Office of Sponsored Programs

Research Day Archives 

  • 2024
  • 2023
  • 2022

    The 17th Annual Research and Creative Inquiry Day was held on Wednesday and Thursday, April 19 and 20, 2023.

    2022 Winners |  2022 Proceedings  |  Online Journal Proceedings  |  Photos

  • 2021

    The 2021 Research and Creative Inquiry event was held in a digital format.  The following was the schedule:

    • Abstract submission form opened:  Monday, Feb. 1, 2021
    • Abstract submission deadline:  Wednesday, March 10, 2021
    • Students submit poster files:  Monday, April 12
    • Judging will take place:  April 13-16
    • Virtual award ceremony:  Tuesday, April 20, 11 a.m.-noon

    In conjunction with the event, three creative media inquiry projects were developed as part of the Social Problems (SOC 1650) class taught by Ada Haynes, professor of Sociology, during the Fall 2020 semester. During this course, students explored a social problem through research with a creative inquiry and sociological lens and as part of the QEP-sponsored redesign of the course, developed creative projects displaying an effective media campaign that promoted awareness and/or offered an innovative solution to the social problem studied. The following are links to the creative media projects:

    1.  Availability of Contraceptives and Proper Sexual Education Among Women
    Primary Author:  Emily Buckner, Business Administration

    2.  The School to Prison Pipeline

    Primary Author:  Haley Reagan, Sociology

    2021 Winners |  2021 Proceedings  | Recording of Award Ceremony  |  Online Journal Proceedings  

  • 2020

    The 2020 Research and Creative Inquiry event was held this year in a digital format. Our primary goals were to provide students with the experience of preparing an abstract and poster, while ensuring there was no additional burden placed on them in light of all of the new circumstances they were navigating. The following are this year's winners and proceedings document.  Congratulations and thank you to everyone who worked so hard on this year's event. 

    2020 Winners2020 ProceedingsStudent Researcher Interviews | Online Journal Proceedings

    Excellence in Creative Inquiry Student Awards 

    • Courtney LaPointe, Advisor: Jeff Boles, Chemistry
    • Rachel Paris, Advisor: Andreea Cojocaru and Twanelle Majors, Chemistry
    • Logan Unser, Advisor: Ahmad Vasel, Mechanical Engineering
    • Maci Arms, Advisor: Tania Datta, Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • 2019

     The 14th Annual Research and Creative Inquiry Day was held on Monday and Tuesday, April 8 and 9, 2019.


    2019 WINNERS | Proceedings  |  Photos from EventVideo of the EventOnline Journal

    Monday, April 8, 2019

    Roaden University Center, Multipurpose Room

    • 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.:  Student Registration and Poster Setup
    • 3:30-5:30 p.m.:  Judge Registration and Judging (Students are invited to be available to discuss posters, and hors d'oeuvres will be served from 4 to 6 p.m.)

    Volpe Library Instruction Room 248

    • 12:20-1:15 p.m.:  English Department Paper Presentations

    Tuesday, April 9, 2019

    Roaden University Center, Multipurpose Room

    • 9-11 a.m.:  Poster Display for Campus and Community (Students are invited to be available to discuss posters, and light snacks will be served from 9 to 11 a.m.)     
    • 11 a.m.-noon:   Awards Ceremony
    • Noon-2 p.m.:  Poster Pickup/Cleanup

  • 2018


    The 13th Annual Research and Creative Inquiry Day was held on Monday and Tuesday, April 9 and 10, 2018. New this year was the Communicating Research and Creative Works via Video Showcase.  Through this outlet, Drs. Tania Datta and Sally Pardue spotlighted the outcomes of creative research conducted by students in Honors 4013 Colloquia:  Engineering and Social Justice. 

    2018 Winners2018 Proceedings  |  Photos from Event  |  Online Proceedings of Student Research and Creative Inquiry Day

    Monday, April 9, 2018
    Hooper Eblen Center

    • 11 a.m.-3 p.m.Student Registration and Poster Setup
    • 4-6 p.m.Judging Registration and Judging (Students were invited to be available to discuss posters, and hors d'oeuvres were served.)

    Volpe Library Instruction Room 248 

    • 12:20-1:15 p.m.: English Department Paper Presentations

    Tuesday, April 10, 2018
    Hooper Eblen Center

    • 9-11 a.m.Poster Display for Campus and Community (Students were invited to be available to discuss posters, and light snacks were served.)
    • 11 a.m.-noon: Awards Ceremony
    • Noon-2 p.m. Poster Pickup/Cleanup

     Thank you for participating in this year's event!

  • 2017


    The 12th Annual Research and Creative Inquiry Day was held on Wednesday and Thursday, April 5 and 6, 2017. The event encouraged more participation by students from the humanities who were urged to enter their works of art or music. Posters and creative works were exhibited in the Hooper Eblen Center.  In addition to the traditional poster format, this year a paper presentation option, coordinated through the English Department, was piloted.  

    2017 Winners |  Online Proceedings of Student Research and Creative Inquiry Day


    Wednesday, April 5, 2017 (Hooper Eblen Center)

    • 11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Registration and Poster Setup
    • 4-6 p.m.: Judging (students are invited to be available to discuss posters.)

     Judging Registration is no longer available.  


    Thursday, April 6, 2017 (Hooper Eblen Center)

    • 9-11 a.m.: Poster Display (students are invited to be available to discuss posters.)
    • 11 a.m.-noon: Awards Ceremony
    • 12-1 p.m.: Poster Pickup/Clean Up

     Research Day 2017

    Thank you for participating in this year's event!

  • 2016


    The 11th Annual Research and Creative Activities Day was held on Thursday, April 7, 2016. This year, with a new name, the event encouraged more participation by students from the humanities who were urged to enter their works of art or music. Posters and creative works were exhibited in the Multipurpose Room of the Roaden University Center.

    2016 Winners


    Wednesday, April 6, 2016 (Roaden University Center, Multipurpose Room)

    • Noon-4 p.m.: Registration and Poster Setup
    • 4-7 p.m.: Judging (students are invited to be available to discuss posters.)

    Judging Evaluation Form |  Judging Registration is no longer available.  


    Thursday, April 7, 2016 (Roaden University Center, Multipurpose Room)

    • 9-11 a.m.: Poster Display (students are invited to be available to discuss posters.)
    • 11 a.m.-noon: Awards Ceremony
    • 12-1 p.m.: Poster Pickup/Clean Up

     2016 Research Day

     Thank you for participating in this year's event!

  • 2015


    Research Day 2015 Winners

    College of Agriculture and Human Sciences

    • Colton McClanahan (undergraduate, agriculture): "Preservice Teachers' Perceptions of Mathematics in the School-Based Agricultural Education Curricula"
    • Yunmi Jung (undergraduate, human ecology): "Why Do Millennials Go to Farmers' Market?"
    • Cara Sisk (graduate, human ecology): "Children with Diagnosed Disabilities: Perceptions of Health Care Experiences"

    School of Nursing

    • Lauren Little (undergraduate, nursing): "Effects of Interprofessional Interaction on Nursing Students' Perspectives of Other Healthcare Majors"

    College of Arts and Sciences

    • Kelly Dunham (undergraduate, biology): "Development of a Practical Disinfection Method for the Invasive Alga Didymosphenia Geminata"
    • Lucas Hix (graduate, biology): "Environmental Factors Regulating Presence and Abundance of the Invasive Alga Didymosphenia Geminata"
    • Sydney Marchi (undergraduate, chemistry): "Design and Synthesis of Pyridinyl-1,2,4-Triazine Ligand Scaffolds Towards Chemoselective Minor Actinide Extraction"
    • Samar Aldhahry (graduate, chemistry): "Computational Study of Acetylpyridine Thiosemicarbazone Compounds, and Their Copper Complexes"
    • Tyler Riggle (undergraduate, Earth sciences): "Mesozoic Faulting Controls on a Cenozoic Channel System, Near Offshore Nova Scotia"
    • Charles Rust (undergraduate, Earth sciences): "Characterization of Mudstone Architecture: Implications for Permeability and Porosity"
    • Janina Maria Katharina Orlowski (undergraduate, international business and cultures): "Influence of International Exchange on Perception of Interpersonal Skills Among Business Majors"
    • Morgan Coffey (undergraduate, sociology and political science): "Assessment of Undergraduate Child Life and Social Work Stereotypes Following Interdisciplinary Collaboration"

    College of Interdisciplinary Studies

    • Brian Agee (graduate, environmental science-chemistry): "Development of an Alternative Energy Synthetic Pathway to Ibuprofen"
    • Natalie Knorp (graduate, environmental science-biology): "Effects of a Nuisance Alga on Benthic Food Web Structure and Function"

    College of Business

    • Wesley Lisic (undergraduate, accounting and law): "Analysis and Categorization of Costs Associated with Cookeville Regional Medical Center"
    • Vanessa Goecking (undergraduate; economics, finance and marketing): "The Willingness to Pay for Local Public Goods"

    College of Education

    • Taneal Burch (undergraduate, counseling and psychology): "The Relationship Between Personality, Recreational Reading, and GPA"
    • Samantha Lisic (undergraduate, curriculum and instruction): "Technology in the Classroom"
    • Ashley Akenson (graduate, curriculum and instruction): "Horticultural Therapy: A Tool for Improving Sociability Among Participants with Mental Illness"
    • Jackson Chambers (undergraduate; exercise science, physical education and wellness): "Relationship Between Hand Span and Grip Strength"
    • Daniel Herod (undergraduate, exercise science, physical education and wellness): "What Effect Does Speed Have on Endurance?"
    • Sarah Mcmichen (undergraduate, music and art): "Relating Humidity to Reed Cane Thickness and Sound Quality"

    College of Engineering

    • Evan Dover (undergraduate, chemical engineering): "PD-Catalyzed Iterative BIS-Amination of Dibromo-1,2,4-Triazinyl Complexant Scaffolds"
    • Ojas Chaudhari (graduate, chemical engineering): "Discerning the Mechanism of Interaction for Organic Molecules in Portland Cement"
    • Joseph Thornton (undergraduate, civil and environmental engineering): "Lidar Compared to Other Geometric Data in HEC-RAS"
    • Oluwadare Oladapo (graduate, civil and environmental engineering): "Enabling Sustainable Decision-Making for Source-Separated Municipal Solids Waste Management"
    • Christa Cody (undergraduate, computer science): "The Use of Decision Trees for Energy Fraud Detection in Smart Meters"
    • Vitaly Ford (graduate, computer science): "Reliable and Efficient Protection of Consumer Privacy in Smart Metering Infrastructure"
    • Oluwaseun Aribido (graduate, electrical and computer engineering): "Data Collection, Learning and Prediction for Wireless Radio Networks"
    • Cesar Contreras (undergraduate, mechanical engineering): "Finite Element Modeling of Embedded Piezoelectrics in Knee Replacements Bearings"
    • Chase Ray (graduate, mechanical engineering): "Evaluation of Piezoelectret Foam in Stack Configuration for Low-Level Vibration Energy Harvesting"

  • 2014


    2014 Research Day



    2014 Research Day Winners
    Undergraduate student winners

    College of Agricultural and Human Sciences

    • Kristin Riggsbee, Human Ecology
    • Karen Kincaid, Human Ecology

    College of Arts and Sciences

    • Rosa Vasquez, Biology
    • Nathan Riggsbee, Biology
    • Amanda Koch, Biology
    • Alexandra Arriaga, Chemistry
    • Carrie Thompson, Chemistry
    • Nathan Burmeister, Earth Sciences
    • David Bailey, Earth Sciences
    • Melissa Griffiths, International Business and Cultures
    • Jordan Baldwin, Physics
    • William Billings, Sociology and Political Science

    College of Business

    • Annette Coste, Economics, Finance and Marketing
    • Joby Haney, Economics, Finance and Marketing

    College of Education

    • Mary Walton, Counseling and Psychology
    • Jessica Stephens, Curriculum and Instruction
    • Gabrielle Byford, Curriculum and Instruction
    • Nancy Landis, Curriculum and Instruction
    • Jake Lockert, Exercise, Science, Physical Education and Wellness
    • Coty Keel, Exercise, Science, Physical Education and Wellness
    • Josh Wilson, Exercise, Science, Physical Education and Wellness

    College of Engineering

    • Joshua Cisco, Chemical Engineering
    • Colten Burke, Chemical Engineering
    • Cameron Chaparro, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering
    • Matthew Powelson, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering
    • Brett Witherspoon, Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Scott Hawn, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology
    • Pamela Smith, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology
    • Hussain Almahasnah, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology
    • Shadi Saeed, Mechanical Engineering

    Graduate student winners

    • Jerry Swallows, Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
    • Yanxiao Ma, Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences
    • Brian Agee, Environmental Sciences, College of Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Kevin Anderson, Counseling and Psychology, College of Education
    • Abir Eldaba, Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education
    • Clint Flanagan, Exercise, Science, Physical Education and Wellness, College of Education
    • Taylor Hicks, Exercise, Science, Physical Education and Wellness
    • Katie Phillips, Exercise, Science, Physical Education and Wellness
    • Sarah Russell, Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
    • Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
    • Dario Cruz, Computer Science and Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
    • Adeniyi Babalola, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
    • Sina Zarrabian, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
    • Joshua Qualls, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering

    9th Annual Student Research Day
    Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Poster Evaluation Form | How posters will be judged

    Research may be defined as intensive systematic investigation into a subject in an effort to discover new facts or apply current knowledge/techniques to better understand a system.

    The 9th Annual Student Research Day at Tennessee Technological University is an effort to emphasize the importance and significance of research in postsecondary education; and to recognize the different areas of research peculiar to the different disciplines.

    The poster exhibits will be held in the Roaden University Center Multipurpose Room on Thursday, April 10, 2014.

    There will be an undergraduate and graduate division.

    All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

    Posters will be judged and awards will be presented for the best posters. 

    Guest Speakers
    {Information on the 2014 Guest Speakers is not available.} 

    Poster Requirements
    Effective poster presentations typically include: (a) introduction; (b) description of the method or technique used; (c) results obtained; (d) discussion of results; (e) conclusion/recommendation(s); (f) references; (g) acknowledgment of support.

    Poster Design Workshop | The library will host a series of workshops on designing research posters. These workshops will be in the Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library Learning Commons (Room 248) at 11:00 a.m. on the following dates:February 27
    March 25
    March 27

    Tri-fold poster board 36” x 48” for Table Tops will be provided by the participant.  The boards are available in the University Bookstore. Poster content can be printed in sections, using a standard printer and attached to the tri-fold paper board or as a single printed display to be attached to the board. Wide-format printers are available in some departments capable of printing ANSI E (34" x 44"). If using this option, please remember that room should be left in the e-file for margins. It is recommended that only white background be used to avoid excessive use of inks. An example poster template is available here (PPT file) Only the 44x34 inch (landscape) template would be appropriate for the poster board used for 9th Annual Student Research Day.

    If you choose to use a wide-format poster printing facility on campus, please do not delay in getting your posters printed and be aware that some facilities may have restrictions as to time and number of print jobs that can be run.

    Posters do not have to occupy the full space of the poster board, but can not exceed 36" x 48".

    Tables for exhibiting the poster boards will be provided.


    Student Research Day Schedule

    • April 9, 2014 
      Noon - 4:00 p.m.:  Poster Set-up
    • April 10, 2014
      8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.:  Judging  |  Students are present with posters (if possible)
      10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.:  Open Poster Review and Discussion  |  Students are present with posters (if possible)
      11:15 a.m. - Noon:  Awards Ceremony
      Noon - 2:00 p.m.:  Open Poster Review and Discussion  |  Students are present with posters (if possible)
      2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.:  Poster pick-up

  • 2013


    The 8th Annual Student Research Day was held April 11, 2013. Well over 150 students participated in the event. 
    8th Annual Student Research Day | April 11, 2013

    Presentations & Guest Speakers

    Joseph Matteo

    Joseph Matteo, Division President of R&D and Manufacturing for ProNova Solutions, LLC.
    Presentation | PDF
    Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, ProNova Solutions provides innovative proton therapy solutions for cancer treatment. He has more than 20 years of technology experience with numerous patents and publications. Previously, Mr. Matteo served as the Chief Technology Officer for Advion BioSciences when the company he founded, NanoTek LLC, was acquired by Advion. NanoTek was founded in October 2004 to pursue the development of micro and nano-scale technology for rapid production of radio labeled imaging agents for use in positron emission tomography (PET). In its first 18 months, NanoTek successfully won five Small Business Innovation Research grants, filed multiple patent applications, developed several microfluidic products, secured development relationships with large pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and leading research universities, and began marketing and selling commercial units.

     NSF Logo

    Dr. Kathleen McCloud, Program Director, Major Research Instrumentation National Science Foundation
    Presentation | PDF
    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense..." With an annual budget of about $7.0 billion (FY 2012), we are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities.


    Research may be defined as intensive systematic investigation into a subject in an effort to discover new facts or apply current knowledge/techniques to better understand a system.

    The “Student Research Day” at Tennessee Technological University is an effort to: highlight and emphasize the importance and significance of research in post-secondary education; and, to recognize the different areas of research peculiar to the different disciplines;

    The Research Day Poster Session(s) will be held in the Multipurpose Room in the Roaden University Center on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

    There will be a graduate division and an undergraduate division.

    All participants will receive a “Certificate of Participation.”

    Posters will be judged and awards will be presented for the best posters.

    Abstract Guidelines for Participants
    The abstract of your project will be printed in the program. The abstract should be a concise summary of the work being presented. It should be carefully prepared and proofread to avoid mistakes.

    Limit your abstract to 250 words or less

    Titles should contain not more than 12 words

    The author(s) should be in the same order as they appear in the application with the senior/primary author’s name appearing first and a double asterisk to indicate the presenter, if not the same person.

    Poster Requirements
    Effective poster presentations typically include: (a) introduction; (b) description of the method or technique used; (c) results obtained; (d) discussion of results; (e) conclusion/recommendation(s); (f) references; (g) acknowledgment of support.

    Tri-fold poster board 36” x 48” for Table Tops will be provided by the participant. The boards are available in the University Bookstore.

    Poster content can be printed in sections, using a standard printer and attached to the tri-fold paper board or as a single printed display to be attached to the board. For the latter, wide-format printers are available in some departments capable of printing ANSI E (34" x 44"). If using this option, please remember that room should be left in the e-file for margins. It is recommended that only white background be used to avoid excessive use of inks. An example poster template is available here (PPT file).  Only the 44x34 inch (landscape) template would be appropriate for the poster board used for Research Day.

    If you choose to use a wide-format poster printing facility on campus, please do not delay in getting your posters printed and be aware that some facilities may have restrictions as to time and number of plots done.

    Posters do not have to occupy the full space of the poster board, but can not exceed 36" x 48".

    Tables for the Poster Boards will be provided by the sponsors.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------Student Research Day Schedule

    • April 10, 2013 
      Noon - 4:00 p.m.:  Poster Set-up
    • April 11, 2013
      8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.:  Judging
      Students at posters (if possible)
      10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.:  Open Poster Review and Discussion
      Students at posters (if possible)
      11:15 a.m. - Noon:  Awards Ceremony
      Noon-2:00 p.m.:  Open Poster Review and Discussion
      Students at posters (if possible)
      2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.:  Poster pick-up

  • 2012

    Inviting all Undergraduate and Graduate Students To Apply and Submit Abstracts for Participation in Student Research Day to be held in the Roaden University Center’s Multipurpose Room on Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    7th Annual Student Research Day | Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Poster Evaluation Form | How participant's posters will be judged

    Research may be defined as intensive systematic investigation into a subject in an effort to discover new facts or apply current knowledge/techniques to better understand a system.

    The “Student Research Day” at Tennessee Technological University is an effort to: highlight and emphasize the importance and significance of research in postsecondary education; and, to recognize the different areas of research peculiar to the different disciplines;

    The Research Day Poster Session(s) will be held in the Multipurpose Room in the Roaden University Center on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

    There will be a graduate division and an undergraduate division.

    All participants will receive a “Certificate of Participation.”

    Posters will be judged and awards will be presented for the best posters.

    Abstract Guidelines for Participants
    The abstract of your project will be printed in the program. The abstract should be a concise summary of the work being presented. It should be carefully prepared and proofread to avoid mistakes.

    Limit your abstract to 250 words or less

    Titles should contain not more than 12 words

    The author(s) should be in the same order as they appear in the application with the senior/primary author’s name appearing first and a double asterisk to indicate the presenter, if not the same person.

    Poster Requirements
    Effective poster presentations typically include: (a) introduction; (b) description of the method or technique used; (c) results obtained; (d) discussion of results; (e) conclusion/recommendation(s); (f) references; (g) acknowledgment of support.

    Tri-fold poster board 36” x 48” for Table Tops will be provided by the participant. The boards are available in the University Bookstore.

    Poster content can be printed in sections, using a standard printer and attached to the tri-fold paper board or as a single printed display to be attached to the board. For the latter, wide-format printers are available in some departments capable of printing ANSI E (34" x 44"). If using this option, please remember that room should be left in the e-file for margins. It is recommended that only white background be used to avoid excessive use of inks. An example poster template is available here (PPT file) Only the 44x34 inch (landscape) template would be appropriate for the poster board used for Research Day.

    If you choose to use a wide-format poster printing facility on campus, please do not delay in getting your posters printed and be aware that some facilities may have restrictions as to time and number of plots done.

    Posters do not have to occupy the full space of the poster board, but can not exceed 36" x 48".

    Tables for the Poster Boards will be provided by the sponsors.

    Student Research Day Schedule

    • April 10, 2012 
      Noon - 4:00 p.m.:  Poster Set-up
    • April 11, 2012
      8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.:  Judging  |  Students at posters (if possible)
      10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.:  Open Poster Review and Discussion  |  Students at posters (if possible)
      11:15 - noon:  Awards Ceremony
      Noon - 2:00 p.m.:  Open Poster Review and Discussion  |  Students at posters (if possible)
      2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.:  Poster pick-up

  • 2010

    Inviting all Undergraduate and Graduate Students To Apply and Submit Abstracts for Participation in Student Research Day to be held in the Roaden University Center’s Multipurpose Room on Thursday, April 15, 2010

    5th Annual Student Research Day | Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Research may be defined as intensive systematic investigation into a subject in an effort to discover new facts or apply current knowledge/techniques to better understand a system.

    The “Student Research Day” at Tennessee Technological University is an effort to: highlight and emphasize the importance and significance of research in postsecondary education; and, to recognize the different areas of research peculiar to the different disciplines;

    The Research Day Poster Session(s) will be held in the Multipurpose Room in the Roaden University Center on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

    There will be a graduate division and an undergraduate division.

    All participants will receive a “Certificate of Participation.”

    Posters will be judged and awards will be presented for the best posters.

    Application Form
    All graduate and undergraduate students are invited to apply for participation in Research Day.

    Click here for application form.

    Note that each participant or team must have a Faculty Research Advisor sign the application. As an alternative to paper submission, the application can be sent (signed or unsigned) via email to with cc to the Faculty Research Advisor.

    Abstract Guidelines for Participants
    The abstract of your research will be printed in the program. The abstract should be a concise summary of the work being presented. It should be carefully prepared and proofread to avoid mistakes.

    Limit your abstract to 200 words or less

    Titles should contain not more than 12 words

    Use number 12 font size

    The Abstract Title should be the same as the Title on the Application.

    The author(s) should be in the same order as they appear in the application with the senior/primary author’s name appearing first and a double asterisk to indicate the presenter, if not the same person.

    Prepare the abstract using the template information available below.

    Submit the abstract on or before February 22, 2010 , in electronic form to:

    For more information contact Research & Economic Development and Graduate Studies at 372-3233
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------Abstract Template
    Line 1 – Title in Bold and all CAPS and the same as on the Application

    Blank line following the title

    Authors listed in the same order as they appear on the Application with senior/primary author appearing first

    Departmental Affiliation of the authors

    Blank line following Authors/Affiliation

    Body of Abstract – No indentation at the beginning of the paragraph

    Blank line following the body of abstract

    Be sure to get your Research Advisor’s approval BEFORE submitting the Abstract.

    Poster Requirements
    Effective poster presentations typically include: (a) introduction; (b) description of the method or technique used; (c) results obtained; (d) discussion of results; (e) conclusion/recommendation(s); (f) references; (g) acknowledgment of support.

    Tri-fold poster board 36” x 48” for Table Tops will be provided by the participant. The boards are available in the University Bookstore.

    Poster content can be printed in sections, using a standard printer and attached to the tri-fold paper board or as a single printed display to be attached to the board. For the latter, wide-format printers are available in some departments capable of printing ANSI E (34" x 44"). If using this option, please remember that room should be left in the e-file for margins. It is recommended that only white background be used to avoid excessive use of inks. An example poster template is available here (PPT file) Only the 44x34 inch (landscape) template would be appropriate for the poster board used for Research Day.

    If you choose to use a wide-format poster printing facility on campus, please do not delay in getting your posters printed and be aware that some facilities may have restrictions as to time and number of plots done.

    Posters do not have to occupy the full space of the poster board, but can not exceed 36" x 48".

    Tables for the Poster Boards will be provided by the sponsors.


    Student Research Day Schedule    

    • April 14, 2010
      7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.  |  Poster Set-up

    • April 15, 2010
      7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.  |  Poster Set-up
      8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  |  Judging (Students at posters, if possible)
      10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.  |  Open Poster Review and Discussion  (Students at posters, if possible)
      11:15 a.m. - noon  |  Awards Ceremony
      Noon - 2:00 p.m.  |  Open Poster Review and Discussion (Students at posters, if possible)
      2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.   |  Poster pick-up


  • 2009

    The 2009 Student Research Day was held March 31, 2009. T

    Program Guide of Posters 


    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 Tennessee Tech University 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

    • The Effect of Whole Wheat Flour on Banana Muffin Quality
      Mary Walker Watson and David Knieling
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Cathy Cunningham

      The 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

    • Classification 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

      Various 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 Series 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.

    • Attempts at Michael Addition 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

    • FPGA-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

    • Using 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

    • Erosion 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

    • Identification 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.)

    • What 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

    • Challenging 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

    • Internet 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

    • Understanding 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.

    • Factors 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.

    • Colloidal 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.

    • Effect 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 Integrate Method: A Novel Approach to Phase Equilibrium Calculations
      Drew Blumberg and Seth Wynne
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Donald P. Visco, Jr.

      Calculation 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.

    • Reproducibility 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.

    • Zeta Potential Measurements 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

    • Application 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.

    • Investigating 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 grid boxes (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

    • The 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

    • A 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.

    • Neural 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.

    • Improvement 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.

    • HEV 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.

    • Characteristics 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 aging 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

    • Wetting 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.

  • 2008

    The 2008 Student Research Day was held April 1, 2008

    Program Guide of Posters


    Agriculture | Undergraduate

    • Effects of Wastewater Discharge on Pigeon Roost Creek
      Kara Tipton
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Janice Branson

      Wastewater from approximately 24,000 residents of the city of Cookeville (1) is discharged into Pigeon Roost Creek following treatment at Cookeville Wastewater Treatment Plant. The objective of this study is to determine discharge effects on water quality. Four sites were sampled - one 300 ft. above discharge (PR4), at discharge point (PR3), 1000 ft. below discharge (PR2), and one mile downstream from discharge (PR1). Laboratory analyses included biological oxygen demand (BOD), pH, conductivity, turbidity, and total coliform/E. Coli. Significant changes occurred in pH, conductivity, turbidity, and BOD at PR3. Total coliform did not change at any site, however, E. Coli levels fluctuated slightly. At PR1 all measured parameters were either the same as PR4 or beginning to return to previous levels. Discharge of treated wastewater produced localized effects, but water quality at a distance downstream approaches original levels.


    Human Ecology | Undergraduate

    • Effect of Fat Sources on Drop Biscuit Acceptability
      Beth Rohling and Ryan Tomlinson
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Cathy Hix-Cunningham

      The purpose of this experiment was to determine the sensory, physical, cost, and nutritional differences of drop biscuits made with three versions of saturated and unsaturated fats. The biscuits made with three ratios of mayonnaise to shortening were compared: 100%:0%, 50%:50%, and 0%:100%. They were evaluated by twenty panelists for color, flavor, texture, and overall acceptability. The drop biscuits were also assessed for air cell distribution, height, cost, and nutritional analysis. After two replications, differences between treatments were minor, although the 100% mayonnaise was preferred slightly more in all categories. Panelists detected little difference in color, flavor, texture, and overall acceptability, which is signified by close replication averages. Nutrient analysis and research suggested 100% mayonnaise was the more healthy fat choice. Although vegetable shortening is a common source of biscuit fat, mayonnaise proved to be an acceptable substitute.

    Chemistry | Graduate

    • Synthesis and Characterization of Potential Anti-Cancer Agents: Phenanthrenequinone Thiosemicarbazone Palladium Complexes
      Rachel C. Huxford
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Edward C. Lisic

      This work presents the synthesis and characterization of a new series of phenanthrenequinone thiosemicarbazone palladium complexes. One of these complexes, derived from phenanthrenequinone thiosemicarbazone, has previously been described in literature. This complex displayed activity against MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, suggesting that the other complexes are potential anti-cancer agents [1]. The other complexes of this series are derived from phenanthrenequinone methylthiosemicarbazone, phenanthrenequinone ethylthiosemicarbazone, phenanthrenequinone phenylthiosemicarbazone, and phenanthrenequinone benzylthiosemicarbazone. Each tridentate thiosemicarbazone ligand (L), reacted with K2PdCl4, results in a square planar palladium complex in the form Pd(L)Cl. The complexes were characterized via 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry, infrared spectrometry, and UV-Visible spectroscopy, and their magnetic susceptibilities were obtained. The crystal structure of the phenanthrenequinone benzythiosemicarbaone complex in N,N-dimethylformamide is presented.

      1.     Padhye, Subhash; Afrasiabi, Zahra; Sinn, Ekk; Fok, Jansina; Mehta, Kapil; Rath, Nigam. Inorganic Chemistry Communications. 2005, 44 1154-1156.

    • Chemical Fingerprinting on Clandestine Methamphetamine by LC/MS/MS
      Sri Bharat Madireddy
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Jeff Boles

      Over the years Methamphetamine (N-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine), a potent psycho-stimulant, abuse has been a major cause of concern throughout the world, especially in the State of Tennessee.1 Illicit manufacture of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories has been carried out with the use of minimal over-the-counter ingredients.1 The present research is on positive identification of the location of the manufacturing unit by designing a 'signature profile, 'impurity profile' or 'chemical fingerprint' by LC/MS/MS.2 This is carried out by establishing a database of selected set of impurities by obtaining pure standards of those impurities and later comparing the seized samples with the database for positive identification of the types and quantities of impurities present, the method of synthesis, the proportions, source and purity of starting materials, the reaction conditions, and the purification procedures, if any. The research focuses on developing a method for obtaining chemical profile for clandestine methamphetamine by LC/MS/MS and further supporting the obtained results by designing a qualitative and quantitative technique using GS/MS/MS.

      1.     United Nations, New York, Recommended methods for the identification and analysis of amphetamine, methamphetamine and their ring-substituted analogues in seized materials. ST/NAR/34 (2006)
      2.     C.J. Koester, B.D. Andresen, P.M. Grant, Optimum methamphetamine profiling with sample preparation by Solid-Phase Micro extraction. J. Forensic Sci. 47 (2002) 1002-1007

    Chemistry | Undergraduate

    • Investigation of Cofactor Reaction(s) in the PLP βCA Kinetic Assay
      Taylor King
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Jeff Boles

      Tryptophan Synthase (TS) is a bifunctional, tetrameric, and Pyridoxal-5’-Phosphate (PLP) dependent enzyme which catalyzes the last two steps in the biosynthesis of L-Tryptophan. TS is just one of the numerous enzymes broadly used in biochemical studies. The enzyme plays a critical role in synthetic organic chemistry and has received increased attention in the past decade. TS is widely used as a model in substrate channeling and protein-protein interaction studies, and in the production of novel L-Tryptophan analogs (Miles, 1995). Recently, a problem with the TS spectrophotometric assay was discovered (Henderson, 2001). The formation of Tryptophan by TS is monitored as an increase in absorbance at 290nm. Previous research discovered that in the absence of enzyme, a considerable increase in the absorbance at 290nm is noted. The non-enzymatic reaction occurs in various buffers, pH values, and varying concentrations. This poster seeks confirm that the increase in absorbance at 290nm is due to a reaction between β-Chloro-Alanine and PLP as was first suggested by previous researchers (Henderson, 2001 & Fortenberry, 2005). The use of liquid chromatography mass spectrometry mass spectrometry has revealed insight into the products formed by the reaction of these compounds. The proposed mechanisms explain how pyruvate is formed during the course of this reaction (Fortenberry, 2005), and this has been confirmed through experimentation. These non-enzymatic reactions that occur concurrently with enzymatic assays have far reaching implications in the biochemical community. Researchers have noted problems throughout the years but they were never able to explain what was seen in the laboratory (Gregerman, 1956). The aim of this research is to make light of the problems associated with PLP-dependent enzymes such as TS and potentially minimize their detriment to future research.

    • Comparison of a Series of Phenanthrolinequinone Thiosemicarbazone Compounds
      Keith Steelman
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Edward C. Lisic

      Condensations of ketones and semicarbazides to form semicarbazones is a common organic synthesis has been studied for many years. Thiosemicarbazones have fewer limitations due to their ability to complex with both soft and hard acids, including many of the later transition metals. Thiosemicarbazones attached to polycyclic compounds are additionally useful because of the visible color change that they undergo in the presence of metal ions in solution. Phenanthrolinequinone thiosemicarbazones are interesting since they are bifunctional because of the presence of the pair of nitrogens at the back of the ring system. These provide an additional bidentate binding site beyond the multidentate binding of the thiosemicarbazone “arm”. This presentation describes the synthesis and characterization of some new phenanthrolinedione-thiosemicarbazone compounds.

    • Synthesis and Characterization of New Chromone Thiosemicarbazone Compounds
      Erica L. Stoner and Rachel C. Huxford
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Edward C. Lisic

      Thiosemicarbazone compounds are potent biological agents [1-2], and also act as ligands to a whole host of transition metal ions such as palladium and nickel [3-5]. A series of eight new thiosemicarbazone and semicarbazone compounds synthesized from a formyl chromone backbone in our laboratory will be presented. The synthesis of this new series of compounds is straightforward, and characterization by 1H NMR and IR supports the proposed structures. Research efforts to synthesize the palladium complexes will also be discussed.

      1.     Padhye, S. Coordination Chemistry Reviews. 1985, 63, 127 -160.
      2.     West, Douglas X.; El-Sawaf, Ayman K.; Bain, Gordon A. Transition Metal Chemistry (1998), 23(1), 1-6.
      3.     Afrasiabi, Zahra; Sinn, Ekkehard; Chen, Junnan; Ma, Yinfa; Rheingold, Arnold L.; Zakharov, Lev N.; Rath, Nigam; Padhye, Subhash. Inorganica Chimica Acta. 2004, 357, 271-278.
      4.     Afrasiabi, Zahra; Sinn, Ekk; Lin, Weisheng; Ma, Yinfa; Campana, Charles; Padhye, Subhash. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 2005, 99, 1526-1531.
      5.     Padhye, Subhash; Afrasiabi, Zahra; Sinn, Ekk; Fok, Jansina; Mehta, Kapil; Rath, Nigam. Inorganic Chemistry Communications. 2005, 44, 1154-1156.

    Computer Science | Graduate

    • Incorporating Visualization in an Interpreted Language for Educational Benefit
      Brandon Malone
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Frank Hadlock

      While the notion of employing animation and visualization to intuitively explain algorithm behavior dates back to the 80s (1), the educational benefit of these visualizations remains largely untapped. Recent research into the utility of algorithm visualizations cites four key paradigms in educationally effective visualizations: responding, in which students answer questions about upcoming and past behavior; changing, in which students provide input to cause desired algorithm behavior; constructing, in which students create their own visualization; and presenting, in which students explain the algorithm with the visualization as an aid (2). This research investigates an interpreted programming language which espouses these paradigms by providing primitive constructs to simplify the creation and presentation of educationally effective visualizations.

      1.     Marc H. Brown. Algorithm Animation. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.,1988.
      2.     Naps, Thomas L., JHAVE – Addressing the Need to Support Algorithm Visualization with Tools for Active Engagement. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications. 2005.

    Computer Science | Undergraduate

    • Dynamically Maximizing the Performance of Large Data Transfer Over Dedicated Network Links
      Ben Eckart
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Xubin He (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

      New networks are emerging for the purpose of transmitting large amounts of scientific data among research institutions quickly and reliably [1]. These networks only marginally resemble the characteristics of the Internet, rendering the established Internet protocols ineffective. Recent methods have been developed to circumvent these problems, including new protocols which implement both reliable (TCP) and unreliable (UDP) data transfer algorithms [2]–[6]. Building faster networks and better protocols, however, does not necessarily result in better performance when the end-systems involved are unable to support such speeds. It is therefore necessary to build a protocol adaptive the performance of each system. This research develops such a protocol, Performance Adaptive UDP (PA-UDP), which aims to dynamically maximize performance under many system environments. A mathematical model and related algorithms are proposed that describe the theoretical basis behind effective buffer and CPU management. A prototype based on the PA-UDP architecture is implemented by monitoring the hosts during the data reception period and adjusting to the theoretically optimal rate. Experiments show that PA-UDP outperforms other high-speed protocols.

      1.     N. S. V. Rao, W. R. Wing, S. M. Carter, and Q. Wu, “Ultrascience net: network testbed for large-scale science applications,” Communications Magazine, IEEE, vol. 43, no. 11, pp. S12–S17, 2005. [Online]. Available: all.jsp?arnumber=1541694
      2.     M. Goutelle, Y. Gu, and E. He, “A survey of transport protocols other than standard tcp,” 2004. [Online]. Available:
      3.     R. L. Grossman, M. Mazzucco, H. Sivakumar, Y. Pan, and Q. Zhang, “Simple available bandwidth utilization library for high-speed wide area networks,” J. Supercomput., vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 231–242, 2005.
      4.     Y. Gu and R. L. Grossman, “Udt: Udp-based data transfer for high-speed wide area networks,” Comput. Networks, vol. 51, no. 7, pp. 1777–1799, 2007.
      5.     E. He, J. Leigh, O. T. Yu, and T. A. DeFanti, “Reliable blast UDP: Predictable high performance bulk data transfer,” in CLUSTER. IEEE Computer Society, 2002, pp. 317–324. [Online]. Available:
      6.     M. Meiss. Tsunami: A high-speed rate-controlled protocol for file transfer. [Online]. Available: atp/TSUNAMI.pdf/

    Earth Sciences | Undergraduate

    • Comparison of Fluid Characteristics from a Fault Zone and Marginal Foreland Basin
      Phillip Derryberry and James Kimbrell
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Michael Harrison

      Calcite veins from the Sequatchie Valley Thrust zone in middle Tennessee were collected to characterize the geochemistry and temperature of fluids associated with Alleghanian deformation. Specifically, fluid inclusions within the calcite veins were analyzed with a USGS-style heating and cooling stage to assess the temperature of homogenization (TH) and the last-ice melting temperature (TM). For veins collected from the Bangor Limestone next to the fault zone, the TH ranges from 55°-205° C and shows a bimodal distribution with modes of 60° C and 120° C. Veins collected from Gordonsville, TN ~110 km to the northwest also show a bimodal distribution of TH, but with modes of 105° C and 120° C. For the TM, the Bangor samples show a mode of 1.5° C whereas the Gordonsville samples show a mode of -18° C, suggesting different fluid sources. Hydrocarbons were detected in the inclusions from both sample sites.

    Mathematics (Graduate)

    • Numerical Simulation of Groundwater Flow
      Che Ngufor
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Sabine Le Borne

      The goal of this research is to develop effective and efficient iterative solvers for linear problems arising from the discretization of equations governing the flow of groundwater in porous media. We approximate the actual groundwater system by a mathematical model and a computer model numerically solves the mathematical equations. The simulation is performed by sequential decoupling of the flow equation through the Darcy equation producing a dual mixed system. An efficient implementation of a discretization based on the lowest order Raviart-Thomas mixed finite elements technique leads to a saddle point system. Two methods are implemented for solving the saddle point system to yield the unknown velocities and pressures: (1) Using direct linear solvers like MATLAB, (2) using a new and efficient iterative solver we have developed based on the so-called hierarchical matrices. We then visualize the flow field and distribution of heads for both simple and complex geological formations.

    Mathematics (Undergraduate)

    • Domain Triangulation to Approximate a 2-Dimensional Disk
      Quinton Westrich
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Sabine Le Borne

      In order to run computer simulations which model the dynamics of fluids inside a shape, called a domain, the first step is to program the domain. In practice, we approximate the boundary of the domain with a polygon and then divide the interior of the polygon up into simpler shapes, such as triangles in 2D and tetrahedra in 3D---a process is called triangulation. Many objects we use daily, such as water pipes, engine pistons, and hoses, are nearly circular in two of their dimensions. My project is the triangulation of a 2D disk. Written in the C language, our code arranges triangles so that symmetries simplify and speed up storage and access of the grid points. Numerical data are presented which illustrate this. The next step will be the incorporation of this 2D disk into 3D codes for a wider range of applications.

    Exceptional Learning (Ph.D.)

    • Peer Influences, Athletics, and Factors of Freshmen College Choice
      George Chitiyo
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. David Larimore

      This study was conducted at a four year public university in the south eastern United States during the spring 2007 semester. Data were collected from a sample of 216 freshmen, 78 of whom were athletes. The overall response rate for the survey was 76%. A survey instrument was administered to investigate factors that influenced the freshmen students’ college choice, especially peer influences and athletics. A factor analysis was conducted in addition to descriptive statistics. Overall, the most important variables influencing the college choice of high school graduates were those associated with the factor named institutional image. The other factors are: peer influences, high school counselors and teachers, athletic factors, family influence, and spiritual guidance at the university. These factors collectively accounted for 77.3% of the variance in college choice.

    • Efficacy of Peer-Mediation for Promoting Social Interactions Among Young Children with Autism
      Jie Zhang
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. John J. Wheeler

      The purpose of this research was to investigate the efficacy of peer-mediations for promoting social interactions among young children under 8 years of age diagnosed with autism. A meta-analysis using single-subject studies was conducted with 45 studies from 19 journals between 1977 and 2006. The efficacy of the interventions was analyzed according to the variables that may affect the interventions, including the target children’s characteristics, interventionists’ characteristics, and intervention features. Inter-rater reliability was determined through double-coding the variables by the researcher’s doctoral advisor. Allison and Gorman’s (1993) method was used to calculate the effect sizes in order to take trend into account. One-sample t test was used to determine whether the overall effect sizes were significantly different from zero. One-way ANOVA, independent-samples t test, or Tukey’s post hoc test were used to compare each effect size within every variable to see whether there was any significant difference.

      1.     Allison, D. B., & Gorman, B. S. (1993). Calculating effect sizes for meta-analysis: The case of the single case. Behavioral Research Theory. 31 (6), 621-631.

    Chemical Engineering | Graduate

    • A Novel Monte-Carlo Strategy for Evaluating Cathode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries
      Vinten D. Diwakar
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Venkat Subramanian
      Collaborator: Dr. Harinipriya Seshadri (Chemical Engineering)

      A novel simulation strategy is formulated to study the performance of cathode materials in Li-ion batteries. The methodology1 takes into account both micro scale properties and macro scale properties. For example, diffusion of spherical electrode particle within the cathode and solvation effects, diffusion coefficients, concentration gradient to determine the diffusion of Li+ within the separator. The electrode particles move in each step to its nearest neighbor distance, employing the random number condition ir(j)>=exp(-dLi1/ds), where ‘ir’ represents the random number, dLi1 is the nearest neighbor distance for Li+ in the absence of solvent and ds being the thickness of the solid phase. The second random number criterion is ir(j)>=exp(-dLi1/ds2), dLi1 being the nearest neighbor distance Li+ can move in the presence of solvent and ds2 being the thickness of the separator. The discharge behavior for LiCoO2 and LiFePO4 as cathode materials is in quantitative agreement with existing literature2,3.

      1.     Performance characteristics of cathode materials for Lithium Ion batteries – A novel Monte Carlo strategy, H. Seshadri, V. D. Diwakar, and V. Subramanian, Submitted to Journal of the Electrochemical Society
      2.     Efficient macro-micro scale coupled modeling of batteries, V. Subramanian, V. D. Diwakar and D. Tapriyal, J. Electrochem. Soc., 152, A2002 (2005)
      3.     Discharge Model for the Lithium Iron-Phosphate Electrode, V. Srinivasan, and J. Newman, J. Electrochem. Soc., 151, A1517 (2004)

    • Kinetics of Thermal Decomposition of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
      Pravin Kannan
      Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. Joseph J. Biernacki and Dr. Donald P. Visco, Jr.

      The characteristics of thermal decomposition of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foams was studied in various gaseous environments, both oxidizing and non-oxidizing, over a narrow range of heating rates between 1 and 30 K/min using non-isothermal thermo gravimetric analysis (TGA). A modified integral-optimization technique was developed for multiple rate-controlling decomposition reactions, and results from kinetic data analysis shows that the activation energy of EPS foam decomposition in air is much less than any non-oxidizing environment, including nitrogen, helium and argon. Furthermore, qualitative mass spectrometric studies of EPS pyrolysis gases revealed the differences in EPS foam decomposition mechanism between various gaseous environments.

    • Mathematical Modeling of Discharge Behavior of Cathode Materials in Li-Ion Batteries
      Uday S. Kasavajjula
      Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. Pedro E. Arce and Dr. Chunsheng Wang (now at U of Maryland)

      Improving the rate capability of LiFePO4 is a critical issue for commercialization of Li-ion batteries in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles. In this study, the discharge kinetics of LiFePO4 electrodes for Li-ion batteries were investigated by developing a novel mathematical model. The model is based on the theory of mixed mode phase transformation and it assumes that the phase transformation is controlled by both Li chemical diffusion and interface mobility. The discharge model was validated by comparing the model discharge curves with the experimental discharge curves of various LiFePO4 samples from industry at different current densities. By using the validated model as a tool, effects of phase transformation, chemical diffusion, solid solution range, volume change and particle size on rate capability were determined and analyzed. The model developed here is applicable for any ion insertion electrode with a phase transformation (such as Li4Ti5O12 in Li-ion battery and metal-hydride electrodes in Ni/MH batteries).

    • Characterization of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Emissions
      Rupesh K Puttagunta
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Pedro E. Arce
      Collaborators: Dr. Dennis B. George and Dr. Martha J. M. Wells (Center for the Management, Utilization, and Protection of Water Resources)

      Commercial cooking operations are major source of particulate matter and volatile organic compound concentrations in urban areas.

      1.     EPA Compendium Method TO-17.
      2.     Hildemann, L.M, Cass, G. R., and Markowski, G. R., 1989. “A Dilution Stack Sampler for Collection of Organic Aerosol Emissions: Design, Characterization and Field Tests” Aerosol. Sci. Technol. 10,193-204.
      3.     Hildemann, L.M, Markowski, G. R., and Cass, G. R., 1991. “Chemical Composition of Emissions from Urban Sources of Fine Organic Aerosol.” Environ. Sci. Technol. 25, 744-759.

    • The Effect of Fine Inert Particles on Portland Cement Hydration Kinetics
      Tiantian Xie
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Joseph J. Biernacki

      The chemical reactions that occur during the early stages of portland cement hydration are complicated and the basic mechanisms yet debated. Furthering the complexity, modern cement systems incorporate fine admixtures such as slag, fly ash and silica fume. These also actively participate in the reaction process. To study the early stage hydration kinetics and the effect of additive particles, model systems containing inert particles (silicon carbide) were used. Samples containing particles in the amount of 30% inert material and 70% portland cement with a 0.35 water-to-cementitious ratio were investigated. The resulting specific heat of hydration was determined using isothermal calorimetry. Surprisingly fine “inert particles” accelerate the early stage hydration likely by providing surface areas for the nucleation and growth of products.

    Chemical Engineering | Undergraduate

    • Novel Corticosteroid Development Via I-QSAR with Signature
      Joshua D. Jackson
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Donald P. Visco

      The research discussed here involves the development of a class of preventative asthma medications named corticosteroids. Corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone have commonly been the therapy of choice where an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive treatment is required. The focus of this research is to develop novel corticosteroids that are highly selective toward the lungs and are promptly removed from the body when exposed to the main circulation. We look to use the Inverse-Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (I-QSAR) algorithm with Signature to generate new drugs based upon the structures and corresponding activities of previously studied corticosteroids. I-QSAR explores possible combinations of atom connectivity, and structural filters are used to predict and collect the best candidates for further study. Our work currently focuses upon filtering the solutions generated from the inverse problem, leaving a database possessing only characteristics such as high receptor binding affinity, high systemic clearance, high plasma protein binding, and low oral bioavailability.

    • Thermally Responsive Microparticle Gel Electrophoresis
      Jeff Thompson
      Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. Holly Stretz and Dr. Pedro E. Arce

      Nanocomposite gels for drug delivery and bioseparations of proteins or DNA hold great potential. These materials feature, for example, nano or microparticles embedded in the gel structure that creates a thermo-sensitive and composite polymer with different and unique transport properties. The synthesis and characterization of poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) thermally responsive particles as well as formation of the gel composites are described. The particles are synthesized with a precipitation polymerization crosslinking reaction and subsequently inserted into polyacrylamide gels[1]. In addition, electrophoresis runs are used to test the transport of proteins through the composite. Both UV and visual characterization are used to determine and compare the transport (i.e. mobility and dispersion) characteristics of the new gels with standard gels in the electrophoresis runs. A composite of one percent by mass PNIPAM and four percent acrylamide offers separations which are not available for five percent acrylamide concentration using albumin markers.

      1.     St. John, Ashlee, Victor Breedveld, L. Andrew Lyon “Phase Behavior in Highly Concentrated Assemblies of Microgels with Soft Repulsive Interaction Potentials” Journal of Physical Chemistry. April 30, 2007.

    Civil and Environmental Engineering (Graduate)

    • Modeling the Hydrologically-Relevant Features of Uncertainty of NASA's High Resolution Precipitation Products for Advancing Global Applications Over Ungauged Regions
      Ling Tang
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Faisal Hossain

      In the post 2013 era of the NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, high resolution precipitation products (HRPP) from satellites will become increasingly common for various global hydrologic applications overland (such as flood detection using distributed models). For advancing the application of these datasets, the associated uncertainty information will therefore be critical for users to understand the realistic limits to which these HRPPs can be applied over an ungauged region. However, this represents a paradox. Satellite rainfall uncertainty estimation requires ground validation (GV) precipitation data. On the other hand, satellite data will be most useful over ungauged regions in the developing world that are lacking in GV data. The primary objective of this project is therefore to reconcile this paradox with the motivation to further unleash the potential of NASA’s HRPPs for the developing world. Two important science questions are hoped to be answered through this project as follows. 1. How much climatologic classification of error regime is possible for characterizing uncertainty of NASA’s HRPPs? 2. If “error” is defined on the basis of ground validation (GV) data, then how can uncertainty be estimated for NASA’s global rainfall data products without the need for extensive GV data?

    Civil and Environmental Engineering | Undergraduate

    • Expansion of Cementitious Mortars Due to Delayed Ettringite Formation
      Lindsay Smith
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Benjamin Mohr

      This research is aimed at investigating the mechanisms of delayed ettringite formation causing expansion in portland cement mortars. The formation of ettringite is a normally benign product of cement hydration that occurs at early ages. However, ettringite is increasingly observed in concretes that have been in service for many years. Often associated with the ettringite observation is cracking of concrete. It is well known that ettringite formation is an expansive reaction that may cause cracking. However, little is known about the mechanisms of late age ettringite formation, specifically how different processes can ultimately lead to the same result. The objectives of this research are: (1) to identify those cement composition and mix design factors that lead to macro-scale expansion; and (2) to evaluate the micro-scale chemical changes that occur in the microstructure during heat curing and subsequent storage.

    Electrical and Computer Engineering | Graduate

    • Battery Charging Control Technique for Hybrid Electric Vehicle
      Sharanya Jaganathan
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Wenzhong Gao

      Environmental protection place restrictions on the emission of waste gases from the motor vehicle and motorcycle thus accelerating the development of electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles driven by electricity. At present there are a lot of technical problems for the batteries of EV and HEV such as life cycle of battery, convenience of charging, fast charging, promotion of energy density, performance and low cost. The objective here is to develop a novel control strategy and a low cost high performance power electronic device for charging the battery. The work will also include comparing different charging methods to study their effects on the overall energy efficiency. The charging technique will be implemented in Simulink/Matlab or equivalent software. Also the simulation results will be validated with the experimental set up to check the effectiveness of the technique.

    • SAG Monitoring Using Global Positioning System
      Shalini Sushmitha Komaragiri
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Satish Mahajan

      A new method to measure the physical sag of an overhead conductor line involves differential global positioning technique [1], [3]. The method relies on the information received from the GPS satellites and is capable of measuring sag to an accuracy of approximately 2 cm using a commercially available LEICA GPS System [2]. However, the overall cost of the system (~ $ 50 K) is somewhat high [2]. Proposed method of using three or more cheaper GARMIN GPS devices to measure sag, could be a cost effective alternative to the expensive LEICA GPS System. The GARMIN GPS devices when placed on the same horizontal plane gave an accuracy of about ±8 meters with reference to LEICA GPS System. Therefore, various factors affecting the accuracy of cheaper GARMIN GPS devices and various mathematical algorithms for error correction are being investigated in this research.

      1.     Chris Mensah – Bonsu; Ubaldo Fernandez Krekeler, Gerald Thomas Heidi, Yuri Hoverson; John Schilleci; Baj. A. Agarwal, “Application of the Global Positioning System to the Measurement of Overhead Power Transmission Conductor Sag”, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol. 17, No. 1. January 2002, pp 273 – 278
      2.     Mahesh Singareddy, “Sag Measurement using Differential Global Positioning System” Tennessee Tech University, August 2007.
      3.     Chris Mensah – Bonsu, “Instrumentation and measurement of overhead conductor sag using the differential global positioning satellite system“, PhD Dissertation; Arizona State University, August 2000.

    • Enhanced Verdet Constant Via Quantum Dot Doped Glass Samples
      Ganapathy Kumar
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr.Satish M. Mahajan

      The Faraday Effect or rotation of plane polarized light in glass samples under the influence of an external magnetic field and the Faraday rotation angles is reported for SF¬-57, BK-7 and borosilicate type glasses. Doping the glass with quantum dots increases the electron confinement energies upon excitement and magnifies the phase difference between the right and left circularly polarized light thus enhancing the Faraday rotation angle and hence the Verdet constant for that material, which is dependent on wavelength and temperature, resulting in high magneto-optic effect. The measured Verdet constant values were 11.25 deg/T-cm, 2.67 deg/T-cm and 0.1295 deg/T-cm for undoped SF-57, BK-7 and borosilicate rods respectively and conform to literature [1][2][3][4]. The application of these types of glasses can be done to Magneto-Optic Current transformers (MOCTs), Optic fiber current sensors and highly sensitive current detectors [5][6].

      1.     P.A.Williams, A.H.Rose, G.W.Day, T. E. Milner, and M. N. Deeter, “Temperature dependence of verdet constant in several diamagnetic glasses”, Applied Optics, vol. 30,no. 10,April 1991
      2.     G.Li, M.G.Kong, G.R.Jones and J.W.Spencer,”Sensitivity Improvement of an Optical Current Sensor with Enhanced Faraday Rotation,” J.Lightw.Technol., vol. 15,no. 12, pp. 2246-2252, Dec.1997.
      3.     A.Jain, J.Kumar, L.Li, F.Zhou and S.Tripathy,”A simple experiment for determining Verdet constants using alternating current magnetic fields”, Am.J.Physics. 67(8). pp. 714-717,1998
      4.     J.H. Kratzer and J.Schroeder, “Magnetooptic properties of semiconductor quantum dots in glass composites”, Journal of Non-crystalline solids, vol.349,pp¬299-308,2004
      5.     Sascha Liehr,”Optical Measurement of Current in Power Converters”, M.S.thesis, Dept.Elect.Eng., Royal Inst., Stockholm, Sweden,2006.

    • Design Optimization of a 35nm Independently-Double-Gated Flexfet SOI Transistor
      Rama Satyanarayana Chintala, Himaja Reddy Moolamalla, Ken Modzelewski, and Nishanth Gudipelly (Pictured)
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Stephen A. Parke

      Planar independently-double-gated Flexfet CMOS transistors have been developed, which exhibit strong dynamic threshold voltage control of 0.3-1.0 V\V. The Flexfet device incorporates a mid-gap MOSFET top gate self-aligned to an implanted silicon JFET bottom gate. Each transistor in a circuit may be connected in either single-gate (SG), double-gate (DG), or independent-double-gate (IDG) mode as needed to achieve ultra-low-power CMOS ICs.

      A simple analytical dynamic threshold voltage model was developed and verified by using SILVACO ATLAS device simulation software. Design optimization of a 35nm independently-double-gated Flexfet Silicon-On-Insulator transistor with an ideal 1.0V\V dynamic threshold control of this device was achieved. The device used for simulation and the analytical threshold model developed are in 2D but a 3D complex model will also be developed. Since the threshold voltage of the device varies due to short channel effects at 35nm, optimization was done to overcome these effects.

      1.     H.K Lim and J.G. Fossum, “Threshold Voltage of Thin-Film Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) MOSFETS”, IEEE Trans. Electron Devices, 30, 1244-1251, 1983.
      2.     Yuan Taur, “An Analytical Solution to a Double-gate MOSFET with Undoped Body”, IEEE Trans. Electron Devices, Vol.21, No. 5, 245-247, May 2000.
      3.     Keunwoo Kim, J.G. Fossum, “Double-gate CMOS: Symmetrical-Versus Asymmetrical-Gate Devices”, IEEE trans. Electron Devices, Vol 48, No. 2, Feb 2001.
      4.     Mark Lundstrom, Jing Guo, “Nanoscale Transistors: Device Physics, Modeling and Simulation”, Springer, New York, 2005.

    • High Voltage & High Current Laboratory - Implementation at Tennessee Technological University
      Diego M. Robalino Vanegas
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Satish M. Mahajan

      Electrical equipment suffers degradation due to long-term operation and eventual failures of the electrical system. The aim of this project is to provide an educational/research facility where High Voltage/High Power equipment were tested under conditions similar to those during real operation and emergency situations. Following the guidelines of highly recognized standards [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] & [6], the High Voltage (HV) & High Current (HC) Laboratory has been sequentially developed. The laboratory is capable of carrying out the condition assessment of electrical apparatus by means of DC (Direct Current) HV testing, Hot Spot Temperature (HST) measurement (via Fiber Optics and Thermocouples), HC Loading Set-up, Measurement and Protection Current Transformers Analysis, Tan d, permittivity, capacitance & Power Factor measurement via Insulation Diagnostic Equipment, Dielectric Breakdown Test and On-line Dissolved Gas Analysis monitoring. This project greatly contributes to the development of research and academic opportunities for the Tennessee Tech Electrical Engineering Department.

      1.     IEEE Std 4-1995. IEEE Standard Techniques for High-Voltage Testing
      2.     IEEE Std 1538-2000. IEEE Guide for Determination of Maximum Winding Temperature Rise in Liquid-Filled Transformers.
      3.     IEEE Std C57.91-1995. IEEE Guide for Loading Mineral-Oil-Immersed Transformers
      4.     IEEE Std C57.13-1993. IEEE Standard Requirements for Instrument Transformers
      5.     ANSI/IEEE C57.104. IEEE Guide for the detection and Determination of Generated Gases in Oil-Immersed transformers and their relation to the serviceability of the equipment
      6.     IEEE Std 510. IEEE Recommended Practices for Safety in High-Voltage and High-Power Testing.

    Mechanical Engineering | Graduate

    • Phase Field Modeling of Contact Angle Hysteresis in Sessile Drops
      Neeharika Anantharaju
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Mahesh Panchagnula
      Collaborator: Srikanth Vedantam (National University of Singapore)

      Wetting on non-ideal surfaces is of great practical interest. Contact line behavior is an important parameter that attributes to understanding wettability. The presence of heterogeneities on a surface causes the pinning of the three-phase contact line in one of the many possible metastable states, resulting in contact angle hysteresis (CAH). CAH depends on the surface inhomogeneities, which are often random in size and position. The other factors like thermodynamic variables involved and the path followed makes quantifying the CAH challenging. Wetting of surfaces by sessile drops can thus be described as an interface phenomenon involving very steep changes at the contact line and is studied using a phase field model. The theory [1] uses a two dimensional non-conserved phase field variable to distinguish between wetted and non-wetted regions. The three-phase contact line tension is characterized by the gradient energy and CAH from the kinetic coefficient. A significant departure from the classical Cassie theory, arising due to the contact line pinning, is observed.

      1.     Vedantam, S., and Panchagnula, M.V., Phase Field Modeling of Hysteresis in Sessile Drops. Physical Review Letters, 2007. 99(17).

    • Numerical Analysis of Transient Temperature Distribution in a Current Transformer
      Mahesh Nadkarni
      Faculty Research Advisors: Dr. Jie Cui

      Current Transformer (CT) is a device that transfers the electrical energy from one circuit to another through a shared magnetic field. In a CT, heat is generated because of the energy losses in the core, tank wall, primary and secondary windings. The performance of the current transformer is well indicated by the temperature distribution inside a CT. In this study, numerical analysis is performed to predict the temperature distribution inside a CT at every instant under different load conditions. It is found that the numerical results obtained were in good agreement with the experimental measurements. Thus, it is concluded that the numerical method can be a useful tool in a CT design and performance monitoring.

    Mechanical Engineering | Undergraduate

    • Dynamics of Liquid Marbles
      Kenneth C. Gahan (Pictured) and Prasad S. Bhosale
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Mahesh Panchagnula (Mechanical Engineering) and Dr. Holly A. Stretz (Chemical Engineering)

      Liquid marbles, which are water based liquids coated with a hydrophobic nanoparticulate substance resulting in small "marbles", are of interest to both chemical and mechanical engineers (1). This study is motivated by the proposition that liquid marbles can provide for a rapid, contamination-free transport mechanism of bio-fluids. The current research seeks to understand the unique manner in which liquid marbles behave under dynamical conditions. Under rolling motion, liquid marbles are observed to behave differently from solid spheres in that they accelerate quickly before settling to a terminal velocity, due to the damping effects of the liquid core (2).

      1.     Properties of Liquid Marbles – Aussillous, P. and Quere, D. Proc. R. Sec. A 462, 973-999 (2006).
      2.     Non-stick Water – Mahadevan, L. Nature 411, 895-896 (2001).

  • 2007

    The 2007 Student Research Day was held April 5, 2007.

    Program Guide of Posters 


    • Chemistry | Graduate
      A Theoretical Investigation on the Isomerism and the NMR Properties of Thiosemicarbazones
      N. W. S. V. Nuwan De Silva
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Titus V. Albu

      Hybrid density functional theory calculations at the mPW1PW91/6-31+G(d,p) level of theory have been used to investigate the optimized structures and other molecular properties of five different series of thiosemicarbazones. The investigated compounds were obtained based on acenaphthenequinone, isatin and its derivatives, and alloxan. The focus of the study is the isomerism and the NMR characterization of these thiosemicarbazones. It was found that only the one isomer is expected for thiosemicarbazones and methylthiosemicarbazones, while for dimethylthiosemicarbazones, two isomers are possible. All investigated thiosemicarbazones exhibit a hydrazinic proton that is highly deshielded and resonates far downfield in the proton NMR spectra. This proton is a part of a characteristic six-membered ring, and its NMR properties are a result of its strong, intermolecular hydrogen bond. The relationships between the calculated 1H and 13C NMR chemical shifts and various geometric parameters are reported

    • Computer Science | Graduate
      Distributed System for Record Linkage Gold Standard Generation
      Jeremy Ey (Pictured) and Andrew Walker
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Doug Talbert

      Record linkage is the process used to create associations between records in disjoint record sources. This technique has many applications [1,2,3], one example is the linkage of medical records from various hospitals to form a more complete view of an individual’s medical history [4]. The proper evaluation of the algorithms requires measuring the performance of the algorithm over a set with known links. This set is referred to as a gold standard set. These sets are often hand produced. This leads to sets that are either too small or nonexistent [5]. The need to easily produce gold standard data sets has motivated the development of a distributed deterministic rule engine. This system allows for the specification of deterministic rules which are used to produce a gold standard data set. This gold standard set can then be compared to the results produced by implementations and enhancements of record linkage algorithms.


      Clark, D. E. Practical introduction to record linkage for injury research. Injury Prevention 10, 3 (2004), 186–191.

      Winkler, W. The state of record linkage and current research problems. RR99/03, US Bureau of the Census (1999).

      Elfeky, M., Verykios, V., and Elmagarmid, A. TAILOR: a record linkage toolbox. Data Engineering, 2002. Proceedings. 18th International Conference on (2002), 17–28.

      Working Group on Accurately Linking Information for Health Care Quality and Safety. Linking health care information: proposed methods for improving care and protecting privacy. Markle Foundation, February 2005.

      Tromp, M., Reitsma, J., Ravelli, A., Meray, N., and Bonsel, G. Record linkage: Making the most out of errors in linking variables. In AMIA Symposium Proceedings 2006 (2006), pp. 779–783.

    • Computer Science | Undergraduate
      Oscar Package Sets
      Wesley Bland
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Ambareen Siraj

      Collaborators: Thomas Naughton, Geoffrey Vallee, and Stephen L. Scott Oak Ridge National Laboratory

      A cluster is a dedicated group of computers working together. For creating and maintaining such a cluster in Linux environment, OSCAR (Open Source Cluster Application Resources) is often used, which combines many of the most popular applications in this environment. Currently, there are many different "flavors" of OSCAR including High Availability and Diskless, and a need for a package set system to simplify the installation. By creating a "package set", different flavors of OSCAR could essentially be combined into a single version, making OSCAR installation much simpler and more flexible for current users The new package set system for OSACR would divide up the different flavors of OSCAR and resolve any conflicts or requirements that may arise in doing so. It would then be incorporated into the main OSCAR code and be released for use with future versions of OSCAR.

      Designing for the Mobile Web - Standards and Best Practices
      Derek Pennycuff
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Ambareen Siraj

      This research targets availability of Cascading Style Sheet media support in a variety of mobile devices. The World Wide Web Consortium’s specifications for various web standards document how mobile browsers should behave. Designing based on these standards without testing or documentation on their support proves impossible even in more traditional devices. Testing on all possible mobile platforms is impractical. A baseline level of documentation could lead to a list of best practices when designing for mobile devices. This research seeks to contribute to that documentation with a sampling of cell phones, personal digital assistants, and hand held gaming systems. The research methodology will involve loading in the web browsers of the available hardware a compact test case consisting of all the necessary test criteria and recording the results. These results will be compared against the published standards and analyzed to report the extent of any deviations found.

    • Mathematics (Graduate)
      Hierarchical Matrix Based Smoother for the Multigrid Method
      David Priebel
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Sabine Le Borne

      Hierarchical matrices are a class of matrices that are well suited to represent sparse data and provide almost linear complexity operations[1]. In particular, the cost of computing the approximate LU decomposition of a hierarchical matrix is relatively inexpensive[2]. This fact makes it possible to apply H-matrices to the problem of smoothing the error of intermediate approximate solutions. Using the H-matrix based method as a smoother for the Multigrid Method results in an improved convergence rate. We have implemented the Multigrid Method with H-matrix smoothing and provide a numerical study of robustness for a variety of test problems.


      Wolfgang Hackbusch. A sparse matrix arithmetic based on H-matrices. Part 1: Introduction to H-matrices. Computing, 62(2):89-108, 1999.

      S. Le Borne, L. Grasedyck. H-matrix preconditioners in convection-dominated problems. SIAM J. Matrix Anal. Appl., 1172-1183 (2006).

    • Mathematics (Undergraduate)
      David W. Cook IIl
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Sabine Le Borne

      Mathematically modeling how fluids flow in an environment is important, allowing for simulations of situations that have prohibitive costs and dangers involved; further, situations which are simply impossible to test in real laboratory experiments can also be simulated. These models often lead to the formation of saddle point systems. Recently, a large amount of research has been devoted to finding more efficient methods for solving systems of equations—saddle point systems, in particular. However, finding techniques which scale up to larger problems with a minimal increase in requirements is a daunting task. We have developed a novel factorization technique H-QR in [1] which allowed the development of a new and widely applicable solver for saddle point problems. The originality of this solver is based on the combination of the well-known null space method with the recently discovered technique of hierarchical matrices.

      Sabine Le Borne and David W. Cook II. Construction of a discrete divergence-free basis through orthogonal factorization in H-arithmetic. Submitted for publication, 2007.

    • Physics (Undergraduate)
      Limitations and Improvement of the Gamow Window Approximation for Thermonuclear Reaction Rates
      J. Tokiwa, R. L. Kozub (Tenn. Tech. U.)
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Raymond L. Kozub
      Collaborators: M. S. Smith (ORNL), J. P. Scott, E. J. Lingerfelt, K. Chae (ORNL/UT-Knoxville)

      The knowledge of thermonuclear reaction rates is vital to simulate numerous types of astrophysical events. Standard codes to calculate rates, such as the tools at, utilize a Gaussian approximation [1] to estimate the relative energy range (Gamow window) over which the calculation is performed numerically. This approximation fails by returning an energy range that extends to negative values for some reactions involving low Z particles at low temperatures, such as the d(d, n)3He and d(d, p)t reactions, which are important for Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. A new code has been written to numerically determine the energy range for the calculation needed to obtain an accuracy of less than 1% in the reaction rate, based on rate contributions from various energies in the Gamow window at a given temperature. This extends the rate calculation capabilities at to include Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. This research is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under grants DE-AC05-00OR22725 (ORNL) and DE-FG02-96ER40955 (Tech).

      See, e.g., C. E. Rolfs and W. S. Rodney, “Cauldrons in the Cosmos,” The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1988), p. 158.

    • Exceptional Learning (Ph.D.)
      Pursuing Diagnosis for Children with Asperger syndrome: Parents' Perspectives
      Xiuchang Ann Huang, John J. Wheeler
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. John J. Wheeler

      Late diagnosis in children with Asperger syndrome (AS) is common. The purpose of this qualitative study is to reveal the parents' experiences and perspectives of pursuing diagnosis for their children with AS in order to assist other parents’ of children with similar symptoms in pursuing diagnosis earlier and more successfully. The major research method is semi-structured interview. Parents from 8 families participated in this study. Data were coded and categorized first and then were analyzed using constant comparison method. Finally conclusion was made and recommendations were provided.

    • Chemical Engineering (Graduate)
      Ordered Nanolayers of Ceramic Nanoparticles
      Prasad S. Bhosale
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Holly Stretz

      Postsynthesis processing of nanoparticles in polymer nanocomposites to obtain meso- and bulk scale hierarchical structures remains a challenge for nanotechnology and for smart materials development. This work is to investigate a coating processes to achieve ordered arrays of anisotropic, high modulus nanoparticles ceramic nanoparticles like fumed silica and montmorillonite clay nanoparticles which contribute a combination of stiffness, wear resistance and thermal stability to the final material. While ordered arrays of nanoparticles are reported often in the literature [1-3], the results are generally for spherical gold and silver-type nanoparticles, and to our knowledge deposition of anisotropic, high modulus particles on polymer surfaces (outside of carbon nanotubes) is not well understood. In particular this study is focused on the deposition by layer by layer deposition [4], nanoparticle self assembly processes [5] and CO2 expanded liquid deposition [6].

      T P Bigioni, X M Lin, T T Nguyen, E I Corwin, T A Witten, H M Jager, Nature Materials, 3, 2006, 265-270.

      D Xia, D Li, Y Luo, S R J Brueck, Adv. Mater. 2006, 18, 930-933.

      Yi Chi, M T Bjork, J A Liddle, B Boussert, and A Alivisatos, Nano Letters 2004,Vol 4, No 6, 1093-1098.

      P Podsiadlo, S Paternal, J M Rouillard, Z Zhang, J Lee, J W Lee, E Gulari, N A Kotov, Langmuir 2005, 21, 11915-11921.

      X M Lin, H M Jaeger, C M Sorensen, K J Klabunde, J. Phys. Chem. B 2001, 105, 3353- 3357.

      M C McLeod, C L Kitchens, C B Roberts, Langmuir 2005, 21, 2414-2418.

    • Chemical Engineering (Graduate)
      Investigating Nanoparticle Dispersion in a Monomer Solution
      D. R. Gollamandala
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Ileana Carpen

      Composite materials are becoming increasingly important in a number of industries, due to their various advantageous properties, a factor that has led to growing interest in the development of new compounds. The combination of nanoparticles (or nanotubes) and polymers1 is amongst the most promising of these new materials, but also introduces unique production issues. One of the most troubling of these is the issue of dispersion. Nanoparticles tend to aggregate2, and designing a well-mixed system of nanoparticles and polymers is difficult. Experimentally, the level of dispersion is difficult to determine and therefore difficult to alter, but this problem can be avoided by studying the material in silico. By using computer simulations to study systems of nanoparticles and monomers3 (or varying chain-length polymers), we are able to investigate the factors affecting the dispersion of nanoparticles in the monomer/polymer matrix.

      George J. Papakonstantopoulos et al, Physical Review E 72, 031801 _2005.

      Sinyagin. A.Y et al, J. Phys. Chem. B 2006, 110, 7500-7507.

      Michele Vacatello, Macromolecules 2001, 34, 1946-1952.

    • Chemical Engineering (Graduate)
      Electrokinetic-Based Drug Delivery Through the Skin and Separation of Biomacromolecules
      Jennifer Pascal, Ryan O’Hara, Mario Oyanader
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Pedro Arce

      Electrokinetic-based methods are a promising way to accomplish effective and non-invasive delivery of drugs. By using a capillary model for the skin and, applying the principles of electrostatics and hydrodynamics, velocity profiles were determined for two types of idealized capillary geometries assumed to exist in the skin, rectangular and cylindrical. Volumetric flowrates were determined for both geometries so that effect of the geometry in predictions can be assessed. Electrokinetic-based methods are also useful in Bio-Separations. It has been found that applying an electrical field orthogonally to a Poiseulle flow regime, decreases the optimal separation time [1]. Therefore, a similar analysis was performed for a Couette-electrokinetic based separator, often used to separate biomacromolecules. By utilizing the area averaging technique along with the principles of electrostatics and hydrodynamics, effective parameters were determined to predict optimal times of the separation of biomacromolecules.

      Oyanader, Mario, P. Arce. “Role of geometrical dimensions in electrophoresis applications with orthogonal fields.” Electrophoresis. (26): 2005, 2857-2866.

    • Chemical Engineering (Undergraduate)
      Investigating Tumor Growth in the Presence of Drugs
      Nemoy Rau
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Ileana Carpen

      Cells continuously adapt to changing conditions through coordinated molecular and mechanical responses. As cells evolve for their surroundings, uncontrollable, abnormal growth patterns can occur leading to cancer. These events can be studied using different methodologies. Mathematical models can integrate the different aspects of complex tumor growth allowing for a non-experimental study of cancer.[1-3] We use the cellular automaton model to take into account multiple factors affecting tumor growth in tissue. In this in silico “experiment,” a multiscale mathematical model of tumor growth based upon molecular and life cycle features is used. This model includes life cycle parameters such as replication rate and life span and possible drug effects. This type of model can be used to test prototype drugs and compare their effectiveness on tumor growth under different conditions and location of application.

      Quaranta V, W. A., Cummings P, Anderson A (2005). "Mathematical modeling of cancer: The future prognosis and treatment." Clinica Chimica Acta 357: 173-179.

      Wein L, W. J., Kirn D (2003). "Validation and Analysis of a Mathematical Model of a Replication-competent Oncolytic Virus for Cancer Treatment: Implications for Virus Design and Delivery." Cancer Research 63: 1317-1324.

      Tzafriri A, L. E., Flashner-Barak M, Hinchcliffe M, Ratner E, Parnas H (2005). "Mathematical Modeling and Optimization of Drug Delivery from Intratumorally Injected Microspheres." Clinical Cancer Research 11: 826-834.

    • Chemical Engineering (Undergraduate)
      The Effect of Charged Laponite Nanoparticles on Polyacrylamide Electrophoresis of Proteins
      Hope E Sedrick, Jennifer R Bollig
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Holly Stretz, Dr. Pedro Arce

      Currently, there is an interest in novel drug delivery systems and diagnostic capabilities. One possible approach is to add charged nanoparticles to the polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis system to observe the difference in protein separation efficiency. Another approach included creating templated pores by polymerizing a polyacrylamide gel with various macromolecules (including DNA, xanthan, and SDS) randomly dispersed throughout the gel and removed before performing gel electrophoresis, which improved protein separation efficiency1. Polyacrylamide gels were successfully cast and crosslinked with well dispersed, charged nanoparticles of varying diameters (Southern Clay Laponite RD and an experimental Laponite) at a concentration of approximately 1% (w/w). The nanoparticle dispersion is characterized by the visual clarity of the resultant gels and by environmental scanning electron microscopy. The charged nature of the nanoparticles is expected to improve the protein separation efficiency of the polyacrylamide gel, by comparison to the analogous system where templated pores were introduced into the gel. Future work could include modifying the current drug delivery systems to optimize the performance capabilities of pharmaceuticals.

      Rill RL, Locke, BR, Liu, Y, Dharia, J, Van Winkle, D, “Protein electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gels with templated pores,” Electrophoresis 17 (1996) 1304-1312

    • Civil and Environmental Engineering (Graduate)
      Internal Curing Materials to Mitigate Early Age Shrinkage in High Performance Portland Cement Mortars
      Kristen Batey
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Benjamin Mohr

      With the advent of high performance concrete containing low water-to-cement ratios, early age shrinkage cracking of concrete has occurred with greater frequency. Early age cracking (primarily due to autogenous shrinkage) significantly compromises the durability of the concrete. This research program is investigating the effect of internal curing materials such as saturated lightweight aggregates on cement pastes, mortars, and concretes. Currently, internal curing materials have been evaluated for their shrinkage reducing effectiveness in cement pastes and mortars at early and later ages. One important aspect of this research will be to investigate the movement of internal curing water in the cementitious microstructure at early ages. Analytical techniques are presently being considered to assess the distance and rate of water transport through the microstructure. The ability to determine an effective area of influence around internal curing materials would significantly improve the understanding of water movement through the evolving pore structure.

    • Electrical and Computer Engineering (Graduate)
      Determination of Feeder Losses by an Improved Linear Model in a Radial Circuit
      Ndaga Mwakabuta
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Arun Sekar

      Feeder losses play an important role in the economics of a distribution system. In the traditional power flow analysis algorithms, the losses are determined as a follow up of the feeder voltages and currents. In this paper the line flow based analysis proposed by Yan and Sekar [1] is extended to derive an improved linear model that can directly evaluate the losses with sufficiently good accuracy. The proposed technique uses feeder section power and reactive power and the receiving end voltage as the variables to be determined. After writing line voltage equations and power and reactive power balance equations at each feeder section, the improved linear model is derived using the Taylor series expansion.

      The improved model is applied to the standard IEEE 13 Node Test Feeder distribution system and shown to provide the losses quite accurately. The paper provides extensions of application of the model to solve some practical problems.

    • Electrical and Computer Engineering (Graduate)
      Time Reversal for UWB Communications
      Chenming Zhou (Pictured) and Qiang Zhang
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Robert Qiu

      This paper experimentally investigates the scheme of time reversal (TR) combined with multiple-input single-output (MISO) antennas over ultra-wideband (UWB) channels. In particular, temporal and spatial focusing as well as array gain are studied based on a 4*1 MISO scheme in an office environment.

      The results confirm that the energy of UWB signals in an MISO scheme is more spatial-temporally focused than in a single-input single-output (SISO) scheme. As a result, a strong peak is observed in the equivalent channel impulse response. The magnitude of this peak grows linearly with the square root of the number of antenna elements at the transmitter. All the measurements and data processing are completed in the time domain.

      Based on the experiment results, a UWB testbed with TR capability is developing in our lab. Some of the most recent results on the testbed will be shown.

    • Electrical and Computer Engineering (Undergraduate)
      System Identification and Control of Counter Gravity Systems
      Malik Davis
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Sally Pardue

      The research performed was used to develop a controller for a counter gravity casting machine. The counter gravity casting machine was originally a SISO system that uses a transducer to turn voltage into a pressure that is used to control the position of two valves. This setup uses a PID controller to control the voltage that is being sent to the transducer and thus controls the pressure in the system.

      While this setup has the advantage of being very simple, it tends to respond poorly within certain pressure ranges. This poor response is attributed to the pressure in the plenum that dramatically decreases during periods of high flow rate through the valves. After this period of high flow rate the system struggles to reach pressures any higher than its current state. The research done describes different methods and controllers that avoid the problem with high flow rate.

    • Industrial and Systems Engineering (Graduate)
      Parameter Utilization in the Cross Dock Problem
      Chad Bournes, Jennifer Cloud, Vanessa Kasten, Jake Mitchell, Chris Potts (Not Pictured), Tarrah Wilkerson
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. David Elizandro

      In the cross dock environment arriving freight, measured in handling units, are moved from a trailer to a stripping door to a destination trailer at a loading door (Elizandro). The goal in the cross dock problem was to find the most efficient layout of shipping and receiving doors, subject to material and distance  constraints. This representation of the cross dock problem is an application of the quadratic assignment problem (Taha). A genetic algorithm was created to search for the five best configurations. The algorithm incorporates set parameters, e.g., number of chromosomes, mutations, and gene splices, that affect the performance of the search (Cheng). This research study will identify which algorithm parameters have the greatest affect on finding the best solutions in the least amount of time.

      Taha, Hamdy A., Operations Research: An Introduction. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2007.

      Cheng, Runwei and Mitsuo Gen., Genetic Algorithms and Engineering Design. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1997.

      Elizandro, David. Discrete Event Simulation in an Excel/VBA Environment, Draft Manuscript, 2005

    • Manufacturing & Industrial Technology (Undergraduate)
      Analysis of Lost Foam Casting Grain Refinement in Magnesium AM60B
      James Droke, Dr. Kenneth Currie
      Qingyou Han (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

      The addition of hexachloroethane aides as a degas agent and a means of grain refinement when added to cast metals. By using a vacuum chamber and a 1% solution of hexachloroethane dissolved in ethanol, the foam was impregnated with a small amount of the degas agent. Thirty six samples were analyzed with the use of a microscope and austenite reticle after a two hour heat treatment followed by mounting, grinding, polishing and etching all samples. Through a series of experiments including different types of foam, the addition of hexachloroethane through impregnation, addition of degas agent in molten metal and without degas agent was tested and analyzed. The results show that the addition of hexachloroethane inside the pattern before casting is better in reducing grain size than no degas agent. Using the degas agent in the molten metal with a low fusion level foam resulted the lowest average grain size.

    • Mechanical Engineering (Graduate)
      Modeling Friction Stir Welding Heat Transfer
      Satish Perivilli
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. John Peddieson, Dr. Jie Cui

      Friction Stir Welding (FSW) heat transfer has been an area of concentrated research over the past few years [1-5]. The amount of heat generated during the process defines the quality of weld, its mechanical properties and workpiece and tool distortion. For this study, a quasi-steady numerical model pertinent to a typical partial penetration configuration is developed using FLUENT and validated with its literature source. Subsequently, this formulation is extended to full penetration and self-reacting FSW configurations. Mechanical dissipation heating, responsible for the welding is modeled by means of a thermal boundary condition at the tool surfaces. The resulting temperature distributions are analyzed at various planes and lines for the three configurations studied. It is shown that the partial and full penetration models predict the same peak temperature whereas the self-reacting configuration predicts a higher temperature owing to the additional bottom shoulder.

      McClure, J. C., Feng, Z., Tang, T., Gould, J. E., Murr, L. E., Guo, X., “A Thermal Model of Friction Stir Welding,” 5th International Conference on Trends in Welding Research, 1998, p 590-595

      Chao, Y. J., Qi, X., “Thermal and Thermo-Mechanical Modeling of Friction Stir Welding of Aluminum Alloy 6061-T6,” Journal of Materials Processing and Manufacturing Science, v 7, 1998, pp 215-233.

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    • Mechanical Engineering (Undergraduate)
      Nondestructive Infrared Thermography for Characterization of EPS Foam Fusion
      Viktor L. Orekhov
      Faculty Research Advisor: Dr. Sally Pardue

      The degree of fusion in foam patterns has been shown to have a significant effect on defects in the lost foam casting process. As a result, an increasing amount of interest has developed to find a method capable of measuring fusion nondestructively. In the present research, several infrared techniques typically used in thermography have been examined in an effort to develop a method of characterizing bead fusion. The results indicate that one-sided techniques will be challenging to implement due to the foam properties in the infrared spectrum. Nevertheless, a two-sided technique has been developed which exploits infrared radiation to reveal fusion variations within a pattern. The technique has been effectively used in both qualitative and quantitative measurements on simple patterns.



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