We develop technology to make machines more energy and cost efficient and analytical frameworks for realizing a more sustainable world both in terms of the energy produced (alternative energy) and energy consumed (manufacturing and transportation). We have invented and tested pneumatic and hydraulic energy storage systems for hybrid vehicles and industrial applications to recover and use energy that is currently being wasted. We have also developed and fielded diagnostic systems for power machinery working with industry partners to make energy systems in passenger cars/trucks, off road equipment, and aircraft cost and energy efficient over their operational lifetimes.
For example. as many existing nuclear power plants continue to operate beyond their license life, plant structures, systems, and components suffer deterioration that affects their structural integrity and performance. Health monitoring is essential technology for insuring that the current and future state of these plants will meet stringent performance requirements. In collaboration with personnel at Idaho National Laboratory, we have developed a framework for health diagnosis and prognosis of aging concrete structures in nuclear power plants subject to physical, chemical, and mechanical degradation, by integrating modeling, monitoring, data analytics, and uncertainty quantification techniques. For example, by combining full-field infrared thermographic imaging technology with advanced modeling and uncertainty quantification techniques, our researchers have shown that as concrete specimens undergo thermal cycling, subsurface damage can be detected by mapping changes in surface temperature.