2014 HBCU/UCR Joint Kickoff Meeting Project Descriptions


University of Nebraska at Lincoln – FE0023061
Vertically Aligned Carbon-Nanotubes Embedded in Ceramic Matrices for Hot Electrode Applications
PI: Yongfeng Lu
FPM: Barbara Carney

The objective of this project is to develop carbon nanotube (CNT)-ceramic (C) composite structures, in which vertically aligned (VA) carbon nanotubes are embedded in ceramic matrices for hot electrode applications such as magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) power systems. Four objectives will be accomplished as follows: (1) Super growth of vertically aligned (VA) CNT carpets, (2) Fabrication of CNT-boron nitride (BN) composite structures, (3) Stability and resistance studies of the CNT-BN composite structures, and (4) Thermionic emissions from the CNT-BN composite structures.

University of Idaho – FE0022988
Boride based electrode materials with enhanced stability under extreme conditions for MHD Direct Power Extraction
PI: Indrajit Charit
FPM: Jason Hissam

The objective of this project is to develop a boride based ultrahigh temperature ceramic material that possesses all the required properties to function as sustainable electrodes in direct power extraction applications based on magneto-hydrodynamics. Transition metal borides display several unique properties including high melting point, high electrical and thermal conductivities, high strength and hardness even at elevated temperatures, and chemical stability. All these properties are desirable for development of electrodes for high temperature applications. However, the primary concern of borides is their limited resistance to oxidation in air. This is why a novel composition of borides incorporating
SiC will be developed and characterized in the proposed research.

University of Washington – FE0023142
Precursor-Derived Nanostructured Si-C-X Materials for MHD Electrode Applications
PI: Fumio Ohuchi
FPM: Jason Hissam

The overall goal is to investigate the processing, stability and properties (thermal, mechanical and electrical) of nanostructured silicon carbide (SiC) based materials for magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) electrode applications, and their performance under conditions appropriate for MHD applications. The specific objectives of the proposed research are to investigate: 1) The effect of precursor stoichiometry (specifically C/Si) and processing conditions (e.g. temperature) on the size of the nanodomains, nature of carbon (e.g. graphene sheets, carbon nanoparticles) and crystalline nanostructure of the ceramic; 2) The effect of the nanostructure on the mechanical and thermal properties at elevated temperatures. Nanostructural parameters of interest are the size of nanodomains, the nature of carbon based nanodomains, and the size and volume fraction of SiC; 3) The effect of the third element, X, in SiC based matrix as the Si-C-X form on the thermo-electrical properties; 4) The approaches to surface modifications of the electrodes in order to enhance the thermionic emissions, and characterize physical parameters controlling it; and 5) The effect of plasma irradiation on the stability of the nanostructure and composition using a high density plasma-materials testing facility.

Florida International University – FE0023114
Development of Reduced Order Model for Reacting Gas-Solids Flow using Proper Orthogonal Decomposition
PI: Seckin Gokaltun
FPM: Jessica Mullen

This computational project aims to improve the robustness of the reduced order models (ROMs) for two-fluid model (TFM) simulations that solve for averaged equations in the gas and solid phases by implementing a proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) technique. This will be achieved by avoiding non-physical solutions of the gas void fraction due to an incomplete set of modes and modifying the reduced kinetics models used for reactive flows in fluidized beds in satisfying the differential entropy inequality. Two test cases—a bubbling fluidized bed and an idealized riser flow—are chosen as being representative of the wide range of operating conditions encountered in multiphase reactors. MFIXTFM code will be compared with results obtained with the ROMs for pure hydrodynamic flow, flow with heat transfer and with chemical reactions in order to assess the uncertainty of the results and assess the computational efficiency of the ROMs. Texas A&M University is a subcontractor on this award.

Prairie View A&M University – FE0023040
Post Combustion Carbon Capture using Polyethylenimine (PEI) Functionalized Titanate Nanotubes
PI: Raghava Kommalapati
FPM: Jessica Mullen

This project aims to develop a novel nanomaterial to efficiently capture CO2 from the flue gas in fossil energy power generation. This novel nanomaterial will have the advantages of the unique porous properties of Titanate (TiO2-derived) nanotubes and the adsorption features of impregnated polyethylenimine (PEI). The major objectives of the project are to (i) develop a protocol to synthesize and characterize PEI impregnated TiO2 nanotubes, and (ii) utilize CFD model simulations (which are validated using experimental data) to design and optimize carbon capture reactor and the operating parameters. A thorough literature review will be conducted to establish the knowledge base on the topic. TiO2 nanotubes will be fabricated using hydrothermal method with some appropriate optimizations. PEI functionalization will be conducted using impregnation method, which is commonly used for amine functionalization. Several reaction conditions such as temperature, concentration and other parameters will be studied to optimize this synthesis procedure. The PEI impregnated TiO2 nanotubes will then be studied using CFD simulations as well as extensive experimental testing to validate and develop an optimized standard operating procedure for carbon capture.

University of Cincinnati – FE0022993
Robust Metal-Ceramic Coaxial Cable Sensors for Distributed Temperature Monitoring in Harsh Environments of Fossil Energy Power Systems
PI: Junhang Dong
FPM: Jessica Mullen

The objective of this work is to develop a new type of low cost, robust metal-ceramic coaxial cable (MCCC) Fabry-Perot interferometer (FPI) sensor and demonstrate the capability of cascading a series of FPIs in a single MCCC for real-time distributed monitoring of temperature up to 1000 °C. The sensor will be operated in various gas environments relevant to coal-based power production to examine its stability in practical applications. The scope of this project include: (i) developing metal and ceramic materials with properties suitable for constructing the novel metal-ceramic coaxial cable and microwave reflectors, (ii) fabricating single FPI and multi-point FPIs in one MCCC, (iii) developing instrument and algorithm for microwave signal processing, (iv) demonstrating the MCCCFPI sensors for temperature measurements up to 1000 °C, (v) examining the MCCC-FPI sensor stability in high temperature gases relevant to coal-based power plants, and (vi) improving the spatial resolution for truly distributed sensing using the multi-point MCCC FPI sensor with joint time frequency domain signal processing method. Clemson University is a subcontractor on this award.

University of Massachusetts at Lowell – FE0023031
Distributed fiber sensing systems for 3D combustion temperature field monitoring in coal-fired boilers using optically generated acoustic waves
PI: Xingwei Wang
FPM: Jessica Mullen

The overall objective of the project is to develop a novel distributed optical fiber sensing system for real-time monitoring and optimization of spatial and temporal distributions of high temperature profiles in a boiler furnace in fossil power plants. The work will be of great significance because the distributed fiber sensors can survive high temperatures and the optically generated acoustic signals can measure even higher temperature distributions where the fibers do not reach (e.g., 2000 ̊C). The reconstructed 3D temperature profile will provide critical input for the control mechanisms to optimize the combustion process. This will address the critical problem in fossil energy power plants of achieving higher efficiency and fewer pollutant emissions. Specific objectives are to: 1) Establish a boiler furnace temperature distribution model and guide the design of the sensing system; 2) Develop the sensors with one active sensing element on each fiber as well as a temperature distribution reconstruction algorithm for proof-of-concept; 3) Develop the distributed sensing system to integrate multiple active sensing elements on a single optical fiber. The entire sensing system, when fully integrated and tested in the university labs, will be tested on Alstom’s combustion test facility. The novel distributed sensor can have broader applications including measurements of strain, flow, velocity, and crack growth and corrosion for structural health monitoring. The University of Connecticut and Alstom Power, Inc., are subcontractors on this award.

University of Texas at Arlington – FE0023118
Distributed Wireless Antenna Sensors for Boiler Condition
PI: Haiying Huang
FPM: Sydni Credle

University of Texas Arlington (UTA) will develop wireless antenna sensors to provide distributed sensing of temperature, strain, and soot accumulation inside a coal-fired boiler. The objectives for the project include 1) a methodology to realize low-cost antenna sensor arrays that can withstand high temperature and high-pressure environment, 2) a wireless interrogation technique that can remotely interrogate the sensors at long distance with high resolution, and 3) material and fabrication recipes for synthesizing flexible dielectric substrates with controlled dielectric properties. University of California San Diego (UCSD) is the sole subcontract on this award. The benefit of this project includes distributed sensing for in-process control, real-time health assessment of structural components, and improved heat transfer efficiency of boilers.

Delaware State University – FE0023024
Novel Silica Nanostructured Platforms with Engineered Surface Functionality and Spherical Morphology for Low-Cost High-Efficiency Carbon Capture in Advanced Fossil Energy Power
PI: Cheng-Yu Lai
FPM: Barbara Carney

The objective of this project is to develop a better solid sorbent for carbon capture from flue gas. A
nanosheets-made silica nanoshere (NSN) sorbent and an improved amine-containing NSN (PolyNSN) sorbent with amine functionality will be formulated. The NSN sorbent with spatial control of CO2 capture amine functionality and high amine loading at least 7 mmol N/g sorbent, should yield an adsorption capacity of at least 4 mmol CO2 per gram of NSN sorbent. Engineering a gate-keeping polymeric layer on the surface of the amine-containing NSN (PolyNSN), should yield a CO2 adsorption capacity of at least 5 mmol CO2 per gram of sorbent from a 15% CO2 simulated flue gas.

Clark Atlanta University – FE0022952
Engineering Accessible Adsorption Sites in Metal Organic Frameworks for CO2 Capture
PI: Conrad Ingram
FPM: Sydni Credle

Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are a relatively new class of ultra-high surface area materials that show great potential as selective adsorbents for CO2. These highly porous structures, which are synthesized from the covalent bonding of metal ions with organic linkers, possess cages and channels that can be loaded with adsorption sites. This research effort will synthesize MOFs with improved CO2 adsorption and selectivity properties. The three specific objectives of this project are as follows: 1)Synthesize MOFs with metal ions as adsorption sites in more accessible locations (toward the center of the organic linkers) in order to enhance their CO2 adsorption characteristics; 2) Synthesize MOFs with nitrogen containing-ligand linker as a possible improved alternative to amine-functionalized MOFs that are known to be effective adsorbents for the gas; and, 3) Understand the nature of the adsorption sites and mechanism(s) of adsorption by computational analysis.