News Release| NSF-funded Math Projects; Cal State L.A.


Cal State L.A. implements new system for fluid flow study, investigates
redesign of terahertz detector camera

research teams receive National Science Foundation support

Los Angeles, CA –
Two Cal State L.A. research
teams—directed by CSULA Mechanical Engineering Professor Arturo J.
(Arcadia resident)—are analyzing new instructional
strategies and experimental system to better understand the physics of
fluid flow as well as exploring the redesign of a terahertz detector
camera for high-energy physics research, respectively.

Through the

Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR) program, the National
Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Cal State L.A. a pair of grants to
support these research projects.

Working in
collaboration with scientists at Interactive Flow Studies in Rochester,
MN, Pacheco-Vega has teamed up with CSULA Professors Crist Khachikian
and Gustavo Menezes to conduct a study on the “Implementation
of Educational Particle Image Velocimetry Suits in Fluid Mechanics
Laboratory Experiments

According to
Pacheco-Vega, the overall objective is to develop and implement a number
of visualization experiments within the framework of a so-called
education particle image velocimetry (ePIV), which was recently
developed to be used in fluid mechanics lab.

A fluid is defined
as “any material that flows in response to an applied shear stress;
thus, both liquids and gases are fluids.” The field of fluid mechanics
is concerned with the way a fluid flows under the action of forces. For
instance, fluid flows can be driven by changes in pressure, density
and/or temperature.

He added, “Since
flow visualization with the ePIV system provides an excellent
opportunity to appreciate the complexity of flow phenomena, our team is
focusing on creating learning materials, implementing new instructional
strategies, developing faculty expertise, and assessing student
achievement toward understanding the physics of fluid flow.”

The $105,000
two-year NSF grant has enabled CSULA undergraduate student, Ricardo
Medina of civil engineering, to also be involved with this project.

working directly with engineers at RadiaBeam Technologies in Santa
Monica, Pacheco-Vega and CSULA Professor Adel Sharif have already
designed a low-cost, wideband detector camera and are currently focusing
on creating a prototype that reflects their “Analysis and Redesign of
a Terahertz (THz) Camera

“The prototype
camera,” Pacheco-Vega explained, “can be used as a diagnostic tool for
terahertz sources, such as a free electron laser for high-energy physics
research. It is capable of generating spatially-resolved images of
radiation beams in a multispectral range of wavelengths, from infrared
to terahertz. The symbol ‘THz’ refers to the frequency values of
electromagnetic waves in the 1012 cycles-per-second range.”

This project is
supported by another $105,000 NSF grant to investigate and redesign the
THz camera with a target holder and water chamber for thermal analysis
as well as material science experiments. CSULA undergraduate students
who have contributed to the project include Usama Tohid, Sevak Ghazaryan
and Harutyun Hakobayan from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Also, Guillaume Hufschmitt from France participated in the project as an
intern during the fall quarter.

Pacheco-Vega, who received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from
University of Notre Dame, is an expert in the areas of thermal and
fluids engineering. His research is focused on the simulation,
optimization and control of energy systems, and on the application of
soft computing techniques in complex systems.

Sharif received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from CSULA and his
Ph.D. in materials science engineering from UC Irvine. His expertise is
in machine design and materials science.  

Menezes, who received his Ph.D. in infrastructures and environmental
systems from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, is an expert
in the areas of solute migration in natural systems and water quality.

Khachikian, who earned his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering
from UCLA, specializes in the areas of fluid mechanics, environmental
engineering, sewage treatment, and groundwater contamination and

Program aims to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms
to undertake cutting-edge, high-risk, high-quality scientific,
engineering, or science/engineering education research that would have a
high potential economic payoff if the research is successful.

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