Virginia Space Grant Consortium
Student Research Conference - April 9, 2009
Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia

Undergraduate Research Scholars
Poster Presentation

 

MONOMER AND POLYIMIDE PRODUCTION IN THE SEARCH FOR RADIATION SHIELDING FOR SPACE EXPLORATION
Norah Bate, College of William and Mary


Current forms of radiation shielding fail to adequately protect either equipment or personnel during extended space travel beyond the Van Allen radiation belts. Radiation such as galactic cosmic radiation, neutrons, and high energy electromagnetic radiation is of great concern and must be taken into account in the planning of any future mission. In light of this, it is necessary to produce new lightweight shielding materials which are both structurally functional and effective in blocking these dangerous forms of radiation. Polyimides have excellent thermal and mechanical stability and this stability is increased when the aromatic content of the backbone is increased. In addition, methods for monomer synthesis provide a convenient route for increasing hydrogen content in the monomer and thereby increasing the polymer’s radiation shielding capabilities. This research has concentrated primarily on the synthesis of bisphenol monomers as well as subsequent steps toward polyimidization. Tungsten additives and their effects on thermal and mechanical properties were also explored. These syntheses as well as future research into similar compounds will advance the search for more effective shielding materials.

 

MEASUREMENT OF THE NEAR INFRARED OPPOSITION SURGE OF TRITON NEAR TRUE OPPOSITION
Dante Earle, University of Virginia

We present Near Infrared (J, H, Ks-band) photometry of Triton obtained around the opposition of August 13, 2007 UT. Observations were conducted using a HAWAII-1 infrared camera operating at the University of Virginia’s Fan Mountain Observatory’s 31-inch reflector. With Neptune near a node crossing, Triton reached solar phase angles as small as 0.009 degrees. Given a heliocentric distance of 30AU, the Sun’s angular radius was only 0.008 degrees. The observing campaign took place in two parts; one around opposition and the other about a month later in order to characterize the light curve of Triton at these wavelengths while the phase angle was slowly changing. The observations successfully characterize the angular width, amplitude, and wavelength dependence of the Near Infrared opposition surge of Triton and provide evidence for a significant contribution from the coherent backscatter effect.

 

MODEL ANALYSIS OF SIGNAL INTERFERENCE IN AVIONIC CIRCUITS
Felicia Farrow, Old Dominion University
Electromagnetic Interference (EI) is a growing concern in the avionic industry. Explanations and evaluations are being sought after by industries for better understanding of the EI problem. Therefore, to bring about a better understanding and assessment of the EI problem, research followed by simulations testing is introduced, performed, and presented. By modeling and imposing interfering signals upon various sample circuits using the PSPICE simulation software, observations and analysis are made on the effect these interfering signals have on circuits’ behavior. In doing this, it was found that certain interfering signal patterns are more likely to upset circuit function than others.

 

AIR DATA BOOM SYSTEM INTEGRATION IN A SMALL SCALE UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE -------------------Jonathan Hall, Virginia Tech


This undergraduate research effort centers around the integration from ground up and testing of an air data boom on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) being developed under the supervision of Dr. Craig Woolsey of the Non-Linear Systems Laboratory, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. This research aims to provide useful insight into the process of adding air data boom systems to small UAVs and in identifying and mitigating potential problems in this regard. This effort spans a variety of different topics and tasks which were encountered during the course of research. The design process of creation of a mounting system for the air data boom is documented. Wind tunnel testing provided needed base data to perform calibrations and to analyze the aerodynamic effects of the UAV body and nose on the fidelity of data collected by the boom. This process is documented and its results are presented. Additionally, the electronic and physical connections necessary for the air data boom system to function properly are examined. A number of lesser issues are also addressed in an effort to provide a thorough overview of the process.

 

ELECTROMAGNETIC NOISE REDUCTION TECHNIQUES FOR CABLE SYSTEMS
Richard Hare, Old Dominion University

Research focusing on specific strategies of EM noise reduction for cable systems is presented. Results show the effectiveness of strategies specific to long cables, shield termination techniques, and double shield techniques. In obtaining empirical results for all test cases, noise injection (radiated magnetic fields) through the bulk current injection (BCI) is utilized. For the shield termination experiments, both BCI and transverse electromagnetic (TEM) cell noise injection techniques are utilized.

 

RAPIDLY RECONFIGURABLE INTELLIGENT FRACTIONATED SATELLITE CONSTELLATIONS
Roy Hayes, University of Virginia

The Defense Advance Project Research Agency is funding the development of Rapidly Reconfigurable Intelligent Fractionated Satellite Constellations (RRIFSC). RRIFSCs are constellations of satellites where the functionality of a single traditional spacecraft (satellite) is distributed among wirelessly-interconnected orbiting spacecraft (satellite) components. The University of Virginia (UVA) is aiding in this endeavor by creating an emulator capable of modeling a wide range of satellite constellations, including RRIFSC. This paper describes an emulator created at UVA that is robust enough to accurately model a wide range of satellite networks, including networks that comprise different types of orbits. Furthermore, this paper highlights the shortfalls in previous satellite emulators and illustrates the advantages of UVA’s satellite emulator and its benefits to the end user.

 

STUDENT PROGRAM MANAGEMENT FOR THE HY-V PROGRAM
Ryan Johnson, University of Virginia

The Hy-V Program will conduct on-ground and in-flight experiments of a supersonic engine known as a scramjet. The program relies on university, industry, and government participation in order to successfully complete the experiment. The university portion of the Hy-V Program is conducted by the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. Student program management is an important aspect of the Hy-V Program because of the experiment’s complexity and reliance of organization between the two universities. This paper serves as an overview to the functionality of program management in engineering and the author’s implementation of program management in different Hy-V Program student activities.

 

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE EARTH AND JOVIAN MAGNETOSPHERES
Lauren Lott, Hampton University

Most planets are surrounded by huge magnetic structures, known as magnetospheres, produced by the planets’ internal magnetic fields. The magnetosphere of the Earth is a region in space shaped by the Earth's internal magnetic field, the solar wind plasma, and the interplanetary magnetic field. Magnetic fields exert forces on electrically charged particles that are moving within the field. In space, those charged particles moved by Earth’s magnetic field are ions and electrons. A geomagnetic storm occurs if there is a temporary disturbance of the Earth's magnetosphere caused by a disturbance coming from the Sun. These disturbances are associated with solar coronal mass ejections, coronal holes, or solar flares. The general form of Jupiter’s magnetosphere resembles that of Earth and is also affected by solar wind and, possibly, magnetic storms. This project will employ space weather models of large geomagnetic storms from the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC) data and observations of charged particles and magnetic fields in space and images of Earth’s aurora and compare with observations of Jupiter’s magnetosphere. Because of the greater availability of modeling tools and observations of Earth’s magnetosphere, we have concentrated on developing a greater understanding of magnetospheric processes by studying Earth. The lessons learned by studying Earth provide a basis for comparative studies of Jupiter.

 

MASSIVE SATELLITES OF CLOSE-IN GAS GIANT EXOPLANETS
Rolando Mendez, University of Virginia

We study the orbits, tidal heating and mass loss from satellites around close-in gas giant exoplanets. The focus is on large satellites which are potentially observable by their transit signature. We argue that even Earth-size satellites around hot Jupiters can be immune to destruction by orbital decay; detection of such a massive satellite would strongly constrain theories of tidal dissipation in gas giants, in a manner complementary to orbital circularization. The star’s gravity induces significant periodic eccentricity in the satellite’s orbit. The resulting tidal heating rates, per unit mass, are far in excess of Io’s and dominate radioactive heating out to planet orbital periods of months for reasonable satellite tidal Q. Inside planet orbital periods of about a week, tidal heating can completely melt the satellite. We compute an upper limit to the satellite mass loss rate and show that, although rocky satellites around hot Jupiters with orbital periods less than a few days can be significantly evaporated in their lifetimes, detectable satellites can survive at longer orbital periods.

 

HALOE V2.0 UPPER TROPOSPHERIC WATER VAPOR CLIMATOLOGY
Claudette Ojo, Hampton University

The Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) has been operating essentially without flaw on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite since it was first turned on in orbit October 11, 1991. HALOE measures temperature and atmospheric vertical profiles including O3, HCl, HF, CH4, H2O, NO, NO2 and aerosols at four wavelengths. This research will focus on the HALOE H2O vertical profile data in the mid-to-upper troposphere. Some analysis techniques include performing simple regression techniques to characterize the seasonal cycles. In addition, this HALOE record is of special use for global change investigations.
Understanding water vapor is important because it is the dominant green house gas in the troposphere, it is the most important in creating the natural green house effect, about 70 % of our planet is covered by the ocean, and it is used for accurate climate change prediction.
Although tropospheric water vapor is highly variable, accurate and precise water vapor measurements are vital for the scientific community because it will contribute immensely to the study of climate change, in developing better weather prediction models, and will increase present knowledge about global warming. Goals of this research are to develop a simple upper tropospheric climatology for H2O and to conduct studies to assess long-term changes in this parameter. Aerospace application of the research will involve the analysis of satellite-based HALOE v2.0 upper tropospheric data. 4

 

IMAGE ANALYZING ALGORITHMIC TOOL FOR TAILORED CELL COUNTING APPLICATION IN BioMEMs ----- Adedamola Omotosho, Virginia Tech

It is often necessary when conducting research in the scientific, medical, and engineering communities to enlist human aid in image analysis. The sheer volume of data generated in MEMS studies requires significant resources and time to properly obtain results. BioMEMS studies that focus on individual cells complicate this problem due to inefficient and time consuming methods of marking, recording and analyzing data. Utilizing MATLAB to exploit the properties of BioMEMS images has proven highly effective in increasing the efficiency and accuracy of cell counting, reducing the time it takes to analyze images from hours to seconds. This increases the accuracy and reproducibility of studies on the attachment and growth behavior of cancer cells in MEMS-based silicon microenvironments.

 

BOUNDARY GENERATION FOR OPTIMAL DELAUNAY TRIANGULATION
Alison Smith, College of William and Mary

I examine current methods for choosing the boundary of an image in order to allow for an optimal Delaunay triangulation. I present the basis for research of a new method with test cases and numerical values that exemplify deficiencies of current procedures. In this paper, I present pseudocode and tests of new potential methods for boundary generation. One method, the Offset Boundary method, holds the most potential to outperform current methods. This method exploits the fidelity requirement of an optimal triangulation with the implementation of inner and outer boundaries based on this requirement. The Offset Boundary method generates a smoothed boundary while adhering to the fidelity requirement; once the boundary is generated, an optimal triangulation can then be created using traditional Delauany methods. This provides for the creation of a triangulation, which adheres to the fidelity requirement and has optimal element quality and number of elements. My work in progress includes implementation and testing of the Offset Boundary method.

 

ON THE POISSON KERNEL FOR THE SYSTEM OF ELASTICITY IN THE UPPER HALF SPACE -------------------------Vincent Zimmern, University of Virginia

This note is concerned with the derivation of the Poisson kernel for the Lame’ system of elasticity in the upper half space. This is relevant to the treatment of boundary value problems arising in elasticity.