Category Archives: Grant of the Month

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for February: Improving computational fluid dynamics

Logo: National Institute of AerospaceThe Sponsored Funding Report for February:

N.C. A&T received 21 grants totaling $1.45 million in February.  One highlight of February’s s funding was a grant worth $115,258 from the National Institute of Aerospace to Dr. Nail Yamaleev of the Department of Mathematics.

The complete list of grants received in February.

The project: Improvements of Unstructured Finite Volume Solutions for Turbulent Flows

The issue: Current computational fluid dynamics solutions provide insufficient accuracy in predicting complex turbulent flows involving, for example, flow separation and shear layers. The flow separation entails significant energy losses and limits the performance of many aerodynamic systems. Reliable prediction and control of flow separation is absolutely critical for meeting targeted vehicle aerodynamic efficiency, especially at off-design conditions. Widely recognized limitations of current computational and optimization approaches are deterioration of accuracy of gradients and finite-volume solutions on curved highly anisotropic grids typical for high-Reynolds-number flow computations and large computational and storage costs associated with solution of the primary and adjoint flow equations.

Accurate and efficient prediction and optimization of separated flows can lead to significant reduction in the lift-to-drag ratio, thus improving performance, reducing fuel consumption, extending the flight envelope, and enhancing aircraft survivability. Improved accuracy and efficiency of turbulent flow solutions will lead to practical computational tools that are capable of capturing the complex physics present in various aerodynamic applications that are of interest to NASA including rotary and fixed-wing vehicles across all speed regimes.

Abstract: Research to be performed on this project will be directed to enhance the state-of-the art unstructured Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation and optimization methodologies implemented in NASA’s code, FUN3D. The overall efforts focus on improving accuracy and efficiency of unstructured finite-volume methods and reduced-order models.

In Task 1, novel effective computational approaches will be studied to provide significant improvements in accuracy of gradient reconstruction and finite-volume solutions with no appreciable increase in complexity.

Task 2 will be concerned with development of efficient and scalable convergence acceleration methods that significantly reduce the turn-around time required for practical large-scale aerodynamic simulations.

Task 3 is aimed at reduction of the storage and computational costs by extending reduced-order models based the proper orthogonal decomposition to unsteady flows with shocks.

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for January: Dietary flavonoids vs. pathogenic link to diabetes

The Sponsored Funding Report for January:

N.C. A&T received 11 grants totaling $1.80 million in January.

One highlight of January’s s funding was a grant worth $489,884 from the USDA Agricultural and Food Initiative to Dr. Shengmin Sang of the Center for Excellence in Post Harvest Technologies, located ta the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis.

The project:  Dietary flavonoids inhibit the formation of advanced glycation end products by trapping reactive dicarbonyl compounds: An in vivo study

The issue: Increasing evidence has identified the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) as a major pathogenic link between hyperglycemia and diabetes-related complications.

Abstract: As the precursor of AGEs, methylglyoxal (MGO) and glyoxal (GO) are observed at relative higher levels (2-6 fold) in diabetic patients’ plasma than in healthy people’s plasma and are also found in many food products, beverages and cigarette smoke. Chronic intake of exogenous MGO has been demonstrated as the cause factor for the development of diabetes. Therefore, decreasing the levels of MGO and GO will be an effective approach to reduce the formation of AGEs and the development of diabetic complications. Our recent studies show that dietary flavonoids can inhibit the formation of AGEs by trapping MGO. Based on our previous and preliminary data, the hypothesis of this project is that dietary flavonoids can trap reactive dicarbonyls and thus inhibit the formation of AGEs and prevent the development of diabetes and diabetic complications under in vivo conditions. The present study will provide important information on the in vivo effectiveness of flavonoids in decreasing the levels of AGEs by trapping exogenous and endogenous MGO and GO.

The complete list of grants received in January (xlsx file)

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for December: Conservation agriculture in two Asian nations

FLAG -- CambodiaThe Sponsored Funding Report for December:

N.C. A&T received 10 grants totaling $581,095 in December.  One highlight of the month’s  FLAG -- Phillipinesfunding was a supplemental grant of $265,559 to Dr. Manuel Reyes of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design from the U.S. Agency for International Development through Virginia Tech University. Dr. Osei -Agyemang Yeboah is co-investigator on the grant.  This funding is for the third year of the five-year program.

The complete list of grants received in December (xlsx file).

The project:  Conservation Agriculture for Food Security in Cambodia and the Philippines

The issue: Degraded landscapes are expanding annually in Cambodia and the Philippines. Agricultural productivity is decreased, which, in turn, heightens food insecurity and exacerbates poverty. These conditions further stress and deplete the “last capital” for the poor, namely forest and soil.

Abstract: Through science-based research, we will show that conservation agriculture (CA) principles and practice of minimal soil disturbance, continuous mulching and diverse species rotations, constitute the best ‘tool box’ to create sustainable permanent cropping systems for annual crop production under wet tropical conditions. These reverse soil degradation, increase crop yield and profits and reduce the labor burden on women. To enhance the biophysical and socio-economic impacts of CA, pilot extension networks will quantify contributions of microcredit and mechanization access, farmer organizations and contract farming. In two years more than 200 households covering 200 ha will be practicing conservation agriculture in Battambang, Cambodia. In the Philippines, the Landcare-organized farmer groups with membership of >10,000 will facilitate wider acceptance of CA among smallholder farmers. This research will involve graduating 4 PhD and 4 MS students, and training 3 research technicians under the supervision of scientists from agricultural research institutions in Cambodia, Philippines, Europe and USA. Textbooks on CA will be prepared and a course on CA taught in Cambodia, the Philippines and the USA.

For more on the project, see Page 19 of the Spring 2011 issue of Evolution, the N.C. A&T research magazine.

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for November: Improving availability, reliability of data centers

Old Dominion Freight Line logoThe Sponsored Funding Report for November:

N.C. A&T received 16 grants totaling $2.16 million in November.  One highlight of November’s funding was an equipment grant worth $183, 200 from Old Dominion Freight Line of Thomasville to Dr. Larry Burton of the Department of Electronics, Computer and Information Technology and co-investigators Dr. Ibraheem Kateeb, Dr. Robert Cobb, Dr. Craig Rhodes, Dr. Cameron Seay, Dr. Li-Shiang Tsay, and Dr. Tony Graham.

The project:  Improving the Availability, Reliability and Cost Efficiency of Data Centers

The issue: In the last decade, leading edge enterprises adopted server consolidation to address the growing pains of constantly expanding enterprise data centers. In server consolidation, the operating system and applications of a computer server installation are emulated by a single software program known as a virtual machine. Consolidation comes when several virtual machines run on a single computer, yielding dramatic reductions in data center costs. The most recent trend is to extend the use of virtual machines to emulate desktop computers. A few to several thousand virtual machines can run on groups of connected computers, called clusters, to share computer processing power. The resultant amortization of processing demands yields both cost and performance benefits; such installations are called computer clouds. Leveraging virtualization and cloud computing demands similar performance enhancements in computer networking, especially in wireless mobility.

Abstract: This project aims to improve data center management techniques for better information availability, reliability, security, and cost effciency. The broader impacts of this project include development of advanced IT skills in the Triad workforce. This project will enhance learning outcomes of enterprise computing technology students at N.C. A&T, area community colleges, and high schools by engaging students in applied research and providing hands-on experienced-based learning. Additionally, availability of a skilled IT workforce will expand the Triad economy by assisting the expansion of existing enterprises and attracting new information technology dependent enterprises to relocate to the Triad.

Growth at Old Dominion Freight Lines (ODFL) necessitates the relocation of the present Disaster Recovery (DR) center in Greensboro to a newly constructed center located in Thomasville. The present DR site is fully functional and equipped with modern equipment comparable to most other corporate DR sites. The relocation provides a unique opportunity for ODFL and N.C. A&T. This project proposes that ODFL make a grant of the existing DR center to NCA&T SU and to Davidson County Community College (DCCC) for the purpose of establishing a state-of-the-art IT data center research and experience-based learning labs. The grant to DCCC is separate from this proposal, but the two labs are expected to collaborate in research on best practices of remote data replication and security.

A primary goal of this project is to involve undergraduate students in applied research. To this end, students will dismantle the existing DR center under the supervision of the investigators, then re-assemble the equipment on the N.C. A&T campus in a research and teaching lab in Smith Hall. The lab will be constructed as a standalone facility, independent of the campus IT network. This isolation allows the researchers to experiment with alternative network, power, and security configurations, without disruption to the production network. On occasion, qualified configurations may be installed in the campus data center for long term evaluation.

This project proposal is an equipment-only request. The establishment of a dedicated data center laboratory for research will provide researchers a competitive edge to request additional funding for support of additional investigations. As such, ODFL will be a catalyst for sustained research at N.C. A&T with measurable impact to the Triad economy and beyond.

The complete list of grants received in November (xlsx file).

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for October: Nano iron vs. contamination, hog manure odor

The Sponsored Funding Report for October:

N.C. A&T received 23 grants totaling $5.65 million in October.  That total includes supplemental funding for two major research projects, the Center for Aviation Safety ($785,000 from NASA) and the Center for Advanced Studies in Identity Sciences ($485,000 from the Army Research Office).

One highlight of October’s s funding was a grant worth $299, 928 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to Dr. Muchha Reddy of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design.

The project:  Remediation of Contaminated Soils and Water and Swine Manure Odor Reduction Using Nano Size Iron Particles

The issue: The contamination of soil and water renders them unfit for human use as well as animal and plant dependence.

Abstract: Several forms of Fe have been tested to reduce and remove chromates. Zero-valent iron (ZVI) particles are effective in the remediation purpose. The approach in solving the above said problem is unique as we synthesize the metal powders using liquid polyols such as ethylene glycol under microwave hydrothermal conditions. Microwaves have been used to synthesize ceramics and metal powders. The process is eco-friendly and low input demanding, yielding high purity metal particles.

Remediation of contaminated soils and water using nano metal particles synthesized in this fashion is an innovation in itself. Another novel approach in this project is the application of ZVI particles to swine manure to reduce NH 3 emissions from composting there by eliminating the foul odor. This will encourage establishment of more swine units to help small farmers and at the same time eliminate the taboo of applying swine manure to crops. Nano particles will be synthesized using microwave system (MARS 5). Synthesized nano particles will be characterized using XRD (X-ray diffraction), SEM (Scanning electron microscopy), and TEM (Transmission electron microscopy) to establish their phase formation.

Performance is evaluated through lab and field studies by measuring contaminant levels at different stages of the remediation process. Contaminated soil and water samples collected will be analyzed for contaminant level before treating with the nano particles and reanalyzed for the same contaminants after the treatment period. Comparing the analysis results will help in determining the effectiveness of the nano particles. ZVI particles will be mixed with swine manure to reduce the offensive odor and to monitor gaseous (odor) emissions different treatment levels and control samplers will be setup with periodic measurements taken for data collection and analysis.

The complete list of grants received in October (xlsx file).

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for September: $563,000 to study nanowires in novel devices

The Sponsored Funding Report for September:

N.C. A&T received 27 grants totaling $4.45 million in September.

One highlight of September’s funding was a grant worth $563,497 from the Army Research Office to Dr. Shanthi Iyer of the Department of Nannoengineering.  Dr. Iyer is on the faculty of both the College of Engineering and the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

The project:  A Study of GaAsSb Nanowires by Molecular Beam Epitaxy for near IR Applications

The issue: The inherent one dimensionality of semiconductor nanowires (NWs) allows them to exhibit unique properties that can be exploited to engineer novel electronic and optoelectronic devices. Benefits include potentially inexpensive, flexible, tunable LEDs and lasers, which are not easily obtainable in thin film devices, in the infrared regime for infrared countermeasures and gas sensing applications, as well as integration with silicon based microelectronics for novel optoelectronic device structures.

Abstract:  In this research program, we propose to study the synthesis of catalyst-free GaAsSb-based heterostructure NWs grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), building upon an existing program and expertise in MBE growth of mixed arsenide-antimonide dilute nitride semiconductors at North Carolina A&T State University (NCA&TSU). The influence of growth parameters on the physical attributes of the NW heterostructures, defects in the NWs and interfaces and the resultant photoluminescence (PL) intensity will be used to develop fundamental knowledge. Emphasis will be on a better understanding and manipulation of the defects in the NWs and interfaces, leading to defect free heterostructure devices with superior structural and optoelectronic properties. Effects of the AlGaAs confinement layers radially and axially on the PL peak emission and its dependence on the NW diameter will be studied. The maximum Sb composition that can be used before the miscibility gap sets in will be determined and the synthesis of corresponding dilute nitride NWs will be examined.

The successful completion of the above work is expected to lead to novel, next-generation and inexpensive multifunctional optical devices in the near infrared regime for defense applications. The investigators from NCA&TSU and North Carolina State University (NCSU) have significant expertise in the areas of material growth and characterization, share the same vision, have a history of involving undergraduates in state-of-the-art research and bring complimentary resources to the table. The laboratories will provide an excellent training ground for the students to the state-of-the-art material synthesis and characterization, and provide a natural entry into the nanostructure community at large from other universities, government labs and industry.

The complete list of grants received in September.

The N.C. A&T grant of the month for August: $198,000 for social network analysis, simulation

The Sponsored Funding Report for August:

N.C. A&T received 18 grants totaling $4.93 million in August.

One highlight of August’s funding was a grant worth $198,482 from the National Science Foundation to Dr. Zhijun Zhan of the Department of Computer Science.  His co-investigator on the project will be Dr. Noshir Contractor, a distinguished professor at Northwestern University.

The project:  Social Network Analysis and Simulation Systems

The issue: The ability to conduct extensive analysis of social networks is needed by a wide variety of corporations, universities, hospitals, and government agencies. With the use of the mathematics of networks, scientists can begin to formulate the extremely convoluted, complex, nonlinear, and chaotic systems of social phenomena. It is only with such scientific understanding of social networks that we can even begin to optimize them for efficiency and productivity for social order and our economy. It is highly desirable to optimally address the resource geographical boundaries that lead to the optimal allocation of food and essential supplies, trade and the flow of capital, and the optimization of the access to education, etc.

Abstract: The research objective of this project is to build a social network analysis and simulation system through extensive study of different social networks using network entropy spectral metrics, fast cluster analysis algorithms, and eigenvalue analysis. The research explosion concerned with network theory and applications has made us aware that the understanding of networks is essential to the understanding and optimization of the vast range of social structures. Networks are pervasive as communication linkages, transportation systems, utility systems, financial transactions and currency flows, electrical computer circuit networks, biological networks, linguistic and anthropological cultural structures, and a spectrum of other composite and derivative networks often involving geospatial distributions. In this project, we will extensively study different social networks and develop a web-based Social Network Analysis and Simulation (SONAS) system.

The educational objective of this project is to produce significant education outcomes by integrating the following components into SONAS system project: (1) to establish a modern Social Network Simulation Laboratory in North Carolina A&T State University, (2) to recruit, train, and mentor motivated undergraduate students in social network analysis and simulations, and 3) to attract underrepresented students to pursue a career in computer science.

The complete list of grants received in August (xlsx file).