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A wind-driven power generating system with a hybrid wind turbine mounted on a floating platform that heels relative to horizontal in the presence of a prevailing wind. The hybrid turbine has a turbine rotor with at least two rotor blades, each mounted to a turbine shaft by at least one strut, and the system is configured so that the shaft forms a predetermined non-zero operating heel angle relative to vertical in the presence of a prevailing wind at a predetermined velocity. The blades and struts are airfoils with predetermined aerodynamic characteristics that generate lift forces with components in the direction of rotation around the shaft of the blades and struts at the operating heel angle to drive an electrical generator carried by the platform. The system can be designed to generate maximum power at the predetermined heel angle or essentially constant power over a range of heel angles.


Flow induced vibration (FIV) at the slip joint between a nuclear reactor jet pump mixer and diffuser is suppressed without installing additional parts or altering the jet pump construction. The disclosed method determines a relationship between reactor operating conditions that trigger FIV and the magnitude of a mixer/diffuser transverse contact load. A mathematical analysis on a representative jet pump configuration determines the quantitative relationship between mixer/diffuser cold positions and their positions when the reactor is operating. Thus, a prediction can be made as to whether an installed jet pump will experience FIV, and the mixer and diffuser can be positioned by a mixer adjustment tool when the reactor is cold to provide the necessary operational transverse contact load. Alternatively, a contact load measuring tool directly measures the magnitude and direction of the cold mixer/diffuser transverse contact load to determine if FIV will be suppressed when the reactor is operating.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: STTR PHASE I | Award Amount: 224.85K | Year: 2015

This STTR Phase I project addresses the need to give engineering students hands-on experience with reliable and robust fluid dynamics analysis software to develop the intuition and exposure that will be required when they graduate. Accurate fluid dynamics analysis is crucial in many disciplines to support product design. Unfortunately, current software is not conducive to the classroom environment, or use by non-experts, due to the level of expertise required and the computational cost. The proposed effort addresses these issues using an innovative approach to implement true push button software that is easy to setup and robust enough for classroom use, yet is accurate enough for reliable predictions. The software will be augmented by multi-media learning tools that will provide just-in-time guidance. This research is transformative in the field of engineering fluid dynamics, particularly in the context of improved science and engineering education. Unlike other disciplines, the governing equations do not lend themselves to solution methods readily implemented by students; similarly current software is hindered by a substantial learning curve and pre-requisite knowledge. This research has the potential to remove this barrier. The software and learning tools developed will have application across all engineering and science disciplines related to fluid motion.

Accurate fluid dynamics analysis is crucial for many industries to support design and life-cycle analysis, and there is a strong need to give engineering students hands-on experience and training with reliable and robust Computational Fluid Dynamics methods so that they can develop the intuition that will be required when they graduate. Unfortunately, contemporary software is not conducive to the classroom environment or use by non-expert engineers due to the computational costs and level of expertise required. The proposed effort directly addresses these issues by implementing true push button software that is easy to setup and robust enough for classroom use, yet is accurate enough for reliable predictions in the teaching, research and industrial environments to provide a platform for students to explore innovative and transformative analysis and design. The ease-of-use offered by the proposed software would finally enable Computational Fluid Dynamics to be brought into the undergraduate engineering classroom, planned in Phase I, and would appeal directly to areas of the commercial market that are not served by current offerings. In Phase I the proposed software will be adapted for the academic environment, and a joint undergraduate and graduate engineering course that uses the software will be developed and taught.


Patent
Continuum Dynamics, Inc. | Date: 2016-04-25

A lift-driven VAWT has a turbine rotor with blades mounted to the turbine shaft by two struts hinged to the shaft and each blade to form a four-bar linkage. The blades airfoil cross section generates lift that rotates the blades around the axis in the presence of a prevailing wind. The airfoil chord forms a geometric angle of attack _(G )relative to the tangent of the blade path and the struts orient the blades with an outward tilt angle . The turbine is designed with values of _(G )and that cause the lift generated by each blade to have an upward component that supports the blade against the force of gravity and a mean radially inward component that substantially balances centrifugal forces on the blade. VAWTs designed according to the principles disclosed herein facilitate the construction of free-floating utility scale wind turbines for deep water installations.


Grant
Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.87K | Year: 2016

This effort addresses an opportunity to dramatically improve the efficacy and safely of applying pesticides and herbicides to crops, by developing a real-time, onboard sprayer control system that will predict spray drift and ground deposition as they occur, providing corrective measures to mitigate drift and improve application. Combining the accuracy of existing precision agriculture tools with the ability to directly predict, control, and log spray application and drift in real-time will dramatically impact crop production, crop protection, and worker/public safety in the United States. Verification and validation of the approach and its implementation and testing on a production sprayer will demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.This research will satisfy four of the USDA strategic goals by developing of a more efficient and safer way to apply pesticides and herbicides. Strategic Goal 1 (assist rural communities to create prosperity so they are self-sustaining, repopulating, and economically thriving) will be addressed by enhancing crop yields and productivity, which will lead to improved farmer profits, exports, and availability of the finished products produced from the crops. Strategic Goal 2 (ensure our national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while enhancing our water resources) will be addressed by enabling more efficient and safer methods for applying pesticides and herbicides to protect our forests and working lands from invasive or non-indigenous species (i.e. spruce budworm and gypsy moth). Moreover, by directly mitigating the drift of applied chemicals, drift related contamination of water resources and the environment will be reduced. Strategic Goals 3 (help America promote agricultural production and biotechnology exports as America works to increase food security), and 4 (ensure that all of America's children have access to safe, nutritious, and balanced meals) will be addressed in a similar manner to Strategic Goal 1 through enhancing yields and ultimately increasing US food exports and ensuring access to safe food.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.80K | Year: 2016

The product concept combines stability and high gas transport of amorphous fluoropolymers with high selectivity of silver salts to create a new membrane with excellent separation, fouling resistance to sulfurous and other gases, and superb stability at high flux.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.88K | Year: 2016

Interest in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for civilian use has increased greatly in recent years and is expected to grow significantly in the future. NASA is involved in research that would greatly benefit from advancing the ability of UAS to make autonomous real-time decisions based on sensor data. This SBIR effort will provide this capability, developing and demonstrating an intelligent controller for a UAS that can autonomously perform agricultural chemical spraying leveraging EPA-approved software and following NASA guidelines for suggested certification requirements for commercial UAS over 55 lbs. This is a high-value civilian application well-suited to autonomous UAS given the dangers posed by maneuvering manned aircraft at extremely low altitudes. This also serves as a test case for evaluating future UAS certification requirements. Phase I established feasibility by demonstrating the ability to perform the required onboard sensing, to establish communication between a UAS and flight controller at high enough bandwidth to allow inflight decision-making, and to execute a pre-determined flight path/spraying strategy autonomously. Phase II would see the design, development and implementation of a fully-autonomous, prototype system that can perform high-level decision-making during flight and satisfy NASA?s draft certification basis for UAS performing precision agricultural spraying. The prototype system would install algorithms based upon existing EPA-approved spray drift management software within the autonomous flight control system. The end goal of the Phase II effort would be a flight demonstration of the prototype system consisting of a modified, midsize UAS spraying intelligently and autonomously, with high-level decision-making, within a relevant environment.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.77K | Year: 2016

Operating costs and fossil fuel consumption of civil transports can be reduced through use of efficient counter rotating open rotor (CROR) propulsion systems, thereby addressing both key industry needs and long-term NASA technical goals. To develop such next-generation systems, multiple design variables must be assessed efficiently within a conceptual design software environment. A blend of physics-based, mid-fidelity tools featuring low CPU and ease of setup can provide this capability. Phase I built on an established, highly efficient lifting surface free wake model, the CDI CHARM analysis, and also began initial development of a novel variant of the CDI Cartesian Grid Euler (CGE) model to yield fast-turnaround, low- mid fidelity tools well suited to this requirement. Phase I involved several key upgrades to CHARM and preliminary validation on representative CROR designs. Regarding CGE, formulation of the new rotating frame and multirotor capability has been largely completed, and demonstrations of single rotor modeling are complete. Phase II will entail: additional upgrades to the CHARM rotor blade and airfoil models for improved fidelity; completion of implementation of the CGE analysis for CROR cases; integration of the two models into a unified CHARM-CGE AeroAnalysis (C2A2) architecture; and extensive validation and operational testing.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 224.85K | Year: 2015

This STTR Phase I project addresses the need to give engineering students hands-on experience with reliable and robust fluid dynamics analysis software to develop the intuition and exposure that will be required when they graduate. Accurate fluid dynamics analysis is crucial in many disciplines to support product design. Unfortunately, current software is not conducive to the classroom environment, or use by non-experts, due to the level of expertise required and the computational cost. The proposed effort addresses these issues using an innovative approach to implement true "push button" software that is easy to setup and robust enough for classroom use, yet is accurate enough for reliable predictions. The software will be augmented by multi-media learning tools that will provide just-in-time guidance. This research is transformative in the field of engineering fluid dynamics, particularly in the context of improved science and engineering education. Unlike other disciplines, the governing equations do not lend themselves to solution methods readily implemented by students; similarly current software is hindered by a substantial learning curve and pre-requisite knowledge. This research has the potential to remove this barrier. The software and learning tools developed will have application across all engineering and science disciplines related to fluid motion. Accurate fluid dynamics analysis is crucial for many industries to support design and life-cycle analysis, and there is a strong need to give engineering students hands-on experience and training with reliable and robust Computational Fluid Dynamics methods so that they can develop the intuition that will be required when they graduate. Unfortunately, contemporary software is not conducive to the classroom environment or use by non-expert engineers due to the computational costs and level of expertise required. The proposed effort directly addresses these issues by implementing true "push button" software that is easy to setup and robust enough for classroom use, yet is accurate enough for reliable predictions in the teaching, research and industrial environments to provide a platform for students to explore innovative and transformative analysis and design. The ease-of-use offered by the proposed software would finally enable Computational Fluid Dynamics to be brought into the undergraduate engineering classroom, planned in Phase I, and would appeal directly to areas of the commercial market that are not served by current offerings. In Phase I the proposed software will be adapted for the academic environment, and a joint undergraduate and graduate engineering course that uses the software will be developed and taught.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.30K | Year: 2014

Accurate flow calculation is crucial to the development and support of air platforms, and CFD has been successful at predicting aerodynamic performance for a variety of flows. The accuracy of CFD is governed by the quality of the surface mesh, and much work has been undertaken to automatically generate surface grids from CAD. Unfortunately, quality is quantified in terms of conformance to the surface rather than relevant fluid dynamics, and users must undertake costly grid refinement studies to determine a suitable mesh for production work. Based upon the unique capabilities offered by a CFD solver developed by Continuum Dynamics, Inc., in addition to significant experience developing fast reliable design codes, panel methods and CFD solvers, this effort will develop a low cost CFD-based grid processing tool that can be used to guide the creation of suitable surface meshes. The proposed tool would be built around a low-cost CFD solver and will output guidance on local surface mesh correction and refinement based upon both surface topology and flow requirements/properties. Phase I successfully demonstrated the feasibility of such a tool on several complex geometries with an assortment of geometric deficiencies. Phase II will undertake formal development and integration.

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