Upcoming Seminars

Week of January 23Week of January 30Week of February 6Week of February 13

Electrical Engineering

Degree Timeliness and Requirements and Job Safety and Health. It's the Law!

Thursday, January 26, 2017; 4:35 p.m.
062 Willard Building
Speaker: SherryDawn Jackson and David De Capria from Penn State

*Graduate students are required to attend

Hosted by: Vishal Monga,  Electrical Engineering  (vmonga@engr.psu.edu)

Engineering Dean's Office

“Geothermal Energy Storage and Role in Soil Improvement”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017; 11:15 am - 12:15 pm
125 Reber Building
Speaker: John McCartney from University of California San Diego

Abstract: This presentation will introduce the concept of borehole-thermal energy storage (BTES) systems that function by injecting heat from renewable sources (e.g., solar thermal panels) into the subsurface soil or rock using geothermal heat exchangers, where it is stored until needed at a later time for heating of buildings or other applications. BTES systems are an excellent strategy for providing space-efficient, renewable and low-cost district heating on different scales. Simulations of BTES systems will be presented that highlight the main variables affecting their performance, focusing on BTES systems installed in the vadose zone. Unsaturated soils in the vadose zone provide an excellent location for storing thermal energy due to their relatively low thermal conductivity and good specific heat capacity. Results from a case study on solar thermal energy storage in a BTES system installed in San Diego will also be presented to highlight the practical implementation of these systems. The presentation will conclude with insights into how thermal energy can be used for beneficial geotechnical purposes, including improvement of soft clays, drying of unsaturated soils, or modification of processes in municipal solid waste landfills. Opportunities for cross-discipline research will also be highlighted. Bio: Before joining the UC San Diego faculty in Fall 2014, John S. McCartney was on the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Arkansas. He received BS and MS degrees in civil engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2003 and a PhD degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. His research interests in geotechnical engineering include unsaturated soil mechanics, geosynthetics, foundation engineering, and issues at the interface between geothermal energy and geotechnical engineering. He has received several research awards, including the Walter L. Huber Research Prize from ASCE in 2016, the Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award from ASCE in 2013, the J. James R. Croes medal from ASCE in 2012, the DFI Young Professor Award in 2012, the NSF Faculty Early Development (CAREER) Award in 2011, and the Young IGS Award from the International Geosynthetics Society in 2008. His teaching efforts were recognized by the 2012 Shamsher Prakash Prize for Excellence in Teaching of Geotechnical Engineering. For his service on ASTM Committee D18 on Soil and Rock, he has received the President’s Leadership Award in 2013 and the Richard S. Ladd D18 Standards Development Award in 2011. He is an editor for ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering (JGGE), and is active on the editorial boards of ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal (GTJ), Computers and Geotechnics, Geosynthetics International, Soils and Foundations, Géotechnique Letters, Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, and the Canadian Geotechnical Journal.

Hosted by: Bobbi Schaffer,  Engineering Dean's Office  (blsdo@engr.psu.edu)

Engineering Science and Mechanics

A Physics-based Test and Evaluation Methodology for High-fidelity Dynamic Thrust Measurements of Ground Tested Propulsion Systems

Wednesday, January 25, 2017; 3:35pm - 4:25pm
160 Willard Building
Speaker: Brian J. Olson from Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University

ABSTRACT Next-generation "hit-to-kill" guided interceptor missiles require stringent thruster performance of the kinetic warhead Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) to defeat stressing enemy threats in the exoatmoshpere. These solid propellant propulsion systems are hotfired in a static ground test configuration to assess critical thrust response parameters and demonstrate system performance under required environmental and operational conditions. High fidelity dynamic thrust measurements require an integrated approach involving a custom 6-degree-offreedom thrust test stand, modal characterization of the ground test configuration, and an inverse dynamics methodology to estimate free-flightrepresentative thruster forces based on a network of thrust stand force sensors. Static accuracy of the thrust stand is achieved by a static calibration process, which accounts only for constant error sources such as tolerances, sensor error, misalignment, and so on. Dynamic thrust accuracy involves compensation of vibration characteristics (test artifacts) of the entire test configuration structure: motor, calibrated thrust stand, and test cell. An inverse force identification methodology is used to estimate the net dynamic forces generated by axial pairs of DACS thrusters using measurements from a planar array of thrust stand force sensors. The inverse operation exploits analytical frequency response functions (experimentally derived from modal surveys of the test configuration) that capture the force transmissibility from thruster inputs to thrust stand sensor outputs of the pre- and post-hotfire motor configuration. Because the test configuration frequency response changes as the test duty cycle evolves (caused by propellant mass loss and other factors), a temporal frequency response technique is used to account for vibration modes that migrate during the test. This dynamic compensation process directly targets structural vibration modes (test artifacts) for removal without appreciably affecting the “true" thrust (or flight-configuration self-induced vibration environment), which effectively increases the thrust stand measurement bandwidth capability and significantly improves the resolution of dynamic thrust events compared to conventional methodologies. The force identification methodology has been applied to several DACS technologies throughout the risk reduction, system performance, demonstration, design verification, and qualification phases of development.

Hosted by: Akhlesh Lakhtakia,  Engineering Science and Mechanics  (mff3@psu.edu)

Leonhard Center

From Practice to Publishing: How to take classroom innovations and turn them into scholarly papers

Wednesday, January 25, 2017; 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
202 Hammond Building
Speaker: Sarah Zappe and Stephanie Cutler from PSU

On January 25, Sarah Zappe and Stephanie Cutler from the Leonhard Center will lead a workshop to help you (faculty and graduate students) get started conducting and potentially publishing education-related research and scholarship projects in engineering.  This interactive workshop will discuss how to move from practice to published work.  The following topics will be discussed:  Coming up with interesting research ideas, Strategies for collecting and analyzing data, Where to publish your research (conferences and journals), Human subjects considerations (IRB). Lunch will be provided.


Hosted by: Sarah Zappe,  The Leonhard Center  (ser163@psu.edu)

Mechanical Engineering

Designing Two-Dimensional Materials and Redox-active Polymers for Safe and Sustainable Energy Storage

Monday, January 23, 2017; 4:00 - 5:00 PM
26 Hosler Building
Speaker: Prof. Yan Yao from University of Houston

To meet surging demand for sustainable energy, one critical requirement is to develop high-energy, safe and low-cost rechargeable batteries for electric transportation and grid storage. In this talk, I will first present an interlayer expansion approach in multivalent ion battery to overcome the large Mg-ion diffusion barrier as well as a new storage mechanism enabled by MgCl-ion with high reversible capacity. In the second part, I will demonstrate p-conjugated redox-active polymers that could be stably and reversibly n-doped to a high doping level and applications of these polymers in long-cycle-life aqueous batteries.

Hosted by: Donghai Wang,  Mechanical Engineering  (dwang@engr.psu.edu)

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