Prof. Mrinal Kumar wins NSF CAREER award
An Integrated Hybrid Forecasting Framework for Increased Wind Power Penetration
The goal of this research is to develop the next generation of algorithms to achieve significant improvement in short-term wind forecasting. Today, wind energy contributes merely 2% to the total electricity produced in the United States. One of the reasons for this situation is our inability to accurately forecast and characterize the uncertainty underlying local wind dynamics. This translates to low predictability, high risk and the need for expensive balancing power resources. One must be able to capture complex wind dynamics driven by multiple length and time scales, turbulence and orographic effects – all of which lead to the non-Gaussian nature of wind uncertainty, typically residing in very high dimensional spaces. The proposed integrated framework comprises of randomized algorithms for scalable nonlinear uncertainty propagation. The output from designed particle methods and advanced partial differential equation solvers will be combined with measured on-site data in the sense of optimal data fusion, leading to a hybrid forecasting structure. This work will significantly improve wind forecasts up to 48 hours in advance, leading to enhanced dispatch, scheduling and unit commitment operations in the day-ahead electricity market.
A concurrent goal of this effort is to work with teachers to increase the participation of both students and educators in research related to renewable energy. A pilot initiative called the Sustainable Energy Professional Development Program will be put in place in collaboration with the Center for Precollegiate Education and Training at University of Florida. An annual Renewable Energy Design Challenge (Challenge-RED) for high-school students is planned as part of the development program. The long-term education goal is to foster the next generation of professionals who will adopt leading roles in the push towards sustainable energy.
Nanomechanical and Tribological Properties on Hadrosaurid
Greg Sawyer & Brandon Krick
Prof. Greg Sawyer and his PhD student Brandon Krick measured nanomechanical and tribological properties on hadrosaurid (duck-billed dinosaur) dental fossils from the American Museum of Natural History. Using instruments designed and built in MAE, they measured tissue hardness and wear rates that were preserved in the 65 million year old tooth. These properties are preserved in fossilized teeth because apatite mineral content is the major determinant of dental tissue hardness. Measured tissue wear rates were used to simulate the formation of hadrosaurid tooth chewing surfaces using a 3-D wear simulation. The simulation results in a surface profile nearly identical to a naturally worn hadrosaurid dental battery. The model revealed how each tissue (of differing wear rates) contributed to the formation of sophisticated slicing and grinding features in these reptiles tens of millions of years before mammals evolved analogous chewing capacity. This capacity to measure wear-relevant properties preserved in fossils provides a new route to study biomechanics throughout evolution. The work was a collaboration with colleagues at FSU. See Science, October 5, 2012, pp.98-101.
Professor Researches Nuclear Power Plant Safety
Japan's nuclear crisis left many people questioning the safety of nuclear plants. Assistant professor DuWayne Schubring has made it his job to be concerned about and work to improve upon the future safety of power plants. At the time the tsunami hit Japan, Schubring said the country's nuclear plants operated on active safety systems, which require energy to function. When power to the plants was knocked out, there was no way for the systems to have the energy to operate. These systems are necessary because even when you turn a nuclear power plant off, it's only 93% or 94% off, he said. Radioactive decay generates the rest, and it needs to be cooled in order to be turned off completely. With active safety systems that can't function, the cooling is impossible. Advanced nuclear power systems, nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics and nuclear reactor safety all fall under Schubring's research interests, and his work has involved developing better fundamental models to fit into the characterization of power plants.
A MEMS Piezoresistive Microphone for Aeroacoustic Applications
M. Sheplak, B. Homeijer and the Boeing Company
With air traffic expected to increase dramatically in the next decade and urban sprawl encroaching on airports, a reduction in the sound radiated from commercial airplanes is needed. To lower aircraft noise, manufacturers perform extensive scale model wind tunnel tests to locate and eliminate sound sources. One of the most important pieces of equipment needed is a low cost, robust microphone that is able to withstand large sound pressure levels. Utilizing microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology provides a means to meet the low cost and stringent performance specifications. In this work, non-linear composite plate mechanic models are developed together with a lumped element model that predicts the dynamic behavior of the microphone. These models are implemented into an optimization scheme to maximize the operational dynamic range and bandwidth of the device. The optimal design is then fabricated using a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatible process so the microphone may be integrated later with supporting circuitry.
Research to Evaluate the Ability of Musculoskeletal Models
Professor B.J. Fregly, Dr. Darryl D'Lima of Scripps Clinic and Dr. Thor Besier of Stanford University
Professor B.J. Fregly is spearheading a research effort to critically evaluate the ability of musculoskeletal models to predict muscle and joint contact forces in the knee reliably during walking. Knowledge of these internal loads could improve the diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal disorders that affect walking ability (e.g., stroke, cerebral palsy, osteoarthritis). Fregly and his collaborators Dr. Darryl D'Lima of Scripps Clinic and Dr. Thor Besier of Stanford University are organizing a "grand challenge" competition at the 2010 ASME Summer Bioengineering Conference in Florida. Competitors will use experimental movement data released by D'Lima to attempt to predict contact forces in the knee during walking without knowing the measured values in advance. Blinded predictions will be submitted to the research team, and the best predictions will be presented in a special session at the conference next June. Fregly and Besier have developed a web site to disseminate information about and data for the competition (https://simtk.org/home/kneeloads).
Recent Department Awards and Recognitions
Dr. Henry Sodano has been awarded the American Society for Composites 2012 Young Composites Researcher Award. The Young Composites Researcher Award is given to a member of the composites community who early in their career has made a significant impact on the science and technology of composite materials through a sustained research effort. His efforts have focused on the development of ceramic nanowires grown on reinforcing fibers and high energy density nanocomposite capacitors. The award will be presented at the American Society for Composites' 27th Annual Technical Conference on October 2nd 2012 in Arlington, Texas.
Dr. Hugh Fan, MAE, has been selected as the recipient of a Fraunhofer Bessel Research Award in recognition of lifetime achievements in research. As an awardee, Dr. Fan will be invited to carry out research projects of his own choice in cooperation with specialist colleagues in Germany.
Bhavani V. Sankar is the recipient of the 2009 ASC/DEStech Award given by the American Society for Composites. The award is sponsored by Destech Publishing Co., a major publisher of books and conference proceedings in the area of composites.
Professor Hitomi Greenslet received the certificate of Merit for Excellent Paper of the Conference, 3rd JSME/ASME International Conference on Materials and Processing, September 14, 2009. The award was given by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers for the paper entitled, Study of magnetic field assisted finishing of quartz wafers. Authors: Hitomi Yamaguchi (Greenslet), Kazuki Yumoto, Takeo Shinmura, and Takahiko Okazaki.
2012 Outstanding Alumni Awards
The following MAE alumni were honored as the 2012 MAE Outstanding Alumnus Award winners. We had a number of outstanding nominations, and it was a challenge to select the winners. 1) Carl Meece (formerly of Pratt & Whitney and Swagelok), 2) Dr. Gary Miller (Exactech), 3) Dr. Byron Knight (USAF), 4) Roberto Garcia (NASA Marshall), 5) William Gattle (Harris Corporation), 6) J. Stephen Elliott (E2M Corporation). The Outstanding Alumnus Awardees were honored at the Annual MAE Awards Banquet on April 13, 2012. Please see the Spring 2012 newsletter for a photograph of the winners. Previous nominations will be kept in file and considered next year along with any new nominations.
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