Portland, OR, United States
Portland, OR, United States

Portland State University is a public coeducational research university located in the southwest University District of downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1946, it is the only public urban university in the state that is located in a major metropolitan city. Portland State offers Bachelor's and Master's degrees as well as doctorates in seventeen fields. Portland State is governed by a board of trustees.The athletic teams are known as the Portland State Vikings with school colors of green and white. Teams compete at the NCAA Division I Level, primarily in the Big Sky Conference. Schools at Portland State include the School of Business Administration, Graduate School of Education, College of the Arts, School of Social Work, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the College of Liberal Arts and science.The university was ranked among the top fifteen percentile of American universities in The Best 376 Colleges by The Princeton Review in 2012 for undergraduate education, and has community partnerships with Intel, Oregon Health & Science University, the Portland Public School system, the City of Portland, and Portland General Electric. Wikipedia.

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Portland State University | Date: 2016-09-28

Modified nano-clays and coating compositions including the modified nano-clays are disclosed. The coating compositions are useful for protecting objects such as outdoor sculptures and architectural elements made of metal or including metal components. In some embodiments, the modified nano-clay is Laponite that has been covalently modified with (tridecafluoro-1,1,2,2-tetrahydrooctyl) triethoxysilane and cation-exchanged with phosphorylcholine.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENERGY,POWER,ADAPTIVE SYS | Award Amount: 286.65K | Year: 2016

Wind and rotary based marine hydrokinetic energy conversion devices often rely on a mechanical gearbox to increase their speed so as to match the requirements of the electromagnetic generator. However, mechanical gearboxes are creating reliability concerns and the maintenance of the gearbox can significantly add to the levelized cost of energy. Alternative approaches such as using a direct-drive generator become impractical at higher power levels due to their inherently low torque-per-volume capability. This research will investigate the theoretical and practical performance capabilities of using magnetically geared generation devices. A magnetic gearbox offers a number of advantages over traditional mechanical gearboxes in that a magnetic gearbox creates speed change without any physical contact, it does not require gear lubrication and has an inherent overload torque limiting capability. By coupling a magnetic gearbox to a generator the reliability of the generator system can be significantly improved and the volumetric size could potentially be comparable to its mechanically geared equivalent. By improving reliability a magnetically geared generator could reduce the levelized cost of wind and ocean power conversion. This could increase the utilization of renewable energy resources and consequently help reduce the emission of airborne pollutants associated with the combustion of fossil fuels.

The primary goals of this research are to (1) develop modeling tools to understand the scaling and cost/performance trade-offs of axial magnetic gears and radial magnetic gear topologies. (2) Construct and test a stator driven continuously variable magnetic gear and an axially driven direct-drive magnetically geared generator. (3) Experimentally assess the efficiency of the proposed magnetic gear devices over a wide speed and torque range. The practical performance trade-offs between axial and radial flux-focusing magnetic gear designs when using ferrite and rare-earth magnets will be determined in the context of cost. The power flow, efficiency and power factor characteristics will be characterized with respect to existing technology. This research will lead to a greater understanding of the energy conversion process when using magnetic gears, continuously variable magnetic gears and magnetically geared direct-drive electrical machines. The techniques required to achieve very high mass and volumetric torque densities when using flux focusing magnetic gear topologies will be carefully defined. The power flow and control equations for the integration of a continuously variable magnetic gear into the grid will be derived. Both undergraduate and graduate students will assist with this research. Underrepresented students will be actively involved in this research. Outreach activities and yearly summer research experiences for local high-school students will take place. The research results will be disseminated in leading journals, conferences, and workshops in order to benefit the scientific and industrial community.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RES IN NETWORKING TECH & SYS | Award Amount: 300.00K | Year: 2016

With the ubiquitous use of wireless technology today, we are experiencing a severe shortage of spectrum. The terahertz frequency band (100 GHz to 10 THz) is a largely unused part of the spectrum that can potentially be used for high rate short-range wireless links thus easing the spectrum pressure to some degree. However, this frequency band suffers from large signal attenuation with distance, resulting in a need for highly directional transmissions (or pencil beams). This research identifies fundamental challenges in implementing such directional transmissions for providing coverage in rooms and other short-range application domains. Additionally, the project examines the problem of allocating spectrum resources to mobile users given the highly directional nature of coverage, which causes a spatial dependence on frequency availability. The impact of this work is broad: it addresses the fundamental problem of spectrum scarcity by examining a hitherto unexplored part of the spectrum and it will impact the emerging 5G wireless standard. The PI will also teach a graduate seminar class on terahertz communications, thus impacting education.

The project describes the frequency and angular dependence of using dense antenna arrays to provide highly directional coverage across the terahertz spectrum. A consequence of this behavior is that as a user moves even a few feet, the data rate can drop by orders of magnitude, unless coverage is planned carefully. This project presents a systematic approach to studying the coverage problem for terahertz networks using clusters of dense antenna arrays. The project also examines a novel approach of using lenses to provide coverage. The first problem will be studied by building a detailed terahertz propagation simulator, which includes models for dense antenna arrays and models for mutual coupling effects (which are significant at this frequency band). The latter approach will be studied using a large set of measurements. Given these studies, the project will then examine the problem of providing coverage to mobile users in rooms. Since spectrum resources show a spatial dependence, the problem of ensuring users continue to receive their required quality of service will combine resource allocation approaches with geometric constraints. The outcome of this research will be a detailed understanding of the terahertz communication channel as well as a set of tools and measurements that can be employed by other researchers in the field.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 729.73K | Year: 2016

Prochlorococcus is a photosynthetic organism that is tremendously abundant in the ocean and influences biogeochemical cycles on global scales. This project aims to link Prochlorococcus community structure to primary productivity in situ. The twelve known Prochlorococcus ecotypes exhibit extensive diversity. It is thought that this diversity allows the Prochlorococcus collective to maintain numerical dominance across gradients in light, nutrients, and temperature that accompany changes in depth, season, and latitude. A large gap in our understanding lies in whether we should assess the ecosystem value of Prochlorococcus by its abundance or by its community structure or both. Ecosystem models assign all ecotypes the same role. However, genomic and physiological evidence from cultivated isolates and wild populations suggests tentatively that distinct genotypes may contribute differently to the ecosystem through variation in light and nutrient physiologies and interactions with other microorganisms. The consequences of these molecular-level differences to primary productivity in situ are unknown. This project tests whether absolute abundance, or community structure, determines the contributions of Prochlorococcus to biogeochemical dynamics by measuring the contributions of different ecotypes to primary productivity. The results of this project will inform ecosystem models towards better representation of how shifts in climate and Prochlorococcus diversity will affect global nutrient cycles, trophic cascades, and interactions with other bacteria, viruses, and grazers. The insights and approaches delineated by this work will be generally applicable to the ecology of abundant microbial populations in the open ocean such as pigmented and non-pigmented eukaryotes, heterotrophic bacteria, and other cyanobacterial lineages. A basic understanding of differences between coexisting ecotypes will provide inroads into understanding mechanisms of cooperation, competition, and collaboration among ecotypes in all microbial ecosystems. The investigators will build a teaching module to expose high school students to microbial oceanography, big data, and systems biology through virtual ocean exploration. The primary objective will be to impress upon students the importance of an invisible forest of microorganisms in the ocean. Students will examine the distribution patterns of abundant microbial groups in the context of oceanographic data from large publically available databases. High school teachers and student interns, a graduate student, the investigators, and an educational specialist will design, implement, and test the module for classrooms nationwide. This effort will follow a successful education model (Systems Education Experience - SEE) developed previously.

The investigators will address an overarching hypothesis that Prochlorococcus ecotypes vary in their contribution to the ecosystem as primary producers. More specifically, the investigators hypothesize that patterns of cell division and carbon fixation vary between coexisting ecotypes, and these differences are a function of genome content, gene expression, environmental conditions, and community composition. The technical approach will involve two field-based experiments will be applied to three different depths, at the oceanographic Station ALOHA, that differ in Prochlorococcus community composition. Experiment 1 will examine whether coexisting ecotypes vary in cell division, using 16S rRNA sequencing to quantify ecotype abundance in G1, S, and G2 cells. Experiment 2 will examine how carbon fixation varies between coexisting ecotypes using RNA-stable isotope probing and 16S rRNA sequencing of RNA enriched in 13C after incubation with 13C-bicarbonate. These experiments will be performed with Prochlorococcus communities under native in situ conditions and shifts in conditions to mimic light and temperature of other depths. In both experiments, the temporal gene expression of a selected set of carbon fixation and cell division genes will be examined to link gene expression patterns to primary productivity. All data will be related to the oceanographic environment including its physical, chemical, and biological features.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Engineering for Natural Hazard | Award Amount: 410.00K | Year: 2016

The urgency in increasing growth in densely populated urban areas, reducing the carbon footprint of new buildings, and targeting rapid return to occupancy following disastrous earthquakes has created a need to reexamine the structural systems of mid- to high-rise buildings. To address these sustainability and seismic resiliency needs, the objective of this research is to enable an all-timber material system in a way that will include architectural as well as structural considerations. Utilization of mass timber is societally important in providing buildings that store, instead of generate, carbon and increase the economic opportunity for depressed timber-producing regions of the country. This research will focus on buildings with core walls because those building types are some of the most common for contemporary urban mid- to high-rise construction. The open floor layout will allow for commercial and mixed-use occupancies, but also will contain significant technical knowledge gaps hindering their implementation with mass timber. The research plan has been formulated to fill these gaps by: (1) developing suitable mid- to high-rise archetypes with input from multiple stakeholders, (2) conducting parametric system-level seismic performance investigations, (3) developing new critical components, (4) validating the performance with large-scale experimentation, and (5) bridging the industry information gaps by incorporating teaching modules within an existing educational and outreach framework. Situated in the heart of a timber-producing region, the multi-disciplinary team will utilize the local design professional community with timber experience and Portland State Universitys recently implemented Green Building Scholars program to deliver technical outcomes that directly impact the surrounding environment.

Research outcomes will advance knowledge at the system performance level as well as at the critical component level. The investigated building system will incorporate cross laminated timber cores, floors, and glulam structural members. Using mass timber will present challenges in effectively achieving the goal of desirable seismic performance, especially seismic resiliency. These challenges will be addressed at the system level by a unique combination of core rocking combined with beam and floor interaction to achieve non-linear elastic behavior. This system behavior will eliminate the need for post-tensioning to achieve re-centering, but will introduce new parameters that can directly influence the lateral behavior. This research will study the effects of these parameters on the overall building behavior and will develop a methodology in which designers could use these parameters to strategically control the building seismic response. These key parameters will be investigated using parametric numerical analyses as well as large-scale, sub-system experimentation. One of the critical components of the system will be the hold-down, a device that connects the timber core to the foundation and provides hysteretic energy dissipation. Strength requirements and deformation demands in mid- to high-rise buildings, along with integration with mass timber, will necessitate the advancement of knowledge in developing this low-damage component. The investigated hold-down will have large deformation capability with readily replaceable parts. Moreover, the hold-down will have the potential to reduce strength of the component in a controlled and repeatable way at large deformations, while maintaining original strength at low deformations. This component characteristic can reduce the overall system overstrength, which in turn will have beneficial economic implications. Reducing the carbon footprint of new construction, linking rural and urban economies, and increasing the longevity of buildings in seismic zones are all goals that this mass timber research will advance and will be critical to the sustainable development of cities moving forward.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY | Award Amount: 315.00K | Year: 2016

Starry, Olyssa

Americans spend 90% of their time in buildings, resulting in exposures to air pollution being largely dictated by indoor air quality. One key determinant of indoor air quality is ventilation of indoor spaces with outside air. Increased rates of building ventilation have been correlated with improved occupant health, satisfaction, and productivity. However, improved indoor air quality, from increased ventilation, is ultimately contingent on the quality of outdoor air. Ecoroofs are an increasingly popular strategy for improving building sustainability that result in vegetated building surfaces that may be in close proximity to a building?s outdoor air supply (often rooftop). While air quality models indicate that ecoroofs may remove substantial quantities of air pollutants from urban atmospheres, no empirical studies are known that investigate how an ecoroof may affect the indoor air quality of the same building. Urban air quality studies of ecoroofs typically consider only deposition of air pollutants, however, there is precedence for vegetation to emit volatile compounds that may degrade indoor air quality or participate in secondary chemistries which results in the formation of irritating or harmful air pollutants. Therefore, there is a need to critically and holistically evaluate source, sink, and transformations of air pollutants at vegetated ecoroof surfaces. Examining how ecoroofs may impact indoor air quality is critical for developing more sustainable building designs and for identifying synergistic opportunities to enhance the sustainability of the urban environment.

This research will investigate the effects of ecoroofs on indoor air quality with a holistic approach that addresses two fundamental, yet interrelated research questions: 1) How does the design of a building rooftop affect deposition, processing, and emissions of air pollutants? and 2) How might ecoroofs affect indoor air quality? This project will address these questions with a combination of extensive and innovative data collection that integrates ecology, biology, and building science approaches. Specific investigations will include a broad field survey of 48 roof surfaces in Portland, OR, an intensive air quality monitoring study at a commercial facility with a dual ecoroof/white membrane roof, and bench-scale laboratory investigations. Field measurements and laboratory parameterizations will be used in statistical models and material balances to explain relationships between the urban environment, ecoroofs, and indoor air quality. This project will provide data that leads to an improved understanding of ecoroof-indoor air quality interactions. The data, parameterizations, and models from this project will inform building sustainability practices by enabling indoor air quality impacts to be integrated into ecoroof and urban green-surface design. Study outcomes will help identify opportunities to improve indoor air quality and reduce human exposure to air pollutants. The project will work closely with the City of Portland and the local Greenroof Information Thinktank (GRIT) to engage the community in this work and disseminate results to the public as well as industry.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Secure &Trustworthy Cyberspace | Award Amount: 298.31K | Year: 2016

Security games such as Capture-the-Flag (CTF) competitions tap into and cultivate the intrinsic motivation in people to solve puzzles. Such games provide a compelling experience for security practitioners looking to test their skills. Given the level of engagement these games produce, there have been efforts to bring the format into the classroom. While CTFs are ideal for measuring the level of expertise of its participants, there are significant issues that must be overcome before the format can be used in the classroom. Specifically, CTF challenges are often targeted towards experts, consist of static problems with static solutions, are difficult to customize, and require significant time and resources to deploy.

We are currently addressing these issues by building open CTF software and services to support scaffolded, metamorphic challenges in a manner that is easily configured and deployed by instructors across the country to teach their courses. Specifically, the content and difficulty of our CTFs are carefully scaffolded in order to quickly develop confidence and competence in students rather than boredom or frustration. Challenges are generated metamorphically so that each student receives a unique set of challenges in order to deter cheating and to better ensure that every student learns the material. The CTFs are configurable to allow instructors to add and remove challenges based on the topics they wish to cover in their courses. Finally, the CTFs are freely available to instructors in a variety of formats that can be deployed readily.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 562.00K | Year: 2016

This research enterprise acquires, deploys, and maintains a modern heterogeneous cluster for scientific computing. The cluster combines the latest multi-core processors with the new MIC (Many Integrated Core) architecture to provide a testbed for development of new parallel mathematical algorithms. Multi-institutional access to the equipment, managed through a new center called the Portland Institute for Computational Sciences, will catalyze interactions within a regional user base of computational scientists. This equipment will considerably strengthen open, state-wide high performance computing access in Oregon.

The equipment aims to profoundly impact research into fundamentally new techniques in computational mathematics. Highly scalable dimension reduction techniques that exploit existing parallelization tools developed at US national laboratories will be designed for evolution problems posed in spacetime domains. For hyperbolic problems on complex spacetime structures, a new class of mathematically sound methods, well-suited for thread parallelism on MICs, will be studied. New algorithms to compute eigenmodes of partial differential operators, based on parallelizable approximations of operator-valued contour integrals, are considered. Another project will use massive medical data sets to validate novel statistical inferential methods leading to valuable templates of disease progression. The equipment will be extensively used to develop and run numerical simulations of convection in Earths mantle. Further catalogued examples of projects show that the equipments impact will be regional and beyond Oregon. Educational and training activities will promote the learning of fine-grained parallelism critical to exploit new and emerging energy-efficient processors.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: OFFICE OF SPECIAL PROGRAMS-DMR | Award Amount: 297.86K | Year: 2016

NON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: Portland State University (PSU) continues its operation of a multidiscipline research experience for undergraduate site, the only site of its kind in the greater Portland region. This site has been successfully operating for the past fifteen years and has achieved a high level of participation from women and minorities. The objective of the REU site will continue to focus on inspiring undergraduate students with an emphasis on women, minorities, and US Armed Forces veterans to pursue careers in science and engineering by exposing them to hands-on research opportunities. In addition, the new recruitment will include participants who show great interest in research, but are underachieving academically. It is highly expected that this REU site will enable such students to develop their talents and progress towards their career goals.

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: The REU site at PSU ties diverse research projects together under the overarching theme of electron microscopy for multidisciplinary applications. Through a concentrated summer program, the participants will obtain technical training, conduct independent research, visit local high-tech industries, and present their research at an REU symposium. The activities will begin with a training week including workshops on laboratory safety, library database searches, and graduate school applications. Also offered is an intensive short course that trains students in using scanning electron microscope or focused ion beam microscope for material and device characterization. Students will then use these acquired skills in research projects offered by faculty mentors from the departments of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Geology. It is highly anticipated that REU participants will leave the summer program with a quintessential skill (electron and ion microscopy) applicable to all disciplines and a broader perspective of the impact of research experience on their high education and career choices.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Fellowship | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 604.50K | Year: 2016

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a highly competitive, federal fellowship program. GRFP helps ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of financial support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM and STEM education. This award supports the NSF Graduate Fellows pursuing graduate education at this GRFP institution.

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