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Adaptive Technologies using Soft Robotic Bladders

Description

The traditional understanding of robotics includes mechanisms of rigid structures, which can manipulate surrounding objects, taking advantage of mechanical actuators such as motors and servomechanisms. Although these methods provide the underlying fundamental concepts behind much of modern technological infrastructure, in

The traditional understanding of robotics includes mechanisms of rigid structures, which can manipulate surrounding objects, taking advantage of mechanical actuators such as motors and servomechanisms. Although these methods provide the underlying fundamental concepts behind much of modern technological infrastructure, in fields such as manufacturing, automation, and biomedical application, the robotic structures formed by rigid axels on mechanical actuators lack the delicate differential sensors and actuators associated with known biological systems. The rigid structures of traditional robotics also inhibit the use of simple mechanisms in congested and/or fragile environments. By observing a variety of biological systems, it is shown that nature models its structures over millions of years of evolution into a combination of soft structures and rigid skeletal interior supports. Through technological bio-inspired designs, researchers hope to mimic some of the complex behaviors of biological mechanisms using pneumatic actuators coupled with highly compliant materials that exhibit relatively large reversible elastic strain. This paper begins the brief history of soft robotics, the various classifications of pneumatic fluid systems, the associated difficulties that arise with the unpredictable nature of fluid reactions, the methods of pneumatic actuators in use today, the current industrial applications of soft robotics, and focuses in large on the construction of a universally adaptable soft robotic gripper and material application tool. The central objective of this experiment is to compatibly pair traditional rigid robotics with the emerging technologies of sort robotic actuators. This will be done by combining a traditional rigid robotic arm with a soft robotic manipulator bladder for the purposes of object manipulation and excavation of extreme environments.

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2016-05

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Improving damage detection and localization in complex composites

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The goal of this research is to couple a physics-based model with adaptive algorithms to develop a more accurate and robust technique for structural health monitoring (SHM) in composite structures. The purpose of SHM is to localize and detect damage

The goal of this research is to couple a physics-based model with adaptive algorithms to develop a more accurate and robust technique for structural health monitoring (SHM) in composite structures. The purpose of SHM is to localize and detect damage in structures, which has broad applications to improvements in aerospace technology. This technique employs PZT transducers to actuate and collect guided Lamb wave signals. Matching pursuit decomposition (MPD) is used to decompose the signal into a cross-term free time-frequency relation. This decoupling of time and frequency facilitates the calculation of a signal's time-of-flight along a path between an actuator and sensor. Using the time-of-flights, comparisons can be made between similar composite structures to find damaged regions by examining differences in the time of flight for each path between PZTs, with respect to direction. Relatively large differences in time-of-flight indicate the presence of new or more significant damage, which can be verified using a physics-based approach. Wave propagation modeling is used to implement a physics based approach to this method, which is coupled with adaptive algorithms that take into account currently existing damage to a composite structure. Previous SHM techniques for composite structures rely on the assumption that the composite is initially free of all damage on both a macro and micro-scale, which is never the case due to the inherent introduction of material defects in its fabrication. This method provides a novel technique for investigating the presence and nature of damage in composite structures. Further investigation into the technique can be done by testing structures with different sizes of damage and investigating the effects of different operating temperatures on this SHM system.

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2015-05

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Compressible flow through a porous medium: choking at pore scale and its implications

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Production from a high pressure gas well at a high production-rate encounters the risk of operating near the choking condition for a compressible flow in porous media. The unbounded gas pressure gradient near the point of choking, which is located

Production from a high pressure gas well at a high production-rate encounters the risk of operating near the choking condition for a compressible flow in porous media. The unbounded gas pressure gradient near the point of choking, which is located near the wellbore, generates an effective tensile stress on the porous rock frame. This tensile stress almost always exceeds the tensile strength of the rock and it causes a tensile failure of the rock, leading to wellbore instability. In a porous rock, not all pores are choked at the same flow rate, and when just one pore is choked, the flow through the entire porous medium should be considered choked as the gas pressure gradient at the point of choking becomes singular. This thesis investigates the choking condition for compressible gas flow in a single microscopic pore. Quasi-one-dimensional analysis and axisymmetric numerical simulations of compressible gas flow in a pore scale varicose tube with a number of bumps are carried out, and the local Mach number and pressure along the tube are computed for the flow near choking condition. The effects of tube length, inlet-to-outlet pressure ratio, the number of bumps and the amplitude of the bumps on the choking condition are obtained. These critical values provide guidance for avoiding the choking condition in practice.

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2013

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Adaptive methods within a sequential Bayesian approach for structural health monitoring

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Structural integrity is an important characteristic of performance for critical components used in applications such as aeronautics, materials, construction and transportation. When appraising the structural integrity of these components, evaluation methods must be accurate. In addition to possessing capability to

Structural integrity is an important characteristic of performance for critical components used in applications such as aeronautics, materials, construction and transportation. When appraising the structural integrity of these components, evaluation methods must be accurate. In addition to possessing capability to perform damage detection, the ability to monitor the level of damage over time can provide extremely useful information in assessing the operational worthiness of a structure and in determining whether the structure should be repaired or removed from service. In this work, a sequential Bayesian approach with active sensing is employed for monitoring crack growth within fatigue-loaded materials. The monitoring approach is based on predicting crack damage state dynamics and modeling crack length observations. Since fatigue loading of a structural component can change while in service, an interacting multiple model technique is employed to estimate probabilities of different loading modes and incorporate this information in the crack length estimation problem. For the observation model, features are obtained from regions of high signal energy in the time-frequency plane and modeled for each crack length damage condition. Although this observation model approach exhibits high classification accuracy, the resolution characteristics can change depending upon the extent of the damage. Therefore, several different transmission waveforms and receiver sensors are considered to create multiple modes for making observations of crack damage. Resolution characteristics of the different observation modes are assessed using a predicted mean squared error criterion and observations are obtained using the predicted, optimal observation modes based on these characteristics. Calculation of the predicted mean square error metric can be computationally intensive, especially if performed in real time, and an approximation method is proposed. With this approach, the real time computational burden is decreased significantly and the number of possible observation modes can be increased. Using sensor measurements from real experiments, the overall sequential Bayesian estimation approach, with the adaptive capability of varying the state dynamics and observation modes, is demonstrated for tracking crack damage.

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2013

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Development of mehanochemically active polymers for early damage detection

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Identification of early damage in polymer composite materials is of significant importance so that preventative measures can be taken before the materials reach catastrophic failure. Scientists have been developing damage detection technologies over many years and recently, mechanophore-based polymers, in

Identification of early damage in polymer composite materials is of significant importance so that preventative measures can be taken before the materials reach catastrophic failure. Scientists have been developing damage detection technologies over many years and recently, mechanophore-based polymers, in which mechanical energy is translated to activate a chemical transformation, have received increasing attention. More specifically, the damage can be made detectable by mechanochromic polymers, which provide a visible color change upon the scission of covalent bonds under stress. This dissertation focuses on the study of a novel self-sensing framework for identifying early and in-situ damage by employing unique stress-sensing mechanophores. Two types of mechanophores, cyclobutane and cyclooctane, were utilized, and the former formed from cinnamoyl moeities and the latter formed from anthracene upon photodimerization. The effects on the thermal and mechanical properties with the addition of the cyclobutane-based polymers into epoxy matrices were investigated. The emergence of cracks was detected by fluorescent signals at a strain level right after the yield point of the polymer blends, and the fluorescence intensified with the accumulation of strain. Similar to the mechanism of fluorescence emission from the cleavage of cyclobutane, the cyclooctane moiety generated fluorescent emission with a higher quantum yield upon cleavage. The experimental results also demonstrated the success of employing the cyclooctane type mechanophore as a potential force sensor, as the fluorescence intensification was correlated with the strain increase.

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2014

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A study of latent heat of vaporization in aqueous nanofluids

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Nanoparticle suspensions, popularly termed “nanofluids,” have been extensively investigated for their thermal and radiative properties. Such work has generated great controversy, although it is arguably accepted today that the presence of nanoparticles rarely leads to useful enhancements in either thermal

Nanoparticle suspensions, popularly termed “nanofluids,” have been extensively investigated for their thermal and radiative properties. Such work has generated great controversy, although it is arguably accepted today that the presence of nanoparticles rarely leads to useful enhancements in either thermal conductivity or convective heat transfer. On the other hand, there are still examples of unanticipated enhancements to some properties, such as the reported specific heat of molten salt-based nanofluids and the critical heat flux. Another largely overlooked example is the apparent effect of nanoparticles on the effective latent heat of vaporization (hfg) of aqueous nanofluids. A previous study focused on molecular dynamics (MD) modeling supplemented with limited experimental data to suggest that hfg increases with increasing nanoparticle concentration.

Here, this research extends that exploratory work in an effort to determine if hfg of aqueous nanofluids can be manipulated, i.e., increased or decreased, by the addition of graphite or silver nanoparticles. Our results to date indicate that hfg can be substantially impacted, by up to ± 30% depending on the type of nanoparticle. Moreover, this dissertation reports further experiments with changing surface area based on volume fraction (0.005% to 2%) and various nanoparticle sizes to investigate the mechanisms for hfg modification in aqueous graphite and silver nanofluids. This research also investigates thermophysical properties, i.e., density and surface tension in aqueous nanofluids to support the experimental results of hfg based on the Clausius - Clapeyron equation. This theoretical investigation agrees well with the experimental results. Furthermore, this research investigates the hfg change of aqueous nanofluids with nanoscale studies in terms of melting of silver nanoparticles and hydrophobic interactions of graphite nanofluid. As a result, the entropy change due to those mechanisms could be a main cause of the changes of hfg in silver and graphite nanofluids.

Finally, applying the latent heat results of graphite and silver nanofluids to an actual solar thermal system to identify enhanced performance with a Rankine cycle is suggested to show that the tunable latent heat of vaporization in nanofluilds could be beneficial for real-world solar thermal applications with improved efficiency.

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2015

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Probabilistic fatigue damage localization at unknown temperatures using guided wave methods

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This research examines the current challenges of using Lamb wave interrogation methods to localize fatigue crack damage in a complex metallic structural component subjected to unknown temperatures. The goal of this work is to improve damage localization results for a

This research examines the current challenges of using Lamb wave interrogation methods to localize fatigue crack damage in a complex metallic structural component subjected to unknown temperatures. The goal of this work is to improve damage localization results for a structural component interrogated at an unknown temperature, by developing a probabilistic and reference-free framework for estimating Lamb wave velocities and the damage location. The methodology for damage localization at unknown temperatures includes the following key elements: i) a model that can describe the change in Lamb wave velocities with temperature; ii) the extension of an advanced time-frequency based signal processing technique for enhanced time-of-flight feature extraction from a dispersive signal; iii) the development of a Bayesian damage localization framework incorporating data association and sensor fusion. The technique requires no additional transducers to be installed on a structure, and allows for the estimation of both the temperature and the wave velocity in the component. Additionally, the framework of the algorithm allows it to function completely in an unsupervised manner by probabilistically accounting for all measurement origin uncertainty. The novel algorithm was experimentally validated using an aluminum lug joint with a growing fatigue crack. The lug joint was interrogated using piezoelectric transducers at multiple fatigue crack lengths, and at temperatures between 20°C and 80°C. The results showed that the algorithm could accurately predict the temperature and wave speed of the lug joint. The localization results for the fatigue damage were found to correlate well with the true locations at long crack lengths, but loss of accuracy was observed in localizing small cracks due to time-of-flight measurement errors. To validate the algorithm across a wider range of temperatures the electromechanically coupled LISA/SIM model was used to simulate the effects of temperatures. The numerical results showed that this approach would be capable of experimentally estimating the temperature and velocity in the lug joint for temperatures from -60°C to 150°C. The velocity estimation algorithm was found to significantly increase the accuracy of localization at temperatures above 120°C when error due to incorrect velocity selection begins to outweigh the error due to time-of-flight measurements.

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2013

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Challenging the versatility of the Tesla turbine: working fluid variations and turbine performance

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Tesla turbo-machinery offers a robust, easily manufactured, extremely versatile prime mover with inherent capabilities making it perhaps the best, if not the only, solution for certain niche applications. The goal of this thesis is not to optimize the performance of

Tesla turbo-machinery offers a robust, easily manufactured, extremely versatile prime mover with inherent capabilities making it perhaps the best, if not the only, solution for certain niche applications. The goal of this thesis is not to optimize the performance of the Tesla turbine, but to compare its performance with various working fluids. Theoretical and experimental analyses of a turbine-generator assembly utilizing compressed air, saturated steam and water as the working fluids were performed and are presented in this work. A brief background and explanation of the technology is provided along with potential applications. A theoretical thermodynamic analysis is outlined, resulting in turbine and rotor efficiencies, power outputs and Reynolds numbers calculated for the turbine for various combinations of working fluids and inlet nozzles. The results indicate the turbine is capable of achieving a turbine efficiency of 31.17 ± 3.61% and an estimated rotor efficiency 95 ± 9.32%. These efficiencies are promising considering the numerous losses still present in the current design. Calculation of the Reynolds number provided some capability to determine the flow behavior and how that behavior impacts the performance and efficiency of the Tesla turbine. It was determined that turbulence in the flow is essential to achieving high power outputs and high efficiency. Although the efficiency, after peaking, begins to slightly taper off as the flow becomes increasingly turbulent, the power output maintains a steady linear increase.

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2012

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Multiscale Modeling & Virtual Sensing for Structural Health Monitoring

Description

Damage assessment and residual useful life estimation (RULE) are essential for aerospace, civil and naval structures. Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) attempts to automate the process of damage detection and identification. Multiscale modeling is a key element in SHM. It not

Damage assessment and residual useful life estimation (RULE) are essential for aerospace, civil and naval structures. Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) attempts to automate the process of damage detection and identification. Multiscale modeling is a key element in SHM. It not only provides important information on the physics of failure, such as damage initiation and growth, the output can be used as "virtual sensing" data for detection and prognosis. The current research is part of an ongoing multidisciplinary effort to develop an integrated SHM framework for metallic aerospace components. In this thesis a multiscale model has been developed by bridging the relevant length scales, micro, meso and macro (or structural scale). Micro structural representations obtained from material characterization studies are used to define the length scales and to capture the size and orientation of the grains at the micro level. Parametric studies are conducted to estimate material parameters used in this constitutive model. Numerical and experimental simulations are performed to investigate the effects of Representative Volume Element (RVE) size, defect area fraction and distribution. A multiscale damage criterion accounting for crystal orientation effect is developed. This criterion is applied for fatigue crack initial stage prediction. A damage evolution rule based on strain energy density is modified to incorporate crystal plasticity at the microscale (local). Optimization approaches are used to calculate global damage index which is used for the RVE failure prediciton. Potential cracking directions are provided from the damage criterion simultaneously. A wave propagation model is incorporated with the damage model to detect changes in sensing signals due to plastic deformation and damage growth.

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2011

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Damage detection in blade-stiffened anisotropic composite panels using lamb wave mode conversions

Description

Composite materials are increasingly being used in aircraft, automobiles, and other applications due to their high strength to weight and stiffness to weight ratios. However, the presence of damage, such as delamination or matrix cracks, can significantly compromise the performance

Composite materials are increasingly being used in aircraft, automobiles, and other applications due to their high strength to weight and stiffness to weight ratios. However, the presence of damage, such as delamination or matrix cracks, can significantly compromise the performance of these materials and result in premature failure. Structural components are often manually inspected to detect the presence of damage. This technique, known as schedule based maintenance, however, is expensive, time-consuming, and often limited to easily accessible structural elements. Therefore, there is an increased demand for robust and efficient Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) techniques that can be used for Condition Based Monitoring, which is the method in which structural components are inspected based upon damage metrics as opposed to flight hours. SHM relies on in situ frameworks for detecting early signs of damage in exposed and unexposed structural elements, offering not only reduced number of schedule based inspections, but also providing better useful life estimates. SHM frameworks require the development of different sensing technologies, algorithms, and procedures to detect, localize, quantify, characterize, as well as assess overall damage in aerospace structures so that strong estimations in the remaining useful life can be determined. The use of piezoelectric transducers along with guided Lamb waves is a method that has received considerable attention due to the weight, cost, and function of the systems based on these elements. The research in this thesis investigates the ability of Lamb waves to detect damage in feature dense anisotropic composite panels. Most current research negates the effects of experimental variability by performing tests on structurally simple isotropic plates that are used as a baseline and damaged specimen. However, in actual applications, variability cannot be negated, and therefore there is a need to research the effects of complex sample geometries, environmental operating conditions, and the effects of variability in material properties. This research is based on experiments conducted on a single blade-stiffened anisotropic composite panel that localizes delamination damage caused by impact. The overall goal was to utilize a correlative approach that used only the damage feature produced by the delamination as the damage index. This approach was adopted because it offered a simplistic way to determine the existence and location of damage without having to conduct a more complex wave propagation analysis or having to take into account the geometric complexities of the test specimen. Results showed that even in a complex structure, if the damage feature can be extracted and measured, then an appropriate damage index can be associated to it and the location of the damage can be inferred using a dense sensor array. The second experiment presented in this research studies the effects of temperature on damage detection when using one test specimen for a benchmark data set and another for damage data collection. This expands the previous experiment into exploring not only the effects of variable temperature, but also the effects of high experimental variability. Results from this work show that the damage feature in the data is not only extractable at higher temperatures, but that the data from one panel at one temperature can be directly compared to another panel at another temperature for baseline comparison due to linearity of the collected data.

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2012