Cookeville, TN, United States

Tennessee Technological University

www.tntech.edu
Cookeville, TN, United States

Tennessee Technological University, popularly known as Tennessee Tech, is an accredited public university located in Cookeville, Tennessee, US, a city approximately 70 miles east of Nashville. It was formerly known as Tennessee Polytechnic Institute , and before that as University of Dixie, the name under which it was founded as a private institution in 1909. It places special emphasis on undergraduate education in fields related to engineering and technology, although degrees in education, liberal arts, agriculture, nursing, and other fields of study can be pursued as well. Additionally, there are graduate offerings in engineering, education, business, and the liberal arts. It is operated by the Tennessee Board of Regents, and its athletic teams compete in the Ohio Valley Conference.As of the 2014 spring semester, Tennessee Tech enrolls more than 10,300 students , and its campus has 87 buildings on 235 acres centered along Dixie Avenue in north Cookeville. The average class size is 26 students and the student to faculty ratio is 20:1. Less than one percent of all classes are taught by teaching assistants with the rest of the classes being taught by professors. The ethnic breakdown of the student population is: 81.5% WhitePacific Islander, 8.4% Non-resident alien, and 2.8% Other. Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 1.45M | Year: 2016

This proposal will inaugurate a CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program at the Tennessee Technological University. The hybrid program, ensuring students? participation in research and outreach activities alongside education in cybersecurity, will offer both accelerated and traditional graduate studies paths to students from Tennessee as well as students from women and underrepresented minority populations across the nation. The proposed CyberCorps® is a university-wide effort leveraging resources and expertise from the Computer Science Department, Cybersecurity Education Research and Outreach Center, College of Engineering, Student Success Center, Office of Admissions, College of Graduate Studies, Library, Office of Research, and Career Services. This CyberCorps® program will be the first one in the state of Tennessee and it will have the opportunity to serve the Appalachian area in Tennessee.

The project will provide strategies and techniques that have the potential to be effective in addressing challenges associated with SFS program management. The project will take recommendations from experts based on demonstrated evidence to develop and exercise a suite of best practices for effective management of SFS program. The project will draw upon teaching, research and outreach experiences of the investigators, and the assessment experience of the evaluation specialist.

The project provides broader impact by delivering a SFS program that will lead to broader participation and better preparation of the information assurance and cybersecurity workforce. Students underrepresented in cybersecurity are a major focus of this project. As such, an expected broader impact of the project is to contribute to the ability of the United States higher education enterprise to produce a diverse group of cybersecurity professionals. As part of its broader impact, this project will contribute to the statewide effort to meet a shortage of skilled workers by having the CyberCorps scholarship opportunity accessible to first-generation/low-income community college students impacted by the TN Promise initiative. Since TTU is situated within and serves Central Appalachia, this project will have the opportunity to serve the Appalachian area in TN, which is one of the poorest regions in the country. The region also has a lower education attainment level than the country as an average.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Structural and Architectural E | Award Amount: 133.00K | Year: 2016

This collaborative project is to use additive manufacturing (3D printing) to engineer the microstructure of cement-based materials and fabricate cement-based structures with otherwise unachievable, controlled local composition of the material and spatial arrangement of its components. The goal of the research is to understand the major factors controlling the 3D printing process of cement-based materials and how to design interfacial interactions between printed filament layers and between filament inclusions and solid matrix phases. Though the use of additive manufacturing, the proposed research project has the potential to enable significant progress in the fields of high-performance infrastructure materials by providing materials that exhibit paradigm-shifting properties allowing new functionalities that are not achievable with existing materials. Ultimately, the 3-D printing processes will enable the fabrication of light-weight and modular structures and buildings for rapid deployment in cases of natural disasters and product applications wherein cement-based materials have not previously been competitive. The educational component will leverage existing programs of each of the three institutions and includes the development of instructional materials for undergraduate and graduate students and research opportunities for a diverse group of undergraduate students.

The goal of this collaborative research is to fundamentally understand (1) the intertwined mechanisms between chemistry, printed filament layer solidification, and 3D printing successive-layering-deposition process conditions and (2) the interfacial interactions between printed layers that control the bonding mechanism. 3-D printing is anticipated to enable the controlled spatial variation of material properties through continuous gradients in functional components. Experimental investigations of the filament layer solidification process and of the interfacial characteristics will be integrated with computational analysis, including molecular dynamics simulations of the molecular scale structure, energetics, and mechanical properties of the inter-filament and interfaces to unravel the physico-chemo-mechanical mechanisms that underpin the processing/manufacturing-microstructure-property relationship of the architectured materials. The research will (1) provide a molecular to nanoscale picture of the chemo-mechanical interactions between filament layers and between the filament inclusions and matrix interfaces, (2) identify key aspects of the structure at interfaces necessary to enable refinement of surfaces and printing media chemistry, and (3) provide insights into the development of a new approach to understanding and developing cementitious systems.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 359.97K | Year: 2016

This CISE Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site award funds a new REU site at Tennessee Technological University focused on security of cyber-physical systems. Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components. New CPS technology will transform the way people interact with engineered systems that often are fundamental to daily lives including transportation, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, building design, and many other areas critical to our society. It is vital that these systems operate and interact with people seamlessly and that they are secure and privacy-preserving. The REU site will provide undergraduates the opportunity to work during the summer with faculty mentors in state-of-the-art research labs on projects that are compelling and important to all of us. The Division of Graduate Education CyberCorps (R) Scholarship for Service Program is co-funding this project.

The project is led by an outstanding team offering modern facilities and professional mentors to guide undergraduates in explorations of problems related to developing secure cyber-physical systems. Students will learn how to use current tools and techniques to solve those problems that have direct impact on people and the quality of daily life. The team will use proven strategies to recruit undergraduate students from groups traditionally under-represented in computer science. The students will participate in research and professional development activities all designed to achieve the goals of retaining and graduating undergraduate students in computer science and engineering, recruiting students from groups traditionally under-represented in computing fields, and increasing recruitment of students into graduate programs.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: I-Corps - Sites | Award Amount: 99.96K | Year: 2016

This project at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) creates an I-Corps Site.

NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Sites are NSF-funded entities established at universities whose purpose is to nurture and support multiple, local teams to transition their technology concepts into the marketplace. Sites provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training and modest funding to enable groups to transition their work into the marketplace or into becoming I-Corps Team applicants. I-Corps Sites also strengthen innovation locally and regionally and contribute to the National Innovation Network of mentors, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.

The objective of the TTU I-Corps Site is to strengthen the innovation ecosystem and entrepreneurial community in the TN region through the delivery of the I-Corps curriculum and support to 30+ teams per year. This activity will leverage existing partnerships between Tennessee Technological University (TTU), ORNL and the Biz Foundry to accelerate commercialization through training, enhanced education, and support of innovative research, while capitalizing on the existing university research infrastructure and the Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) accelerator network. The TTU Site builds on the existing research experience at TTU by adding specific commercialization training and experience for teams that are composed of various combinations of students, faculty, members of industry and scientists. The TTU I-Corps Site expands the innovation and technical commercialization infrastructure at TTU by:
1) Building skill sets among students, faculty, engineers and community startups, and
2) Moving technology from academia, government, and industry toward commercialization.
This project achieves the goals of the Innovation Corps Sites Program by facilitating the translation of research, encouraging collaboration between academia and industry, and training students to understand innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E). This funding allows TTU to support teams whose projects are likely candidates for commercialization.

The innovation Site at TTU is built around the national I-Corps model, and its focused training experience, and consists of three stages to recruit, immerse and support technical entrepreneurs in the innovation and entrepreneurship lifecycle. The stages are:
1) Team origination and recruitment
2) Formal I-Corps training
3) Post-training support
These stages are designed to improve the pathway to successful commercialization and develop the participants as better innovators and contributors to the NSF I-Corps network.

Tennessee (TN) state entrepreneurial startups, as exemplified by SBIR/STTR funding, fall in the 3rd quartile ranking with a 37% decrease in the past two decades. Until recently, most TN entrepreneurs have had limited or no access to training or opportunities to grow their startup. The TTU Site participates in and contributes to the broader knowledge of entrepreneurship research and its impact on engineering education and adds to the database of innovators in the NSF I-Corps network. In particular, this Site aids in understanding the role of entrepreneurship and innovation engineering education and its potential impact on: critical thinking; the network of emerging entrepreneurs and mentors; and, the addition of business students into the I-Corps model. The Site will investigate the early implementation of a quantitative, nationalized assessment model, based on the existing Critical Thinking Assessment (CAT) tool, appropriate for the I-Corps model that could be extended to train the larger innovation community.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RES IN NETWORKING TECH & SYS | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

Over the past several years, the automobile and technology industries have made significant leaps in bringing computerization and automation to car driving. Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) have the potential to fundamentally improve transportation systems by dramatically reducing crashes, assisting traffic flows, reducing travel time and energy consumption, providing critical mobility to the elderly and disabled, and making vehicle sharing convenient, popular, and necessary. This project studies the architecture and privacy issues related to autonomous vehicle sharing (AVS) that can revolutionize our transportation experience by providing novel time-sharing and ride-sharing services. The time-sharing services allow AVs to be shared by different users at non-overlapping time periods, while the ride-sharing services allow AVs to be shared by users taking similar trips during the same time period. With autonomous driving techniques, the quality of both services can be significantly enhanced to benefit commuters. However, the time- and ride- sharing systems need to communicate with users to organize shared vehicles, which is not risk free. Massive information on users activities can be exposed in case of privacy breach. Existing privacy-preserving techniques cannot be applied effectively and efficiently in AVS due to problems and requirements unique to AVS, e.g., location- and time- sensitive trips and multi-user coordination. This project addresses the unique privacy problems raised by AVS and proposes effective and efficient privacy-preserving techniques, which can promote AVS among users.

The research in this project will have major technological impacts on privacy-preserving AV sharing services. The project will study the privacy-preserving task matching problem for the time-sharing service and the privacy-preserving trip searching problem for the ride-sharing service, while computation and communication overhead, trip delays due to unexpected conditions, costs of transitional trips, users social preferences, and different privacy protection levels will be considered. The proposed research activities will trigger further research in other applications such as social networks, vehicular ad hoc networks, smart grid, and electric vehicles communications, where privacy is an important factor. The results from this research will be disseminated through conference and journal publications, online documents, and software release. Seminars to high school and community colleges students will be offered in the Boston and Cookeville areas, and presentations regarding the proposed research will be delivered to demonstrate how science and engineering can enhance quality of life in order to stimulate the students interest in technology. Students in under-represented groups will be encouraged to participate in the proposed research activities.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Secure &Trustworthy Cyberspace | Award Amount: 380.66K | Year: 2016

The U.S. power grid is being replaced with a smart grid, a complex network of intelligent electronic devices, distributed generators, and dispersed loads, which requires communication networks for management and coordination. Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) networks are one part of the smart grid to provide two-way communications between smart meters at the consumers side and the utility companies. AMI networks allow utilities to collect power consumption data at high frequency rates. However, it needs too much communication bandwidth for smart meters to frequently send power consumption data even when the power consumption does not change. Since using cellular networks is one of the best options to AMI networks, the cost of sending this large amount of data is prohibitive. This project considers enhanced AMI networks, where the meters send power consumption data only when there is a significant change. This can significantly reduce the amount of bandwidth needed for sending the power consumption data; however, it creates a new privacy problem. Practical experiment results have confirmed that by observing the data transmission rate and using traffic analysis techniques, the attackers can infer sensitive information about consumers. Therefore, this new privacy problem must be studied and addressed, and strong countermeasures should be developed.

The proposed research systematically combines efforts from privacy, networking, and communication communities. The project promotes a research program designed to: (a) develop schemes for countering traffic analysis in AMI networks by considering different network and adversary models; (b) quantitatively measure the privacy protection provided by the schemes; and (c) evaluate the schemes in a prototype system for validating the proposed research and enabling hands-on experience for both undergraduate and graduate students. The project will significantly contribute to the research on smart grid, as well as computer system security and privacy. The proposed research will lead to a body of knowledge that can be leveraged by the designers of other networks. The proposed project also lends itself to teaching, training and learning of students. A new graduate course focusing on security and privacy aspects of smart grid will be developed. The achievement of the proposed research will be disseminated to academic community and industry via academic conferences and industrial connections.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCED TECH EDUCATION PROG | Award Amount: 900.00K | Year: 2016

Additive manufacturing (AM) is rapidly changing the design and production of all kinds of products, from those used in daily life to critical parts utilized in advanced technologies. With the increased national and global focus, there is clear evidence of the growing demand for technicians in AM. The Additive Manufacturing Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH) is being established to address gaps in the knowledge base of 21st century technicians to ensure they are prepared for advanced career placement. This project is significantly enhancing and expanding AM resources developed by prior NSF projects (including remote facilities, learning curriculum, and educator workshops) to encompass hands-on desktop 3D printer-building modules, equipment operation/maintenance curriculum, and additional remotely-accessible equipment laboratories. In addition, AM-WATCH is establishing a number of cutting edge AM innovations and targeting the engagement of students, including those in underserved and under-represented groups, in STEM and other technical careers.

The objective of AM-WATCH is to address gaps in the current knowledge base of technicians through the development of curriculum and educational materials, delivery of professional development activities, support provided to 30+ community college and high school instructors per year, and expanded outreach activities targeting K-12 and community college teachers and students. Tennessee Technological University is collaborating with Community Colleges (CC), four-year universities, the ATE National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education, a national laboratory, industry, and government in the development of cutting-edge and multi-dimensional curriculum, activities, and toolkits for instructors.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: NUCLEAR STRUCTURE & REACTIONS | Award Amount: 115.00K | Year: 2016

An isolated neutron lives for about fifteen minutes before disintegrating into three lighter particles. This fundamental process plays a significant role in cosmology, and its study complements current efforts to discover new physics. Two laboratory techniques exist to determine the lifetime of a neutron with high precision, but they disagree significantly in their reported values. This discrepancy must be addressed in order to realize the potential of these techniques to help probe new physics. The research conducted with this award directly supports that effort by examining the behavior of very low energy (or ultracold) neutrons which are magnetically confined in order to determine the neutron lifetime. The research involves a broad set of ideas and skills appropriate for undergraduate involvement and will be used to form the kernel for an interdisciplinary undergraduate research training, mentoring, and outreach program at Tennessee Technological University.

Research activities will be carried out in conjunction with the UCNtau collaboration, which has constructed a magneto-gravitational ultracold neutron trap with a long intrinsic neutron storage time and demonstrated a detection strategy capable of making multiple high-precision measurements in a single accelerator cycle at the Los Alamos National Laboratory ultracold neutron source. Losses due to spin evolution in this trap will be empirically characterized by developing a high-fidelity spin-tracking Monte Carlo simulation of the experiment which, when combined with measurements of the mean trap lifetime as a function of the polarization-preserving ambient magnetic field magnitude, will be used to characterize indirectly the loss rate associated with spin evolution in the trap, sufficient for completing measurement of the neutron lifetime to an accuracy of one second. Measurements in a dedicated test cell will provide information necessary to assess directly the effect of spin evolution in a very high-precision (well below 0.1%) magnetic trap measurement of the free neutron lifetime.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 410.48K | Year: 2015

With this award supported by the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI), the Chemistry Research Instrumentation (CRIF), and EPSCoR programs, Professor Jessie Carrick from Tennessee Technological University and colleagues Daniel Swartling, Jeffrey Rice, William Carroll and Xuanzhi Zhan will acquire a 500 MHz NMR spectrometer equipped with a broadband nitrogen-cooled cryoprobe. This spectrometer will allow research in a variety of fields such as those that accelerate chemical reactions of significant economic importance, as well as allow study of biologically relevant species. In general, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is one of the most powerful tools available to chemists for the elucidation of the structure of molecules. It is used to identify unknown substances, to characterize specific arrangements of atoms within molecules, and to study the dynamics of interactions between molecules in solution or in the solid state. Access to state-of-the-art NMR spectrometers is essential to chemists who are carrying out frontier research. The nitrogen-cooled probe will provide a significant increase in sensitivity relative to standard NMR probes. The results from these NMR studies will have an impact in synthetic organic/inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry and biochemistry. This instrument will be an integral part of teaching as well as research performed by undergraduate and graduate students. The new instrument will have a significant and immediate impact on the research training and teaching endeavors of faculty in the departments of Chemistry as well as Chemical Engineering and an interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences Program. The presence of a reliable instrument equipped with a sample changer will allow much greater student access to a spectrometer in the teaching laboratories than an old, low-field instrument currently at this university. The PIs indicate that the instrument will be utilized by students in the sophomore organic courses, the advanced analytical laboratory, and an advanced organic spectroscopy course. Special emphasis will be directed to women and other historically underrepresented students in STEM.

The proposal is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels, especially in areas such as (a) synthesizing bis-1,2,4-triazine ligands, including conformational and subsequent complexation studies with simulated actinides for potential remediation of used nuclear fuel; (b) structurally characterizing fluorescent proteins for nerve regeneration and wound healing; (c) developing solution phase structure approaches for dynamic molecules; (d) studying conformations of arrestin proteins; (e) developing green chemistry methodology; and (f) studying thiosemicarbazone ligands as potential anti-cancer therapeutics.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING | Award Amount: 140.41K | Year: 2016

1605957
Arias-Chavez

While the reclamation of materials and energy from municipal wastewater has received recent attention from the environmental engineering community, the potential of industrial wastewater as a resource has been largely overlooked. Sustainability gains may be particularly significant for industrial wastewater in light of: 1) lower composition and flow variability in industrial streams relative to municipal wastewater and 2) the opportunity for immediate, on-site re-use of reclaimed materials by their source generator. Therefore, new strategies for effective and economical separation of industrial wastewaters for component re-use are proposed in this project.

The PIs propose an academic-industry collaboration combining fundamental and applied research to investigate a new strategy for reclaiming resources from industrial wastewater. A dual-membrane process for recovering hydrocarbons, inorganic components, and water from industrial wastewater associated with production of hydrogen, synthetic fuels, electricity, and heat from biomass is proposed. Currently, wastewater produced by the process represents an energetic, economic, and environmental cost because it cannot be reclaimed and its components must be degraded or sequestered to permit its discharge to municipal sewer systems. The PI has research experience with membrane technologies suitable for reclamation of water, other materials, and energy from conventional and emerging industries. Together, the PIs will systematically investigate the separation of industrial wastewater components by a forward osmosis/ reverse osmosis hybrid membrane system, first at the bench-scale in the PIs lab, and then at the pilot-scale at the co-PIs industrial facility. Technical and economic aspects will be explored. Successful demonstration of this reclamation technology can transform societys approach to industrial wastewater from one of hazard mitigation to one of resource harvesting. The proposed work will advance the scientific understanding of the transport of organic and inorganic components through selective membranes in complex (multiple species) streams. The efficacy of pH as a controlling factor in separating dissolved species through multi-barrier membrane systems will be better understood. The resistance of forward osmosis membranes to fouling by hydrocarbons will be explored, as will the removal of foulants by minimally-disruptive methods. Probing the limits of forward osmosis fouling resistance is critical for predicting maximum recoveries of hydrocarbons and other industrial waste components with high fouling potentials. New membranes specialized for this industrial wastewater will be fabricated and evaluated. Undergraduates will join graduate students for investigations in the research lab through system design and economic analysis performed in a senior-level Chemical Engineering course.

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