RESEARCH_CeetHeader

Research

CEET ResearchFaculty in the college are engaged in a broad array of research sponsored by private industry and agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and the State of Illinois.

Outreach

Project TitleSummarySponsorInvestigator
Planning Grant for a Midwest Center of Excellence in Wind Energy and Biofuel Technician Education Funds were requested for the planning of a Midwest Center for Technical Education. This center specializes in the training of wind energy and biofuel plant technicians and is a partnership between NIU and Highland Community college in Freeport, IL. National Science Foundation Richard Johnson
NIU- Enhancing Engineering Pathways (NIU-EEP)- An Integrated Outreach and Mentoring Program for Middle and High School Girls Funds were requested to continue a summer STEM camp for middle and high school girls from local Girl Scout Troops. Motorola Foundation Suma Rajashankar, Mansour Tahernezhadi, Promod Vohra
Exxon Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp Funds were requested for a summer science and mathematics camp for high school students. Harris Foundation Mansour Tahernezhadi, Promod Vohra
Integrated
Technology and Engineering to Advance Math and Science (ITEAMS)
ITEAMS uses integration by means of the interdisciplinary Advisory Team that includes representatives from NIU and the high schools involved. The implementation of a specialized master’s degree program that integrates the mathematics and science standards for teaching and learning into the middle and high school technology endorsements combines with the inclusion of both career and technical education teachers and math and science teachers on the Advisory Team. Also contributing to the program’s success are the infusion of traditional content with emerging critical technologies such as nanotechnology, fuel cells, and advanced manufacturing technology and the integration of business and industry in the implementation of the educational program to ensure the preparation of a qualified workforce for the region. Illinois State Board of Education Mansour Tahernezhadi
Illinois Center for Defense Manufacturing (new ROCK) Funds were requested to conduct research and development of advanced materials processing and inspection techniques utilizing lightweight metallic and non-metallic materials for fuel system components. < the of>Department of the Army Richard Johnson, Promod Vohra
Manufacturing and Engineering Advisory Services Funds are being used to provide manufacturing and engineering advisory services for Rock Island Arsenal/Joint Manufacturing Technology Center (RIA/JMTC). NIU proposed to provide the skills required by RIA/JMTC to improve pre-production planning at the JMTC and assist in resolving critical production opportunities. U.S. Department of Defense (Rock Island Arsenal) Joesph Santner

Electrical Engineering

Project Title Summary Sponsor Investigator
NIST (Boulder) Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Application for Ildiko Walker This research fellowship provides an opportunity for outstanding undergraduate students to pursue scientific careers by exposing them to basic research in areas that include the world’s most technically advanced and fundamentally sound basis for all electrical measurements in the United States. Research projects include maintaining and disseminating the national electrical standards, developing the measurement methods and services needed to support electrical materials, components, instruments and systems used for the generation, transmission, and application of conducted electrical power, and related activities in support of the electronics industry including research on video technology and electronic product data exchange. Students also have the opportunity to become involved in research focused on the semiconductor industry including topics such as semiconductor materials, processing, devices, and integrated circuits, through both experimental and theoretical work. National Institute of Standards and Technology/Technology Administration/DOC Ibrahim Abdel-Motaleb
Advancement of Multilayer Laue Lens and Advancement of Oxidation of Si   Argonne National Laboratory Alan Genis
Integrated Device Design Related to a Semiconductor Based X-ray Detector Funds were requested to conduct an integrated device design related to a semiconductor-based x-ray detector. Argonne National Laboratory Michael Haji-Sheikh
Simulations of Transistor Amplifier Circuits Funds were requested to purchase Cadence integrated circuit design software and perform a comparison to Mentor Graphics software. Argonne National Laboratory Michael Haji-Sheikh
An Innovative Hearing Loss Prevention Approach in Infant Incubator: RESUBMISSION Infant incubators are widely used in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for the care of pre-term babies as they cannot cope with the environment without external help. However, excessive high levels of noise inside an infant incubator have been found to result in numerous adverse health effects on those weak premature infants, especially hearing impairments.

The long-term goal of this project is to significantly reduce the noise level inside the infant incubator using active noise control approach. In this research, an innovative carbon nanotube based transparent thin film speaker will be designed as secondary source, which actively produces an anti-noise sound to cancel the undesired noise inside the incubator.
University of Minnesota Sen-Maw Kuo
Internet-Based Remote Laboratory Access Internet access is growing fast in educational fields. One area which is more challenging is to conduct classes with remote access to laboratories. This is especially important for students who commute long distances or have time conflict with their lab schedule. This research focuses on cost-effective remote laboratories for hardware design. Two separate methods of remote laboratory access are being addressed here: hardware-based and software-based. The hardware-based, known as e-lab, uses VIEWLogic from National Instruments to control and monitor the laboratory platform for distance access. In the software-based system, “RemoteFPGA”, special emphasis is placed on a hybrid laboratory system with an internal debugging interface, as well as a coupled “in the cloud” development and simulation system. Deployment, scalability, administration, and security concerns are important issues here. Reza Hashmeian

Hybrid Equivalent Circuit and Local Biasing in Analog Circuits
Because of nonlinearity involved in analog circuits, biasing becomes quite difficult when the circuit is complex with large number of transistors. This research aims at separating nonlinear components from the rest of the circuit and locally biasing the individual transistors without disturbing the operation of the other components in the circuit. The method is shown to be very effective in both analysis and design of analog circuits. Reza Hashemain
Analog Circuit Design using Nullator-Norator Pairs Designing analog circuits typically start with assigning proper operating regions to the transistors in order to operate close to their linear regions. The next move is to allocate one or more DC supply sources along with “the power conducting components” to achieve these objectives. This research uses Nullator-Norator pairs to allocate the DC (voltage and current) sources in an analog design based on the design criteria. The research is also extended to include designing analog VLSI circuits. Reza Hashemain
Electromagnetic Modeling of Chiral Materials

 

A chiral object is, by definition, a body that lacks bilateral symmetry, which means that it cannot be superimposed on its mirror image neither by translation nor rotation. This property is also known as handedness. The constitutive relations describing chiral materials include a third parameter, chirality, in addition to permittivity and permeability, which a designer a third degree of freedom while designing the material for an application. Chiral media are proposed for many applications involving antennas and arrays, antenna radomes, microstrip substrates and waveguides. This research addresses the numeric modeling of electromagnetic behavior of chiral materials including their dispersive nature. New algorithms have developed based on the Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) and Finite-Difference Frequency-Domain methods (FDFD) methods.   Veysel Demir
Algorithms for Efficient Solution of Finite-Difference Frequency-Domain (FDFD) Equations

 

Finite-Difference Frequency-Domain methods (FDFD) require solution of large linear systems of equations. These large systems are represented by matrix equations including highly sparse coefficient matrices and they can often only be solved by using iterative methods. This research addresses development of algorithms to improve the solution efficiency of FDFD equations. For instance, in a newly developed algorithm  the matrix-vector product in an iterative method is replaced by a three-step process. It has been shown that the presented algorithm effectively reduces the solution time and memory requirements.   Veysel Demir

 

Hardware Accelerated Computing for Electromagnetics Recent developments in the design of graphics processing units (GPUs) have made it possible to use these devices as alternatives to central processor units (CPUs) and perform high performance scientific computing on them. Though several implementations of finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method have been reported, the unavailability of high level languages to program graphics cards had been a major obstacle for scientists and engineers who would want to develop codes for graphics cards. Relatively recently Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) development environment has been introduced by NVIDIA and made GPU computing much easier. In this research use of CUDA has been studied to run FDTD simulations on a graphics card. Veysel Demir

 

Antenna Design for Biomedical Adaptive Wireless Diagnostic System

 

One of the goals of the Adaptive Wireless Diagnostic System (AWDS) is to ensure communication with the patient any time and any where and also locate the patient’s position. The system will be smart enough to determine which mode of communication will be used For patient convenience, the wireless sensor circuits shall be small in size and light in weight. In  this projected research the main goal is to miniaturize the size of an antenna while other antenna characteristics such as efficiency, gain, and pattern are maintained. Veysel Demir

 

Industrial and Systems Engineering

Project Title Summary Sponsor Investigator
Analyzing the Quotation Process and Production System at Ford Tool The objective of the project is to study the shop floor of the three divisions (namely steel, latham, and carbide.) and recommend process improvements to improve the overall efficiency. The clustering algorithms used to form product families in the previous project can be a good starting point to analyze if cells can be formed. Cell formations can help to reduce set up times and offers other benefits well documented in the literature. Some initial activities were processing flow maps, establishing standard times for each process step, and applying lean manufacturing concepts to make local improvements. Scheduling practices are being modified while the feasibility of cell formation is being accessed and set up times between product changeovers are being analyzed. Ford Tool Purushothaman Damodaran, Omar Ghrayeb
Developing Standard Operating Procedures and Process Improvements

 

 

 

Funds were requested to assist the sponsor in increasing the throughput of the product engineering division by developing and delivering SolidWorks three dimension product models. The primary objective of this research project is to aid Suncast to start manufacturing new products. Tasks include understanding the different products and their processing requirements, preparing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each process step along the manufacturing or assembly line, and identifying cells (or machine groups) to manufacture a family of products. Work elements are combined or deleted to streamline the processes. Suncast Corporation Omar Ghrayeb, Nicholas Pohlman
Simulation Study to Improve Production Line at LWL and LWD Assembly Lines The overall objective of this project is to explore improvement strategies at the Large Wheel Loaders (LWL) and Large Wheel Dozers (LWD) assembly lines at the Caterpillar production facility in Aurora, Illinois. Currently, Caterpillar has developed an ARENA simulation model that can be utilized to further improve throughput and resource utilization. A second stage is comprised of determining the maximum capacity level and plans according to the operations settings, identifying areas where additional workers could be trained to complete tasks, and studying reliability issues associated to machine availability. The project also entails determining critical factors that affect throughput or cycle times, and exploring different plotting schedules for throughput increase as well as reducing average cycle times.  Caterpillar, Inc. Omar Ghrayeb, Reinaldo Javier Moraga
Reliability Characteristics of Large Volume Infusion Pumps Funds were requested to perform an independent investigation of the reliability characteristics of Baxter’s Large Volume Infusion Pumps. Baxter Healthcare Corporation Omar GhrayebAbhijit Gupta, Richard L Marcellus

Mechanical Engineering

Project Title Summary Sponsor Investigator
Nonlinear Analysis of Cable-Stay Bridge Cables Funds were requested to perform modeling and simulation of bridge stay cable vibrations. Argonne National Laboratory Abhijit Gupta, Promod Vohra
Study of Computational Fluid Dynamics based simulation techniques for transportation applications. Hydraulics and Aerodynamics Research in Transportation Applications Argonne National Laboratory Pradip Majumdar, Milivoje Kostic, Promod Vohra
Graphical Evaluation of Wheel/ Rail Profile for Railroad Vehicle Simulation Funds were requested to develop an automatic procedure for creating standard plots for quick assessment/comparison of different combinations of symmetric and asymmetric wheel and rail profiles. University of Illinois at Chicago Behrooz Fallahi
Collaborative Research: Modern Manufacturing Education- A Collaborative Teaching and Learning Experiment Funds are requested to develop course materials in modern manufacturing technology and establish methodologies for collaborative teaching and learning among multiple institutions. National Science Foundation Jenn-Terng Gau
Air Cooling in Rotating Annular Channel Funds are being used in a study and evaluation of air cooling effectiveness in an annular rotating flow channel via testing and data analysis over a range of operating conditions. This project will test variables like a range of fills, three different temperatures, and smooth and ribbed rotors. The machine will also be tested at four speeds (including stationary), four different axial flows, and four different qualities. Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation Pradip Majumdar
Modeling and Evaluation of Beamline Components for the Advanced Photon Source Engineering Support Division This subcontract utilizes Northern Illinois University’s graduate research students to aid the Advanced Photon Source (APS) Engineering Support Division (ESD) in developing a drawing library of components. Each of the 34 beamlines has on the order of 3 to 7 components that have already been implemented into the Experimental Hall, yet have not been fully analyzed for temperature distribution, thermal expansion, and corresponding stresses. Argonne National Laboratory Nicholas Pohlman
Revision of MEE 431 Composite Materials so as to Include a Lecture Component on NDE The revision of MEE 431 Composite Materials involves generating 2-lecture-weeks-worth of new lecture material, including course notes, PowerPoint presentations, DVD, and demonstrations on various state-of-the-art techniques for nondestructively characterizing composite materials. Nondestructive characterization techniques of composite materials include ultrasonics (both liquid- and air-coupled, and Lamb wave), thermography, laser shearography, electronic speckle pattern interferometry (ESPI), cold neutron prompt gamma activation analysis (PGAA), tap testing, resonance methods, acoustic emission, x-ray radiography (including film-based, computed, an direct digital), liquid penetrant, and eddy current. American Society for Nondestructive Testing Scott Short
Tandem Bike Accessory Funds were requested to refine the design of the tandem bike lower connectors, prepare drawings of the second prototype for mass production, and conduct a patent search of similar products. GS Bang and Associates Shin-Min Song
Research and Development of Micro-assembly Systems Funds are being used to develop the following four components for the development of a complete micro-assembly system: 1) Micro-positioning mechanism; 2) Micro-grippers; 3) Microscope and imaging system; 4) Control unit and assembly software. For each component, the current technologies will be surveyed and studies before it is designed and built. This project looks to develop two affordable wheelchairs that have sufficient obstacle-crossing capability to enable a wheelchair user to move in most building areas, sidewalks, and paved road areas. These wheelchairs will be either manual type or power type. Metal Industries Research and Development Centre Shin-Min Song, Jenn-Terng Gau
Creating Minimal Video Games for Engineering Education Research Funds were requested to develop a "minimal" educational video game for engineering in order to assess effects on learning and engagement. National Science Foundation Brianno Coller, David Shernoff

 

Essential Tremor Control Essential Tremor is the most common form of pathological tremor and is a major source of functional disability, affecting daily living tasks. It is characterized by the involuntary oscillations of a part of the body such as hand. When severe it can be disabling and also humiliating. A prevalence of 500 to 1,000 per 100,000 for people older than 40 years is found in the literature. To date there is no cure for this disease and available medications have undesirable side effects. Sponsored by a federal grant, researchers at NIU College of Engineering have been working on application of active vibration control to reduce the tremor using an artificial arm. A control algorithm has been developed for the implementation of active vibration control. The controller was downloaded in a real-time processor. Offline as well as real-time experiment have been performed. This algorithm has been used to reduce the vibrations induced in an aluminum beam and then in an artificial arm when subjected to the vibration. One shaker has been used to simulate the essential tremor vibrations and another shaker has been used to control the vibrations of an aluminum beam and a prosthetic arm and the vibration was reduced by 93% and 55% respectively. Subsequently a piezoelectric patch which is a light weight actuator has been used successfully to control the vibrations in the beam. This work is being continued to explore portable light weight actuators that can produce sufficient force to control the vibrations in the arm when subjected to the essential tremor. Abhijit Gupta
Transport and Processing of Biomass Stock Materials The objective of this research program is to explore the
transport dynamics of granular commodities used as fuels in biomass
energy generation. Attempting to utilize typical granular transport
devices such as augers, conveyors, and gravity fed hoppers fails due to
the non-uniformity of the raw materials. This research aims to develop
transport mechanisms that utilize the long aspect ratio and low material
density of biomass commodities to achieve a more efficient transport
while reducing the need for intervening processing tools.
Illinois Department of
Agriculture
Nicholas Pohlman

Technology

Project TitleSummarySponsorInvestigator
Design and Development of Hand-on Learning Experience in Renewable Energy

 

Aims to increase hands-on experience and knowledge of renewable energy and power systems amongst college students Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation Dr. Liping Guo
Renewable Energy Technology Across the Engineering Technology Curriculum Enhance student education in renewable energy and power engineering. National Science Foundation

Dr. Liping Guo

Dr. Andrew Otieno