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Calumet, MI, United States

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.

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.

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.

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.

Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 729.36K | Year: 2008

Heat loads due to on-board power, combined with hot environments imposed on military ground vehicles, have resulted in situations where vehicle performance is limited by thermal management issues. To counteract this, the cooling system must be optimized, preferably early in the design process. Current modeling practices make it difficult for an analyst find an optimal system configuration from many design options in a timely manner. ThermoAnalytics is proposing to create a modeling tool that will allow an analyst to rapidly assess the performance of a cooling system based on the evaluation of multiple approaches and parametric studies for a vehicle in different environments and load scenarios. Our approach is to adopt a component model paradigm that uses pre-built models of cooling system components as building blocks for system analyses. We will modify the thermal and IR signature code MuSES to interface with a database of component models, and streamline and semi-automate the process of importing and integrating a component into a parent model. This will reduce the time required to find and assign critical performance data to models, and allows a modeler the flexibility to apply geometric detail to models only when and where it is needed.

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