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Novel Concrete Systems

Professor Narayanan Neithalath, of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is primarily interested in the area of cement based materials, including concretes and structural composites. His particular interests are in the development of novel concrete systems for unconventional applications like Enhanced Porosity Concretes, concretes incorporating industrial wastes or by-products like glass powder, high carbon fly ash, and limestone powder.  His work also focuses on the material characterization, modeling, and performance prediction of high performance cement based materials for multi-functional applications.  His active research projects in this area include investigations on the use of waste glass powder and high carbon fly ash in concrete (which are being carried out in collaboration with industrial partners from New York State) and nano-particle modified cement systems.  He is also engaged in another research project on the development of an impedance based sensing system for monitoring the fresh and hardened state properties of concrete in transportation infrastructure.  

Fuel Cells

Professor Raghunathan Rengaswamy’s research group is working in the areas of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Detailed models have been developed to predict the performance of tubular solid oxide fuel cells. These models are currently being used in optimization studies. A multivariable nonlinear load following controller is being developed. In the area of PEM fuel cells, non-invasive, in situ diagnostics of PEMFC stacks using advanced signal processing algorithms for identifying operational problems are being developed. The group has shown that diagnostics markers can be identified through short time transient testing. They have developed markers for identifying flooding and drying conditions in fuel cells. Two provisional patents have been obtained based on these techniques. Professors Rengaswamy and Greg Campbell are working on the development of composite polymers as membrane replacement and the coating of conductive polymers on alternate low weight, low cost materials to be used as flow manifolds in PEM fuel cells. As a result of pursuing the idea of fuel cells with improved power to weight ratio, Professors Rengaswamy and Campbell have developed tubular PEM fuel cells. Comparisons between the planar and tubular fuel cells using the same non-commercial MEA are very encouraging.

Transparent Sensor

CAMP Professor Feng Hua and his group have developed a prototype for a transparent bending sensor. The sensor is produced by using transparent materials. Its operation is based on the tunneling effect across the ultra-thin dielectric layer. As a result, the sensor does not consume power in the idle position. Also it is less susceptible than the opaque sensors to sunshine and temperature variation because little absorption takes place. As a result, less photo- and thermal-degradation and longer field life are anticipated.  The sensor collects more than one type of signal, including optical signals that travel through it to provide additional information about the object under detection. Potential applications include the multiple signal collection for biological and chemical reactions. The see-through structural health monitor can be made when the transparent force transducer is applied for sustainable infrastructures. Cracks developed under the monitor can be detected by the human eye or by camera, even if the monitor malfunctions.

Wireless Sensor Arrays for Real-Time Industrial and Civil Infrastructure Monitoring

Associate Professor Kerop Janoyan and graduate students in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department continue to work on developing and deploying novel wireless sensors and sensor networks for applications in industrial process monitoring and quality control as well as in civil infrastructure structural health monitoring. See Figure 11. The wireless sensor system is developed specifically for diagnostic monitoring and provides independent conditioning for both accelerometers and strain transducers in addition to high-rate wireless data transmission capable of supporting large-scale sensor arrays. The system interfaces with low-cost MEMS accelerometers using custom signal conditioning for amplification and filtering tailored to a spectrum of vibrations. Additionally, a signal conditioning and high resolution ADC interface is provided for resistive sensors with digital temperature compensation enabled through the use of external thermistors. Embedded and host software applications permit flexible, user-friendly in-network control of sampling parameters, such as channel selections, amplification, sampling rates, digital filter coefficients, decimation ratios, and measurement duration. Also the host software provides access to digital control of sub-circuit power, network status, real-time acquisition, and data logging. Dense field deployments as well as laboratory testing validate the performance of the instrumentation hardware and the design of the transmission protocol

 

CAMP Educational Outreach Programs

1.   Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

CAMP Professors Weiqiang Ding, Feng Hua, John Moosbrugger and Richard Partch will be offering summer 2008 and 2009 workshops titled "An Integrated NanoMaterials Institute: Finding Nano" for Northern New York area middle and high school science teachers. The goal is to increase the understanding about the "nano" technical revolution and to help the teachers prepare lesson plans for their respective-aged students. The workshop is one of ten to be offered in a program that has been funded for over $2M by Federal and State agencies.

2.   Summer Research Internships for High School Seniors

CAMP Professor Richard Partch is serving as coordinator and director of a 6-week summer research program funded by CAMP. The program’s main goal is to elevate the interest in and commitment to engineering and science, of high school seniors in New York State as they enter a college or university community. Four potential student participants were selected for the summer 2007 program. Each participant was to be coupled with a CAMP mentor/professor in the area of the student’s interest. This year the mentors included Professors Silvana Andreescu (chemistry), John McLaughlin (chemical engineering), Don Rasmussen (chemical engineering), and Igor Sokolov (physics). Due to programming complications only one student, Jonathon Tatro from Gouverneur, NY, was able to participate in the 2007 program. He learned a lot from Professor Sokolov's expertise. Announcements for the summer 2008 program, with positions available for up to ten participants, will be circulated to high schools across upstate NY starting in October.

Continued on next page

Figure 11. A bridge on Wright Road just off Route 11 between Canton and Potsdam, New York, was recently instrumented with 40 channels of sensors. The data is being retrieved in real-time at a base station. This large-scale deployment is one of the largest of its kind currently being used in the United States. It demonstrates the use of wireless sensor networks for structural health monitoring as a feasible low-cost, universal approach.

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