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Reducing The Scale of Steam Generators in Pressurized Water Reactors

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Nuclear power has recently experienced a resurgence in interest due to its ability to generate significant amounts of relatively clean energy. However, the overall size of nuclear power plants still poses a problem to future advancements. The bulkiness of components

Nuclear power has recently experienced a resurgence in interest due to its ability to generate significant amounts of relatively clean energy. However, the overall size of nuclear power plants still poses a problem to future advancements. The bulkiness of components in the plant contribute to longer construction times, higher building and maintenance costs, and the isolation of nuclear plants from populated areas. The goal of this project was to analyze the thermal performance of nanocrystalline copper tantalum (NC Cu-Ta) inside the steam generator of a pressurized water reactor to see how much the size of these units could be reduced without affecting the amount of heat transferred through it. The analysis revealed that using this material, with its higher thermal conductivity than the traditional Inconel Alloy 600 that is typically used in steam generators, it is possible to reduce the height of a steam generator from 21 meters to about 18.6 meters, signifying a 11.6% reduction in height. This analysis also revealed a diminishing return that occurs with increasing the thermal conductivity on both reducing the required heat transfer area and increasing the overall heat transfer coefficient.

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2019-05

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LCOE Analyis of Solar Panel Recycling Methods

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Solar panels need to be both cost effective and environmentally friendly to compete with traditional energy forms. Photovoltaic recycling has the potential to mitigate the harm of waste, which is often landfilled, while putting material back into the manufacturing process.

Solar panels need to be both cost effective and environmentally friendly to compete with traditional energy forms. Photovoltaic recycling has the potential to mitigate the harm of waste, which is often landfilled, while putting material back into the manufacturing process. Out of many, three methods show much promise: Full Recovery End-of-Life Photovoltaic (FRELP), mechanical, and sintering-based recycling. FRELP recycling has quickly gained prominence in Europe and promises to fully recover the components in a solar cell. The mechanical method has produced high yields of valuable materials using basic and inexpensive processes. The sintering method has the potential to tap into a large market for feldspar. Using a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) analysis, the three methods could be compared on an economic basis. This showed that the mechanical method is least expensive, and the sintering method is the most expensive. Using this model, all recycling methods are less cost effective than the control analysis without recycling. Sensitivity analyses were then done on the effect of the discount rate, capacity factor, and lifespan on the LCOE. These results showed that the change in capacity factor had the most significant effect on the levelized cost of electricity. A final sensitivity analysis was done based on the decreased installation and balance of systems costs in 2025. With a 55% decrease in these costs, the LCOE decreased by close to $0.03/kWh for each method. Based on these results, the cost of each recycling method would be a more considerable proportion of the overall LCOE of the solar farm.

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2018-05

Grad School: Human Growth Horror - Creative Project Entry of an Action/Adventure Computer Game Designed to Experimentally Demonstrate Viable Engineering Concepts for Educational Purposes

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The action/adventure game Grad School: HGH is the final, extended version of a BME Prototyping class project in which the goal was to produce a zombie-themed game that teaches biomedical engineering concepts. The gameplay provides fast paced, exciting, and mildly

The action/adventure game Grad School: HGH is the final, extended version of a BME Prototyping class project in which the goal was to produce a zombie-themed game that teaches biomedical engineering concepts. The gameplay provides fast paced, exciting, and mildly addicting rooms that the player must battle and survive through, followed by an engineering puzzle that must be solved in order to advance to the next room. The objective of this project was to introduce the core concepts of BME to prospective students, rather than attempt to teach an entire BME curriculum. Based on user testing at various phases in the project, we concluded that the gameplay was engaging enough to keep most users' interest through the educational puzzles, and the potential for expanding this project to reach an even greater audience is vast.

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2014-05

BIOELECTRIC IMPEDANCE ANALYSIS AS A METHOD FOR QUANTITATIVE HYDRATION MEASUREMENT

Description

Volume depletion can lead to migraines, dizziness, and significant decreases in a subject's ability to physically perform. A major cause of volume depletion is dehydration, or loss in fluids due to an imbalance in fluid intake to fluid excretion. Because

Volume depletion can lead to migraines, dizziness, and significant decreases in a subject's ability to physically perform. A major cause of volume depletion is dehydration, or loss in fluids due to an imbalance in fluid intake to fluid excretion. Because proper levels of hydration are necessary in order to maintain both short and long term health, the ability to monitor hydration levels is growing in clinical demand. Although devices capable of monitoring hydration level exist, these devices are expensive, invasive, or inaccurate and do not offer a continuous mode of measurement. The ideal hydration monitor for consumer use needs to be characterized by its portability, affordability, and accuracy. Also, this device would need to be noninvasive and offer continuous hydration monitoring in order to accurately assess fluctuations in hydration data throughout a specified time period. One particular method for hydration monitoring that fits the majority of these criteria is known as bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA). Although current devices using BIA do not provide acceptable levels of accuracy, portability, or continuity in data collection, BIA could potentially be modified to fit many, if not all, desired customer specifications. The analysis presented here assesses the viability of using BIA as a new standard in hydration level measurement. The analysis uses data collected from 22 subjects using an existing device that employs BIA. A regression derived for estimating TBW based on the parameters of age, weight, height, sex, and impedance is presented. Using impedance data collected for each subject, a regression was also derived for estimating impedance based on the factors of age, weight, height, and sex. The derived regression was then used to calculate a new impedance value for each subject, and these new impedance values were used to estimate TBW. Through a paired-t test between the TBW values derived by using the direct measurements versus the calculated measurements of impedance, the two samples were found to be comparable. Considerations for BIA as a noninvasive measurement of hydration are discussed.

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2013-05

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Optimization of complex thermal-fluid processes

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First, in a large-scale structure, a 3-D CFD model was built to simulate flow and temperature distributions. The flow patterns and temperature distributions are characterized and validated through spot measurements. The detailed understanding of them then allows for optimization of

First, in a large-scale structure, a 3-D CFD model was built to simulate flow and temperature distributions. The flow patterns and temperature distributions are characterized and validated through spot measurements. The detailed understanding of them then allows for optimization of the HVAC configuration because identification of the problematic flow patterns and temperature mis-distributions leads to some corrective measures. Second, an appropriate form of the viscous dissipation term in the integral form of the conservation equation was considered, and the effects of momentum terms on the computed drop size in pressure-atomized sprays were examined. The Sauter mean diameter (SMD) calculated in this manner agrees well with experimental data of the drop velocities and sizes. Using the suggested equation with the revised treatment of liquid momentum setup, injection parameters can be directly input to the system of equations. Thus, this approach is capable of incorporating the effects of injection parameters for further considerations of the drop and velocity distributions under a wide range of spray geometry and injection conditions. Lastly, groundwater level estimation was investigated using compressed sensing (CS). To satisfy a general property of CS, a random measurement matrix was used, the groundwater network was constructed, and finally the l-1 optimization was run. Through several validation tests, correct estimation of groundwater level by CS was shown. Using this setup, decreasing trends in groundwater level in the southwestern US was shown. The suggested method is effective in that the total measurements of registered wells can be reduced down by approximately 42 %, sparse data can be visualized and a possible approach for groundwater management during extreme weather changes, e.g. in California, was demonstrated.

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2015

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Experimental demonstration of photovoltaic powered solar cooling with ice storage

Description

The ability to shift the photovoltaic (PV) power curve and make the energy accessible during peak hours can be accomplished through pairing solar PV with energy storage technologies. A prototype hybrid air conditioning system (HACS), built under supervision of project

The ability to shift the photovoltaic (PV) power curve and make the energy accessible during peak hours can be accomplished through pairing solar PV with energy storage technologies. A prototype hybrid air conditioning system (HACS), built under supervision of project head Patrick Phelan, consists of PV modules running a DC compressor that operates a conventional HVAC system paired with a second evaporator submerged within a thermal storage tank. The thermal storage is a 0.284m3 or 75 gallon freezer filled with Cryogel balls, submerged in a weak glycol solution. It is paired with its own separate air handler, circulating the glycol solution. The refrigerant flow is controlled by solenoid valves that are electrically connected to a high and low temperature thermostat. During daylight hours, the PV modules run the DC compressor. The refrigerant flow is directed to the conventional HVAC air handler when cooling is needed. Once the desired room temperature is met, refrigerant flow is diverted to the thermal storage, storing excess PV power. During peak energy demand hours, the system uses only small amounts of grid power to pump the glycol solution through the air handler (note the compressor is off), allowing for money and energy savings. The conventional HVAC unit can be scaled down, since during times of large cooling demands the glycol air handler can be operated in parallel with the conventional HVAC unit. Four major test scenarios were drawn up in order to fully comprehend the performance characteristics of the HACS. Upon initial running of the system, ice was produced and the thermal storage was charged. A simple test run consisting of discharging the thermal storage, initially ~¼ frozen, was performed. The glycol air handler ran for 6 hours and the initial cooling power was 4.5 kW. This initial test was significant, since greater than 3.5 kW of cooling power was produced for 3 hours, thus demonstrating the concept of energy storage and recovery.

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2012

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Noninvasive metabolic monitoring: an assessment of thermoelectric gas adsorption biosensors for acetone and ethanol detection in breath analysis

Description

In the search for chemical biosensors designed for patient-based physiological applications, non-invasive diagnostic approaches continue to have value. The work described in this thesis builds upon previous breath analysis studies. In particular, it seeks to assess the adsorptive

In the search for chemical biosensors designed for patient-based physiological applications, non-invasive diagnostic approaches continue to have value. The work described in this thesis builds upon previous breath analysis studies. In particular, it seeks to assess the adsorptive mechanisms active in both acetone and ethanol biosensors designed for breath analysis. The thermoelectric biosensors under investigation were constructed using a thermopile for transduction and four different materials for biorecognition. The analytes, acetone and ethanol, were evaluated under dry-air and humidified-air conditions. The biosensor response to acetone concentration was found to be both repeatable and linear, while the sensor response to ethanol presence was also found to be repeatable. The different biorecognition materials produced discernible thermoelectric responses that were characteristic for each analyte. The sensor output data is presented in this report. Additionally, the results were evaluated against a mathematical model for further analysis. Ultimately, a thermoelectric biosensor based upon adsorption chemistry was developed and characterized. Additional work is needed to characterize the physicochemical action mechanism.

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2011

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Modeling and optimization of a hybrid solar PV-powered air conditioning system with ice storage

Description

In this thesis the performance of a Hybrid AC System (HACS) is modeled and optimized. The HACS utilizes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to help reduce the demand from the utility during peak hours. The system also includes an ice Thermal

In this thesis the performance of a Hybrid AC System (HACS) is modeled and optimized. The HACS utilizes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to help reduce the demand from the utility during peak hours. The system also includes an ice Thermal Energy Storage (TES) tank to accumulate cooling energy during off-peak hours. The AC runs continuously on grid power during off-peak hours to generate cooling for the house and to store thermal energy in the TES. During peak hours, the AC runs on the power supplied from the PV, and cools the house along with the energy stored in the TES. A higher initial cost is expected due to the additional components of the HACS (PV and TES), but a lower operational cost due to higher energy efficiency, energy storage and renewable energy utilization. A house cooled by the HACS will require a smaller size AC unit (about 48% less in the rated capacity), compared to a conventional AC system. To compare the cost effectiveness of the HACS with a regular AC system, time-of-use (TOU) utility rates are considered, as well as the cost of the system components and the annual maintenance. The model shows that the HACS pays back its initial cost of $28k in about 6 years with an 8% APR, and saves about $45k in total cost when compared to a regular AC system that cools the same house for the same period of 6 years.

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2011

Study of a night sky radiator cooling system utilizing direct fluid radiation emission and varying cover materials

Description

As the demand for power increases in populated areas, so will the demand for water. Current power plant technology relies heavily on the Rankine cycle in coal, nuclear and solar thermal power systems which ultimately use condensers to cool the

As the demand for power increases in populated areas, so will the demand for water. Current power plant technology relies heavily on the Rankine cycle in coal, nuclear and solar thermal power systems which ultimately use condensers to cool the steam in the system. In dry climates, the amount of water to cool off the condenser can be extremely large. Current wet cooling technologies such as cooling towers lose water from evaporation. One alternative to prevent this would be to implement a radiative cooling system. More specifically, a system that utilizes the volumetric radiation emission from water to the night sky could be implemented. This thesis analyzes the validity of a radiative cooling system that uses direct radiant emission to cool water. A brief study on potential infrared transparent cover materials such as polyethylene (PE) and polyvinyl carbonate (PVC) was performed. Also, two different experiments to determine the cooling power from radiation were developed and run. The results showed a minimum cooling power of 33.7 W/m2 for a vacuum insulated glass system and 37.57 W/m2 for a tray system with a maximum of 98.61 Wm-2 at a point when conduction and convection heat fluxes were considered to be zero. The results also showed that PE proved to be the best cover material. The minimum numerical results compared well with other studies performed in the field using similar techniques and materials. The results show that a radiative cooling system for a power plant could be feasible given that the cover material selection is narrowed down, an ample amount of land is available and an economic analysis is performed proving it to be cost competitive with conventional systems.

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2011

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Application of phase change material in buildings: field data vs. EnergyPlus simulation

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Phase Change Material (PCM) plays an important role as a thermal energy storage device by utilizing its high storage density and latent heat property. One of the potential applications for PCM is in buildings by incorporating them in the envelope

Phase Change Material (PCM) plays an important role as a thermal energy storage device by utilizing its high storage density and latent heat property. One of the potential applications for PCM is in buildings by incorporating them in the envelope for energy conservation. During the summer season, the benefits are a decrease in overall energy consumption by the air conditioning unit and a time shift in peak load during the day. Experimental work was carried out by Arizona Public Service (APS) in collaboration with Phase Change Energy Solutions (PCES) Inc. with a new class of organic-based PCM. This "BioPCM" has non-flammable properties and can be safely used in buildings. The experimental setup showed maximum energy savings of about 30%, a maximum peak load shift of ~ 60 min, and maximum cost savings of about 30%. Simulation was performed to validate the experimental results. EnergyPlus was chosen as it has the capability to simulate phase change material in the building envelope. The building material properties were chosen from the ASHRAE Handbook - Fundamentals and the HVAC system used was a window-mounted heat pump. The weather file used in the simulation was customized for the year 2008 from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) website. All EnergyPlus inputs were ensured to match closely with the experimental parameters. The simulation results yielded comparable trends with the experimental energy consumption values, however time shifts were not observed. Several other parametric studies like varying PCM thermal conductivity, temperature range, location, insulation R-value and combination of different PCMs were analyzed and results are presented. It was found that a PCM with a melting point from 23 to 27 °C led to maximum energy savings and greater peak load time shift duration, and is more suitable than other PCM temperature ranges for light weight building construction in Phoenix.

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2010