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High-Speed Inspection or Railroad Track Using Passive Acoustics

The number one cause of train derailments globally are unidentified track defects which accumulate over time under the heavy loads and weathering to which rail is exposed. For the last 100 years rail inspection has sought to identify these structural defects before they can pose a serious threat to regular rail traffic. Unfortunately, rail inspection has required specialized low-speed testing cars which can only operate at less than 25% the normal speed of a train. These inspection cars must coordinate their work around planned outages of the rail line, impacting normal rail traffic. Due to this inconvenience, rail defects are typically repaired in real-time, as identified, vs. being prioritized as to potential seriousness and repaired in order of likelihood to cause a future accident.

Accurate and Secure Navigation for Autonomous Vehicles

While cellular phone networks are not designed for navigation, they are abundant in urban environments which are known to challenge GPS signals.  University of California, Riverside researchers integrated signals-of-opportunity from mobile phone networks to provide autonomous vehicles with precise navigational information.

ABSTRACT: Variable Gaseous Fuels Engine

Brief description not available

Synthesis of Nanocrystalline Iron Nitrides Using Two-Step Reactive Milling Process

Nanocrystalline iron nitride is an important soft magnetic material; however, conventional methods of production don’t exist. Synthesis of dense nanocrystalline iron nitrides is not possible by simply annealing elemental iron in NH3 at temperatures in excess of 600° C since g’-Fe4N and other iron nitrides are unstable above 600°C and will decompose. Sandia researchers have discovered that by using a two-step reactive milling process and high pressure spark plasma sintering (SPS) they can quickly and efficiently fabricate bulk g’-Fe4N parts.

New Non-Platinum Fuel Cell Catalyst

The Kisailus research group at the University of California, Riverside, has  developed a novel fuel cell catalyst made of porous carbon nanofibers doped with inexpensive metal or metal oxide nanoparticles that provide active sites for energy conversion and storage. The active or catalytic nanoparticles are embedded and integrated with graphitic nanofibers and are accessible to the surrounding environment due to high porosity. The extensive graphitic networks within these nanofibers also exhibits enhanced conductivity. Cobalt oxide- graphite composite nanofibers showed equivalent catalytic activity to fuel cell platinum catalysts like platinum on carbon (Pt/C). When operated under fuel cell conditions, the nanofiber formulation provides enhanced durability.  Fig. 1 Metal oxide-graphite composite and porous nanofibers with highly controllable diameter, particle size and performance. Fig. 2 Linear sweep voltametry curves shows that the graphitic nanofibers doped with metal ions have higher current densities than commercial platinum on carbon (Pt/C).  

Efficient UAV Flight Mechanism with Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Capability

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a new flight mechanism that offers vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability and cruising speeds comparable with fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Multifunctional Cement Composites With Load-Bearing And Self-Sensing Properties

As improvements in technology allow for construction of bigger, more uniquely designed skyscrapers, bridges, and motorways that can carry greater loads and are seismically sound, current cement composites are being pushed to their performance limits. Now more than ever, assessing damage to cement composite structures is of integral importance. However, traditional methods can be destructive, subjective, and may not detect previously existing damage, which can be invisible to the naked eye or hidden beneath structural surfaces. Addition of conductive additives, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to cementitious composites attributes both load-bearing and damage self-sensing properties to the composites. However, current formulations and methods for producing these multifunctional cement composites require specialized equipment, are labor, time, and capital intensive, and are not scalable.

Micromachined Gyroscopes with Two Degrees of Freedom Sense-Mode Oscillator

The invention relates to the field of micromachined gyroscopes, and in particular to inertial micromachined transducers for measurement of angular rotation rate of an object. A three-degrees of freedom (DOF) MEMS inertial micromachined gyroscope with nonresonant actuation with a drive direction, sense direction and a direction perpendicular to the drive and sense directions comprises a planar substrate, a 2-DOF sense-mode oscillator coupled to the substrate operated at a flattened wide-bandwidth frequency region, and a 1-DOF drive mode oscillator coupled operated at resonance in the flattened wide-bandwidth frequency region to achieve large drive-mode amplitudes.

Synthesis Technique to Achieve High-Anisotropy FeNi

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an innovative synthesis approach to achieve high anisotropy L1 FeNi by combining physical vapor deposition and a high speed rapid thermal annealing (RTA).

Micro-Glassblown 3-D Coriolis Vibratory MEMS Gyroscope

Micro-glassblowing batch fabrication process for 3-D MEMS gyroscope

Supersonic Thrust Vector Control for Jet Engines Using Staggered Flaps

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a novel mechanism for vectoring the thrust of supersonic, air-breathing jet engines for aircraft applications.

Tri-Energy Source Hybrid Vehicle Powertrain

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a tri-energy source (TES) hybrid vehicle powertrain consisting of three different propulsion systems including: (i) an internal combustion engine (ICE); (ii) an electric motor and battery and; (iii) a flywheel and continuously variable transmission (CVT).

A Low-Profile Flow Shear Sensing Unit

UCLA researchers have developed an accurate low-profile shear sensing unit that is viable for both gas and liquid flows.

Distributed Dynamic Strain Fiber Optics Measurement For Use In Sensors

96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Structural health monitoring (SHM) is becoming critical in structural engineering and geotechnical engineering applications in recent years. The use of fiber optic distributed sensors for SHM has the advantage of long sensing distance, distributed sensing information and small size.  Distributed fiber optic sensors can be used to monitor distributed temperature and strain information but also has application for used in detection of seismic activity, security sensing, and traffic/railway/bridge monitoring.   UC Berkeley researchers have developed methods and sensors for distributed dynamic strain measurement using optical fiber that results in a larger sensing signal, better signal-to-noise ratio and longer sensing distance up to a few km lengths. The system can take strain readings at every 4m along an 1km length optical fiber at 2.5 kHz sampling speed with a strain resolution of 30 microstrain.  

Environmentally Friendly Navigation Techniques

Background: Current navigation systems offer “shortest-distance” or “shortest-time” functions to help avoid traffic congestion but neither of them determine the most fuel efficient route. With rising gas prices and vehicle emissions, a more advanced navigation system with additional functions, such as an environmentally-friendly feature, is needed. This accomplishment can make a huge improvement on increasing fuel costs and air pollution. The in-vehicle navigation system is also expected to competitively penetrate the US market in the next couple years with annual sales quadrupling to $13M.  Brief Description: UCR researchers have developed an innovative vehicle navigation system (VNS) that will allow users to choose a route that is the most gas efficient and emanates less emissions. The energy- and emissions-minimization function is incorporated on top of distance- and time-minimizing functions that currently exists in the traditional VNS. This new intelligent transportation system utilizes a state-of-the-art modal emissions model (CMEM) that encompasses real-world vehicle activity patterns, and can calculate the fuel consumption and emission values of each vehicle trajectory.

Zero-Quiescent Power Transceiver

Trillions of sensors are envisioned to achieve the potential benefits of the internet of things.  Realizing this potential requires wireless sensors with low power requirements such that there might never be a need to replace a sensor’s power supply (e.g. battery) over the lifetime of that device.  The battery lifetime of wireless communications devices is often governed by power consumption used for transmitting, and therefore transmit power amplifiers used in these devises are important to their commercial success.  The efficiencies of these power amplifiers are set by the capabilities of the semiconductor transistor devices that drive them.  To achieve improved efficiencies, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a novel method and structure for realizing a zero-quiescent power trigger sensor and transceiver based on a micromechanical resonant switch.  This sensor/transceiver is unique in its use of a resonant switch (“resoswitch”) to receive an input, amplify it, and finally deliver power to a load.  This novel technology also greatly improves short-range communication applications, like Bluetooth.  For example, with this technology, interference between Bluetooth devices would be eliminated.  Also, Miracast would work, despite the presence of interfering Bluetooth signals.

Multifunctional Cement Composites with Load-Bearing and Self-Sensing Properties

This invention consists of a rapid, simplified, lower-cost method for production of a cement composite with enhanced load-bearing and damage detecting properties.

Digital Oscillator Method to Implement Non-Contact Sensors for Gesture Detection Displays

Researchers in the UCLA Department of Electrical Engineering have invented an oscillator and frequency counter method for highly-sensitive non-contact gesture detection based on the Theremin patent and updated by implementing modern digital electronics.

Next-Generation Metal-Organic Frameworks With High Deliverable Capacities For Gas Storage Applications

There are many applications that require the storage of a high density of gas molecules. The driving range of vehicles powered by natural gas or hydrogen, for instance, is determined by the maximum density of gas that can be stored inside a fuel tank and delivered to the engine or fuel cell. In certain situations, it is desirable to lower the pressure or raise the temperature needed to store a given amount of gas through the use of an adsorbent. Developments in next-generation adsorbents, such as metal-organic frameworks and activated carbons, have shown certain weaknesses in terms of the amount of gas that can be delivered when an application has a minimum desorption pressure greater than zero and when a significant amount of heat is released during adsorption or cooling occurs during desorption. To help solve these problems, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a next generation of materials using novel porous metal-organic frameworks that demonstrate unprecedented deliverable gas capacities. These engineered adsorbents maximize the amount of gas delivered during each adsorption/desorption cycle. This shows promise in developing next generation gas storage materials for applications with a wide range of operating conditions.

Novel Porous Organic Polymers for Ammonia Adsorption

Ammonia is used in many industrial and commercial applications, for example in the manufacture of fertilizers and cleaners.  However, ammonia is toxic at high concentrations and, therefore, safe storage and transportation of ammonia is required. In addition, trace amounts of ammonia in the atmosphere contaminate and interfere with certain industrial processes, such as semiconductor fabrication, which requires ultra-pure air. Proper ammonia management includes the adsorption of the gas under each of these pressure regimes: high-pressure adsorption for safe storage and transportation and low-pressure adsorption for the removal of trace contaminants from the ambient air. Current methods of adsorption include simple salts, such as MgCl2, but these are not efficient for low-pressure adsorption and furthermore their ammonia cycle is inefficient, requiring significant heat exchange and large changes in volume. Investigators at UC Berkeley have developed a novel polymer for ammonia adsorption that uses acidic materials placed in a spatial arrangement that allows for cooperative adsorption. This not only increases the efficiency of adsorption but also is effective at both high-pressure and low-pressure ammonia adsorption, resulting in multiple applications of the technology. 

Hypersonic Laminar Flow Control Using Strategic Surface Patterning

Dr. Xiaolin Zhong and colleagues in the UCLA Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a method of maintaining laminar flows over air transportation vehicles and space reentry vehicles at high supersonic and hypersonic speeds by strategically applying surface roughness.

Corrosion Inhibition in Reinforced Concrete

Modern and efficient infrastructure is a critical driver for economic growth. Aging and premature failure of US infrastructure limits the country's potential for economic recovery, to the extent that the restoration and improvement of urban infrastructure is identified by the NAE as a "grand challenge" facing society today. A substantial cause of such premature degradation is the electrochemical corrosion of reinforcing steel embedded in concrete infrastructure. In fact, the World Corrosion Organization estimates the cost of corrosion at $2.2 trillion across the globe which is around 3% of global GDP.Corrosion mitigation in concrete bridge decks is particularly challenging, due to the combined effects of loading and environment. These typically include the application of Cl- containing de-icing chemicals, making Cl- induced corrosion common even in bridges remote from marine environments. At the same time, the potential for early age cracking in high surface-area elements is amplified, increasing the rate at which aggressive chlorides may penetrate to the steel rebar. In a time of limited financial resources and environmental constraints, there is a need for the emergence of technologies which can address environmental/structural conservation related to engineering infrastructure.

Polymers Containing Quaternized Nitrogen for Antifouling Coatings

A polymer that exhibits antifouling properties, including antimicrobial and antialgal properties.

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