Monthly Archives: July 2013

Fluid power research focus: user-centered design

NSF logoThe NSF Engineering Research Center program is the one of the ultimate prizes in engineering research. A&T’s biggest research project is an ERC, the NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials, now entering its sixth year.

A&T is also playing a smaller but interesting role in another ERC, the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power led by the University of Minnesota.  That work has received attention from designworldonline.com, the online presence of Design World magazine:

“Unlike other members of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, North Carolina A&T State University does not work on improving fluid power technology; instead the mainly graduate level program focuses on the interaction between the technology and its human user.

“NCAT is involved with a CCEFP project focused around human performance modeling and user-centered design. The goal of this project is to develop a model that can be used to better understand the simultaneous cognitive and physical interactions that occur when operating complex fluid power systems. This model would then be used to design human-machine interfaces that are safer, easier to understand and more comfortable for the user.”

The full piece is available here. You can click here for the center’s website.

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A&T and 3 Triad partners in solar electricity project

Sun shining over mountain (in Portugal, actually)

A&T, UNCG, WFU, and WSSU researchers are working on low-cost solar concentrators as a key to economically viable electricity generated from sunlight.

Four Triad universities are working together on a project to significantly reduce the cost of generating electricity from sunlight.

The Four Universities Solar Consortium is composed of scientists and engineers from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Wake Forest University, and Winston-Salem State University. 

The team’s specific goal is to develop a low-cost solar concentrator that will make the production of electricity from sunlight economically viable and widespread.

To do that, the team will have to advance the science of using concentrated sunlight to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen and then develop a way to store the hydrogen on site for capacity leveling. “This further requires developing and integrating, through industrial partnerships, three important supporting technologies for mirrors, waste-heat recovery, and high-temperature photovoltaics and catalytic reactors,” the team’s proposal says.

The project was one of three finalists for a $100,000 grant from the four schools’ Triad Interuniversity Planning Project (TIPP). The provosts of the schools are funding the one-year project. Each finalist previously received a one-year TIPP planning grant of $20,000. 

“We were betting in the planning phase that an acre of mirrors could be constructed more cheaply than an acre of efficient photovoltaics, and that the higher temperature of waste heat from concentrator systems will open routes for reclaiming some of it as electricity,” the team said in its proposal.

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New N.C. A&T biosafety guide now available

Cover of N.C. A&T biosafety guide

Newly revised N.C. A&T biosafety guide

The N.C. A&T Office of Research Compliance and Ethics has released a new edition of “Biological and Biohazardous Materials Safety Guide For Researchers,” the university’s comprehensive guide to biosafety.

The guide is available on the university website. It covers roles and responsibilities; biosafety requirements; biosafety levels; accidents, exposures,and spill response; and biohazardous waste pick-up.

Biosafety on campus is a joint responsibility of the university’s Biosafety Officer, Dr. Tonya Hargett, and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, headed by Ms. Louisa Thomas.