PITA Fiscal Year 2019 Projects


Soft Magnetic Materials Development for Energy Applications
PI: Michael McHenry
Co-PI(s): Paul Ohodnicki
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Michael E. McHenry-PI, and Paul R. Ohodnicki-co-I, propose work leveraging funding from Carpenter Technology (PA), the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) (PA) and Carnegie Mellon Univ. (CMU) to benchmark soft magnetic magnetic materials (SMMs) in rotating machinery with increased energy efficiency. Co- and FeNi-based metal amorphous nanocomposite (MANC) alloys are being studied with DOE SunLamp funding (CMU subcontractor to NETL). A CMU led DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) program targets Co- and FeNi-based MANCs for high-speed motors (HSMs). Frequency limitations with silicon-steels, Carpenter FeCo Hiperco, and other conventionally cast and rolled alloys, are typically < 400 Hz. MANCs enable higher speed motors (magnetic switching frequencies) and higher power densities. Worldwide studies cite > 50% of the world’s power to pass through motors, making increased motor efficiency attractive for sustainable energy demands. Three project aims are: (1) with PITA funding for a CMU MSE grad student, to benchmark MANCs against crystalline materials in finite element analysis (FEA) of motor designs; (2) with Carpenter support of a 2nd CMU MSE grad student to explore MANC glass former modifications to improve mechanical properties and formability in shapes needed in novel motor designs; (3) with Year 3 SunLamp funding for CMU PhD student, Natan Aronhime, to benchmark economics of Co-based vs. FeNi-based MANCs for which CMU has IP on both. CMU will interact with Carpenter through Sam Kernion, Manager Alloy Design & R&D, a 2012 McHenry group Ph.d. Yuval Krimer, who will receive a 2018 CMU M.S. degree in MSE, will intern the summer of 2018 at Carpenter and if accepted return to complete a Ph beginning Fall 2018. The second PITA-funded CMU student will be identified to also begin in Fall 2018. CMU will interface with NETL through Paul Ohodnicki, Staff Scientist and CMU Adjunct Professor, a 2008 McHenry group PhD.

Machine Learning for Industrial MPC
PPI: Erik Ydstie
University: Carnegie Mellon University
The manufacturing industry in the US and around the world is currently engaged in a fundamental transformation as it moves towards a new level of automation based on the availability of almost limitless computational resources and huge amounts of real time data. The transformation taking place is sometimes referred to as the 4th industrial revolution. Advanced Process Control (APC) systems based on Model Predictive Control provide one foundation technology. However, MPC systems are presently time consuming and expensive to design and implement.

The proposed approach speeds up the design process and as importantly, machine learning ensures that the MPC system learns and optimizes its performance as time progresses. This vision is based on the integration of machine learning, cloud-based data management and MPC into one platform for Advanced Process Control. Our research is based on the cloud based data management supplied by OSIsoft in combination with a state of the art APC system supplied by Emerson Delta V system and process control and systems tools supplied by MATLAB. Together these software and hardware systems provide platform technology for the application of machine learning process control being developed in our research group at CMU. The proposed technology will be tested at Vitro Glass furnaces in Fresno CA, Meadville PA, and Carlisle PA. The real-time control and testing will be carried out by Industrial Learning Systems Inc., a CMU spin-off. ILS has entered into an agreement with CMU (exclusive license to adaptive control technology) and Vitro to develop software for glass furnace control.

Effect of powder characteristics and print processing parameters on printability, microstructure and mechanical properties of angular powders in powder bed additive manufacturing techniques
PI: Anthony D. Rollett
Co-PI(s): Amir Mostafaei
University: Carnegie Mellon University

In additive manufacturing based on powders, the feedstock is a substantial contributor to the final cost of the component. The current assumption is that near-spherical powders are required but success was obtained in the previous PITA project in demonstrating that low-cost but strongly non-spherical Hydride-Dehydride (HDH) Ti-6Al-4V powder can be used in an electron- beam Arcam printer. Ametek plans to work with CMU to build on this success and extend the use of HDH powder to both laser and binder jet powder bed technologies thereby bolstering an important component of the southwest PA economy. Powder characteristics such as morphology and size distribution are two main parameters affecting 3D printing processes in terms of powder bed density, printability and green part density. HDH and/or milled powders have angular particles that may decrease powder bed density especially during the spreading step; however, the production cost of these powders is ~25 % lower than atomization technique. Thus, the goal of the proposed project is to (1) develop a better understanding of powder characteristics of angular powder (e.g., morphology, size distribution, flowability) and (2) optimize processing parameters in powder bed techniques such that desired density and mechanical properties can be attained. This project utilizes effective collaboration between CMU and Ametek Powders to enable the use of angular powders in powder bed AM processes such as binder jet 3D printing (BJ3DP) and laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). Along with Ametek, other powder manufacturing companies in PA like ATI Powder Metals Research, General Carbide, Carpenter Powder Products, and Arconic will also benefit by the usage of non- spherical powders.

Optimization of Energy Efficiency in Supercritical CO2 Extraction/Infusion Cycle Loop
PI: Jonas Baltrusaitis
Co-PI(s): Zheng Yao
University: Lehigh University

Rare Earth Elements (REEs) play an important and critical role in industry. The ongoing development of advanced technologies promotes the increasing demand for REEs in different industries including high-tech manufacture, medical detection, and new materials development. Recently, use of supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) as a solvent in extraction and infusion processes has gained great attention. One such application is using sCO2 to extract REEs from coal and coal by-products to recover REEs. Other industries are also using coal for extraction and infusion, such as dye dissolution for textile applications. However, the capital cost, as well as energy consumption, are often high in sCO2-based systems, due to the systems usually work at high-pressure conditions (10 - 50 MPa). Therefore, an important aspect for these processes are optimization of the sCO2-based system to minimize capital costs and energy consumption. This will make sCO2-based applications, including REEs extraction more feasible and efficient. Lehigh University is currently closely working with Applied Separations Inc. of Allentown, PA to develop extraction technology for recovery of REEs, from coal, coal by- products and coal mine wastewater drainage using chelate enhanced sCO2 . The participants would like to additionally carry out a project under Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance’s (PITA’s) funding to conduct an investigation on optimizing a sCO2 extraction/infusion cycle loop in a way that makes the REEs extraction technology commercially available. Moreover, Applied Separations, Inc. and eCO2Dye, LLC, a company dedicated to waterless textile dyeing, would like to use the results from this investigation to improve their current sCO2 extraction/infusion cycle loop for other commercial applications to reduce the capital costs and the energy consumptions. A computational process modeling tool will be developed by Lehigh University and provided to Applied Separations for their current and future sCO2-based process design and optimization.

DER Smart Aggregation Development for Advanced Energy Communities
PI: Rudy Shankar
University: Lehigh Universityy

Substantial energy, economic, and environmental benefits are available to communities and their business owners and residents by aggregating and harnessing these targeted distributed energy resources (DER). Traditionally, renewable energy in communities has been implemented one building at a time, sometimes in conflict with the grid, and without assessing a community’s energy resources as an optimized and targeted solution. The integrated approach improves utility and regional grid operations by reducing the most expensive artifact of our current centralized electricity model: the system peaks. This solution represents a new distributed, integrated, and balanced energy system for the state and beyond. It enables communities and cities to accelerate their energy, economic, and environmental goals related to renewable energy targets, GHG emission reductions, increased energy resilience and security, regional economic development, lower cost grid operations, and smart city innovation that optimizes existing community resources. Advanced Energy Communities can optimize these targeted resources rapidly across the state via a replicable solution.

Thermal Conductivity Improvement of Chloride Molten Salts for Better High Temperature Thermal Energy Storage
PI: Alparslan Oztekin
Co-PI(s): Joshua Charles, Sudhakar Neti
University: Lehigh University

Renewable energy technologies have begun to replace fossil power plants, with one of the consequences being an increase in electric supply variability. This issue is not negligible since solar energy does not match load characteristics after sunset and if ignored will eventually limit solar energy deployment. One method for dealing with electric supply variability is through thermal energy storage. Thermal energy storage (TES) typically utilizes molten salts to store energy at temperatures close to 900 K. Currently, nitrate/nitrite salts are the most common TES salts, but chloride salts are seen to be more important in the future, especially for supercritical CO2 power generation cycles. Chloride salts are lower in cost and have better chemical stability at high temperatures. On the other hand, chloride salts can be corrosive and have low thermal conductivities, which results in higher system-level costs as additional heat transfer area is required when transporting energy into or out of the salt.

Through embedding of salts into graphite foam (GF), researchers have shown significant improvements in conductivity. Graphite foam is a highly porous, carbon-based material with a high thermal conductivity. By embedding the chloride salt into the porous structure of the foam, the foam serves as additional heat transfer surface area for the salt. This additional heat transfer surface area increases the effective conductivity, which could reduce overall system- level costs, making the salt much more desirable. As part of the proposed experimental work, samples of GF embedded with chloride salts will be tested for thermal storage potential by drop calorimetry. Drop calorimetry has been used extensively by the Lehigh University Energy Research Center and is a proven method for determining the thermal storage capacity of a material. This thermal analysis will be used to ensure that the salt continues to have good TES thermal properties despite being embedded into GF.

Establishment of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Metal Oxides for Thermomechanical Energy Storage using REDOX Reactions
PI: Carlos Romero
Co-PI(s): Alparslan Oztekin, Sudhakar Neti, Kemal Tuzla, Mark Snyder
University: Lehigh University

Thermal energy storage (TES) is an attractive option for large power plants – solar as well as fossil. TES can help overcome fluctuating electricity demand and enable efficient power dispatch. Storage of thermal energy at high temperatures and large scales in a cost-effective way ($/kWhth) is very challenging and could be achieved with the help of Thermochemical Energy Storage (TCES). At Lehigh University, a team of faculty, researchers and students are participating in a research group that aims at developing strong TCES capabilities and expertise to take a leadership position in this research area. This team has a very good track record in the general area of TES and it is actively pursuing novel research on TCES. This proposed Seed Grant application is to advance the research capabilities of the Lehigh team in TCES and promote future collaboration with PA companies in the TES commercial space. In this project, computer modeling will be complemented with laboratory scale experiments of Cobalt and Manganese oxides. While there is published literature related to metal oxides, practical difficulties still need to be overcome and this seed grant will work on these issues to eventually improve the TCES concept and improve its Technology Readiness Level (TRL). The proposed research will include material selection/preparation, quantification/improvement of reaction kinetics and investigation of cyclic and thermal stability of TCES materials for packed bed applications. The topic and project goals are in line with PITA goals and objectives, the project will enhance the technical capabilities of Lehigh University in this topic area. This area of research has great potential for commercial applications in the solar industry. A commercial partner, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc., is interested in this research. Other companies, Dynalene, Inc. and Air Products and Chemicals have also expressed interest in working with Lehigh on this topic.

Developing Manufacturing Processes for Janerette's Eco-Friendly Fungi
PI: Emory Zimmers, Robert Gustafson
University: Lehigh University

Janerette's Eco-Friendly Fungi, LLC develops and manufactures ectomycorrhizal fungus inoculants for sustainable agricultural, forestry, and environmental challenges. The certified organic product line promotes quantum improvements in plant growth, disease resistance and nutrient absorption even in poor soils. The innovation overcomes the traditional fungi constraints of only working with woody plants and having a very short shelf- life. This product is versatile and practical for broad commercialization while uniquely and powerfully solving the problems of mass organic farming.

The founders are outstanding researchers but have little manufacturing background. This project will provide Janerette with the latest techniques and approaches to developing their manufacturing processes and equipment for economical production and scalability in Pennsylvania. Manufacturing challenges to be addressed include selection and implementation of plant site and lay-out, production equipment, various manufacturing information systems, packaging design and sourcing and distribution models.

Janerette is conducting several pilot projects this year that should create large demands for product in 2019. The manufacturing processes are sophisticated and must be highly controlled using bio-pharmaceutical reactors and handling equipment. The ability to scale all systems efficiently and rapidly will be critical to their commercial success and ability to realize large job creation goals in PA.

The project will take advantage of the Lehigh University Enterprise Systems Center’s close relationships with Ben Franklin Technology Partners – North East Tier (BFTP-NET), Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), the Rodale Institute, ABEC Manufacturing and Embassy Bank to support the efforts. All of these organizations have agreed to support the ESC-Janerette project and will be in position to assist on day one of the start date. This will enable fast track accomplishment of project objectives.

The project leverages the research and innovation capabilities of Lehigh University and supports PITA objectives regarding manufacturing innovation, job creation and student involvement/retention in PA.

Optimizing Industrial Gas Production and Transmission Operations: Real Time Decisions
PI: Luis Zuluaga
University: Lehigh University

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc (AP) is one of the main producers of industrial gases like oxygen (for hospitals), nitrogen (for chemical plants), argon (for the metal industry), and hydrogen (for refineries). In producing and delivering products to their customers, AP uses capital-intensive assets and highly complex processes. These processes operate in a dynamic, competitive, and rapidly changing environment. Thus, researchers at AP, in collaboration with the Principal Investigator (PI), are looking to develop novel, decision-support tools that would allow AP to make the best decisions regarding the use of its production plants and delivery systems in real-time fashion. This will be done by continuously evaluating and adapting to different market, resources, and demand conditions thereby maximizing system profits, while maintaining safety and customer satisfaction. For that purpose, we intend to leverage a detailed mathematical model of AP’s industrial gases manufacturing and distribution activities developed as a result of collaboration between Air Products and Lehigh University (Lehigh) which was supported by a prior PITA grant. Although this detailed model accounts for the complex dynamics of manufacturing and distribution activities, it has a drawback that, even with state-of-the-art optimization solvers, can only be solved in about 5 minutes. This means that recommendations of the model will be ``dated’’, given that actual conditions can change in a matter of seconds. Thus, we plan to use an ingenious combination of "sensitivity analysis" and statistical techniques in order to obtain near-optimal recommendations from the previously developed model in a matter of seconds. The sensitivity analysis tools allow us to compute solutions to a model when some parameters change slightly from a nominal solution, while the statistical tools will allow us to decide the set of nominal solutions that need to be computed over time in order to be able to compute the desired real-time recommendations.

Development of Quaternary Molten Chloride Salt Blends for Solar Thermal Applications
PI: Animesh Kundu
University: Lehigh University

Chloride salts have been established as better candidates as high temperature heat transfer fluids for 3rd generation concentrating solar power plants (CSP) because of their higher thermal stability at temperatures >750°C . These plants have been projected at high temperatures (>700°C) to increase the production efficiency and reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) to 5¢/kWh. The extreme corrosive nature of the chloride salts towards metal pipes that would contain them in applications is the primary impediment for the commercialization. Binary and ternary chloride salts have been extensively studied in an effort to develop economically and technologically viable salt blends with favorable thermophysical and corrosion properties, but a feasible solution is yet to be realized.

In this exploratory effort, the thermophysical properties of quaternary chloride salt blends (LiCl-NaCl-KCl-CaCl2) will be systematically investigated in an effort to develop an economically feasible salt blend. The effect of the quaternary salt blends on stainless steel at temperatures >750°C in presence of the inhibitor package will be investigated under various under various atmospheric conditions, including nitrogen, carbon dioxide and air/moisture for prolonged time (~100 hours). A secondary goal of this proposed effort is to investigate the effect of chloride salts on alumina ceramic castables under identical conditions as the metals. The alumina castable could potentially be utilized as a liner for containing the salts in a molten state at elevated temperatures in thermal energy storage tanks. The corrosion mechanism will be studied by systematic evaluation of the salts on the microstructure and interfaces of these materials by advanced analytical electron microscopy tools. We envision that the scientific insight gained will not only provide guidelines for tuning chloride salt formulations for developing economically/technologically viable solutions, but will also lead to strategies for enhancing the corrosion resistance of these materials by engineering the interfaces.

Improved Thermal Properties of Aerogel Embedded Vacuum Insulation Panels
PI: Ganesh Balasubramanian
University: Lehigh University

Research and development of novel, low cost, Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIP) for improving the energy efficiency of existing and new buildings is being proposed. Though VIP technology is well-known in appliance industry, longer lifetime with substantially lower cost is needed for adoption in building industry. In this project, we aim to design low cost microporous silica-based composite core materials with (1) significantly reduced thermal conductivity and (2) low sensitivity to gas pressure. A transformative approach to design of core material, coupled with simpler barrier system will provide a cost-effective, superior insulation envelope for existing and new buildings. To accomplish this, we will pursue a computational materials engineering guided approach of encapsulating aerogels in VIPs and effectively predicting the variation in thermal conductance and resistance as a function of porosity, pressure, and presence of nano-fillers. The computational design will be improved with feedback from materials characterization and measurements of thermal properties. Through this industry-university partnership and with leverage support from NSF, the graduate student will be able to participate in cutting-edge building energy management technology, contribute to fundamental research in materials development and potentially engage in product development and commercialization in collaboration with a PA company.

Evaluation of a Bio-Inspired Foundation Systems Supporting Offshore Wind Turbines
PI: Muhannad Suleiman
University: Lehigh University

The goal of this project is to investigate the innovative concept of bio-inspired foundations to improve the response of offshore wind turbines (OWTs). OWTs are commonly supported on dynamically driven monopiles or multiple piles made of steel with a relatively smooth surface. The cost of OWT foundations represent up to 40% of the cost of turbines. Therefore, suction bucket foundations have been recently used to support OWTs due to their cost-effectiveness, easy installation and reduced environmental impacts. To ensure the stability of OWTs, the design must satisfy strict criteria including those related to stiffness, displacement, and rotation (e.g., rotation serviceability limits of 0.5° at the mudline). However, OWTs are subjected to complex loading conditions including long-term cyclic vertical and lateral loads, and the reliable operation of these systems depends on understanding the soil-foundation interaction. Long-term cyclic loading may result in excessive displacement due to the degradation of soil-foundation interface resistance. To improve the foundation performance and soil-foundation interaction, the PI proposes the use of bio-inspired concepts (such as anisotropic friction between snakes and soil, and tree roots) for foundation applications. Although geotechnical engineering national research have recently been focusing on bio-mediated and bio-inspired soil improvement (NSF funding of research center of ~$18.5 million), the use of bio-inspired concept in foundation support to improve the behavior of OWTs has not been investigated. To validate the proposed concept, this proposal seeks funding to initiate research on sustainable and resilient foundation support for OWTs focusing on evaluating the soil-foundation interface response and small-scale testing of suction buckets. The proposed efforts represent the beginning of a campus-wide initiative within the I-CPIE on Bio-inspired Mechanical Systems and Physical Infrastructures.

This initiative is envisioned as a multi-disciplinary collaboration between several faculty members from different departments at Lehigh University. The PI currently has two pending research proposals related to offshore foundations, which were submitted to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Furthermore, the PI is planning to submit proposals to the Deep Foundation Institute (DFI) and the National Science Foundation to further investigate the proposed concept.


Effect of Surface Treatment and Porosity Control on the Fatigue Life of Additively Manufactured Parts
PI: Jack Beuth
Co-PI(s): Bryan Webler
University: Carnegie Mellon University

The current state of the art for metals additive manufacturing (AM) is that most 3D shapes (with a few exceptions) can be fabricated directly within laser powder bed machines, with the aerospace industry taking a lead in adoption. The department of defense (all branches) is now looking at metals AM as a means of cheaply and quickly providing replacement parts for military vehicles, aircraft, weaponry and other applications. Despite all of this success in transitioning metals AM into industry, there is one technical hurdle that stands in the way of large-scale implementation: concerns about fatigue resistance. The objective of this project is combine expertise from Carnegie Mellon on AM porosity control and Oberg Industries on machining of AM fabricated surfaces to sift through and thoroughly understand the roles of porosity control and surface treatments in increasing the fatigue resistance of AM-fabricated parts. At this time there is no known fix for this #1 barrier to widespread AM adoption. This project will consider a single alloy system, 304 stainless steel, and will consist of fabrication of subsize fatigue specimens with varieties of process parameters and applied grinding or machining surface treatments. Those specimens will be fatigue tested and also characterized for near-surface porosity content and surface roughness. Debbie Basu, the Ph.D. student working in this project will spend substantial time at Oberg learning the details of surface treatments for AM parts. Similarly, engineers from Oberg will spend time at CMU learning about AM processing. In this way we will fully leverage the complementary expertise of the two project participants. Ultimately, this project will yield a first mapping between process variable changes to control porosity (particularly porosity caused by melt pool bead-up), various surface treatment approaches, and fatigue life.


Advanced Manufacturing of Drug-Eluting Embolization Coils
PI: Christopher J. Bettinger
University: Carnegie Mellon University

This project will optimize manufacturing techniques to create drug-eluting embolization coils, advanced medical devices to treat intracranial aneurysms (ICA). PROBLEM: ICA are saccular defects in the cerebral vasculature that occur in about 5% of all people and are susceptible to rupture, which can be a deadly event. ICA are typically treated by embolization, a minimally invasive procedure in which coiled millimetric platinum (Pt) wires are endovascularly inserted into the aneurysm sac. Thrombogenic Pt coils induce clot formation, sequester the defect, and reduce the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Although effective in many cases, poor outcomes in embolized ICA are associated with mechanical compaction and enzymatic digestion of the nascent clot. Clot remodeling induces recanalization and recurrence, which occurs in approximately 20-25% of ICA. Previous strategies to improve the performance of embolization coils include novel geometries to increase the volume fraction of Pt coils in the aneurysm, devices to accelerate clotting or coatings to increase packing volume. INNOVATION: Here we propose a technology where Pt coils deliver genipin, a robust natural small molecule protein crosslinker, locally to the aneurysm sac. Local delivery of genipin will covalently crosslink fibrin networks, increase their mechanical strength, reduce their susceptibility to enzymatic digestion, and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome after embolization. However, the ideal drug delivery geometry and approach to manufacturing these devices has not yet been optimized. OVERALL GOAL: This project will use advanced manufacturing techniques to integrate genipin delivery depots with coils and maximize loading of the active compound to the device. Maximizing the amount of genipin delivered to the aneurysms will optimize crosslinking conditions and increase the overall in vivo efficacy of prospective therapies.

Development and characterization of nanoporous gold (np-Au) for sensors
PI: Nisha Shukla
Co-PI(s): Andrew Gellman
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Nanoporous gold (np-Au) has a variety of important potential applications arising from its high surface area and high electrical conductivity. Its high surface to volume ratio allows adsorption of much larger amounts of analyte material than is possible on a traditional flat sensor surface. In principle, this can increase the intrinsic sensitivity of sensor devices by ~100×. This PITA project will focus on the development of np-Au films and their characterization for application in sensors. Successful completion of this project will result in the development of intellectual property that could be used as the basis for a small startup, or be of value to existing commercial suppliers of QCM systems such as Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum in Export, PA and Kurt Lesker Co. in Pittsburgh, PA. The availability of these ultra-sensitive sensors will provide local researchers with capabilities that extend the current state of the art in detection of adsorption from solution and thereby, enhance the competitiveness of future research proposals in a wide variety of areas.

Leveraging on-demand transportation services for emergency medical services
PI: Alexandre Jacquillat
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have been instrumental to reduce mortality and improve public health. At the same time, the capabilities of EMS systems are constrained by limited vehicle fleets, which may prevent them from responding to emergencies within adequate time windows. At the same time, the growth of ride-sharing platforms (e.g., Uber, Lyft) creates opportunities to augment EMS systems with on-demand, distributed transportation resources. This can take place through two mechanisms. First, ondemand transportation can transport low- priority patients to medical care facilities, in order to free up EMS capacity to respond to higher- priority emergencies. This strategy leverages ride-sharing as a substitute to EMS. Second, ride- sharing vehicles can deliver life-saving equipment to emergency locations to enhance first response. This strategy leverages ride-sharing as a complement of EMS. The proposed project will develop mathematical models and computational algorithms to optimize the utilization of available EMS vehicles and on-demand ride-sharing services to respond to emergencies. The model will be formulated as a continuous-time Markov decision process which optimizes the dispatch of EMS vehicles to emergency locations and ride-sharing requests as substitutes or complements of EMS vehicles, with the objectives of maximizing the health outcomes and system efficiency associated with emergency care. Tailored algorithms from the field of approximate dynamic programming will be developed to implement the model efficiently, and derive near-optimal policies in reasonable computational times. Using real-world data provided by the University of Pittsburgh Department of Emergency Medicine, the model will be implemented to simulate the impact of the proposed strategies on EMS systems and evaluate their potential benefits in a realistic environment. The project will conclude with a deployment plan for the resulting systems and technologies in the City of Pittsburgh to assess their impact on patient wait times and resulting care delivery.

Investigating Neurite Morphological Growth Using Advanced Finite Element and Biofabrication Techniques
PI: Jessica Zhang
Co-PI(s): Adam Feinberg
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Neurons exhibit long neurite extensions that are fundamental to the formation of the interconnected network that constitutes the nervous system. However, how neurites initiate extension from a neuron and differentiate into an axon or dendrites remains poorly understood. In this proposal, we aim to develop advanced finite element simulation and 3D printing techniques to investigate neurite initiation from a spherical neuron and differentiation into an axon or dendrites. To achieve this goal, we propose the following two specific aims: (1) develop an advanced finite element technique to simulate neurite initiation and differentiation in 3D based on isogeometric analysis and truncated hierarchical B-splines; and (2) validate simulation results of neurite outgrowth from the neuron and branching using 3D printing techniques. This project will develop computational tools that enable accurate 3D modeling and efficient simulation of critical neuron morphological growth including neurite initiation and differentiation. These computational tools will provide important insights into the physiology and disease of neurons and will be made publicly available to the research community. The need for this kind of technology is critical, and has the potential to lead to transformative advances in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease) that can impact millions of patients per year. Understanding the factors that drive human neurogenesis is required for building better in vitro human disease models for drug discovery and neurotoxicity studies. Similarly, future in vivo applications in the repair of neurological defects for elderly patients require the types of advanced numerical simulation and 3D biofabrication technologies we will develop.

Multidimensional Supercritical Fluid Chromatography System for Epilepsy Medicine Purification
PI: James Hsu
Co-PI(s): Lori Herz
University: Lehigh University

The objective of this project is to develop a multidimensional supercritical fluids chromatography (SFC) system for epilepsy medicine purification. Supercritical fluids (SF) have densities and dissolving capacities similar to those of certain liquids, but lower viscosities and better diffusion properties. Accordingly, SF used as mobile phases in chromatography should act both as substance carriers like the mobile phases in gas chromatography and also dissolve these substances like the solvents in liquid chromatography. SFC with packed columns has stationary phases having much higher surface area to void volume ratios, and thus it has much higher separation efficiency. The supercritical carbon dioxide used in this project is an environmentally friendly solvent, and has less waste solvent treatment problems.

Recently, FDA has approved a drug, Epidiolex, which is derived from hemp oil. Epidiolex can be used to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two rare forms of epilepsy that affect children. Epidiolex's active ingredient is cannabidiol, also known as CBD, which can be extracted from hemp oil. FDA called the approval is a reminder that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in hemp oil can lead to important medical therapies.

However, to produce large quantity of pure CBD for medical therapies is a very challenge problem. The hemp oil contains two dozens of major species. These species will be fractionated into pure fraction of each one for medical evaluation. In this project, to fractionate these compounds will use cascade multidimensional supercritical chromatography (SFC) system with packed columns.  


Drilling of Miniature and Precise Holes with Ultra-High Aspect Ratios for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Rocket Engine using Electrochemical Machining
PI: Burak Ozdoganlar
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Holes with miniature diameters (e.g., 1 mm) and ultra-high aspect ratios (100+) on hard-to- machine metal alloys are needed for many advanced applications, such as cooling channels on energy systems and jet engines. A recently emerging application is the nuclear thermal propulsion rocket engines, which are considered critical to NASA’s long-distance space mission, e.g., to Mars. The feasibility and efficiency of this propulsion approach depends fundamentally on precise miniature holes with ultra-high aspect ratios on hard-to-machine alloys. The main challenge is to satisfy the form and quality requirements of these holes: the holes are required to be very straight, centered and smooth, with a diameter ~1 mm through the length of the cylinder (~1 m)—that is, with an aspect ratio of 1,000—resulting in a wall thickness of ~1 mm or less. To address this challenge, we—the Ozdoganlar group at CMU and Tech Met Inc., a small PA company—are proposing a unique approach: the use of shaped-tube (ST) electrochemical drilling (ECD) with a novel magnetic bushings concept. We have planned experimental and modeling/simulation studies, aiming at understanding the relationship between process parameters and outcomes, including maximum achievable hole depth, hole-quality metrics, and material removal rate. Our approach will bring revolutionary advances to the state-of-the-art in making high-aspect-ratio, precise holes in alloys, and will uniquely enable creating not only nuclear thermal propulsion for space missions, but also a range of applications in the energy sector. We expect this project will greatly impact Pennsylvania by rendering Tech Met as a leader in deep-hole manufacturing (which is very-high value-added process relevant to many industries), thereby opening possibilities to expand their operations and create new jobs.
Furthermore, we expect considerable follow-on funding from NASA, DoD and DoE agencies, and NSF. We will also be training a Ph.D. student through this collaborative work.


Real-Time Expression and Posture Detection for American Sign Language Recognition
PI: Asim Smailagic
Co-PI(s): Dan Siewiorek
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Throughout North America there are estimated to be 500,000 individuals who rely on American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language. With fewer than 15,000 registered ASL interpreters in the United States, access to adequate language resources is a consistent struggle for these individuals. Automatic sign recognition and interpreting will alleviate this issue, but many of ASL's grammatical features, particularly those expressed via non-manual features (e.g., facial expressions, body postures) have not been well studied and modeled. This research will build on the real-time body tracking system developed by Sign Track and will focus specifically on recognizing questions, hypothetical conditionals, assertions and negations to appropriately model meaning in real-time continuous sign sequences. We apply handtracking techniques that are being developed for use with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications and tailor them specifically for the set of meaningful handshapes used in ASL. The depth camera that we use also provide a wide enough field of view to extract facial expressions and body postures necessary to fully communicate in ASL. The combination of depth cameras and generative model-based hand tracking also offer the following advantages: real-time performance, signer independent classification and pathway for improved performance. The evaluation of specific system parameters against ASL-task specific outputs to provide guidelines for improved recognition rates for ASL tasks will be another contribution.

Real-Time Multi-OCT-Scanner Data Fusion Enabled Through PCIe-Based HPEC, Plus Fusion with Other Modalities toward Telemedicine and Autonomous Robotics
PI: John Galeotti
Co-PI(s): Jana Kainerstorfer
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) allows clinicians to see otherwise invisible structures including ocular layers, vessels, and ducts. Galeotti’s team developed the first real-time in-situ OCT display system with correct optical alignment when viewed through the surgical microscope, and Kainerstorfer is an expert in OCT image-formation physics. OCT is viewpoint dependent. “Shadow” regions in OCT images occur beyond surfaces that are not enface and beyond semiopaque objects, making structures in the “shadows” difficult or impossible to visualize. Multi-viewpoint OCT imaging can produce more complete images, looking around occluding objects and imaging each subsurface from an acceptable angle. Others have sequentially acquired multiple OCT volumes and then stitched together the results, but simultaneous multi-viewpoint OCT imaging and combined analysis, as required for real-time surgical guidance, has not yet become an active research area. Achieving this vision will require an unprecedented high-bandwidth, low latency connection to share data between OCT systems and analysis compute nodes, for which Accipiter Systems’ prototype PCIe-based HPEC provides a new path forward. The bandwidth available would additionally enable new research fusing measurements from OCT, 3D high-resolution ultrasound, and even light-field imaging, and transmitting it all in a telemedicine context, forming the basis of a series of future NIH and Defense Health grants. Simultaneous OCT imaging also poses new scientific questions concerning potential photonic interactions of multiple scanners, and it raises the novel possibility of a new OCT imaging paradigm by illuminating from one scanner while observing from two scanners, allowing for the first time OCT measurements of photons that do not scatter/reflect straight back toward the illuminating scanner. Extending Accipiter’s technology to new medical and IT markets would create a new class of products, scaling upward toward creating 2,000 new high-tech jobs and an additional 8,000 new service industry jobs.


Predictive Water and Sewer Asset Management for prioritizing capital investments in Cranberry Township
PI: Sean Qian
Co-PI(s): Burcu Akinci
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Cranberry Township owns and operates the public water and sewer infrastructure. Due to aging and deteriorating water and sewer pipelines and frequent repair/replacement to meet the desired performance of assets, residential sewer bill increased about 26 percent in 2014 and water bill jumped about 50 percent in 2015. According to the 2018 Cranberry Township budget summary, the Township recognized the needs for efficient water and sewer infrastructure management program. This is a typical challenge for most Pennsylvania communities with aging and overused utility pipelines. As such, it is critical to predict the performance of water and sewer assets in the near future, and to plan for capital investments to maintain the desired serviceability for those assets. In this research project, we partner with the Cranberry Township to develop an effective asset management system that provides not only the current asset information, but more importantly, the predicted asset performance in the next few years as well as recommended decision makings for capital planning. This project will open a new venue to utilize multi-source data to establish a more accurate pipeline deterioration model. Those data sets include, but are not limited to, utility usage, traffic volume, weather, pipeline inspections, past pipeline failure, pipeline locations, pipeline information (age, materials, length, etc.). An accurate pipeline deterioration rate will significantly improve the decisions on pro-active inspections and preventative pipeline repair/replacement plans. It also has great potential to improve the efficiency of asset data collection and management, data integration, data visualization, and contract tracking and management for a small PA community like Cranberry Township. In addition, the research will be able to retrieve data related to the roadway assets and maintenance schedules to coordinate schedules between construction projects of both roadways and pipelines.

Biological Activated Carbon for Enhanced Wastewater Treatment and Water Reuse
PI: Derick Brown
Co-PI(s): John Fox
University: Lehigh University

Biological activated carbon (BAC) offers a unique opportunity to enhance water and wastewater treatment for control of dissolved organic matter, nutrients and emerging contaminants. It also provides the capacity to consider waste water as a valuable resource, allowing it to be used as a water source for municipal drinking water and industrial applications. Water and wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. are increasingly using BAC columns, but little is understood on the fundamental surface interactions between contaminants, activated carbon surface properties, and the microbial community.

For this study, researchers at Lehigh University are joining with Calgon Carbon, a Pennsylvania- based company that develops activated carbon treatment systems, and the City of Bethlehem Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) to study the operation of BAC columns under operational conditions. A key focus will be to examine the fundamental physiochemical and biological processes that occur on the surface of the BAC in order to optimize wastewater treatment efficiency. The research team will operate four unique activated carbons, each with a different surface chemistry, to treat the secondary clarifier effluent at the Bethlehem WWTP. The columns will be monitored for nutrient and emerging contaminant removal, and the resulting biological community formed within each column will be analyzed. The Lehigh research team will also characterize the activated carbon surface properties, allowing quantification of important interfacial physiochemical and bioenergetic processes. The team will use this knowledge to provide insight and predictive capabilities on the impacts of activated carbon properties on the effectiveness of the BAC process.


Scaling-Up Concrete Binder Jetting
PI: Paolo Bocchini, John Fox
Co-PI(s): Clay Naito
University: Lehigh University

Complex geometries and complete design freedom in concrete objects offer a new paradigm in concrete design and construction methods through the application of a novel concrete printing technology developed collaboratively by Lehigh University and Buzzi Unicem. 3D Binder jet printed concrete objects have been produced at Lehigh University, combining a calcium sulphoaluminate cement (CSA) and silica sand material. To date, these small printed objects have demonstrated excellent design freedom and exceptional surface detail. In order to scale- up this technology for future application, the research team must demonstrate the ability to 3D print objects that can be fastened together in a modular manner. The proposed work aims to utilize existing 3D printers as a demonstration of the “future precast plant”, in order to rapidly manufacture unique individual components, which will then be fastened together to form a complete structure. The proposed project aims to demonstrate this novel proof-of concept for 3D printing technologies for buildings and infrastructure.


Strong Wind Vulnerability and Recovery of Telecom Towers and Control Offices
PI: Paolo Bocchini
Co-PI(s): Wenjuan Sun University: Lehigh University

The main objective of the project is to develop a methodology to assess the vulnerability of the two most critical components of the communication infrastructure networks: telecommunication towers and dedicated equipment in central control offices. The methodology will be applied and demonstrated in the Lehigh Valley, PA. The research team includes experts in regional risk assessment from Lehigh University and catastrophe modelers from the insurance company AIG.

A first research thrust will deal with the representation of the wind hazard through spatially and temporally correlated wind velocities. Then, the project will continue with the assessment of fragility curves for communication towers and equipment in central offices.

The team will investigate optimal trade-offs due to the need of calibrating curves that are accurate, but also general enough to be applicable to a portfolio of towers and buildings. In the last module of the research project, data from historical claims at AIG will be used to calibrate and validate the models, focusing on damage, business interruption, and cost.

Evaluating Fire and Blast Hazards for False Ceilings in Tunnels
PI: Spencer Quiel, Clay Naito
University: Lehigh University

Recent events worldwide have demonstrated a need for evaluating and potentially hardening tunnels and underground construction against severe fire and blast hazards. The primary investigators (PIs) are currently engaged in a federally funded university transportation center (UTC) with Colorado School of Mines focused on underground construction. The associated research project underway at Lehigh University focuses on the response of concrete liners in vehicular tunnels to fire and blast hazards. A significant portion of the US tunnel inventory (including most tunnels on the Pennsylvania Turnpike) includes false ceilings (typically composed of cast-in-place or precast concrete panels) which separate the main tunnel passageways from the ventilation pathway and mechanical conduits. These ceilings are designed for relatively low loading from self-weight, ventilation pressure, and maintenance live loads. Initial studies indicate that a moderate-to-severe fire and/or blast could pose a significant threat to the structural integrity of these systems, resulting in potential collapse, significant threat to life safety, and long functional downtime. This proposed PITA project will computationally evaluate the fragility of false ceilings in tunnels for a spectrum of fire and blast loads corresponding to both accidental and intentional threat scenarios.  Prototype false ceilings will be obtained via consultation with PennDOT as well as other state DOT's via the existing UTC. Strategies for mitigation, retrofit, and/or remediation will be developed as a result of this study, which will directly engage engineering leadership at PennDOT as well as a premier protective design firm in Philadelphia. Requested funds will be used to support the research activities of one PhD student and one summer undergraduate research internship. The proposed project will expand the scope of the PIs' current UTC efforts and significantly enhance technology transfer of their results to collaborators at public agencies and companies in Pennsylvania.

Development of Open-Source Engineering Tools to Support the Creation of a Snake-like Robot with Construction, Inspection, Aerospace and Disaster Recover Applications
PI: Brandon Krick
Co-PI(s): Mark de Vinck
University: Lehigh University

As the facility infrastructure in the United States ages there is a continual need to upgrade safety, electrical, and telecommunication systems. Impossible Incorporated LLC, a PA Keystone Innovation Zone company, has developed a patent pending 1-inch diameter snake-like robot which is able to run wires without the mess. It will be inserted through an outlet-sized hole then teleoperated inside the wall to the destination drilling holes in studs and joists along the way. Then it rewinds pulling the wires through. Other applications include inspection of critical infrastructure and hazardous areas and aiding trapped victims following natural disasters.

It has been necessary to develop testing systems for verifying the performance of the internal components and mechanisms of the snake-like robot. Existing measurement and actuation systems are often prohibitively expensive for bootstrapping entrepreneurs and research professors working to start their programs. There is a need for tools that can match the performance of existing solutions while costing significantly less. This can be accomplished using low-cost mechatronics circutry created for the internet of things (IoT). Inexpensive actuators can also be modified and controlled using intelligent algorithms allowing them to match (or exceed) the performance of existing commercial systems.

The goal of this project is to continue the development of the open-source engineering tools that have been created by Impossible Incorporated LLC to lower the cost of engineering instrumentation and automation while developing the snake-like robot. They will be released to the engineering and entrepreneurship communities allowing for new innovations that will drive economic development and innovation.

This project is a collaboration between research, industry, and technical entrepreneurship through a collaboration between the Mechanical Engineering Department and Technical Entrepreneurship Master’s Program at Lehigh University. The results of the project will enable the snake-like robot to be commercialized revolutionizing the construction industry.

Cyber-Physical Small-Scale Structural Dynamic Testing Facility for Education, Training, and Research on the Effects of Natural Hazards on the Civil Infrastructure
PI: James Ricles
Co-PI(s): Spencer Quiel
University: Lehigh University

A small-scale structural dynamic testing laboratory is essential for enhancing graduate and undergraduate structural engineering education on the effects of natural hazards mitigation on civil infrastructure and developing mitigation measures to promote resiliency of this infrastructure. This laboratory would provide hands-on laboratory exercises, research training, and enable the development and validation of innovative testing methods and algorithms. The proposed project is a continuation of a previously awarded PITA project to develop such a small-scale testing facility which will include a shake table, also called a seismic simulator, two dynamic servo-hydraulic actuators, servo-hydraulic controller, and the hydraulic power supply system. The shake table, servo hydraulic controller, and pump will be acquired, while the existing real-time integrated control architecture available at the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Lehigh Real-Time Multi-Directional (RTMD) Experimental Facility (EF) housed in the Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Engineering Research Center will be used to drive and control the shake table and newly acquired actuators. The proposed facility will enable various types of testing to be performed on structural systems and components subjected to natural hazards, including extreme earthquake and wind loads. These tests include shake table testing for seismic simulation; and force/displacement controlled dynamic testing, hybrid simulation, and real-time hybrid simulation for both seismic and extreme wind loads. The reduced scale equipment will enable it to be conveniently arranged for use, making it economical, while also reducing conjestion on the main laboratory floor.

Behavior of Cross-Laminated Timber Self-Centering Shear Walls under Biaxial Lateral Loading
PI: James Ricles
University: Lehigh University

Tall buildings in the range of 8~20 stories are common for urban construction because they provided a means for developers to balance occupant density and land price. While traditional light-frame wood construction is not economically or structurally viable at this height range, a relatively new heavy timber structural material, cross laminated timber (CLT), has made tall wood building construction possible. This panelized product utilizes small lumber layers glu- laminated in an orthogonal pattern to create solid wood panels that can be used as wall and floor components in a building. Currently, a number of successful CLT building projects around the world (e.g. the 10-story Forte building in Melbourne, Australia; the 9-story Stadthaus Building in London, etc.) have highlighted the viability and benefit of tall wood construction, which includes a reduction in construction time, reduced demands in foundations, and positive environmental impacts. While not yet common, CLT construction is gaining traction among building owners and investors and becoming a viable option for tall buildings in large cities.

Furthermore, ambitious projects are currently planned for regions with moderate levels of seismicity. The vision of this project is to develop a seismic design methodology for tall wood buildings that incorporates high-performance structural and non-structural systems and can quantitatively account for building resilience. This vision will be achieved through the completion of a series of research tasks, including full-scale biaxial lateral load testing of building sub- assembly systems.

Understanding Performance of Seismic Collectors in Steel Build Structures
PI: James Ricles
University: Lehigh University

Collectors are key structural elements in a Seismic Force Resisting System (SFRS), delivering the inertial forces that develop in the floor system to the vertical plane SFRS elements. Yet in contrast to the vertical-plane elements (shear walls, braced frames, moment frames, etc.), which have been studied extensively, including scores of experiments producing Terabytes of data, collectors have received almost no treatment. No experimental program, or other research effort has focused specifically on collectors. As a result, current design code provisions for collectors, which recognize their critical role and their poorly understood seismic response, apply special load combinations that include the System Overstrength Factor (varying from 2.0 to 3.0), resulting in large design forces for collectors. This stringent prescriptive design approach is an attempt to ensure that critical collector elements remain elastic. Loss of collector elements can be catastrophic, as shown by the collapse of the CTV building in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, in which 115 lives were lost, or in the collapse of the Northridge Fashion Center parking structure, in which the shear walls were undamaged while the floor system detached and collapsed.

Given that the actual demands on seismic collectors are poorly understood, with essentially no significant research to date, and given the recent insights into the actual nature of inertial forces in building structures during strong earthquakes, now is the time to take a rigorous look at collectors in steel structures, with an opportunity to transform the old approach, which attempts to make collectors stronger than the floor diaphragm inertial forces, into a modern approach, which may use collectors to control the floor inertial forces. A similar effort has been undertaken successfully by members of a proposing team for concrete wall structures through the use of special deformable anchorages


Processing and roperties of Corn-Based Biodegradable Plastics
PI: Raymond Pearson
Co-PI(s): John Coulter
University: Lehigh University

Natural polymers, such as plant proteins, have attracted much attention in the field of plastic packaging due to their film forming properties and biodegradability. Plastics derived from corn gluten meal (CGM) have the potential of being less expensive than their petroleum based counterparts while being friendlier to the environment. However, processing and property relationships are needed to develop fast, low-cost processes that can produce useful items. This project is designed to identify processing and property relationships and to understand the fundamentals behind such relationships.


Integrating Data Science and Molecular Engineering into the Next Generation Undergraduate Unit Operation Laboratory
PI: Mayuresh Kothare
Co-PI(s): Kemal Tuzla
University: Lehigh University

Experiential learning in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CHBE) is rapidly undergoing unprecedented changes, driven by two dominant industrial paradigms: (1) the emergence of data science/digital thread/Artificial Intelligence in chemical operations; (2) deeper integration of (bio)molecular sciences in enhancing profitability of chemical and pharmaceutical products. Lehigh’s Undergraduate Unit Operations (UOPs) laboratory is a key component of the experiential education of CHBE majors. In this laboratory, students gain practical experience that complements the subjects taught in the lecture courses and make connections between the subjects. In student evaluations, the typical response to this laboratory experience is: “The laboratory courses were tough and demanding, however, now we understand what you have been trying to teach us in the lecture courses”. We therefore view student experience in the UOPs laboratories as critical to preparing a highly trained and advanced workforce for employment in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry in the Commonwealth of PA and the US. Lehigh’s UOPs laboratory occupies about 6000 Ft2  in the IMBT building of the mountaintop campus.

Recognizing the changing needs of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, the present proposal seeks to upgrade the majority of the experimental units in the UOPs laboratory (10 total) by instrumenting them with state-of-the-art digital data acquisition sensors/measurements so as to be compatible with the PI System, a proprietary industry standard software enterprise system for data storage and processing developed and marketed by OSISoft. The PI system can collect, analyze, visualize and share large amounts of high-fidelity, time-series data obtained from multiple operating chemical processes that is stored in the cloud for further processing by our students. With more than 19,000 industrial installations of PI around the world, and about 250 customer sites within a short distance of Lehigh, PI is the leading provider of sensor-based operational data intelligence in the chemical industry. By training our students in cloud-based advanced data sharing, analytics and machine learning enabled by PI-System, we will provide a seamless transition for students from Lehigh to their eventual data-science enabled jobs in the chemical industry. OSISoft will support this project by providing software, expertise, and consulting as indicated in the attached letter.


Efficient Service Life Extension of Bridges through Risk-based Life-cycle Management and High-performance Construction Materials: Emphasis on Corrosion-resistant steel
PI: Dan Frangopol
Co-PI(s): Yinan Yang
University: Lehigh University

A large number of the Nation’s bridges are rated structurally deficient. In Pennsylvania where steel bridges are prevalent, corrosion-induced deterioration poses substantial threat to the safety, serviceability, and functionality of bridges. Structural failure stemming from steel corrosion, as well as elaborate maintenance actions required in the life-cycle of a carbon steel bridge, can induce considerable economic and social costs to transportation agencies and the public at large. The emergence of high-performance construction materials, in particular corrosion-resistant steel, provides a viable option for transportation agencies to achieve durable and maintenance-free structures. In the whole life-cycle, high-performance construction materials such as corrosion-resistant steel has been shown to be more cost-efficient than carbon steel when used in new bridges. Nevertheless, the relatively high upfront cost of these materials has deterred adoption of high-performance construction materials in existing bridges and bridge components, for which resources are usually more limited than those for new construction.

The main objective of this project is to establish an effective life-cycle bridge management framework for novel intervention actions based on high-performance construction materials. This objective will be primarily achieved by (a) risk-based ranking of bridge criticality, (b) life- cycle risk assessment of bridges repaired with high-performance construction materials, and (c) risk-informed service life extension considering operational dependency of intervention actions. The proposed research can provide important information and guidance to Pennsylvania companies. Ultimately, the project will benefit the Commonwealth and the Nation in their commitment to solving the Grand Challenge set out by ASCE – “reducing the life-cycle costs of infrastructure by 50 percent by 2025”.

Machine Learning with Edge and Cloud Computing for Crowdsensing of Pavement Conditions
PI: Liang Cheng
University: Lehigh University

Modern methods for road pavement condition monitoring take advantage of new technologies in precision instrumentation to realize automatic measurements. However these present pavement-monitoring procedures are time-consuming and costly. Recently U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has initiated a Connected Vehicle Program, which promotes applying
vehicle-to-X (V2X) data to pavement monitoring. A study by the Center for Automotive Research and administrated by Michigan DOT reports that using V2X data for pavement monitoring is possible but it will require novel and proactive techniques of data use and management. The objective of this seed project is to design, implement and test a machine-learning based approach enabled by edge and cloud computing that allows for pavement condition monitoring in a low-cost, reliable and rapid manner. The proposed system collects crowdsensing data from in-vehicle accelerometers in smartphones, dashboard, rear-view or smartphone cameras and GPS, and generates accelerometer-based roughness indictors (ARI) and photo-based distress indictors (PDI) for existing pavement conditions.

Fatigue Life Estimation of Bridges with Smart Mobile Sensing
PI: Shamim Pakzad
University: Lehigh University

Bridge structures experience significant vibrations and repeated stress cycles during their life cycles. These conditions are the bases for fatigue analysis to identify fatigue cracking which can be used to accurately establish the remaining fatigue life of the structures (i.e. the number of stress cycles before the fatigue failure). The rain-flow counting algorithm is widely used in the analysis of fatigue data in order to reduce a spectrum of varying stress into a set of simple stress reversals and assess the fatigue life of a structure subjected to complex loading. This procedure requires a full-field strain assessment of the structures over a typical loading period. Traditional inspection methods collect strain measurements by using strain gauges for fatigue life assessment. Large scale deployment of wired strain gauges, however, poses a fundamental limitation: they are expensive and laboriously impractical as more spatial information is desired. Addressing these limitations beg for an innovative sensing strategy where information can be integrated from inexpensive data sources.

Acceleration data can be collected relatively inexpensively by the means of mobile sensing which is increasingly an area of interest in many fields of engineering. Mobile sensing eliminates the spatially-restrictive nature of fixed sensor networks; the spatial frequency of a mobile sensor network is a direct function of the speed and its sensors' sampling frequencies, as well as the number of mobile devices that can simultaneously collect measurements from the same structure. As a type of crowd-sensing, individual members of the public take a much more active role in data collection, thus provide more up-to-date information on a structure’s health.

Life Extension of Fatigue-Damaged Highway Rail, and Transit Bridges
PI: Ian Hodgson
University: Lehigh University

Welded steel bridges constructed in the 1970's and earlier can be susceptible to fatigue cracking caused by vehicle loading. Despite their age, these bridges remain critical components of the transportation system in Pennsylvania and the United States. Without proper repair, fatigue cracks have the potential to grow which can lead to brittle failure and bridge collapse. Additionally, repair measures increase in complexity and cost with increasing crack growth. Hole drilling is a common and cost-effective repair procedure employed to address certain types of fatigue cracking. Visual inspection is used to identify the crack geometry and locate the crack- arrest hole such that the crack tip is captured and removed from the bridge. In practice, the hole drilling repair often does not stop the crack growth either due to the fact that (1) the hole is not properly engineered, leaving local stress concentrations which allow the crack to re-initiate, or (2) the crack tip is not accurately identified such that the crack-arrest hole does not capture and remove the crack tip.

This multi-year project is proposed to address these two potential deficiencies of the hole-drilling fatigue retrofit. First, the potential for fatigue cracks to reinitiate from stress concentrations at the edge of the hole caused by an intersecting weld toe will be investigated. Recommendations for proper engineering of crack-arrest holes to avoid crack re-initiation will be developed. Second, the reliability of non-destructive evaluation methods to determine the crack geometry will be assessed. This proposal outlines the scope of work and deliverables for the first of these two tasks. For this first task, the project goals will be achieved through a literature review, small- scale fatigue testing and associated FEA, and development of improved crack-arrest hole recommendations which can be used by bridge owners.

CIAMTIS UTC 2019 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program
PI: Richard Sause
University: Lehigh University

Lehigh University, through the Institute for Cyber Physical Infrastructure and Energy (I-CPIE) and the Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems (ATLSS) Engineering Research Center, is proposing a 10-week Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program as part of its University Transportation Center (UTC) collaboration with Pennsylvania State University. The REU program, entitled the Center for Integrated Asset Management for Multi- Modal Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CIAMTIS) REU program, will fund 4 students (2 students funded through PITA) from a CIAMTIS member university. The program’s focus will include the assignment of the REU student to an active Lehigh University CIAMTIS research project under the direction of the project Principal Investigator and graduate student mentor, in order to help the student navigate through the research experience in the transportation area. Beyond the research experience, the program will expose the students to a well-rounded professional development experience. The program’s activities will include professional skills development workshops and seminars, onsite outreach activities, and offsite tours. The program will culminate with a final report, poster, and presentation on the research findings.