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Development and Evaluation of an Electrical Engineering and Math Curriculum Module for High School Students

Description

Parents in STEM careers are more apt to guide their kids towards STEM careers (Sherburne-Michigan, 2017). There are STEM programs and classes for students who are interested in related fields, but the conundrum is that students need to be interested

Parents in STEM careers are more apt to guide their kids towards STEM careers (Sherburne-Michigan, 2017). There are STEM programs and classes for students who are interested in related fields, but the conundrum is that students need to be interested in order to choose to participate. The goal of this creative project was to introduce engineering concepts in a high school class to reveal and investigate the ways in which engineering concepts can be successfully introduced to a larger student populace to increase interest in engineering programs, courses, and degrees. A lesson plan and corresponding materials - including circuit kits and a simulated ball launching station with graphical display - were made to accomplish this goal. Throughout the lesson students were asked to (1) use given materials to accomplish a goal, (2) predict outcomes based on conceptual understanding and mathematical calculations, (3) test predictions, (4) record data, and (5) analyze data to generate results. The students first created a simple circuit to understand the circuit components and learn general electrical engineering concepts. A simple light dimmer circuit let students demonstrate understanding of electrical concepts (e.g., voltage, current resistance) before using the circuit to a simulated motor in order to launch a ball. The students were then asked to predict the time and height of a ball launched with various settings of their control circuit. The students were able to test their theories with the simulated launcher test set up shown in Figure 25 and collect data to create a parabolic height versus time graph. Based on the measured graph, the students were able to record their results and compare calculated values to real-world measured values. The results of the study suggest ways to introduce students to engineering while developing hands-on concept modeling of projectile motion and circuit design in math classrooms. Additionally, this lesson identifies a rich topic for teachers and STEM education researchers to explore lesson plans with interdisciplinary connections to engineering. This report will include the inspiration for the product, related work, iterative design process, and the final design. This information will be followed by user feedback, a project reflection, and lessons learned. The report will conclude with a summary and a discussion of future work.

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2018-05

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Analog-to-Digital Converter Reliability Testing in Hostile Environments

Description

Analog to Digital Converters (ADCs) are a critical component in modern circuit applications. ADCs are used in virtually every application in which a digital circuit is interacting with data from the real world, ranging from commercial applications to crucial military

Analog to Digital Converters (ADCs) are a critical component in modern circuit applications. ADCs are used in virtually every application in which a digital circuit is interacting with data from the real world, ranging from commercial applications to crucial military and aerospace applications, and are especially important when interacting with sensors that observe environmental factors. Due to the critical nature of these converters, as well as the vast range of environments in which they are used, it is important that they accurately sample data regardless of environmental factors. These environmental factors range from input noise and power supply variations to temperature and radiation, and it is important to know how each may affect the accuracy of the resulting data when designing circuits that depend upon the data from these ADCs. These environmental factors are considered hostile environments, as they each generally have a negative effect on the operation of an ADC. This thesis seeks to investigate the effects of several of these hostile environmental variables on the performance of analog to digital converters. Three different analog to digital converters with similar specifications were selected and analyzed under common hostile environments. Data was collected on multiple copies of an ADC and averaged together to analyze the results using multiple characteristics of converter performance. Performance metrics were obtained across a range of frequencies, input noise, input signal offsets, power supply voltages, and temperatures. The obtained results showed a clear decrease in performance farther from a room temperature environment, but the results for several other environmental variables showed either no significant correlation or resulted in inconclusive data.

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2019-05

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Burkina Faso Hospital Microgrid Case Study

Description

This paper analyzes Burkina Faso’s Souro Sanou University Hospital Center’s energy needs and discusses whether or not solar panels are a good investment. This paper also discusses a way to limit the damage caused by power outages. The hospital has

This paper analyzes Burkina Faso’s Souro Sanou University Hospital Center’s energy needs and discusses whether or not solar panels are a good investment. This paper also discusses a way to limit the damage caused by power outages. The hospital has a history of problems with power outages; in the summer they have power outages every other day lasting between one to four hours, and in the rainy season they have outages once every other week lasting the same amount of time.
The first step in this analysis was collecting relevant data which includes: location, electricity rates, energy consumption, and existing assets. The data was entered into a program called HOMER. HOMER is a program which analyzes an electrical system and determines the best configuration and usage of assets to get the lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE). In HOMER, five different analyses were performed. They reviewed the hospital’s energy usage over 25 years: the current situation, one of the current situation with added solar panels, and another where the solar panels have single axis tracking. The other two analyses created incentives to have more solar panels, one situation with net metering, and one with a sellback rate of 0.03 $/kWh. The result of the analysis concluded that the ideal situation would have solar panels with a capacity of 300 kW, and the LCOE in this situation will be 0.153 $/kWh. The analysis shows that investing in solar panels will save the hospital approximately $65,500 per year, but the initial investment of $910,000 only allows for a total savings of $61,253 over the life of the project. The analysis also shows that if the electricity company, Sonabel, eventually buys back electricity then net metering would be more profitable than reselling electricity for the hospital.
Solar panels will help the hospital save money over time, but they will not stop power outages from happening at the hospital. For the outages to stop affecting the hospital’s operations they will have to invest in an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). The UPS will power the hospital for the time between when the power goes out and when their generators are turning on which makes it an essential investment. This will stop outages from affecting the hospital, and if the power goes out during the day then the solar panels can help supplement the energy production which will take some of the strain from their generators.
The results of this study will be sent to officials at the hospital and they can decide if the large initial investment justifies the savings. If the solar panels and UPS can save one life, then maybe the large initial investment is worth it.

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2019-05

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Predicting Mechanical Failure of Vacuum Pumps Using Accelerometer Data

Description

The objective of this paper is to find and describe trends in the fast Fourier transformed accelerometer data that can be used to predict the mechanical failure of large vacuum pumps used in industrial settings, such as providing drinking water.

The objective of this paper is to find and describe trends in the fast Fourier transformed accelerometer data that can be used to predict the mechanical failure of large vacuum pumps used in industrial settings, such as providing drinking water. Using three-dimensional plots of the data, this paper suggests how a model can be developed to predict the mechanical failure of vacuum pumps.

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2019-05

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Around the Corner Imaging: Developing a Graphical User Interface

Description

This Creative Project was carried out in coordination with the capstone project, Around the Corner Imaging with Terahertz Waves. This capstone project deals with a system designed to implement Around the Corner, or Non Line-of-Sight (NLoS) Imaging. This document discusses

This Creative Project was carried out in coordination with the capstone project, Around the Corner Imaging with Terahertz Waves. This capstone project deals with a system designed to implement Around the Corner, or Non Line-of-Sight (NLoS) Imaging. This document discusses the creation of a GUI using MATLAB to control the Terahertz Imaging system. The GUI was developed in response to a need for synchronization, ease of operation, easy parameter modification, and data management. Along the way, many design decisions were made ranging from choosing a software platform to determining how variables should be passed. These decisions and considerations are discussed in this document. The resulting GUI has measured up to the design criteria and will be able to be used by anyone wishing to use the Terahertz Imaging System for further research in the field of Around the Corner or NLoS Imaging.

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2019-05

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Social-Life Cycle Assessment: Oil Extraction in Section 1002 of the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge

Description

Drilling in Section 1002 has been an ongoing debate since the region was designated as a potential area for drilling projects, pending congressional approval in 1980. In 2017, the area was officially opened up for oil and gas development through

Drilling in Section 1002 has been an ongoing debate since the region was designated as a potential area for drilling projects, pending congressional approval in 1980. In 2017, the area was officially opened up for oil and gas development through its passage in the GOP Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This act requires 2 lease sales of 400,000 acres, with an allowed 2,000 acre physical footprint (not including pipelines, ice roads, or gravel mines). Using Social-Life Cycle Assessment methodology to assess the process of oil extraction in Section 1002, significant benefits and drawbacks of drilling in this region, with economic, cultural, and social impacts ranging from the local level to the state level to the national level were identified.

Stakeholders impacted by oil development in the Section 1002 region include the Kaktovik community who lives within the Program Area, the Gwich’in people who live south of ANWR, the corporations who will be leasing the land, as well as the employees who will be working on the projects. These stakeholders share similar values and interests, however, when it comes down to the attainment of these values, there are significant differences in opinion. This debate comes down specifically to the desire to ensure stability for one’s family and community, as this means 2 different things to the majority stakeholders on this issue: The Inupiaq and the Gwich’in. The Inupiaq ,who live in Kaktovik specifically ,are particularly keen on the idea of drilling in the Section 1002 region, because the revenues and opportunities that come with the oil and gas development provide access to better standards of living and a more westernized way of life. The Gwich’in, however, value their relationship to the land and the caribou that are at risk of significant change. These 2 groups are critical to the debate, but the state and federal governments have the final say, and a financial incentive to move forward with the lease sales.

Utilizing the S-LCA framework, life cycle impacts of drilling on society are found using indicators that are identified and assessed using both qualitative and quantitative means. Although some conclusions are uncertain due to the forward-looking nature of this S-LCA, the Increasing/Decreasing trends can be identified and confidently attributed to the specific indicators.

Significant Results:
Significant issues this study has highlighted include the resulting impacts, both positive and negative, on the communities affected by oil and gas development in Section 1002. Significant stakeholders include the Kaktovik community, the Gwich’in people, the oil and gas workers in the state of Alaska, and the oil and gas companies themselves. The local residents are the most affected by the impacts of development, with significant issues pertaining to potential for significant lifestyle change, the increased risk of impact on subsistence species, the risks associated with pollution, and the effect on the economy through revenues and job availability.

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2019-05

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Automatic Recording of Children's Activity Within a Classroom: A Study of Levy Flights

Description

The diagnosis for an attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children is heavily based on teacher or parent opinion, and not on scientific evidence. This causes children to be wrongly diagnosed with a disorder and be prescribed medicine that they do

The diagnosis for an attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children is heavily based on teacher or parent opinion, and not on scientific evidence. This causes children to be wrongly diagnosed with a disorder and be prescribed medicine that they do not need to be taking. This paper discusses a project that was completed for the Child Study Lab (CSL) preschool at Arizona State University (ASU), in which children’s activity within a classroom was automatically recorded using ultra-wideband technology. This project’s goal was to gather location data on the children in the CSL and analyze and assess the collected data for any patterns of behavior. The hope was that if a child’s data displayed a pattern that strayed from the norm, that this analysis could pose as a more objective way to indicate that a child may have an attention deficit problem. Fractal Dimensions and Levy Flights were researched and applied to the data analysis portion of this project.

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2020-05

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Assessing the Economic Impact on Counties in the United States to a Loss of Fossil Fuel Dependence for Energy Production

Description

This project seeks to provide a general picture of the economic dependence on fossil fuels per County in the United States. The purpose for this study is creating a foundation for conversations about the future of fossil fuel workers and

This project seeks to provide a general picture of the economic dependence on fossil fuels per County in the United States. The purpose for this study is creating a foundation for conversations about the future of fossil fuel workers and counties that depend heavily on fossil fuels. The main indicators utilized for this were employment and payroll data extracted from United States Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns dataset. A section on similarities between fossil fuel workers and other occupations was included, which shows possible alternative industries for fossil fuel workers. The main goal of the project is to provide possible solutions for mitigating job losses in the future. Some proposed solutions include retraining, expanding higher education, and investing in new industries. It is most important for future work to include input from most vulnerable counties and understand the social and cultural complexities that are tied to this problem.

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2020-05

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Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Micro-Algae to Produce Liquid Biofuels

Description

Fossil fuels are currently the main source of energy in the world’s transportation sector. They are also the primary contributor to carbon emissions in the atmosphere, leading to adverse climate effects. The objective of the following research is to increase

Fossil fuels are currently the main source of energy in the world’s transportation sector. They are also the primary contributor to carbon emissions in the atmosphere, leading to adverse climate effects. The objective of the following research is to increase the yield and efficiency of algal biofuel in order to establish algal-derived fuel as a competitive alternative to predominantly used fossil fuels. Using biofuel commercially will reduce the cost of production and ultimately decrease additional carbon emissions. Experiments were performed using hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) to determine which catalyst would enhance the algal biocrude oil and result in the highest quality biofuel product, as well as to find the optimal combination of processing temperature and manure co-liquefaction of biomass ratio. For the catalytic upgrading experiments, Micractenium Immerum algae was used in conjunction with pure H2, Pt/C, MO2C, and HZSM-5 catalysts at 350℃ and 400℃, 430 psi, and a 30-minute residence time to investigate the effects of catalyst choice and temperature on the crude oil yield. While all catalysts increased the carbon content of the crude oil, it was found that using HZSM-5 at 350℃ resulted in the greatest overall yield of about 75%. However, the Pt/C catalyst increased the HHV from 34.26 MJ/kg to 43.26 MJ/kg. Cyanidioschyzon merolae (CM) algae and swine manure were utilized in the co-liquefaction experiments, in ratios (algae to swine) of 80:20, 50:50, and 20:80 at temperatures of 300℃ and 330℃. It was found that a ratio of 80:20 at 330℃ produced the highest biocrude oil yield of 29.3%. Although the 80:20 experiments had the greatest biomass conversion and best supported the deacidification of the oil product, the biocrude oil had a HHV of 33.58 MJ/kg, the lowest between the three different ratios. However, all calorific values were relatively close to each other, suggesting that both catalytic upgrading and co-liquefaction can increase the efficiency and economic viability of algal biofuel.

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2020-05

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Optimization of Front Contact Design on Nickel-Plated Si Solar Cells

Description

As global population and demand for electrical power increase, humanity is faced with the growing challenge of harnessing and distributing enough energy to sustain the developing world. Currently, fossil fuels (coal
atural gas) are our main sources of electricity. However,

As global population and demand for electrical power increase, humanity is faced with the growing challenge of harnessing and distributing enough energy to sustain the developing world. Currently, fossil fuels (coal
atural gas) are our main sources of electricity. However, their cost is increasing, they are nonrenewable, and they are very harmful to the environment. Thus, capacity expansion in the renewable energy sector must be realized to offset higher energy demand and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Solar energy represents a practical solution, as installed global solar capacity has been increasing exponentially over the past 2 decades. However, even with government incentives, solar energy price ($/kWh) continues to be highly dependent on political climate and raw material (silicon and silver) cost. To realistically and cost effectively meet the projected expansions within the solar industry, silver must be replaced with less costly and more abundant metals (such as copper) in the front-grid metallization process of photovoltaic cells. Copper, while offering both higher achievable efficiencies and a raw material cost nearly 100 times cheaper than silver, has inherent disadvantages. Specifically, copper diffuses rapidly into the silicon substrate, requires more complex and error-prone processing steps, and tends to have less adhesive strength, reducing panel robustness. In this study, nickel deposition via sputtering was analyzed, as well as overall potential of nickel as a seed layer for copper plating, which also provides a barrier layer to copper diffusion in silicon. Thermally-formed nickel silicide also reduces contact resistivity, increasing cell efficiency. It was found that at 400 \u00B0C, ideal nickel silicide formation occurred. By computer modeling, contact resistivity was found to have a significant impact on cell efficiency (up to 1.8%). Finally, sputtering proved useful to analyze nickel silicide formation, but costs and time requirements prevent it from being a practical industrial-scale metallization method.

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2017-05