Valparaiso University, known colloquially as Valpo, is a regionally accredited private university located in the city of Valparaiso, Indiana. The school was founded in 1859, and it now consists of five undergraduate colleges, a graduate school, a nursing school and a law school. Valparaiso University is owned and operated by the Lutheran University Association, a non-profit corporation, and is the largest independent Lutheran university in the United States. Wikipedia.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY | Award Amount: 299.96K | Year: 2013
PI: Palumbo, Robert
Proposal Number: 1334896
Institution: Valparaiso University
Title: RUI-The solar thermal decoupled electrolysis process for H2 Production
This project will investigate a process for producing H2 from water for the purpose of storing solar energy as chemical energy. In the process, concentrated solar-thermal energy reduces Fe2O3 or CoO2 or Mn2O3 to a metal oxide with a lower oxidation state, which, in turn acts as a solute or anode in an electrolysis cell, enabling the production of H2 from water at ideal voltages as low as 0.21V. The low voltage is due to the anodic re-oxidation of the metal oxide. This produced oxide is then recycled in the solar step. The work required for the electrolysis is a fraction of the work that is available in a H2-air fuel cell. Thus the only energy entering the cycle is sunlight.
Valparaiso University?s partners in the project are Sandia National Laboratories, Diver Solar LLC, an industrial partner, and Professor Peter Kissinger, an electrochemist from Purdue University?s Chemistry Department. With support from the partners, undergraduate engineering and natural science students guided by faculty will conduct fundamental studies involving thermodynamics and electrochemistry. The project?s scientific objective is to obtain the requisite knowledge to assess the industrial viability of the process based on realistic estimates of the sunlight to H2 efficiency and how they compare to those from other processes reported in the solar chemistry literature. Achieving this goal requires a quantitative mechanistic understanding of the electrochemical reactions from voltammetry studies and a quantitative kinetic understanding of the solar decomposition and re-oxidation reactions from thermogravimetric analysis studies. The PIs will use our new 10kW solar furnace to conduct experiments that lead to the development of a solar thermal reactor that minimizes the irreversibilities associated with matching the incoming concentrated solar radiation to the kinetics of the decomposition reaction and the kinetics of re-oxidation to the product cool-down step.
The process resolves four major problems that have kept solar thermal chemistry from being industrially viable. (1) The process allows for the production of a solar fuel with a windowless reactor. Thus, it addresses the problem that windows must remain clean of reaction products or side products, a goal the solar chemistry research community has not yet reached with at least some of the reactions being investigated, and it improves process economics by avoiding the need to separate solar gaseous products from inert or unreacted gas. (2) It allows for a quasi-continuous process, addressing the industrial culture?s desire for nearly continuous operation. (3) The process operates at a temperature similar to those in industry. Many solar chemistry processes under investigation operate at temperatures approaching 2000 K, making the design for reliability challenging due to materials degradation, volatilization, and thermal energy management at extreme temperatures. (4) Although industry would do the solar step in the desert, the electrolysis involving water can be done wherever water is available, avoiding the need to bring water to the desert. The research will lead to a quantitative understanding of reaction kinetics for high temperature reduction and oxidation reactions of select metal oxides. The research will lead to a quantitative understanding of electrochemical reactions.
The educational component of the research program advances goal to have undergraduates aspire to be scientific leaders. The students will have the opportunity to experience the pleasure of discovery. They will synthesize concepts learned in thermal science and measurement courses in order to build up experiments and to analyze data. They will experience the process of teasing out of data new knowledge that allows us to see better the industrial potential of solar thermal electrochemistry. The students will learn rhetorical skills for communicating complex scientific ideas to the general public without compromising the science. Through the project?s outreach program, we will inspire young people in Northwest Indiana coming from underrepresented groups to consider a life in science.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: GALACTIC ASTRONOMY PROGRAM | Award Amount: 259.70K | Year: 2014
Over billions of years, stars similar to our sun evolve to form red giants that eventually eject their outer shells, forming planetary nebulae (PNe). Planetary nebulae play an important role in the chemical evolution of the galaxy by returning material created within stars to create brand-new stars. The transition from red giant to planetary nebula is an important but relatively short-lived stage of stellar evolution, lasting only a few hundred thousand years. The goal of this proposal is to study the basic physical properties of objects in this transition phase that are referred to as proto-planetary nebulae (PPNe). This project will use a variety of observations and techniques to carry out this study.
PPNe represent intermediate mass objects in the late stages of stellar evolution that are transitioning from Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars to PNe. The proposal will continue and extend an existing program of photometric and radial velocity measurements of post-AGB stars and PPNe within our own galaxy and in the nearby Large and Small Magellanic Cloud galaxies. The combination of photometric light curves, color measurements, and radial velocities will permit the direct determination of fundamental parameters like stellar radius and luminosity. In addition, stellar pulsation models will be used to constrain the mass and luminosity of the PPNe. Finally, the program will investigate the degree of binarity in PPNe and its effect on the shaping of PNe.
This Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) project will provide numerous and wide-ranging opportunities for the training of new scientists, the education of liberal arts students, and the science infrastructure at the PIs institution. The project will communicate its results to the public through open houses held at the observatory on the campus of the PIs home institution. The PI will continue to give community and professional lectures and will incorporate the results of the research into those presentations.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: STEM TALENT EXPANSN PGM (STEP) | Award Amount: 499.95K | Year: 2011
This project, called MSEED, is increasing the number of STEM graduates in Northwest Indiana. Students earn a bachelors degree in science or mathematics, as well as teacher licensure within four years. They participate in a significant undergraduate research component, curriculum development training, faculty mentoring and an immersive teaching experience in diverse communities. These strategies are designed to improve retention and to produce effective teachers who possess a firm understanding of the scientific method. High quality math and science teaching is an important factor in increasing student achievement and promoting career exploration in STEM fields.
The program recruits from and interacts with high-need and high-poverty areas of Northwest Indiana. MSEED graduates are professional educators who effectively teach and motivate students. It is expected that each of these teachers will have a positive influence on 150 secondary students each year. Project activities are assessed for efficacy as well as a longitudinal study of the future high school teachers effectiveness.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 218.25K | Year: 2011
This award will support an observational study of binarity in the central stars of planetary nebulae. This stage of stellar evolution represents the penultimate phase of evolution for low- and intermediate mass stars, and very little is known about the evolution of binary stars during this stage. Close binaries are expected to evolve further into merging or mass-transfer systems, which would then manifest themselves as cataclysmic variables; they could also be the precursor systems to Type Ia supernovae. The project will involve a combination of multi-color photometry and spectroscopy with the aim of discovering new binary stars in planetary nebulae and characterizing some in detail.
It is expected that the project may have a significant scientific impact on the areas of supernova research, cataclysmic variables, and novae. It will also contribute to the development and training of students at a primarily undergraduate institution.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: RSCH EXPER FOR UNDERGRAD SITES | Award Amount: 325.00K | Year: 2016
This award supports the summer REU site Valparaiso Experience in Research by Undergraduate Mathematicians (VERUM). VERUM will recruit twelve undergraduate students each year. The students will work in teams of three, for nine weeks, on solving open problems in biomathematics, enumeration, networks, or statistics. Each group will work with a project director who will provide guidance and feedback to the students on a daily basis. Participants will investigate open questions of interest to the larger mathematical community, therefore yielding potentially publishable results. The program will provide undergraduates with a first research experience in mathematics. Most of the participants will be students from primarily undergraduate institutions who have not yet decided on a graduate school career path. Additional attention will be given to recruiting participants from groups under-represented in STEM, including first-generation college students. The award is supported by the Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and the Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO).
By modeling the research experience of a mathematician, the program will produce students engaged with, and prepared to join, the mathematical community. The program emphasizes the professional development of the students while encouraging them to pursue mathematically related careers and graduate studies, thus increasing the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines. Students will become part of a small professional group that will provide support during their undergraduate careers and beyond. As part of the program, students will visit graduate schools to learn about the experiences of graduate students in different types of institutions. Students will also be exposed to different areas of mathematics by following the progress of each research group and by listening to, and interacting with, weekly visitors to the program. VERUM participants will increase their communication and presentation skills through weekly group presentations, presentations at local and national conferences, and through writing a final project report.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 223.75K | Year: 2015
With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) and Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities (CRIF) programs, Valparaiso University will acquire a a ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography system with four detectors. The instrument is approriate for analyzing samples by separating the components using chromatography techniques. This award has an environmental and biochemical research focus. The environmental research is directed at water analysis. One of the projects involves water quality studies of Lake Michigan watershed surface waters. The research will involve collaborations with The Northwest Indiana Cluster of GLISTEN (Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship through Education Network). This is a network of local undergraduate institutions, K-12 schools, and environmental community partners that collaborate to integrate curriculum, stewardship, and research to protect the health of the Great Lakes watershed. GLISTEN includes Ivy Tech Community College and Cal State Long Beach, with many students from underrepresented groups including African American students at the former and Hispanic students at the latter.
The proposal is aimed at enhancing research, especially in areas such as (a) assesing water quality of Lake Michigan watershed surface waters; (b) studying oxidative remediation of organic contaminants in waste waters and transformations of organic compounds in surface water; and (c) assessing storm-water treatment technologies for pollution reduction.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 22.62K | Year: 2013
The conference series Permutation Patterns is the primary annual international conference in the area of permutation patterns. The eleventh occurrence of this conference will take place during July 1-5, 2013, at the University Paris Diderot, Paris, France.
The topics of the conference are permutation patterns and, more generally, the concept of pattern in mathematical objects such as partitions, words, and other structures such as genome sequences. The study of permutation patterns has emerged as a significant branch of enumerative combinatorics over the past couple of decades. This is a subject of global interest; permutation patterns research is active in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia. The number of graduate students who have attended the last five meetings is another indication that research in this subject area is growing. This grant supports travel to the conference by students and early career mathematicians from the United States.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: NUCLEAR PRECISION MEASUREMENTS | Award Amount: 86.00K | Year: 2015
The main physics program supported by this award is to search for an electric dipole moment of the neutron, which if found would signal new physics beyond the physics of the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes the existence and properties of the principal elementary constituents of known matter. The search for physics Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) is one of the primary goals of physics in the 21st century. The experiment, called the neutron Electric Dipole Moment (nEDM), will be carried out at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, using instruments constructed and tested by a consortium of institutions. Construction of the detector and the data taking will take place in the next few years, providing first hand experience in cutting edge research for undergraduates at Valparaiso University.
Precision measurement of the properties of the neutron presents an opportunity to search for violations of fundamental symmetries and to make critical tests of the validity of the Standard Model. The Standard Model nearly prohibits the existence of a permanent electric dipole moment of the neutron, whereas extensions to the Standard Model predict an electric dipole moment of the neutron at varying strengths that are potentially attainable by this experiment. The discovery of a nEDM would imply a violation of time reversal invariance and a violation of charge-parity symmetry that, depending on its magnitude, has implications for the particle-antiparticle asymmetry in the universe. Measurements of the particle electric dipole moment provide some of the tightest constraints on extensions to the Standard Model. The experiment is designed to improve the sensitivity by a factor of 100 compared to previous experiments.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: WORKFORCE IN THE MATHEMAT SCI | Award Amount: 279.59K | Year: 2013
The Department of Mathematics & Computer Science at Valparaiso University will host the summer REU site, Valparaiso Experience in Research by Undergraduate Mathematicians (VERUM). VERUM will recruit nine undergraduate students each year. These students will work in teams of three for nine weeks on solving open problems in combinatorics, biomathematics, or statistics. Each group will work with a different project director who will provide guidance and feedback to the students on a daily basis. In each project, the participants will investigate open questions of interest to the larger mathematical community, and therefore yield potentially publishable results. Most of the participants will be students from primarily undergraduate institutions who have not yet decided on a graduate school career path. Therefore we will target undergraduates for a first research experience in mathematics. Additional attention will be given to recruiting participants from groups under-represented in STEM, including first-generation college students since they also will have had less exposure to academic values and processes than their peers.
By modeling the research experience of a mathematician, the program will produce students engaged with, and prepared to join, the mathematical community. The program will emphasize the professional development of the students while encouraging them to pursue mathematics related careers and graduate studies thus increasing the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines. Students will become part of a small professional group that will provide support during their undergraduate careers and beyond. As part of the program a graduate student will also act as a mentor for the participants and the students will visit graduate schools to learn about the lives of graduate students in different types of institutions. The students will also be exposed to different areas of mathematics by following the progress of each research group and by listening to and interacting with weekly visitors to the program. VERUM participants will increase their communication and presentation skills through weekly group presentations, presentations at local and national conferences and through writing a final project report.
Valparaiso University | Date: 2015-09-25
Systems, methods, and other embodiments associated with thermal electrolytic production. According to one embodiment, a system includes a tower having an active reflux evaporator and a condenser system. The active reflux evaporator having a distributor pump assembly and an absorber. The distributor pump assembly pumps a heat pipe liquid metal to a distributor. The absorber receives the liquid metal from the distributor. The absorber facilitates evaporation of the liquid metal to form an evaporated metal. The condenser system includes a thermal load and a liquid pump assembly. The thermal load condenses the evaporated metal back to the liquid metal. The liquid pump assembly actively pumps the liquid metal to the distributor pump assembly.