Calumet, MI, United States
Calumet, MI, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.78K | Year: 2015

This proposal presents a methodology for measuring thermal properties in situ, with a special focus on obtaining the properties of layered stack-ups commonly used in vehicle armor. The technique involves attaching a thermal source to the surface of a component and measuring the heat flux and surface temperature response, which along with a corresponding model of the test conditions, can be used to determine the material properties. The objective of the proposed work is to build a prototype thermal measurement device that builds upon prior proof-of-concept research and addresses performance issues that were identified. To reach our objective, we propose a series of specific investigations that include: i. Investigating improvements to the heater technology to ensure uniform temperature distribution across heater surface; ii. Investigating advanced heating/cooling technologies and strategies; iii. Identifying and evaluating sensor head attachment techniques; iv. Development of an advanced in situ measurement device prototype; v. Validating the results of the modified methodology by testing the performance of the prototype on homogeneous and layered materials.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 729.95K | Year: 2012

The objective of this program is to reduce the analysis cycle time for full vehicle thermal models. Cycle times include geometry and mesh generation, property attribution, solution, and post-processing. Of these, mesh generation can take the most time, particularly if separate meshes are required for a CFD tool and a thermal tool. If a conventional thermal solver is employed on a high-density CFD mesh, the time for a solution becomes prohibitive, and if existing thermal solvers are ported for use on an HPC or GPGPU and then applied to high-density meshes, convergence issues will cause computational times to be excessive. Our objective is to build upon work started in Phase I and modify the thermal solver in MuSES so that solutions on high-density meshes are feasible. The work will be broken into a series of specific tasks that include developing a solution technique for the coupled conduction and radiation problems; developing a method to automatically coarsen the mesh for the radiation problem; and implementing appropriate advanced solvers. The algorithms and techniques resulting from these individual tasks will be integrated together to form an advanced tool capable of achieving multiple orders of magnitude reduction in analysis time for full-vehicle thermal analysis.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.56K | Year: 2015

An important tool in the regulation and monitoring of nuclear proliferation is remote sensing involving the analysis of thermal hyperspectral images. The hyperspectral radiance of a suspected target can be decomposed separated) into components related to the targets spectral emissions, reflections of its surroundings, and atmospheric effects using Temperature- Emissivity-Separation analysis. This identification of target materials can be frustrated by inaccuracies in the modeling of the radiative environment and in the prediction of target temperatures in complex convection environments. A fluid dynamic-convective heat transfer predictive tool will be developed that can produce fast and accurate temperature predictions. This tool will be combined with a thermal hyperspectral simulation to produce accurate and detailed simulated hyperspectral imagery. For material identification purposes, the simulation tool will produce hyperspectral images for a selection of target materials. The resulting simulated hyperspectral radiances will be matched against the radiance data from measured imagery. To make the identification process flexible and robust, the atmospheric and radiance properties will be retrieved from the simulated images, and this information used in a Temperature-Emissivity-Separation analysis. In Phase I, a prototype of the convection tool will be developed and used to predict convection for a scenario provided by the customer. The thermal and hyperspectral simulation tool will then produce a set of hyperspectral images that will be used to identify target materials using a variety of material-identification algorithms. Development of the enhanced thermal prediction simulation software in Phase I and II will significantly benefit a wide variety of government and commercial remote sensing applications. Combined with the Temperature-Emissivity-Separation software, the ability to monitor nuclear proliferation will be greatly enhanced.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.20M | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: The objective of this SBIR research effort is to investigate algorithms for mitigation of sensor saturation, including the effects of laser dazzlers, in mid-wave infrared (MWIR) cameras using advanced image-processing techniques. The optical irradiance present in dazzled imagery spans several orders of magnitude more than conventional MWIR focal planes can reproduce. The large variation in irradiance is manifested in the imagery as severely under-exposed and over-exposed regions of the captured image as well as artifacts due to the scattering of rays within the imaging device.Image processing based solutions offer the potential for dazzler mitigation without prior knowledge of any dazzler characteristics and offer an alternative solution in applications where the addition of optical filters to the collection device is impractical or undesirable.Our approach employs High-Dynamic-Range image processing to combine multiple frames of varying exposure in a statistically rigorous manner in order to capture information in both low and high-light regions, and maximize the information content in a single image. In addition, a two step pre-processing scheme is utilized to separate and remove dynamic (lens flare) as well as static (main beam) contributions from the corrupting high energy source. BENEFIT: There will be immediate benefits in military applications of this technology to surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition and tracking. For example, this technology may be used to mitigate saturation effects of directed energy laser dazzlers on guided missile electro-optics. Since methods developed in this project will not be specific to the MWIR band, they may be more generally applied over the visible to LWIR range of imaging devices. Programmable consumer digital cameras in the visible band could eventually be controlled with these algorithms, presenting a large market for this technology. Multiple frames with exposure times covering the full dynamic range of intensities would be automatically taken, with a composite HDR image then constructed from these frames. Lens flare due to reflections internal to the camera would also be reduced using the methods devised here.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.78K | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: The ThermoReg thermal model was developed to solve for tissue temperatures resulting from radio frequency (RF) heating using a voxel-based, heterogeneous tissue description of the human body. Although ThermoReg has been parallelized to run on high-performance computer clusters, the time-dependent nature of a thermal solution (especially for tissue temperatures resulting from high-power, short duration RF exposures) can lead to excessive run times that subsequently limit the extent to which parametric studies can be conducted. We propose a set of tasks that will be accomplished by implementing solution techniques that take advantage of the massive parallelism that is provided by modern GPUs, improving the underlying thermo-physiology model and by implementing techniques that reduce run-times by reducing model fidelity when appropriate. The performance of these tasks will result in software and associated work flows that will demonstrate substantial decreases in run-time while maintaining model fidelity. In addition, the accuracy, applicability and lifetime of the ThermoReg software will be greatly extended. BENEFIT: The product of this SBIR will be a valuable tool for existing DOD activities directed at: 1) establishing health effects and safety standards for exposure to electromagnetic fields; 2) development of non-lethal weapons; and 3) evaluating human thermal comfort and health risks in extreme environments across a population of people. We have successfully marketed the use of human thermal models in a number of areas: Automotive and aircraft passenger thermal comfort and safety models; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) designs for vehicles and buildings; protective clothing design; and optimization of garment designs for thermal safety and comfort. The result of this SBIR will be a substantial reduction in run-times allowing potential customers to examine larger design spaces in the application areas listed above.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 145.68K | Year: 2014

ThermoAnalytics Inc. (TAI), in partnership with Skidmore, Owings, & amp; Merrill LLP (SOM), will develop an integrated workflow for constructing energy models of single buildings and aggregates of buildings based on minimal user input. The proposed workflow represents a new paradigm for building energy analysis a process centered on information that users can quickly obtain, as opposed to current processes that require extensive thermal property and construction details that are burdensome for modelers to collect. The workflow will allow for fast and easy prediction of building energy usage. This will promote the integration of energy analysis into the design of buildings and urban areas which will result in significant reductions in national energy demand. The process will start with building templates, designed by SOM, that will be integrated into the user interface and are suitable for preliminary energy analysis. Each design level will build upon the previous level, thus allowing users to construct increasingly detailed and accurate models. For improved accuracy, users will upgrade the model using automated processes and easy-to-make measurements. To achieve this, TAI will draw upon its experience of thermal and infrared simulation and testing to develop methods to measure the approximate thermal properties of windows, walls, roofs, and energy systems using commonly available infrared cameras and other instruments. Users will be able to import infrared imagery, taken from aerial and/or ground-level, into an automated process that, when combined with location and weather data, will compute R-values, check for low-e coatings, and estimate information about the building envelope and energy systems. Infrared imagery has the advantage of observing actual thermal behavior, not theoretical performance, hence accounting for degradation of insulation, non-uniformity of installation, systems not operating at design performance levels, etc. The analysis of single buildings will be based directly on EnergyPlus. For the modeling of extended urban areas involving an aggregate of buildings, TAI will investigate integrating EnergyPlus into a combined building and terrain model that will estimate wind flow patterns and temperature distributions across urban areas. To facilitate these investigations, TAI will develop an interface to adapt EnergyPlus models into TAIs RadThermIR simulation code, which can predict what infrared cameras and other test equipment will report under varying weather and environmental conditions.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.88K | Year: 2014

The assessment of aircraft paint schemes requires predictions of the signature and detection of aircraft targets. When paints are semi-gloss or gloss, specular reflections of the sun can result in intense glints that make the aircraft susceptible to detection. Accurate modeling of glints requires precise and high-resolution modeling of the specular lobe, the curvature of surfaces, pixel super-sampling, and accurate prediction of sky radiance. ThermoAnalytics proposes to use its MuSES (Multi-Service Electro-optic Signature) thermal and signature modeling tool to predict the visual-through-infrared signature of air targets that employ specular paints. The MuSES rendering engine is capable of accurate signature prediction, having been specially designed for the arduous work of modeling narrow specular lobes. In Phase I, we will demonstrate the rendering capability of MuSES by modeling the signature of cylinders, spheres, and flat paints using a variety of matte, semi-gloss, and glossy paints.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT: We propose a novel multi-frame image processing approach which employs High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) imaging in combination with model-based lens-flare estimation as a means of mitigating focal plane saturation and lens flare when extremely bright sources are present in MWIR imagery. Collecting multiple image frames with varying optical flux densities provides information over a diverse set of dynamic ranges. Additionally, the temporal variation of lens-flare artifacts over multiple frames differs statistically from that of the underlying scene content. Our technique provides a robust methodology for exploiting this information to restore and even enhance MWIR imagery adversly effected by extremely bright scene content. BENEFIT: There will be immediate benefits in military applications of this technology to surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition and tracking. For example, this technology may be used to mitigate the saturation effects of directed energy"laser dazzlers"on guided missile electro-optics. Since the methods developed in this project will not be specific to the MWIR band, they may be more generally applied over the visible to LWIR range of imaging devices. Programmable consumer digital cameras in the visible band could eventually be controlled with these algorithms, presenting a large market for this technology. Multiple frames with exposure times covering the full dynamic range of intensities in the scene would be automatically taken, with a composite HDR image then constructed from these frames. Lens flare due to reflections internal to the camera would also be reduced using the methods devised here.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.88K | Year: 2016

The power of remote sensing to combat nuclear proliferation depends on the accuracy of the models that are used to analyze the images. A technique called Temperature Emissivity Separation can be used to identify images to determine which materials are present, whether barrels are full or empty, and whether a manufacturing process is occurring. However, thermal environments (radiation and temperature) are often complex, which can make them hard to model, a problem that this proposal addresses the two major objectives of the proposed effort are: Develop a fluid solver for the fast and accurate computation of the heat transfer due to convection. After validation, the fluid dynamic solver will be integrated into thermal simulation software. Develop and test algorithms that can quickly analyze and retrieve material emissivity spectra, temperatures, and identities from thermal infrared hyperspectral imagery even when the materials are specular and reflective. Major outcomes of the Phase I work were: Successful completion and demonstration of a proof of concept for a fast and easy to use fluid solver that can predict wind wakes and flow acceleration across complex scenes, and thus accurately predict the heat transfer due to wind convection. Successful demonstration of the improved accuracy obtained by adding predicted environmental radiance to a fast Temperature Emissivity Separation analysis of reflective and specular materials. During Phase II, the development of the fast convective fluid solver will be completed and integrated into a thermal simulation code. The integration will allow for automation of the fluid domain mesh, assignment of boundary conditions, and coupling of the fluid solver to the thermal solver. As a consequence, there will be no increase in the user burden of running a thermal solution when the fluid solver is added. The technique demonstrated during Phase I for fast and accurate Temperature Emissivity Separation analysis will be implemented in existing Temperature Emissivity Separation codes. Both the fluid solver and Temperature Emissivity Separation techniques will be tested to validate their operation and to determine limiting factors in scene modeling and accuracy. The design and performance evaluation of vehicles, electronics, machinery, and protective clothing require accurate predictions of the heat transfer due to convection. The proposed fluid solver will make thermal analyses fast enough to become an integral part of modern, rapid turnaround design processes. This will lead companies to develop products that are more reliable, more durable, more energy efficient, and operate with improved performance. The proposed work will also reduce errors in temperature and emissivity retrieval from hyperspectral images. This technology can be applied to the monitoring of nuclear proliferation activities and to other remote sensing tasks including the mapping of natural resources, oil and gas exploration, security and border patrol applications, and public health monitoring. Keywords: Temperature Emissivity Separation, hyperspectral, infrared, heat transfer, convection


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.92K | Year: 2012

ABSTRACT: The ThermoReg thermal model was developed to solve for tissue temperatures resulting from radio frequency (RF) heating using a voxel-based, heterogeneous tissue description of the human body. Although ThermoReg has been parallelized to run on high-performance computer clusters, the time-dependent nature of a thermal solution (especially for tissue temperatures resulting from high-power, short duration RF exposures) can lead to excessive run times that subsequently limit the extent to which parametric studies can be conducted. We propose a set of tasks that build on the ThermoReg code base to dramatically decrease the run-times associated with RF-induced thermal response studies. The performance of these tasks will result in prototype software and associated work flows that will demonstrate substantial decreases in run-time while maintaining model fidelity. BENEFIT: The product of this SBIR will be a valuable tool for existing DOD activities directed at: 1) establishing health effects and safety standards for exposure to electromagnetic fields; 2) development of non-lethal weapons; and 3) evaluating human thermal comfort and health risks in extreme environments across a population of people. We have successfully marketed the use of human thermal models in a number of areas: Automotive and aircraft passenger thermal comfort and safety models; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) designs for vehicles and buildings; protective clothing design; and optimization of garment designs for thermal safety and comfort. The result of this SBIR will be a substantial reduction in run-times allowing potential customers to examine larger design spaces in the application areas listed above.

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