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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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Date Created
2016-05

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Numerical simulation of dynamic contact angles and contact lines in multiphase flows using level set method

Description

Many physical phenomena and industrial applications involve multiphase fluid flows and hence it is of high importance to be able to simulate various aspects of these flows accurately. The Dynamic Contact Angles (DCA) and the contact lines at the wall

Many physical phenomena and industrial applications involve multiphase fluid flows and hence it is of high importance to be able to simulate various aspects of these flows accurately. The Dynamic Contact Angles (DCA) and the contact lines at the wall boundaries are a couple of such important aspects. In the past few decades, many mathematical models were developed for predicting the contact angles of the inter-face with the wall boundary under various flow conditions. These models are used to incorporate the physics of DCA and contact line motion in numerical simulations using various interface capturing/tracking techniques. In the current thesis, a simple approach to incorporate the static and dynamic contact angle boundary conditions using the level set method is developed and implemented in multiphase CFD codes, LIT (Level set Interface Tracking) (Herrmann (2008)) and NGA (flow solver) (Desjardins et al (2008)). Various DCA models and associated boundary conditions are reviewed. In addition, numerical aspects such as the occurrence of a stress singularity at the contact lines and grid convergence of macroscopic interface shape are dealt with in the context of the level set approach.

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Date Created
2015

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Construction of a thermal conductivity measurement platform for bulk and thin film materials based on the 3-Omega technique

Description

Nanostructured materials show signicant enhancement in the thermoelectric g-

ure of merit (zT) due to quantum connement eects. Improving the eciency of

thermoelectric devices allows for the development of better, more economical waste

heat recovery systems. Such systems may be used as bottoming

Nanostructured materials show signicant enhancement in the thermoelectric g-

ure of merit (zT) due to quantum connement eects. Improving the eciency of

thermoelectric devices allows for the development of better, more economical waste

heat recovery systems. Such systems may be used as bottoming or co-generation

cycles in conjunction with conventional power cycles to recover some of the wasted

heat. Thermal conductivity measurement systems are an important part of the char-

acterization processes of thermoelectric materials. These systems must possess the

capability of accurately measuring the thermal conductivity of both bulk and thin-lm

samples at dierent ambient temperatures.

This paper discusses the construction, validation, and improvement of a thermal

conductivity measurement platform based on the 3-Omega technique. Room temperature

measurements of thermal conductivity done on control samples with known properties

such as undoped bulk silicon (Si), bulk gallium arsenide (GaAs), and silicon dioxide

(SiO2) thin lms yielded 150 W=m􀀀K, 50 W=m􀀀K, and 1:46 W=m􀀀K respectively.

These quantities were all within 8% of literature values. In addition, the thermal

conductivity of bulk SiO2 was measured as a function of temperature in a Helium-

4 cryostat from 75K to 250K. The results showed good agreement with literature

values that all fell within the error range of each measurement. The uncertainty in

the measurements ranged from 19% at 75K to 30% at 250K. Finally, the system

was used to measure the room temperature thermal conductivity of a nanocomposite

composed of cadmium selenide, CdSe, nanocrystals in an indium selenide, In2Se3,

matrix as a function of the concentration of In2Se3. The observed trend was in

qualitative agreement with the expected behavior.

i

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Agent

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Date Created
2014

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Gallium-based room temperature liquid metals and its application to single channel two-liquid hyperelastic capacitive strain sensors

Description

Gallium-based liquid metals are of interest for a variety of applications including flexible electronics, soft robotics, and biomedical devices. Still, nano- to microscale device fabrication with these materials is challenging because of their strong adhesion to a majority of substrates.

Gallium-based liquid metals are of interest for a variety of applications including flexible electronics, soft robotics, and biomedical devices. Still, nano- to microscale device fabrication with these materials is challenging because of their strong adhesion to a majority of substrates. This unusual high adhesion is attributed to the formation of a thin oxide shell; however, its role in the adhesion process has not yet been established. In the first part of the thesis, we described a multiscale study aiming at understanding the fundamental mechanisms governing wetting and adhesion of gallium-based liquid metals. In particular, macroscale dynamic contact angle measurements were coupled with Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) imaging to relate macroscopic drop adhesion to morphology of the liquid metal-surface interface. In addition, room temperature liquid-metal microfluidic devices are also attractive systems for hyperelastic strain sensing. Currently two types of liquid metal-based strain sensors exist for inplane measurements: single-microchannel resistive and two-microchannel capacitive devices. However, with a winding serpentine channel geometry, these sensors typically have a footprint of about a square centimeter, limiting the number of sensors that can be embedded into. In the second part of the thesis, firstly, simulations and an experimental setup consisting of two GaInSn filled tubes submerged within a dielectric liquid bath are used to quantify the effects of the cylindrical electrode geometry including diameter, spacing, and meniscus shape as well as dielectric constant of the insulating liquid and the presence of tubing on the overall system's capacitance. Furthermore, a procedure for fabricating the two-liquid capacitor within a single straight polydiemethylsiloxane channel is developed. Lastly, capacitance and response of this compact device to strain and operational issues arising from complex hydrodynamics near liquid-liquid and liquid-elastomer interfaces are described.

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Date Created
2015

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Nano-engineering metamaterials and metafilms for high-efficiency solar energy harvesting and conversion

Description

The energy crisis in the past decades has greatly boosted the search for alternatives to traditional fossil foils, and solar energy stands out as an important candidate due to its cleanness and abundance. However, the relatively low conversion efficiency and

The energy crisis in the past decades has greatly boosted the search for alternatives to traditional fossil foils, and solar energy stands out as an important candidate due to its cleanness and abundance. However, the relatively low conversion efficiency and energy density strongly hinder the utilization of solar energy in wider applications. This thesis focuses on employing metamaterials and metafilms to enhance the conversion efficiency of solar thermal, solar thermophotovoltaic (STPV) and photovoltaic systems.

A selective metamaterial solar absorber is designed in this thesis to maximize the absorbed solar energy and minimize heat dissipation through thermal radiation. The theoretically designed metamaterial solar absorber exhibits absorptance higher than 95% in the solar spectrum but shows emittance less than 4% in the IR regime. This metamaterial solar absorber is further experimentally fabricated and optically characterized. Moreover, a metafilm selective absorber with stability up to 600oC is introduced, which exhibits solar absorptance higher than 90% and IR emittance less than 10%.

Solar thermophotovoltaic energy conversion enhanced by metamaterial absorbers and emitters is theoretically investigated in this thesis. The STPV system employing selective metamaterial absorber and emitter is investigated in this work, showing its conversion efficiency between 8% and 10% with concentration factor varying between 20 and 200. This conversion efficiency is remarkably enhanced compared with the conversion efficiency for STPV system employing black surfaces (<2.5%).

Moreover, plasmonic light trapping in ultra-thin solar cells employing concave grating nanostructures is discussed in this thesis. The plasmonic light trapping inside an ultrathin GaAs layer in the film-coupled metamaterial structure is numerically demonstrated. By exciting plasmonic resonances inside this structure, the short-circuit current density for the film-coupled metamaterial solar cell is three times the short-circuit current for a free-standing GaAs layer.

The dissertation is concluded by discussing about the future work on selective solar thermal absorbers, STPV/TPV systems and light trapping structures. Possibilities to design and fabricate solar thermal absorber with better thermal stability will be discussed, the experimental work of TPV system will be conducted, and the light trapping in organic and perovskite solar cells will be looked into.

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Date Created
2016

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A friction and adhesion characterization setup for extreme temperatures

Description

It is well known that the geckos can cling to almost any surface using highly dense micro
ano fibrils found on the feet that rely on Van Der Waals forces to adhere. A few experimental and theoretical approaches have been

It is well known that the geckos can cling to almost any surface using highly dense micro
ano fibrils found on the feet that rely on Van Der Waals forces to adhere. A few experimental and theoretical approaches have been taken to understand the adhesion mechanism of gecko feet. This work explains the building procedure of custom experimental setup to test the adhesion force over a temperature range and extends its application in space environment, potentially unsafe working condition.

This study demonstrates that these adhesive capable of switching adhesive properties not only at room environment but also over a temperature range of -160 degC to 120 degC in vacuum conditions. These conditions are similar to the condition experienced by a satellite in a space orbiting around the earth. Also, this study demonstrated various detachment and specimen patch preparation methods. The custom-made experimental setup for adhesion test can measure adhesion force in temperature and pressure controlled environment over specimen size of 1 sq. inch. A cryogenic cooling system with liquid nitrogen is used to achieve -160 degC and an electric resistive heating system are used to achieve 120 degC in controlled volume. Thermal electrodes, infrared thermopile detectors are used to record temperature at sample and pressure indicator to record vacuum condition in controlled volume. Reversibility of the switching behaviour of the specimen in controlled environment confirms its application in space and very high or very low-temperature conditions.

The experimental setup was developed using SolidWorks as a design tool, Ansys as simulation tool and the data acquisition utilizes LabVIEW available in the market today.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016

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Printed passive microfluidic devices using TEOS reactive inks

Description

This paper details ink chemistries and processes to fabricate passive microfluidic devices using drop-on-demand printing of tetraethyl-orthosilicate (TEOS) inks. Parameters space investigation of the relationship between printed morphology and ink chemistries and printing parameters was conducted to demonstrate that

This paper details ink chemistries and processes to fabricate passive microfluidic devices using drop-on-demand printing of tetraethyl-orthosilicate (TEOS) inks. Parameters space investigation of the relationship between printed morphology and ink chemistries and printing parameters was conducted to demonstrate that morphology can be controlled by adjusting solvents selection, TEOS concentration, substrate temperature, and hydrolysis time. Optical microscope and scanning electron microscope images were gathered to observe printed morphology and optical videos were taken to quantify the impact of morphology on fluid flow rates. The microscopy images show that by controlling the hydrolysis time of TEOS, dilution solvents and the printing temperature, dense or fracture structure can be obtained. Fracture structures are used as passive fluidic device due to strong capillary action in cracks. At last, flow rate of passive fluidic devices with different thickness printed at different temperatures are measured and compared. The result shows the flow rate increases with the increase of device width and thickness. By controlling the morphology and dimensions of printed structure, passive microfluidic devices with designed flow rate and low fluorescence background are able to be printed.

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Date Created
2016

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3D Printed Heat Exchangers: An Experimental Study

Description

As additive manufacturing grows as a cost-effective method of manufacturing, lighter, stronger and more efficient designs emerge. Heat exchangers are one of the most critical thermal devices in the thermal industry. Additive manufacturing brings us a design freedom no other

As additive manufacturing grows as a cost-effective method of manufacturing, lighter, stronger and more efficient designs emerge. Heat exchangers are one of the most critical thermal devices in the thermal industry. Additive manufacturing brings us a design freedom no other manufacturing technology offers. Advancements in 3D printing lets us reimagine and optimize the performance of the heat exchangers with an incredible design flexibility previously unexplored due to manufacturing constraints.

In this research, the additive manufacturing technology and the heat exchanger design are explored to find a unique solution to improve the efficiency of heat exchangers. This includes creating a Triply Periodic Minimal Surface (TPMS) geometry, Schwarz-D in this case, using Mathematica with a flexibility to control the cell size of the models generated. This model is then encased in a closed cubical surface with manifolds for fluid inlets and outlets before 3D printed using the polymer nylon for thermal evaluation.

In the extent of this study, the heat exchanger developed is experimentally evaluated. The data obtained are used to derive a relationship between the heat transfer effectiveness and the Number of Transfer Units (NTU).The pressure loss across a fluid channel of the Schwarz D geometry is also studied.

The data presented in this study are part of initial experimental evaluation of 3D printed TPMS heat exchangers.Among heat exchangers with similar performance, the Schwarz D geometry is 32% smaller compared to a shell-and-tube heat exchanger.

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Date Created
2018

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Investigation of Heat Exchanger Improvement via Ultrasonic Energy

Description

In these times of increasing industrialization, there arises a need for effective and energy efficient heat transfer/heat exchange devices. The focus nowadays is on identifying various methods and techniques which can aid the process of developing energy efficient devices. One

In these times of increasing industrialization, there arises a need for effective and energy efficient heat transfer/heat exchange devices. The focus nowadays is on identifying various methods and techniques which can aid the process of developing energy efficient devices. One of the most common heat transfer devices is a heat exchanger. Heat exchangers are an essential commodity to any industry and their efficiency can play an important role in making industries energy efficient and reduce the energy losses in the devices, in turn decreasing energy inputs to run the industry.

One of the ways in which we can improve the efficiency of heat exchangers is by applying ultrasonic energy to a heat exchanger. This research explores the possibility of introducing the external input of ultrasonic energy to increase the efficiency of the heat exchanger. This increase in efficiency can be estimated by calculating the parameters important for the characterization of a heat exchanger, which are effectiveness (ε) and overall heat transfer coefficient (U). These parameters are calculated for both the non-ultrasound and ultrasound conditions in the heat exchanger.

This a preliminary study of ultrasound and its effect on a conventional shell-and-coil heat exchanger. From the data obtained it can be inferred that the increase in effectiveness and overall heat transfer coefficient upon the application of ultrasound is 1% and 6.22% respectively.

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Date Created
2019

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Minimizing hydraulic resistance of a plant root by shape optimization

Description

Analytical solution of the pressure field for water uptake through a composite root, coupled with fully saturated soil is derived by using the slender body approximation. It is shown that in general, the resistance of the root and soil are

Analytical solution of the pressure field for water uptake through a composite root, coupled with fully saturated soil is derived by using the slender body approximation. It is shown that in general, the resistance of the root and soil are not additive. This result can play a very important role in modelling water uptake through plant roots and determination of hydraulic resistances of plant roots. Optimum plant root structure that minimizes a single root’s hydraulic resistance is also studied in this work with the constraint of prescribed root volume. Hydraulic resistances under the slender body approximation and without such a limitation are considered. It is found that for large stele-to-cortex permeability ratio, there exists an optimum root length-to-base-radius ratio that minimizes the hydraulic resistance. A remarkable feature of the optimum root structure is that the optimum dimensionless stele conductivity depends only on a single geometrical parameter, the stele-to-root base-radius ratio. Once the stele-to-root base-radius ratio and the stele-to-cortex permeability ratio are given, the optimum root length-to-radius ratio can be found. While these findings remain to be verified by experiments for real plant roots, they offer theoretical guidance for the design of bio-inspired structures that minimizes hydraulic resistance for fluid production from porous media.

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Date Created
2016