Area K-12 students are encouraged to follow the SUPER-HYDRO team progress, to study their videos, and to give ideas and feedback to the team at www.nnu.edu/engineering
For interviews please contact Hollie Lindner at (208) 870-3347.
Please add the team photo to this release.
DOE grants $3.9m for SiC HEV charger development
January 4, 2011
A $3.9m award from the US Department of Energy (DOE) aims to allow electrical engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas to continue contributing to the development of a compact and highly efficient silicon carbide (SiC) battery charger for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
Benefits of the project extend beyond vehicles into other areas, such as wind and solar power, and could also lead to reduced energy consumption.
The grant is part of the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program and will benefit a collaborative partnership that includes five private and public entities: project leader Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc (APEI) of Fayetteville, AK; its private partner the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (at the University of Arkansas); Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); Cree Inc; and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.
“This effort will lead to breakthroughs in efficiency, size and weight reduction, and overall improved vehicle performance,” believes Department of Electrical Engineering professor Alan Mantooth, director of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (who holds the 21st Century Endowed Chair in Mixed-Signal IC Design and CAD).
Under Mantooth’s direction, the Arkansas researchers will develop basic semiconductor device models to enable other researchers to design integrated circuitry. The work will help engineers simulate circuits on computers to verify functionality before committing to fabrication. As part of the overall project, the researchers will also design key components of the charging circuitry.
Since 2009, the DOE has allocated nearly $350m to universities, small and large businesses, national labs and non-profit groups to support research that can change how the USA generates, stores and uses energy. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the funding is intended to create jobs and foster economic growth. “These innovative ideas will play a critical role in our energy security and economic growth,” says US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “It is now more important than ever to invest in a new, clean energy economy,” he adds.
“The award was highly competitive, and we look forward to delivering on the challenges in this groundbreaking project,” says Serdar Yonak, Toyota’s US power electronics R&D manager.
“This technology will help reduce energy consumption in everyday applications, such as personal vehicles,” says APEI’s director of business development Ty McNutt. “In addition, it will reduce the strain on the nation’s power grid as electric vehicles become prevalent, while helping to decrease the nation’s carbon footprint. Equally as important, the engineering and manufacturing jobs created by this award will remain in America,” he adds.
“Cree has been leading the development of the silicon carbide power components at the heart of this proposed system,” says John Palmour, Cree’s chief technology officer for power and radio frequency. “We are hopeful that this demonstration will lead to the use of silicon carbide power devices in the electric motor drives themselves, creating even more efficiency gains for hybrid vehicles.”
The National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission is one of just a few university-based research centers chosen by the DOE to investigate electronic systems to make the USA’s power grid more reliable and efficient. Five years ago, the DOE funded the center because of the university’s research expertise in advanced power electronics and longtime investigation of silicon carbide. Electrical engineering researchers at the university have developed and packaged SiC systems for more than a decade and recently won an R&D 100 Award, in collaboration with APEI, for the first 250ºC-capable power module rated at 1200V and 150A.