New Research Initiatives
In order to make the most of precious resources, CESR looks to groups of professors and staff to band together in common research areas so that resources spent on basic development work can have the most benefit for all. Teaching, research, and external collaborative efforts will all benefit from this synergistic environment.
The TTU "Smart Grid Group" is one such group of researchers who have banded together to build a microgrid "test bed". Research in the areas of electric power, smart grid, power electronics, power disturbance migitgation, communications, control, computer programming, and security can all benefit from this common research facility. The inclusion of wind and solar power sources highlights the interest in "green energy" research.
The emphasis of CESR in the area of electric power is still of primary importance. The DOE sponsored inititive for studying disturbances in the electric grid through a distributed array of frequency disturbance recorders has spawned the development of a Laboratory sized power grid (Labgrid), which will be incorporated into the new Smart Grid Group microgrid test bed.
Electromagnetic Transients: Most power system outages are caused by lightning. Studies are being conducted to mitigate the effects of lightning by reducing ground resistance.
Power Transfer Capability Improvement: Studies are being conducted on transmission capacity evaluation of existing lines using commercially available software. Studies have been done to improve power transfer capability by optimizing conductor configuration.
Power Plant Performance Improvement: Work is ongoing in the area of real-time performance monitoring. Advanced control algorithms for improved control of power plant components are being studied. Application of Neural Networks for understanding the effects of various parameters on plant performance is being implemented.
Robotics Application for Boiler Tube Inspection: Robots have been developed for inspecting boiler tubes using NDE equipment. Special robots have been developed for inspecting storage tanks and penstocks in hydroelectric stations.
Projects involving advanced fluid mechanics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, and solid mechanics with the objective of improving efficiency of industrial processes or developing knowledge with potential application to the power industry are included in this category.
Filtration Modeling: Mathematical modeling of filtration processes is being performed in order to understand the mechanism of filtration and improve it.
HVAC Duct Flow: Accurate pressure drop predictions are required to design HVAC (heating, ventilating and air-conditioning) system. Incomplete or inaccurate pressure loss data can contribute to errors in duct system sizing, fan selection, and system balancing, leading to penalties in terms of initial and operating costs. A fully equipped laboratory for accurate measurements in HVAC systems is available.
Friction Stir Welding: Friction Stir Welding is a technique wherein a rotating pin tool is used to weld metallic sheets, unlike conventional welding which uses a high temperature arc flame to melt each material. This results in a better weld. Mathematical modeling of this process is being performed.
Advanced Combustor Design: Research is being conducted to enhance the performance of rocket engines by using various proposed ejector designs. Both CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and experimental work are being performed. The goal is to minimize costs to launch payloads into space.
Cooling of Electric Generators: Insufficient cooling of the stator and the rotor in electric generators places a limitation on the generation capacity. Research is being conducted to enhance the cooling of electric generators both by experimental investigation and computational studies.
Improve Performance of Rain Water Dust Separators: Swirl concentrators utilize a swirling motion of a fluid to remove suspended solids/oils/debris. Applications include capture of pollutants associated with run-off from large shopping center parking lots or construction sites, particularly during heavy rain events. Both experimental and CFD studies are being conducted to improve the performance of the swirl concentrator.
Optimal Erection Schedule for Concrete Bridge Girders: Prestressed concrete bridge girders undergo time-dependent deformation and stress during different construction and service stages. Studies are being conducted to instrument bridge girders during various stages of construction and service with the objective of developing an optimal erection schedule.
Computational Environmental Fluid Mechanics: Computational studies are done to estimate total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollution in rivers, estuaries and bays.
Environmental Issues and Energy Conservation
Projects related to environmental and energy conservation issues are included in this category.
Energy Audits: Improving the energy efficiency of existing large size buildings by conducting energy audits has been an ongoing work. Several high schools and other public buildings were retrofitted for energy efficiency thus saving millions of dollars in utility bills.
Energy Efficient Technologies: Work is ongoing in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community development to stimulate the adoption of energy efficient technologies and investments in advanced industrial processes for aluminum industries of Tennessee.
Ash Utilization for Road Construction: Disposal of coal ash from power plants is a very important environmental issue. Utilizing the coal ash as an aggregate material with cement would mitigate the ash disposal problem to a great extent. Studies are currently being conducted to increase end user confidence in the performance of excavatable flowable fill containing coal ash.
Stack Flow Measurement: Scale model tests were conducted to study ways of improving stack flow in order to be in compliance with the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.
Energy Efficient Building Technologies. Efficient use of different forms of solid waste materials and by-products from wood, glass, plastic, and metal processing industries to construct high-performance cost-effective composite walls is being investigated