Reseach Projects

Title of Project Brief Description of Project Faculty Advisor Funding Availability 
Inexpensive and non-toxic grid-scale energy storage To allow for larger penetration of renewable power such as wind and solar, the strain of their intermittent output on the electrical grid must be alleviated through the use of energy storage. Flow batteries are an ideal battery architecture for large-scale energy storage, and vanadium redox flow batteries are the leading flow battery chemistry, however they require the use of corrosive and toxic acids. In this project we are developing neutral-pH aqueous flow batteries for grid-scale energy storage that are both inexpensive and non-toxic.  John Bachman Funding may be available.
Modeling Metal Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Processes We use various computational tools and models to simulate Selective Laser Melting of metallic alloys. We also look into how solidification microstructure evolves during the process. This project is partially funded by NASA. Mohsen Eshraghi Funding may be available.
Targeted design of combustion experimental conditions Many combustion experiments, such as flow reactor measurements, are performed at conditions without justification. In this project, we will use computational tools to find conditions where experiments will yield the most useful information on reaction rates. Experiments will likely be performed at these conditions by collaborators at other institutions, and then we will extract reaction rates from the measurements. Jeff Santner Funding may be available.
Snake robots for locomotion on sand and in complex environments The goal of this project is to study the snake and sidewinder locomotion on sand and in cluttered spaces. Currently, our team has developed physical and numerical models of such robots. Future tasks involve creating a reliable, controllable, and power-efficient robot.  Arman Pazouki Funding is not available
Driving simulator The goal of this project is to create a virtual reality experience by connecting a physical platform to a physics-based simulation of driving. Our group has already developed a physics-based simulation of a vehicle with capability of moving on sand, obstacles, and in water. Therefore, the future tasks involve connecting the simulation to a physical simulator. Ultimately, we would like to create a platform that interacts with the driver in several ways.  Arman Pazouki Funding is not available
A Novel Approach for Satellite Attitude Control Using Distributed Solar Sails Solar sailing is a new technology in the recent decade that utilizes radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrored surfaces made of aluminized Mylar as the propulsion of satellites. Since it does not need propellants such as chemicals or compressed gasses, solar sailing is considered as a promising solution for spacecraft deep space exploration. IKAROS, launched in 2010, practically proved the possibility of using a solar sail as its propulsion system. An attitude control system is essential for a sail craft to maintain a desired orientation. This project aims to develop a new attitude control method for Satellite through distributed solar sails.  Ni Li Funding may be available
Energy free flight for aerial robots use dynamic soaring Inspired by that birds make use thermal updraft and/or shear wind to flight, this project studies similar engineering solutions for aerial robots.  He Shen Funding may be available. 
Improve the performance of humanoid robots This project allow students to continue advancing robotics technology by using the current generation of humanoid robot "Melo" developed by our group. He Shen Funding is not available.
Educational Robotics Kits and Curriculum Design The project focus on developing the next generation "white box" education robotics kits for STEM education; meanwhile, the robotic platforms will be used for us to study how robots learn new skills though machine learning. He Shen Funding may be available.
High performance wind turbine control system Wind energy is hard to predict, this project studies how learning and predictive control methods will make these engineering systems smarter and more efficient.   He Shen Funding is not available
Analysis and control toward energy-efficient buildings Various sub-topics Arturo Pacheco-Vega Funding may be available
Fractional-order-based mathematical modeling of complex thermal energy systems Various sub-topics Arturo Pacheco-Vega Funding may be available
Heat transfer enhancement in micro-channels Various sub-topics Arturo Pacheco-Vega Funding may be available
Analysis, optimization and control of fuel cells  Various sub-topics Arturo Pacheco-Vega Funding may be available
Development of cleaning-plastic heat-based technologies  Various sub-topics Arturo Pacheco-Vega Funding may be available
Modeling of natural convection loops Various sub-topics Arturo Pacheco-Vega Funding may be available
Application of intelligent systems in thermal engineering Various sub-topics Arturo Pacheco-Vega Funding may be available