2009 EAS Research Support Awards

The winners of 2009 EAS Research Support Awards are Drs. Georg Pingen and Rebecca Webb, Andrew Ketsdever and Hoyoung Song, James Stevens, and Joe Zhou. Each will be awared with $36k research assistant support for two years. Here are the titles of their proposals. For the abstracts of their proposals, click on the following title link.


Energy Sustainability and Health via Fluid-Thermal-Multiphase Design

Georg Pingen & Rebecca Webb

Project Summary

A collaborative effort to perform basic research in the thermal fluid sciences, targeting sustainable energy and biomedical applications, is proposed. Present day engineering problems in the target areas are governed by a combination of nonlinear, multiphysical – fluidic, thermal, multiphase, structural, electrical, optical – effects at multiple-length scales. This complexity results in engineering analysis and design problems that differ significantly from their singledisciplinary/ macroscopic counter-parts. Given the significance of transient fluid-thermalmultiphase processes in both energy and bio-medically related processes and applications, the PIs propose to develop an analysis and design optimization framework for such problems. In this process we are particularly guided and motivated by four exciting industry applications that can be approached with the resulting analysis and design methodologies: (a) the design of micro-scale cooling channels to improve the efficiency and performance of electrical components, (b) the design of fluid-thermal channels for the transport of heat/energy in solar collectors, (c) an improved understanding of the physical processes underlying plaque removal in human arteries as currently encountered by Spectranetics in Colorado Springs, and (d) biomedical applications such as optimal bypass and stent design. Research in recent years has shown that design optimization techniques can significantly enhance the engineering design process and provide unique insights for an improved understanding of the underlying physical phenomena. In particular, the area of steady-state, structural design optimization has seen significant work and has led to novel results in engineering design. Specifically, computationally driven gradient-based shape and topology optimization approaches have been utilized to continuously modify the shape/topology of a design in order to improve design objectives (stiffness, minimum drag, maximum thermal transport, etc.), resulting in improved performance. More recently, Newtonian Non-Newtonian developed methodologies have been extended and applied to steady-state fluidic design problems by several researchers, including Dr. Pingen and co-workers. Despite these recent advances, in part made possible through the availability and accessibility of high-performance computing in the 21st century, the majority of these design optimization approaches have focused on steady-state, single-physics problems. The PIs are not aware of any published research on transient fluidic optimization and/or coupled fluid-thermal-multiphase topology optimization, the topic of the proposed work. The PIs complementary expertise, ranging from the formulation and computational implementation of fluidic design optimization methods to fluid-thermal analysis and experimentation at the micro-scale, will allow us to efficiently tackle the challenges of this exciting and promising project. The key components and challenges of the proposed analysis and design framework are shown in the next section, followed by a summary of our prior research experience as specifically applicable to this project. Concluding, we will provide further details on the four application drivers as well as additional sources of prospective external funding.


Terahertz Technology for Multi-Phase Flow Applications

Andrew Ketsdever and Hoyoung Song

Project Summary

A unique opportunity exists to fund research based on a creative combination of existing sponsored research at UCCS to open a new and potentially fruitful area for future research. ECE is currently investigating the terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum between 100 GHz and 10 THz (wavelength range from 3000 um to 30 um which occupies a large portion of the spectrum between the infrared and microwave bands. Compared to the relatively well-developed science and technology at microwave, optical and x-ray frequencies, basic research, new initiatives and advanced technology developments in the terahertz band are very limited and remain relatively unexplored. Concurrently, MAE is investigating two-phase fluid flows of interest to the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Funding exists to look at these issues independently. This proposal seeks to provide funding for graduate students to expand the currently funded research in order to explore multi-disciplinary collaborations between ECE and MAE. This is directly related to the spirit in which the call for proposals addressed funding research opportunities. The topic of this proposal is the development of a THz system capable of investigating the nature of multiphase flows. By combining this high resolution, non-invasive diagnostic technique, highly flexible systems capable of evaluating a variety of different applications will be created. Experimental data provided by these unique systems, working in close coordination, will provide needed fundamental understanding of an incredibly wide range of multiphase flows. The proposed research will make use of a cross-disciplinary team of faculty and graduate students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. In addition, collaboration between two successful sponsored research programs will be combined with the potential of creating a powerful research collaboration for future endeavors. Preliminary studies, already funded by outside sponsors, performed by faculty and graduate students will be used to generate journal publications and grant proposals that would otherwise not be possible. Students involved in this combined program will be exposed to both ECE and MAE principles and practices opening a new area of research not yet investigated. The proposal will provide for a graduate student in year 1 whose research will focus on the development of the THz system. A second graduate student in year 2 will perform research into the application of THz technology (developed in year 1) to two phase flows. A combined numerical and experimental approach will be used in both years. Students in each year will be exposed to the principles involved in both disciplines. For example, in the second year the student working on implementing the THz source into a two-phase flow diagnostic will need to work directly with the student who developed the source in year 1. Only with a complete understanding of the THz source and the two-phase flow application can this new research area be opened.


Engineering Development of a Liquid Piston Heat Engine for Electricity Generation

James Stevens

Project Summary

This project will develop the fundamental engineering understanding of liquid piston heat engines necessary to apply that technology to electricity generation in cases where primary energy costs are low but utilization is limited by high capital costs of generation facilities. These limitations could be manifest either because of costs associated with collection and transportation of the primary energy source or because the total amounts of energy are too small for reasonable investment payback. The project will consist of two phases and will be predominantly experimental in nature with all analysis being directed by experimental results. The two phases are: (a) determination of the flow losses inherent in oscillating liquid pistons, (b) characterization of the thermodynamic cycle of a bench-scale liquid piston heat engine with evaporation unsuppressed. The total project duration will be two years with each phase taking slightly more or less than one calendar year. The total funding requested for the project is $36,000. It will involve one faculty member and one graduate student or two undergraduate students.


Building Resilient Internet Services with Learning and Control

A proposal for EAS research support

By Prof. Xiaobo (Joe) Zhou

Project Summary

Internet services are a form of distributed applications in which software components running on networked computers coordinate via ubiquitous communications on the Internet. Due to the dynamic nature and unprecedented scale of the Internet, Internet services pose many challenges including scalability, reliability, and availability to underlying networked systems. This project concentrates on building Internet services that are resilient to those challenges with machine learning, control and optimization techniques.

Internet services build upon multi-tier cluster-based computer systems that keep growing in scale and complexity. Such systems become so complicated that it is even a big challenge to get a good understanding of the entire systems dynamic behaviors. Optimizing one component may compromise the other, leading to overall performance degradation. This project proposes to design quantitative service differentiation, performance isolation, and adaptive reconfiguration mechanisms on networked systems for building resilient Internet services. Service differentiation is to provide different service quality levels to meet changing system configuration and to satisfy different requirements of applications and users. Performance isolation is to isolate the performance provided to clients based on their access patterns and system resource availability. The project will also design a test-bed with toolkits to demonstrate the orchestration of designed techniques for the automated arrangement, coordination, and management of complex computer systems, middleware, and services, which will be developed in a new lab furnished with cutting-edge data center facility in the new Science & Engineering building.

Deliverables: Research proposals for external funding aside, this project will submit original and high-quality research results for publication in major international conferences and journals. It will submit quarterly financial and progress report.  It will present the research project at least once a year by the PI and involved students. For instance, the PI’s group will participate the annual research day event of UCCS. The PI will also seek collaborations with the industry and maximize the impact of research to the broader community.