Research Day | 2009 Awardees

Agriculture | Undergraduate

The Effect of Compost Applications on Earthworm Populations

Aurora Scott
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Janice Branson

Aristotle once referred to earthworms as “the intestines of the Earth”. Earthworms are a critical component decomposition of organic materials in the soil ecosystem. The objective of this study was to determine if varying rates of compost resulted in a corresponding increase in earthworm population. At the TTU Water’s Farm, eight 18”x18”x 6” soil samples (two replications) were taken from tomato plots. Each plot had received one of the following treatments: 0lbs, 22lbs, 66 lbs, or 110 lbs of compost. All soil in the samples was sifted with a 2 mm sieve. Earthworms were extracted during the sieving process. Plots containing 0 compost contained 43 earthworms, populations in plots with 22 pounds of compost increased by 121% (95 earthworms), populations in plots with 66 pounds of compost increased by 86%(80 earthworms), and populations in plots with 110 pounds of compost increased by 63% (70 earthworms). While there was a definite increase in populations in plots receiving additional food material, the higher rates of compost additions did not result is a corresponding increase in earthworm population. Therefore, additional compost would have limited results concerning earthworm population.

Human Ecology | Undergraduate

Watson_UG_HECThe Effect of Whole Wheat Flour on Banana Muffin Quality

Mary Walker Watson and David Knieling
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Cathy Cunningham

Knieling_UG_HECThe purpose of this experiment was to measure the effect of whole wheat flour on taste and nutrient content of banana muffins. Increasing consumption of whole grains has a positive effect on health. The banana muffins were made in three treatments varying the ratios of all-purpose and whole wheat flour (66%:33%, 50%:50%, 33%:66%). Banana muffins were evaluated by ten panelists for internal air cell size, internal color, flavor, moistness, and overall acceptability. Internal color and internal air cell size scores were more significantly different than moistness and taste scores. Two trained food scientists found no difference when evaluating the appearance of the internal crumb. Each muffin treatment was measured objectively for height, weight, nutrients and cost. There was no significant difference in height, weight or cost of the banana muffins.

Chemistry | Graduate

Crook_G_ChemClassification of Apple Varieties on the Basis of Volatile Organics by SPME-GC-MS

Amanda J. Crook, Archana Tirumala, and Keyuri Patel
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Andrew Callendar

Tirmula_G_ChemPatel_G_ChemVarious apple samples were analyzed for volatile organic components through solid-phase micro extraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) to classify apple varieties. Samples were obtained from five different apple varieties commonly available in stores. Samples of apple flesh were obtained using a cork borer to ensure uniform size, shape and surface area. The SPME fiber injection technique was used to adsorb the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which provide the distinctions between flavors of apple varieties. SPME-GC-MS allowed only the VOCs of interest to be considered in this analysis, instead of the water, sugars, and other components of the apples. Variations in the VOCs upon oxidation were also observed to determine the effects of browning on apples. Principal components analysis (PCA) and a classification scheme were applied to the SPME-GC-MS data. Multiple classification schemes were tested and compared to determine the best method for classification. The application of PCA and the chosen classification scheme allowed the identities of unknown apples to be determined.

Chemistry | Undergraduate

Analysis of Product Inhibition, Stability, and Cation Activation of Aspergillus Niger Cellulase

Frank B. Couch, IV
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Jeffrey O. Boles

Our dependency on foreign oil can be reduced through the utilization of alternative fuels, such as cellulosic ethanol, which would also provide a fuel source more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. The commercial availability of cellulosic ethanol is hampered at this time by the slow hydrolysis of cellulose. This project investigated 1) whether or not cellulase from A. niger suffers feedback (product) inhibition, 2) the stability of A. niger cellulase under varying temperature conditions, and 3) the effect of metal cations such as Na+, K+, Ca++, and Mg++ on specific activity. Feedback (product) inhibition was tested for by adding product (glucose) directly to the assay tubes. For 1, 2, and 5 µmol of glucose added, A. niger cellulase did not show inhibition. Temperature stability was tested by incubating cellulase stock solutions for 24 hours at 50, 55, 60, 65, or 70 °C. A. niger cellulase showed a high degree of stability for 50, 55, and 60 °C, but rapidly lost activity at higher temperatures. Metal cations were added to the reaction mixture in various concentrations and the specific activity measured. Of the aforementioned ions, only Mg++ showed promise as an activator, while the others showed decreased activity or little change.

Synthesis of a Seriew of Napthaquinon Sulfonic Acid Thiosemicarbazone Compounds and Use in Formation of a Solid Support System

Megan Monteen and Kelly Monteen
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Edward C. Lisic

The synthesis and 1H NMR characterization of a series of 1,2-napthoquinone-4-sulfonic acid thiosemicarbazone (NQSA-TSC) ligands will be presented. These water-soluble ligands react with many different transition metal ions in aqueous solution to form highly colored complexes. The synthesis of some palladium complexes of these NQSA-TSC ligands will also be described, as well as their binding characteristics for analytical purposes on a solid support system.

Roubik_UG_ChemAttempts at Michael Additio of Nitromethane to Meldrum's Acid Adducts

Dan Roubik
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Dan Swartling

Nitromethane is added to adducts of Meldrum's acid with aldehydes and ketones to create nitromethyl products. These can be converted to the corresponding gamma amino acids in two additional steps.

Computer Science | Graduate

Pezos-Revilla_G_CSCFPGA-Based Fuzzy Intrusion Detection System

Marbin Pazos-Revilla
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Ambareen Siraj

The costs associated with the disruption of crucial network services, and the damages caused by malicious attacks can be devastating to any organization. To prevent and mitigate these attacks considerable amounts of resources are used in deploying devices like Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). IDSs act as security watch dogs and report security violations resulting from attacks. Although they have been proven useful, the inherent nature of conventional rule-based IDSs and the trends in bandwidth growth, among other factors, still provide loopholes allowing attacks to fall through cracks and remain outside radar. This research presents a novel approach integrating Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) and Fuzzy Logic in the field of network intrusion detection. The FPGA-based Fuzzy IDS addresses the aforementioned issues in conventional rule-based IDSs and have the potential to provide high throughput, parallelism, low non-recurring engineering costs, and the capability of inexact reasoning with its embedded Fuzzy Inference Engine - characteristics that makes it unique from current IDS approaches.

Computer Science | Undergraduate

Gibbs_UG_CSCUsing Keylogger for Insider Threat Detection

Matt Gibbs
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Ambareen Siraj

Insider threat is still one of the biggest threats to a company where sensitive information is compromised by its own employees. Although infamous for its malicious uses, keylogging software can be effectively utilized by companies to monitor their employees’ activities for possible security violations. Keylogger software can capture and monitor keystrokes and mouse clicks and log them for analysis. The primary focus of this research is to build keylogger monitoring software to collect and keep employee records for analysis of insider threats. Running a keylogger as a service in the background can enable the program to collect data from keystrokes without any visible intervention with employees’ daily work. In a company network, each workstation can be installed with the monitoring software, and all keystrokes and other data it collects can be sent to a central location. This data can then be analyzed by system administrators to collect information on employees’ activities during company time.

Earth Sciences | Undergraduate

Oysten_UG_ESErosion and Sediment Transport in a Small Urban Watershed

Douglas Oyston
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Evan Hart

Transport of suspended sediment plays a significant role in estimating drainage basins sediment budget. A sediment budget is a quantitative statement of the rates of production, transport, and discharge of detritus (Dietrich et al., 1990). Suspended sediment also plays a key role in transporting contaminants in a river, and can affect the aquatic life of its ecosystem. Measuring sediment erosion and transport in all parts of a watershed is impossible. This research aims to estimate the erosion and sediment transport in an urbanized watershed based on erosion pin measurements, suspended sediment sampling of stream flow, and surveys of stream channels. Erosion pins placed in the watershed 5 years ago by previous students were re-surveyed. Channel cross-sections were also re-surveyed. Suspended sediment sampling was done during flood and low flow periods. Results suggest that sinkholes and caves in the watershed play an important role in regulating the amount of sediment transported downstream. Erosion pins and channel cross-section surveys show that erosion of uplands and streams is active. These results have important implications for downstream water quality.

Environmental Sciences | Biology

Development and Testing of Adaptive Cluster Sampling Designs for Duskytail Darters

Johnathan G. Davis1
Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. S. Bradford Cook1
Collaborator: Dr. David Smith2
1Department of Biology; 2Department of Mathematics

The duskytail darter Etheostoma percnurum is an endangered species in Tennessee in need of conservation due to declines in population size and habitat loss. The goal of this study was to develop, simulate, and test adaptive cluster sampling (ACS) designs to construct a cost-effective monitoring program that detects changes in and estimates population size. ACS designs have effectively sampled various rare and endangered species and may be applicable to habitat-specific stream fishes. Baseline distributional data was collected at three sites on the Big South Fork River and was used in computer simulation of multiple ACS designs. Simulations resampled baseline data from each site to estimate population size, mean units sampled, and mean squared error. Designs that performed well were field tested at 15 sites to estimate population size and sampling effort. ACS designs with a high stopping rule and low condition factor had lower error, but required large sampling effort and were not cost-effective. ACS designs were applied successfully to sample duskytail darters and estimate population size. They can be an alternative design for biologists to use to monitor rare or endangered stream fishes. Further testing is required to find a balance between sampling effort and error.

Environmental Sciences | Chemistry

Pendergrass_G_EVSCIdentification of Eicosanoids in Fish Tissues

Alisha Pendergrass1
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Martha J.M. Wells1, 2
1Department of Chemistry; 2Center for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources

The endocrine system is a chemical communication process which regulates internal operations including reproduction. Endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) mimic natural hormones and interfere with the internal signaling and regulatory systems of an organism. EDCs can enter the environment through various waste products. The intersex condition (having signs of ovotestis) is considered to be a biological indicator of reproductive endocrine disruption in a number of fish species. Eicosanoids are endogenous chemicals derived from fatty acids and are found in many animal tissues. Eicosanoids are involved in physiological processes including reproductive function. The objectives of this research were to: 1) effectively extract eicosanoids and other endogenous chemicals from fish samples for chromatographic analysis, 2) compile chromatographic data to obtain the chemical profiles for the fish sampled, and 3) determine if there are differences in the chemical profiles to evaluate if eicosanoids and other endogenous chemicals are significant indicators of the fish intersex condition. Chromatographic analyses were conducted on the Waters Aquity Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer Quadrupole Time of Flight (UPLC MS-MS Q-TOF) Premier instrument. Identification of eicosanoids from mass spectra produced fish profiles which could aid evaluation of the fish intersex condition which can be indicative of water pollution.


Simulation of Velocity Filters in the Daresbury Recoil Separator at the HRIBF

J. P. Rogers
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. R. L. Kozub
Collaborators: S. D. Pain, M. S. Smith, D. W. Bardayan, and Y. Liu, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; M. Matos, LSU

The Daresbury Recoil Separator (DRS) at Oak Ridge National Lab's (ORNL) Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility (HRIBF) is used for the study of nuclear reactions of astrophysical importance. For example, the DRS enables direct measurements of proton capture reactions on radioactive ions which occur in stellar explosions such as novae and X-ray bursts. The DRS uses velocity filters (Wien filters) that are tuned to transmit the reaction products with a specific velocity while deflecting the unreacted primary beam particles away from the optical axis, where they are stopped on adjustable slits. Data from earlier calculations of the electromagnetic fields inside and around the filters has been implemented into a FORTRAN program to provide accurate calculations and graphic representations of particle trajectories through the Wien filters. This information can be used to predetermine optimum positions of the slits for future experiments. The program will be used as an experimental setup tool for the DRS.

Exceptional Learning (Ph.D.)

Baker_G_ExLWhat is Reading?: An Interpretive Study of Adolescent Reading Constructions

Julie C. Baker
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Lisa Zagumny

In adolescent literacy research, there is a gap in literature relating to adolescents’ constructions of reading. It is not possible to gather significant research on the topic without hearing from the adolescents themselves. In this interpretive study using a case study approach, three adolescent participants were interviewed and one high school reading class was observed. The adolescents attended three different public, urban secondary schools. The purpose of the study is to discover what these three adolescents consider to be “reading” and how they construct what reading means to them. The primary research question is What is reading to adolescents? Answers to these questions may shed light on adolescent beliefs about, motivations for, attitudes toward, and connections to reading. By making these connections to adolescents concerning their constructions of reading, changes may be proposed for future research to promote reading, reading awareness, and reading success for adolescent readers. Through careful examination and interpretation of the interviews, observations, and document analyses, we will better understand how reading is constructed in the minds of adolescents and be better equipped to answer these important research questions.

Curriculum & Instruction

Howard_G_CIChallenging Behavior: Impact of Teacher Beliefs on Practice

Martha Howard
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Lisa Zagumny

This research uncovers the relationship between teacher beliefs about child discipline and the consequent practice within their preschool classroom setting. Three state licensed child care providers within the Upper Cumberland area of Tennessee were interviewed and observed in their child care setting to determine if their practice is impacted by their personal beliefs related to discipline and the occurrence of challenging behavior. Documents, interviews, and observations have been analyzed in an effort to uncover useful resources or potential resources that might be an impetus for change within the early childhood profession.

Counseling and Psychology | Undergraduate

Ludwig_UG_CPInternet Pornography Use by College Students

Zach Ludwig
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Matthew Zagumny

My research, to be present in poster form, intends to evaluate and record attitudes about Internet pornography held by college students, motivations for exploring sexually explicit material online, and consequences experienced by this group in offline activities. This study utilized an online questionnaire that has been completed by more than two hundred college students, to assess Internet pornography use. A multiple correlation regression analysis will be implemented to determine if there is a correlation between a number of factors including, if attitudes about, reasons for, and amount of time spent viewing sexually explicit material online results in offline repercussions.

Chemical Engineering | Graduate

Arabandi_G_ChemEUnderstanding Capacity Fade Prediction of Lithium Ion Batteries

Mounika Arabandi
Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. Venkat R. Subramanian
Collaborator: Dr. Vijayasekaran Boovaragavan

Lithium-ion batteries are currently one of the most popular types of battery for portable electronics, which are being used for consumer electronics, defense, automotive, and aerospace applications. The battery loses its capacity to hold and deliver the energy when the number of cycle increases. Therefore it is essential to quantify the capacity loss for a given cycling protocol. These losses are mainly due to the variations in the transport and kinetic parameters caused by the reduced pore volume in the porous electrodes. A model that updates transport and kinetic parameters as a function of cycle number is developed. The unknown parameters that were estimated are the solid-phase diffusion coefficient Dsn and the reaction rate Kn in the negative electrode. These model parameters reduced monotonically with cycle number, which is consistent with a monotonic decrease in the pore volume in the negative electrode.

Gollamandala_G_ChemEFactors Affecting Nanoparticle Dispersion

Deepika R. Gollamandal
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Ileana C. Carpen

Addition of nanosized particles to a polymer solution/matrix can lead to new and improved properties over conventional composites using larger filler particles. In this work, we investigated systems of nanoparticles and polymer using Brownian dynamic simulations. The shape of the nanoparticles was considered to be spherical and the polymer architecture was modeled as bead rod chains. The degree of dispersion and agglomeration in the system were characterized by mean square displacement. The effects of various individual factors, including nanoparticle polymer interactions, polymer chain length, and relative volume fractions, on the dispersion of nanoparticles in the polymer matrix were analyzed and presented.

Pallem_G_ChemEColloidal Models: Gold Nanoparticle Interactions with Humic Substances

Vasanta. L. Pallem1
Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. Holly A. Stretz1 and Dr. Martha J. M. Wells2
1Department of Chemical Engineering, 2Center for the Management, Utilization, and Protection of Water Resources and Department of Chemistry

The interaction of biomedical imaging gold nanoparticles with environmental entities such as humic substances was investigated applying dynamic light scattering. The increasing applications of gold nanoparticles in biomedical imaging and cancer therapy indicate potential for their subsequent release into surface waters. Therefore, it is primarily important to understand the interactions of gold nanoparticles with natural organic matter (humic substances), which will play a major role in the fate and transport of these particles in aquatic systems. The current study investigates the size changes and zeta potential variations taking place on gold nanoparticles coated with citrate, due to interactions with commercial humic acid (HA), having concentrations of 2 and 8 ppm. Different colloidal models for the interactions between gold nanoparticles and humic acids are also presented. The models are useful to potentially design environmentally safe strategies in the use and application of gold nanoparticles in a variety of novel technologies.

Simhadri_G_ChemEEffect of Channel Morphology on Electrophoresis of Bio-Molecules: Preliminary Investigation

Jyothirmai J. Simhadri
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Pedro E. Arce
Collaborators: Dr. Mario O. Oyanader and Dr. Holly A. Stretz

Electrophoresis in polymer hydrogels with nanometer-scale pore structure are widely used for the separation and purification of biological macromolecules. In gel-electrophoresis, the internal morphology of the gel also plays an important role in improving the separation. Tuning the nanometer-scale pore structure of the gel either by templating or by adding nanoparticles to improve separations has been the current area of focus. Moreover, analysis of the effects of the nature of the pore alignment, pore length and diameters on the transport of macromolecules is an important aspect to be studied either analytically or computationally as shown by previous efforts (Trinh et al, 1999; Hidalgo et. al, 2007). In this research we propose to computationally analyze different pore models and study the effect of geometry on the transport of biomolecules in this anisotropic-like media.


1. Trinh, S., B.R. Locke and P.E. Arce, “Convective and Electroconvective Transport in Non-Uniform Channels with Application to Macromolecular Separations,” Separation and Purification Technology, 15, 255 (1999).

2. Hidalgo, R., M. A. Oyanader (*), and P. E. Arce, “Dispersive Mixing Effect Caused by Combined Effect of Channel Morphology and Electrophoretic Mobility in Poiseuille Flows.” AIChE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, 2007. (*) Speaker.

Data Mining PubChem with Signature: Prediction of Biological Activity for Small Molecules

Derick C. Weis
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Donald P. Visco

High-throughput screening (HTS) is a technique to discover new lead compounds by physically screening a large library against a specified biological target. HTS was primarily available only to the pharmaceutical industry in the past. Because of the Molecular Libraries Initiative [1], part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, HTS is now accessible to academic researchers where the data collected is deposited in a public database called PubChem. The results from more than 1,000 different HTS experiments are currently readily available in PubChem to download. Cheminformatic tools are crucial to effectively interpret and utilize this vast amount of data. In this work, we demonstrate a method to create a model from existing HTS data in PubChem, and predict new compounds likely to be active for additional screening. PubChem bioassay 846 [2] screened for potential anticoagulant therapeutics by identifying inhibitors of factor XIa, which is involved in the blood coagulation mechanism. A classification model with 89% accuracy was created using a support vector machine (SVM) with the Signature molecular descriptor [3]. Approximately 12 million compounds deposited in PubChem, but not present in the factor XIa assay, were virtually screened by the SVM. Based on metrics associated with SVM magnitudes and molecular descriptor overlap between candidate molecules with those from bioassay 846, we identified 296 compounds (from the 12 million not previously tested) as active. We are currently working to experimentally verify some of the computational predictions using a 96-well microplate reader.

Chemical Engineering | Undergraduate


The Intergrate Method: A Novel Approach to Phase Equilibrum Calculations

Drew Blumberg and Seth Wynne
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Donald P. Visco, Jr.

Wynn_UG_ChemECalculation of system phase properties for chemical species in equilibrium generally requires the equality of phase pressures and temperatures, as well as equality of either chemical potentials or fugacities of each component across all system phases. Once these equations have been written, the solution of the problem generally relies upon the numerical techniques of applied mathematics. Unfortunately, the traditional numerical methods for solution are often slow and require many steps to create the entire coexistence curve, especially for mixtures. In this work, we explore two methods for the resolution of these difficulties. Rather than using a root-finding approach, one can utilize a differential approach wherein one integrates differential equations to trace the coexistence curve. This novel technique, known as the integrate method, does not have the same pitfalls as the root-finding approach, though it does have other limitations. An alternative to this is to explore the possibility of a purely analytical implementation of the integrate method to solve phase equilibrium problems.

Johnson_Thompson_UG_ChemEReproducibilty of OSA Mobility in Templated Gels Utilizing Gel Electrophoresis

Azuráe Kayla Johnson and Jeffery Thompson
Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. Holly Stretz and Dr. Pedro Arce

OSA, or ovum serum albumin, is used in this study as a model for a drug or biological marker (in blood serum this could be the LDL or HDL markers for instance). Our overall goal is to provide researchers with novel ways of separating complex mixtures of drugs (proteins). Efficient separation would enable pathways to drug purity and enable diagnostic techniques with better definition of the results. The templated gel in this case is a novel material that changes morphology on the nanoscale with a bulk change in temperature, so that the separation can be “tuned” by the researcher. Reproducibility is a key issue, and here we have characterized that as +20% for bandwidth and + 1% for movement of the protein along the lane. Future work will allow us to compare these experimental results with computational predictions of optimal time to resolution in electrophoretic flows through nanochannels.

Taylor_UG_ChemEZeta Potential Measurments of Gold Nanoparticle in Hydrogels

Melissa Taylor and Vasanta Pallem
Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. Pedro Arce and Dr. Holly Stretz

Zeta potential is the electrostatic potential of the nanoparticle within the interfacial double layer at the slip plane. In this research project, the potential difference between the dispersion medium and the stationary layer of fluid attached to the dispersed nanoparticle was studied, measured, and evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency and was then gold nanoparticle movement and aggregation in hydrogels was reviewed. Model equations represent the relationship of zeta potential versus the charge in nanoparticles have been developed from Smoluchowski. Furthermore, experimental techniques suitable for the measurement of zeta potentials have been used to evaluate zeta potential-particle gradient relationships. By implementing experiments using both equations and zeta-phorometers provided by the EPA, zeta potentials were used to make predictions of surface charged of the nanoparticles and their variances in different gel compositions.

Civil and Environmental Engineering | Graduate

Berry_G_CEEApplication of Non-Traditional U-Turn Based Treatments at Narrow-Bridged Diamond Interchanges

Chris Berry
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Steven Click

The objective of this thesis was to analyze the application of non-traditional U-turn based interchange treatments at narrow-bridged interstate interchanges. I-75 at APD 40, I-40 at Genesis Road, and I-40/75 at Watt Road served as the tests sites for the research. A simulation model of each non-traditional treatment was created for each of the three sites using VISSIM, a microscopic traffic simulation model. The simulation models emulated real-life performance while recording vehicle travel times and ramp queue lengths. All of the non-traditional treatments significantly improved the interchange performance characteristics. The non-traditional treatments investigated were the Median U-turn Interchange, Superstreet Based Interchange, and the ‘Free Range Eagle’ Interchange. The more traditional Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI) was also investigated for comparison. None of the investigated treatments except the SPUI modified the interchange bridge. The ‘Free Range Eagle’ Interchange undoubtedly out-performed all of the non-bridge modifying treatments studied in both this thesis as well as treatments previously analyzed. The SPUI, which widens the interchange bridge, provided superior performance across the test sites. However, the results of the non-bridge modifying treatments indicate that they could be used to significantly improve congestion and performance of narrow-bridged interchanges without modifying the existing bridge structure.

Tang_G_CEEInvestigating the Transfer of Satellite Rainfall Information From Gauged to Ungauged Locations

Ling Tan
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Faisal Hossain

A fundamental paradox of satellite rainfall data is that it is most useful over ungauged locations where there is no way of deriving uncertainty information directly using ground validation (GV) data. This study investigates how much error information can be 'transferred' from known locations to ungauged points using a geostatistical spatial interpolator. The method of ordinary kriging was implemented on mid-western United States assuming that 50% of the region lacked GV rainfall data. Various error metrics were interpolated for the non-GV grid boxes (for which the true error metric value was known a priori) using kriging and a nearest neighborhood window (of size equivalent to the correlation length of the metric). This process was repeated for 10 realizations of randomly selected gridboxes (comprising 50% of the total domain) and the accuracy of kriging was then assessed statistically. Preliminary results indicate that kriging has promise for transferring error information to ungauged locations, particularly for Probability of Detection (POD) and RMSE. Table 6 below shows the summary of accuracy of kriging for various error metrics. Future extension of this work will test the role played by % missing.

Civil and Environmental Engineering | Undergraduate

Balthrop_UG_CEEThe NASA Global Flood Detection System and its Validation

Caitlin Balthrop
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Faisal Hossain

Currently, NASA has developed a satellite-based flood detection system using as the primary input, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Multi-satellite Precipitation product 3B42RT available globally in real-time. This system is expected to evolve to the planned Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission due for launch in 2013. One goal of this NASA Global Flood Detection System is to provide pseudo real-time river discharge or surface runoff information that developing nations, among other users, could use to monitor the evolution of possible flooding. The current challenge now is to determine if the globally modeled runoff data, like that available through NASA’s flood detection system, is comparable enough to conventional and in-situ (measured) data at the scale of estimation. The objective of this study is to first understand the NASA Global Flood Detection System. The next objective is to perform a statistical variability of in-situ (hereafter called GV) stream flow data of Bangladesh rivers in relation to NASA satellite rainfall products for eventual validation. Cross correlation studies are performed between NASA rainfall data and observed streamflow data. Preliminary results indicate that NASA real-time rainfall products have considerable hydrologic information for flood forecasting.

Electrical and Computer Engineering | Graduate

Abdallah_G_ECEA Novel Scalable Adaptive Synchronous Controller for Simultaneous Multi-Channel Data Acquisition System

Mohammed Abdallah
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Omar Elkeelany

Existing multi-channel data acquisition systems (DAQ) of heterogeneous input signals either use a super fast analog to digital converter (ADC) with homogenous sampling rate, or dedicated ADC for each channel. Both of these solutions are in-efficient, and/or expensive. In addition, they become infeasible for the acquisition of large number of simultaneous channels (> 16 channels). In this research, a novel heterogeneous simultaneous multi-channel (DAQ) is proposed, with a novel scalable adaptive controller. It is designed to detect the input signal frequency range in order to determine the appropriate sampling rate for each input signal. This provides flexibility to the required sampling frequencies, reduces circuit size and power consumption, and improves the scalability of the multi-channel DAQ systems. An analog multiplexer is adaptively controlled to optimally switch between the acquired analog signals. The acquired data is stored into Flash memory for further analysis and/or archiving purposes. The ADC interface, the storage driver and the adaptive controller are implemented in the FPGA. The proposed system can be used in various applications that require high-quality, reduced cost, low power consumption and small circuit size for the heterogeneous multi-channel data acquisition. The concepts presented are feasible for arbitrary large number of simultaneous channels (i.e., >16). A system prototype was successfully implemented and tested using FPGA. The worst-case prorogation delay observed for the system is 12.04 ns. The Cyclone-II FPGA consumes power as low as 12 mW. Finally, the obtained signal to noise ratio reaches 73 dB per channel.

Barve_G_ECENeural Network Approach to the Prediction of Percentage Data Packet Loss for Wireless Sensor Networks

Yogesh D. Barv
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. M. A. Abdelrahman

Wireless sensor networks are used in the field of communications and have gained enormous popularity in recent times. Depending upon the environment in which the wireless sensor network operates, the amount of noise level would differ and hence the data packet loss in wireless communication would vary. This paper presents a solution to the prediction of percentage data packet loss in the wireless sensor network in indoor and outdoor environment. It uses the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) to predict the data packet loss and the Erasure Coding technique to find the actual percentage data packet lost in wireless sensor network. The results obtained from the ANN are compared to the respective ones yielded by the Erasure Coding technique and are found to exhibit satisfactory accuracy.

Joshi_G_ECEImprovement of Area Control Error (ACE) Using FNET Data

Anish Joshi
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Ghadir Radman

Area Control Error (ACE) is used as the input for the Automatic Load Frequency Control (ALFC) loop in interconnected power systems. Calculation of ACE involves the net area power exchange and the area frequency deviation. An accurate ACE is essential for the effective operation of the ALFC loop. This research is an investigation into modifying the frequency component of the ACE. Instead of using the frequency of major generators in the area (which is the present practice), the use of wide area frequency measurements is suggested in this study. The wide area frequency measurements are available from the Frequency monitoring NETwork (FNET) system. The FNET system is a new concept and is being developed and presently installed within the power systems. The application of the modified ACE in ALFC loop is evaluated through simulation of various IEEE test systems using PSS/E software package.


Real Time Intelligent Load Shedding Scheme Based on Frequency Measurement

Aboli Kulkarni
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Wenzhong Gao

Various faults occurring in transmission lines and generators cause severe imbalance between generation and load. To achieve balanced power supply while maintaining system stability necessitates intelligent load shedding. Conventional methods of load shedding are triggered by under frequency relays and are actuated by circuit breaker. The conventional methods are slow without consideration of system conditions and thus may cause incorrect amount of load shedding. Due to the drawbacks of conventional load shedding techniques, an intelligent load shedding system is necessary to improve the response time and predict the frequency decay. Based on the input data, knowledge of past disturbances and system online conditions, the knowledge base periodically requests computation engine to update the priority list thus ensuring fast and optimal load shedding. Load shedding is planned according to priority levels of loads and distinguishes between critical and non critical loads. The neural network technique is used for early detection of the system disturbances. My research work will demonstrate the need for a modern load shedding scheme and new technology of intelligent load shedding. Different load models as a function of frequency will be developed. New algorithm for intelligent load shedding will be designed and tested through extensive modeling and simulation.

Perez_G_ECEHEV Energy Management Strategies Using Fuzzy Logic

Agustin Melero Perez
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Wenzhong Gao

Fuel Cell-Supercapacitor-Battery Hybrid Power Systems represent a promising architecture to satisfy the energy requirements for road vehicles. The objective of an energy management is to minimize the hydrogen consumption at the same time that the efficiency without compromising the performance of the overall system. In order to achieve these goals, energy management strategies have to be defined. Due to the fact that fuzzy logic control can deal with a considerable amount of variables simultaneously, its use is a reasonable option in order to reach an optimized solution of the energy management problem. In this study, fuzzy logic has been chosen as a tool to implement the control strategies. A simulation environment has been developed in order to test the control strategies, it includes models for the power supply and energy storage devices, the power electronics that comes into play and the energy required from the vehicle.

Vanegas_G_ECECharacteristics of Thermaly Aged Oil-Immersed Instrument Transformers

Diego M. Robalino Vanegas
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Satish M. Mahajan

The de-regulation process in North-America requires higher indexes of reliability whilst lower costs of operation. Independent power producers, transmission companies, system operators and distribution utilities work to maintain service objectives. Therefore, industry and academics have been together looking for technically feasible procedures to minimize maintenance shutdowns and equipment failure. One of the solutions is to apply Condition-Based Maintenance with reliable diagnostic tools capable to identify ageing or faulty conditions of the electrical equipment. Instrument transformers are an essential component within the electrical system and failure caused by breakdown of the high voltage insulation is usually followed by explosion and fire that may affect other electrical devices and personnel operating nearby. Two non-invasive techniques are being studied at the high-voltage / high-current laboratory at Tennessee Tech University. One is related to the power loss ( ) measurement of the entire insulating system and the second one is based on the analysis of the gas evolution in the liquid insulation. Results of the analysis carried out to date are presented in this document together with a correlation to Loss-of-Life criterion defined by IEEE Standards. Future research work is also described.

Mechanical Engineering | Graduate

Anantharaju_G_MEWetting by Moving Triple Lines

Neeharika Anantharaju
Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Mahesh V. Panchagnula
Collaborator: Dr. Srikanth Vedantam (Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Wetting is a fundamental phenomenon. The control of wetting behavior on non-ideal surfaces has numerous practical applications. Wettability of solid surfaces is characterized by the contact angle that a sessile drop exhibits on the solid surface. The motion of the triple line is known to play an important role in determining this macroscopic contact angle due to its ability to be pinned at various defect locations on real surfaces. This results in contact angle hysteresis (CAH) on real surfaces. Wetting hysteresis was studied on smooth, chemically heterogeneous surfaces and the effect of the moving triple line kinetics was investigated. A modified Wilhelmy plate apparatus was set up to measure the contact angles and observe the triple line contortions during advancing and receding events. Chemical heterogeneity was introduced to a smooth glass slide in the form of a single stripe of hydrophobic material (silanization of the sample) on a hydrophilic material (glass slide itself). The triple line was observed to readily wet the hydrophilic material and hesitate to wet the hydrophobic material. This study was extended to one and two-dimensional heterogeneities. The work provides insight into the fabrication of chemically heterogeneous surfaces for desired wetting applications.

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