The State of NC Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium

 

State of North Carolina

Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium

Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics Abstracts

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Bernard, Andrew B.

Wood, Jesse W.

Dept & College or University:                        

Textile Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Russell Gorga/Textile Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Optimization of Factors Affecting Production and Performance of a Nylon Monofilament with Sand Grains Embedded in the Surface

 

 

This research focuses on optimizing production factors of a nylon monofilament with sand grains embedded in the surface. The nylon monofilament is used in a rotary device to cut weeds, grass, or shrubbery. This paper analyzes the effects of acid to sand ratio, winder speed, and grit size on the coverage, cut-ability, and uniformity of sand distributed on the surface of the monofilament. The nylon monofilament is produced by pulling it through a mixture of sand and formic acid using a winder set at a constant speed and constant distance from the mixture. The acid ratio factor had three levels of .25, .5 and .75 where 200 milliliters of sand is used all the time and the acid level vary according to the ratios. The winder speed also had three levels of 4, 10, and 25 feet per minute. The grit size only contained two levels that were small and medium grit. Results showed that the best cut-ability can be expected with a small grain size, high acid ratio, and high winder speed. Cut-ability was not affected by coverage or uniformity of the sand on the monofilament. The results also showed too much variability in the data to make accurate and precise conclusions but the trends can be used to develop a larger experiment find optimal settings for production.

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Casper, Katya M.

Dept & College or University:                        

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Steven P. Schneider/Aerospace Engineering, Purdue University

Title of Presentation:

Redesign of the Purdue Mach-4 Hot-Wire Calibration Facility to Operate at the Full Range of Reynolds Numbers Found in the Purdue Mach-6 Ludwieg Tube

 

 

The Aerospace Sciences Laboratory at Purdue University includes a Mach-4 Ludwieg Tube, a Mach-6 Ludwieg Tube, and a Mach-4 supersonic jet. Hot wires, which are used to measure mass flux and boundary-layer instabilities in the Ludwieg tubes because of their fast response times, must be calibrated before use; however, the Ludwieg tube runtimes are only a few seconds long. Therefore, the Hot-Wire Calibration Facility , which uses the Mach-4 supersonic jet to run continuously at the wire Reynolds numbers found in the Ludwieg tubes (to ensure similar conditions between the two wind tunnels), was designed to provide long runtimes for calibration. The initial facility design did not function properly at the low pressures required to match the low Reynolds numbers found in the Ludwieg tubes. Instead, it was found through experimental testing and Schlieren imaging that the flow separated at low stagnation pressures of approximately 17.5 psia. A new diffuser design that allowed proper calibration even at these low plenum pressures was developed. This new design was fabricated and tested using Pitot tube measurements and Schlieren imaging to validate its performance at lower Reynolds numbers. These tests showed that while the new diffuser did function at the desired low Reynolds numbers, it was not as efficient as the previous design and could only be run in thirty second intervals. A third design will be created in order to find a better compromise between obtaining low Reynolds numbers and high efficiency.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Clark, Christopher A.

Dept & College or University:                        

Computer Science, UNC-Charlotte

Research Mentor(s)

Tiffany Barnes/Computer Science, UNC-Charlotte

Title of Presentation:

Neverfear Neverwinter

 

 

The purpose of my research as part of the Game2Learn research project is to build a game to teach introductory programming. This is quite a challenge: such a game must address stereotypical views that games have no inherent value beyond entertainment, must be easy enough for beginners to pick up and play, and must also effectively teach and test concept learning. I have proposed to build a game that walks a player through basic concepts, gives them the opportunities for practice, and tests their skills in game challenges that integrate seamlessly into the game’s world and plot. This pattern follows basic pedagogical theory, and allows for players to experience learning at their own pace. The Game2Learn team has developed games in both NeverWinter Nights and in RPGMaker. For my research, I am extending the games build in NeverWinter Nights to include more demonstration and practice of concept learning, as well as with a tutorial level that teaches players how to play the game. I am also working to build challenges that are replayable – in other words, learning exercises that can be repeated. For example, I have developed some prototype code that allows me to generate a random maze for a game. This can be used as a programming challenge for students: first, students might write a program to have their pet navigate the maze and bring back treasure. Each time the student plays this quest, they may have to adapt their program to the new maze that my program generates. Although it is a challenge to integrate replayable quests into an existing game engine like NeverWinter Nights, we continue our efforts to creatively combine game and learning content and experiences.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Coughlin, Andrew J.

Dept & College or University:                        

Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, NCSU

Biomedical Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Wendy E. Krause/Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Electrospinning of Biocompatible Nanofibers

 

 

Growing cells on artificial scaffolds can have a wide range of applications, including uses for wound coverings, supports in tissue cultures, organ and tissue transplantation, and drug delivery. Because tissue transplantation involves several complications such as rejection by the immune system or scarcity of donors, tissue engineering may help to resolve these problems. For instance, cells can be seeded and cultured on a biodegradable scaffold in order to develop into functional tissue, in which case the scaffolds serve as an artificial extracellular matrix (ECM). Because a typical ECM contains collagen fibers with diameters of 50-500 nm, electrostatic spinning (electrospinning) was used to mimic the size and structure of these fibers. Electrospinning is a method of spinning a nonwoven web of fibers on the order of 100 nm, similar to the web of collagen in an ECM. We are investigating the ability of several biocompatible polymers (e.g., chitosan and polyethylene oxide) to form defect-free nanofiber webs and are studying the influence of the zero shear rate viscosity, molecular weight, entanglement concentration, relaxation time, and solvent on the resulting fiber size and morphology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

D'Andrea, Charles

Dept & College or University:                        

Computer Science, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Roger Woodard/Statistics, NCSU

Trena Phipps/Statistics, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Getting FLASHy: Improving Applets for Sampling Distributions

 

 

As an apprentice for the Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) at NCSU, I was challenged to create a Flash applet that would help teachers demonstrate the statistical concept of sampling distributions. One of the most fundamental concepts in introductory statistics, and yet one of the most difficult for students to understand, is the sampling distribution of a statistic. By using Flash 8, along with Actionscript 2.0, I was able to create an applet which accomplished this task. Flash has the built-in ability to re-scale and zoom on various screen sizes, which makes it an ideal choice for a classroom setting. While other sampling distribution applets are available online, this applet includes many unique features. With the inclusion of summary statistics, this applet helps students to better understand as well as visualize the statement of the Central Limit Theorem. After generating a histogram of sample means, this applet allows the user to go back and look at each individual set of sample data. This applet also allows the user to roll-over any sample point to find its exact value. With all of these extra features, this applet will help students to more completely understand the concept of sampling distributions.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Dees, Melinda S.

Dept & College or University:                        

Electrical and Computer Engineering, UNC-Charlotte

Research Mentor(s)

James M. Conrad/Electrical and Computer Engineering, UNC-Charlotte

Title of Presentation:

Electronics for a Walking Robot in a Low-Temperature Environment

 

 

The Stiquito micro robot is a walking stick-like insect device that can carry a small payload of sensors and actuators. Stiquito has been used in ambient temperature environments, but has not been extended to harsh temperatures as what would be encountered in space exploration. The inexpensive electronics materials needed to build Stiquito were assembled and then tested in a low-temperature chamber on the UNC Charlotte campus. The proposed work was to investigate the ability of inexpensive insulated Stiquito electronics to operate in a sub-zero space environment.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Dixon, Anthony R.

Dept & College or University:                        

NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Richard McLaughlin/Mathematics,UNC-Chapel Hill

Title of Presentation:

Falling Spheres in a Non-Newtonian Fluid

 

 

The concept of dropping a sphere into a fluid as a means of measuring its viscosity and other rheological properties has been used for a while. It is vital for a manufacturer to understand the rheological properties of the fluids that they are using so that they can better understand how to process the fluid. The aim of this study is to determine the viscosity of shampoo, which is considered a non-Newtonian fluid, by dropping steel ball bearings. Also it appeared that the ball bearings behaved differently in the non-Newtonian compared to a Newtonian fluid. Andrew Belmonte first observed this phenomenon.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Downen, Lori N.

Bruschi, Laura N.

Cornelius, Carrie E.

Dept & College or University:                        

Nuclear Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Mohamed Bourham/Nuclear Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Control Parameters in Textile Materials Modification with Atmospheric Plasmas

 

 

Plasmas generated at atmospheric conditions are becoming tools frequently used to modify surfaces of various substrate forms, such as paper, textiles, and polymers, for potential on-line production processes. The electron number density and electron temperature characterize plasma, and these parameters can change when a substrate is inserted into the plasma. Thus, during any plasma surface modification process, the number of ionized species will vary depending on the plasma-surface interaction mechanism and the evolution of particulates from the substrate into the plasma. The main objective of this research is to determine the changes in the electron number density of atmospheric pressure plasma when a substrate is plasma-treated. A mathematical model was devised for the plasma device in which measured voltage, current, and gas temperature are used to solve for electron number density with two different gas mixtures with cotton substrates. Data analysis using the measurements and the developed mathematical model indicates changes in electron number density when changing plasma gas mixture or when changing the substrate. Analysis of the plasma gas temperature inside the test cell indicates slight temperature distribution from the center of the cell towards the cell walls.

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Drukenbrod, Joshua M.

Harness, Chad

Dept & College or University:                        

Statistics, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

William F. Hunt Jr./Statistics, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Identifying the Next Major Source to Reduce to Improve Blood Lead Levels in Children Using Public Databases

 

 

Within the past thirty years there has been a vast reduction in the concentration of lead found in our air, water, soil and homes; however concentrations are still present and continue having an impact on our health. Is there something researchers missed in the process? The removal of lead from gasoline along with concentrations found in paint greatly reduced events of lead poisoning, yet something still remains. The effects of lead consumption can have costly effects on young and old; damage to the brain and nervous system, learning problems, and slowed growth are some effects on children while adults usually suffer from reproductive problems, high blood pressure and nerve disorders to name a few. The purpose of the research here is to use exploratory analysis of multiple data bases such as Toxic Release Inventory, air and water quality data, and census data to gain a better understanding of the lead problem affecting the children of our nation. Utilization of exploratory analysis methods in combination with statistical software will be used to form results on multiple data bases and to identify the next major source of lead for reduction or elimination to bring down blood lead levels in children. Within the past thirty years there has been a vast reduction in the concentration of lead found in our air, water, soil and homes; however concentrations are still present and continue having an impact on our health. Is there something researchers missed in the process? The removal of lead from gasoline along with concentrations found in paint greatly reduced events of lead poisoning, yet something still remains. The effects of lead consumption can have costly effects on young and old; damage to the brain and nervous system, learning problems, and slowed growth are some effects on children while adults usually suffer from reproductive problems, high blood pressure and nerve disorders to name a few. The purpose of the research here is to use exploratory analysis of multiple data bases such as Toxic Release Inventory, air and water quality data, and census data to gain a better understanding of the lead problem affecting the children of our nation. Utilization of exploratory analysis methods in combination with statistical software will be used to form results on multiple data bases and to identify the next major source of lead for reduction or elimination to bring down blood lead levels in children.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Godwin, James A.

Dept & College or University:                        

Computer Science, UNC-Charlotte

Research Mentor(s)

Tiffany Barnes/Computer Science, UNC-Charlotte

Title of Presentation:

Game 2 Learn

 

 

Three major problems face the world of computer science education today: decreasing enrollments in computer science programs, low participation by women and underrepresented minorities, and low retention rates. These trends have varied causes, one of which may be the way introductory computer science is taught. The population of gamers continues to grow, including women and minorities. The Game2Learn project aims to teach introductory computer science classes using the medium of a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). By taking into account current research the game is designed to encourage students to remain within the computer science program through a more interactive, fun, and accessible environment. To determine an efficient method of motivating students using games we undertook a study using a prototype game (developed using Neverwinter Nights and the Aurora Toolset) in which students complete three programming tasks. In a previous study conducted without a scoring system, student felt that the game wasn’t serious enough. For this study, we hypothesized that a better connection between real learning and in-game feedback would result in students taking the game more seriously. After modifying our game to give clearer motivation for learning and better instantaneous feedback, no students questioned the appropriateness of the game for homework.

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Gove, Robert P.

Dept & College or University:                        

Mathematics and Statistics, UNC-Greensboro

Research Mentor(s)

Jan Rychtar/Mathematics and Statistics, UNC-Greensboro

Title of Presentation:

A Slice of Pi

 

 

Pi is one of the longest-studied irrational constants, and although pi has been calculated to 1,241,100,000,000 digits it is still unknown if pi is normal in any base. We look at possible implications if it were normal, along with some known properties of pi and their proofs. Pi has a long history of varied methods of calculation which are introduced and examined. More recent discoveries include the BPP formula, which may have a connection to the question of normality. We attempt to answer the question of why we need to compute long approximations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Gromet, Donovan J.

Dept & College or University:                        

College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Doug W. Barlage/Electrical and Computer Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Electron Mobility at the Si/SiO2 Interface In Device Channel MOSFET’s

 

 

The purpose of this research is to model the electron’s position throughout the MOSFET while changing the parameters of applied and barrier voltage, and the dimensions of the quantum well. Our goal is to develop a predictive model to describe the observed electron effective mobility as a function of the applied voltage, Va. This will be accomplished by calculating the electron mobility analytically, and then comparing this data to ensure it aligns with the experimental results. Once this is completed, we will extend the research to include the effects of an electric field applied perpendicularly to the modeled semiconductor/oxide interface. Successful predictions of electron velocity are required to satisfy the need to engineer higher drive currents in MOSFET devices. While the current models predict the electron position and velocity in and before the triangular quantum well, they do not predict the behavior of the electron at and past the Si/SiO2 interface, leading to deviating approximations of the electron velocity at and past this interface.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Hagan, Diane

Bae, JiHyun

Dept & College or University:                        

Textile Technology, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Traci May/Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Color Variation in Digital Textile Printing: Influence of Fiber Content and Other Substrate Characteristics

 

 

The purpose of this research is to study variations in colors that are digitally printed on textile substrates composed of different fibers, identify major and minor factors that contribute to these variations, and seek ways to control these variations. Nine fabrics that differed in weave structure, fiber composition, and/or preprinted color were characterized according to molecular structure, physical properties, and pre-printed color (after pretreatment). Based on previous research, these substrate properties were expected to influence the resulting color in the printed fabric. A multicolor design was printed on all of the fabrics with a large format textile printer that used cyan, magenta, yellow, black (CMYK), and turquoise and orange dye-based inks. Because of the dye affinity of the selected fabrics, reactive dye inks, as opposed to acid dye inks, were used for the printing. After fabrics were steamed and washed, coloration differences were assessed by comparing fabrics visually side-by-side in a controlled environment and objectively with a colorimeter. The color differences made the relationship between the various fibers and the fixed selection of dyes apparent. The primary factor that affected coloration differences among the fabrics was the molecular structure of the fiber in the textile substrate, or the fiber content, while the minor factors like the preprinted color and weave structure of the fabric gave only slight variation in the printed color. Many previous researchers have shown that color management systems (CMS) have been a major way to control the color discrepancies in digital textile printing. This work demonstrates the importance of including fiber content of the substrate as a variable in color management systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Hornsby, Fawn E.

Dept & College or University:                        

Statistics and Applied Mathematics, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Marcia L. Gumpertz/Diversity and African American Affairs, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Characteristics of Cases with Missing Information in Breast Cancer Registry Data

 

 

Breast cancer is one of the most common of cancers and affects thousands of people every year.  Early detection is imperative in order to increase chances of survival.  As new breast cancer initiatives and research is accomplished each year, information about biologic, ethnic, and sociodemographic factors as it relates to incidence, detection, and mortality appear to reveal relationships.  An extensive analysis was conducted using 1990 decennial census data file as well as the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registry program to provide information on population groups and their associated risk in Los Angeles County (Gumpertz et al. 2006).  By modeling the proportion of cases of advanced disease in a population group, we can provide insights into cancer control strategies; however, when there is missing information, these cases are left out of the analysis.  Out of a total of 26,565, 747 cases were missing tract, while 857 lacked the stage of the tumor, and 279 were omitted because of race.  By examining those cases missing, we can get a better understanding of what population groups are affected.  Those missing either the census tract or the stage of tumor were examined according to race.  Blacks had the highest proportion, 9.96%, of unreported tumor stage, as compared with Asians for which 2.96% were missing.  The largest fraction of those missing census tract information, 25.45%, was of unknown race.  A closer inspection of the sources of the data, such as hospitals, labs, and doctor’s offices provides information regarding which screening facilities report all information to registries.  Although overall hospitals had the most cases, missing information seemed to come mostly from other means.  The doctor’s office has the highest percentage of unreported tumor stage.  68% of labs failed to report tracts. This assessment of missing variables found in this dataset will hopefully offer societies such as the National Cancer Institute insights into population groups that are not included in an analysis because of data incompleteness.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Hume, Samuel

Dept & College or University:                        

Electrical and Computer Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Winser Alexander/Electrical and Computer Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

A Comparison of Tools Used to Analyze System Characteristics of Biochemical Models

 

 

The project involved an evaluation of two simulation packages along with the use of the Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) to describe and analyze biological systems. Identifying a unified way to describe and analyze biological systems in software is a critical component of system biology research. It is a necessity to have information standards if models are to be shared, evaluated, and cooperatively developed. Otherwise, a considerable amount of time would be spent translating biochemical reactions models from one representation to another, and valuable information could be lost in the process. The Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML) is a free and well-accepted XML-based language for representing and exchanging models between simulation and analysis tools. The SBToolBox for MATLAB and the Systems Biology Workbench (SBW) were the simulation packages used in the evaluation. The metrics used for performing the comparative analysis of the above tools were: steady-state analysis, stability analysis, simulation time, in-silico experiments, bifurcation analysis, parameter estimation, and parameter sensitivity. The goal for the project was to provide information for use to decide which tool is better suited for the analysis of a given model.

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Jackson, Lauren C.

Dept & College or University:                        

Materials Science and Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Richard Knight/Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University

Milan Ivosevic/Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University

Richard Cairncross/Chemical and Biological Engineering, Drexel University

Title of Presentation:

Sliding Wear Properties of HVOF Thermally Sprayed Nylon-11 and Nylon-11/Ceramic Composites on Steel

 

 

The high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) combustion spray process has previously been shown to be a successful method for depositing pure polymer and polymer/ceramic composite coatings. Polymer and polymer-ceramic composite particles have high melt viscosities and require the high kinetic energy of HVOF in order to generate sufficient particle flow and deformation on impact. One of the goals of reinforcing polymer coatings with particulate ceramics is to improve their durability and wear performance. Composite coatings were produced by ball-milling 60 μm Nylon-11 together with nominal 10 vol.% of nano and multi-scale ceramic reinforcements and HVOF spraying these composite feedstocks onto steel substrates to produce semi-crystalline micron and nano-scale reinforced coatings of polymer matrix composites. The room temperature dry sliding wear performance of pure Nylon-11, Nylon-11 reinforced with 7 nm silica, and multi-scale Nylon-11/silica composite coatings incorporating 7 to 40 nm and 10 μm ceramic particles was determined and compared. Coatings were sprayed onto steel substrates, and their sliding wear performance determined using a pin-on-disk tribometer. Coefficient of friction was recorded and wear rate determined as a function of applied load and coating composition. Surface profilometry and scanning electron microscopy were used to characterize and analyze the coatings and wear scars.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Kinlaw, Alan C.

Dept & College or University:                        

Textile Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Russell E. Gorga/Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science, NCSU

Seth D. McCullen/Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

The Synthesis of Electrospun Fiber Substrates for Use in Stem Cell Growth and Development

 

 

 

Stem cell proliferation is dependent on optimal environmental conditions in order to provide adequate sensitivity for growth and eventual differentiation. Through the course of this research, polylactic acid (PLA) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) were utilized in the early processing of an electrospun fiber mat substrate capable of supporting and sustaining live stem cell cultures. A focal point of the research was the use of MWNTs in fiber construction in order to evaluate increases in the substrate's mechanical and electrical conductance properties required for the support of live cell populations. By altering the concentration of MWNTs in the preliminary solution, progress was made in the optimization of nanotube input in search of both the required electrical properties and mechanical integrity necessary for the synthesis of a usable electrospun substrate.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Krenicky, Joseph N.

Dept & College or University:                        

Mathematics and Statistics;  Art/UNC-Greensboro

Research Mentor(s)

Jan Rychtar/Mathematics and Statistics, UNC-Greensboro

Title of Presentation:

On the Volume-Surface Area Relationship

 

 

The volume of a sphere of radius r is given by the standard formula V=4/3πr^3. Its surface area is given by S=4πr^2. Clearly, S is a derivative of V. The volume and surface area of a cube of length a is given by V=a^3 and S=6a^2, respectively. In this case, S is not a derivative of V. The goal of this presentation is to study the volume-surface area relationship. In particular, it will be proven that surface area of an object is always the derivative of its volume. Initially, it appears that the proof is doomed to fail since it was already shown that the case of the cube disproves this hypothesis. The answer lies in the proper set up. It is intended to ultimately prove and give proper mathematical meaning to the statement that, “Surface area is a derivative of a volume.”

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Kumsa, Doe

Dept & College or University:                        

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Salem College

Research Mentor(s)

Henry Lamb/Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Growth of Recombinant E. Coli BL21(DE3)(pAD1) for GFP Production

 

 

The growth kinetics of the recombinant E. Coli were examined using conventional and high-throughput screening techniques. The E. Coli strain BL21 (DE3) (pAD1) has been altered through a plasmid containing the gene for GFP and conferring kanamycin-resistance. Experiments were conducted using conventional shake flasks and using a micro-titer plate reader with 24- and 96- well plates. The base growth media was Luria-Bertani broth to which glucose was added with initial concentrations in the 1-10g/L range. Cells grew on the base media to a final optical density of 1.2 in the 24- and 96- well plates. Growth on LB broth was rapid initially but slowed markedly after approximately 3h due to the depletion of readily metabolized carbohydrates. Addition of glucose at 1g/L extended the log phase to ~ 4 h, and the culture achieved the same final OD. Higher initial glucose concentrations, however, had a negative impact on final OD. This effect was traced to the production of acetic acid by the cells which lowered the pH of the growth medium. Similar trends in final OD and pH with initial glucose concentration were observed in growth experiments conducted in 150-ml shake flasks, although the final OD values were in the 4-6 range. Future experiments will investigate potential oxygen mass transfer limitations in the 24-well plate experiments and the influence of kanamycin on specific growth rate.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Landwehr, Justin

Dept & College or University:                        

Statistics, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Thomas Reiland/Statistics, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Optimizing Salaries in the NHL Before and After the Lockout

 

 

Under the newly implemented NHL salary cap, owners and general managers must allocate salaries with extreme care and planning. We examine at which salaries offensive players produce most per dollar in the seasons immediately prior to and following the lockout. We develop a model that determines optimal salary allocation in terms of additional games won.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Mulholland, Gregory J.

Dept & College or University:                        

Electrical and Computer Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Veena Misra/Electrical and Computer Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Development of High-k Dielectric Thin Films for Electrolyte Replacement in Nanoscale Redox-Active Charge Storage Elements

 

 

Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) is a highly inefficient charge storage mechanism. While, in an ideal system, DRAM capacitors would hold a charge indefinitely, in practice they are refreshed approximately every 10ms. This wastes power, significantly decreasing the battery life of embedded devices. We have investigated a class of naturally capacitive organic molecules, namely porphyrins, to store charge at low voltages. Current methods, however, have always involved a liquid or gel electrolyte to contact the device and thus do not lend themselves strongly to industrial fabrication. By investigating the use of high-k dielectric layers to augment and eventually replace the electrolyte, I have been able to show that the solid layers improve the lifetime of the molecules and do not significantly decrease the overall molecular signature. This ultra thin high-k dielectric deposition is achieved by using Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). This process allows very fine control of film quality and thickness. By depositing Aluminum Oxide and Hafnium Oxide, I have compared the effect of changing the dielectric constant on the molecular layer. The dielectric is an important factor, because the electrolyte has strong dielectric properties of its own. By showing the increased lifetime of the devices and molecules’ survival of ALD, we have opened the door for further research into feasible solutions for a top metal. Without the replacement of electrolyte in the system, molecular RAM will remain but a chemistry laboratory experiment. In a solid state configuration, these devices are viable market alternatives to current products available today.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Munilla, Samuel R.

Dept & College or University:                        

Computer Science, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

R. Michael Young/Computer Science, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

LongBoard, an Intelligent Storyboarding Tool

 

 

Storyboards are used in cinema to aid directors and cinematographers in visualizing a scene and in organizing ideas before committing resources to filming. An intelligent storyboarding tool could provide users with 3D renders of sketches and give the user an improved visualization of a scene. LongBoard seeks to provide such an intelligent storyboarding interface. The LongBoard system consists of three parts: a tablet PC client, used to receive and parse input from the user; a camera planner, used to solve geometric constraints and generate camera actions; and a 3D game engine, used to render the specified scene and carry out camera actions. Input to the system comes from in the form of sketches of each desired shot that indicate character placement and camera movement as well as annotations that specify shot order and other actions. This input is converted to an XML-based scheme that is passed to a camera planner. The camera planner uses the abstract parameters provided to solve any geometric constraints and generates a set of camera actions, which correspond to the shots outlined. This set of actions is then passed to the game engine. The engine then executes the given camera actions in order, renders the resulting scene to video, and passes that video back to the tablet client.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Oraby, Sarah

Dept & College or University:                        

NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Glenn Walker/Biomedical Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Characterization of a Film-based Photoresist for Micromolding

 

 

Micromolding is a less expensive and more efficient microfabrication technique for microfluidic applications than traditional silicon micromachining. However, a need exists for innovative techniques that will improve the turnaround time and lower the costs of micromolding. The current process for micromolding requires spinning a high-aspect ratio photoresist, such as SU-8, onto a wafer, exposing the wafer, and then developing. The resulting master wafer is then used as a positive relief from which polymer molds can be cast. However, drawbacks to this process include the cost of the equipment and duration of time necessary for the master wafer completion. The purpose of this research project was to find a more practical procedure to meet the needs of micromolding and to characterize the procedure. To reduce the time and cost for micromolding, a lithographic photoresist polymer film, DuPont MX 9050, was used in place of SU-8 spin-on photoresist. Specific attributes of the process such as baking times, exposure times, lamination onto the wafer and development were characterized to find the optimum conditions. The time for fabricating a master wafer was reduced from an average of 5 hours to less than 1 hour using the new film-based procedure.

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Powell, Eve M.

Eagle, Michael

Dept & College or University:                        

Computer Science, UNC-Charlotte

Research Mentor(s)

Tiffany Barnes/Computer Science, UNC-Charlotte

Title of Presentation:

Game2Learn

 

 

Enrollments in computing-related fields have been steadily dropping, and at faster rates for women and underrepresented minorities. Our Game2Learn project seeks to alleviate this imbalance by developing games to teach computer science that appeal to both women and other minorities. We hope to learn from the appeal of massively multiplayer online role-playing games that have proven to be especially successful in attracting a large female and minority fan base. In a role-playing game, players take the part of a character in the game?s story. Players develop their characters by influencing the character’s resources and experience. In a Game2Learn game, the player will also develop programming skills. We hypothesize that the games will motivate students to spend more time learning than with traditional methods. Our long-term goal is to motivate students to play our MMORPG, using the game to learn the fundamentals of computer science and even create custom spells and character abilities. Toward that goal, we have developed two simple games to supplement a computer science course and boost understanding of introductory computer science concepts. Each game included quests for teaching if-then, iteration, and nested loops. We conducted a usability study, where students who recently completed the first introductory class played both games. We found that the best quests were those that allowed players to visualize what happened when they made small changes in a program, as in the Egg Drop Quest in my game that teaches about loop boundaries. We also found that students needed more instructions on how to play the games, and did not take the games seriously unless the learning in-game was obviously tied to player performance. We are using these results in making our next round of games to teach functions and arrays.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Rhoden, John J.

Dept & College or University:                        

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Michael Weiger/Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Role of PI 3-kinase during Fibroblast Cell Spreading and Migration

 

 

Cell spreading and migration involve surface attachment and cytoskeletal reorganization, leading to membrane extension and ultimately cell polarization, processes that are stimulated and coordinated through intracellular signal transduction pathways. In fibroblasts and many other cells, activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) pathway is required for motility. PI 3-kinases generate specific 3' PI lipid products, which act as membrane second messengers, and the spatial pattern of 3' PI density in the membrane is thought to control the directionality of membrane protrusion and cell migration. As a model system, we have quantitatively followed the time course of PI 3-kinase activation, membrane spreading and post-spreading motility of mouse fibroblasts following their initial attachment to fibronectin- and poly-L-lysine-coated surfaces. Using total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy in conjunction with fluorescent 3’ PI probes, we have observed activation of PI 3-kinase signaling during cell spreading that is independent of surface coating. Furthermore, inhibition of PI 3-kinase is shown to block active cell spreading. During long-term random migration experiments, we have observed PI 3-kinase dependent movement in fibroblasts using our TIRF system. The activation of PI 3-kinase is critical for efficient migration, and motility processes are highly sensitive to factors that activate or inhibit PI 3-kinase function. Our results suggest that PI 3-kinase regulates both cell polarity and migration in the absence of chemoattractant gradients. Further studies using gradients of chemoattractants will elucidate the role of PI 3-kinase in directed migration, a process found during wound healing.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Rodriguez, Roberto

Almada, Lorenzo

Thompson, Melissa

Voss, Lori

Dept & College or University:                        

Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Erika T. Camacho/Mathematics, Loyola Marymount University

Title of Presentation:

Deterministic and Small-World Network Models of College Drinking Patterns

 

 

Drinking on college campuses, especially binge drinking, contributes to numerous unintentional injuries, sexual assaults, and poor performance in classes. We are interested in modeling college drinking in order to guide policymakers in the creation of laws that will help decrease college binge drinking and its effects. In order to model the manner in which college drinking spreads, we have created two different models. Our first model modifies a five equation, deterministic, homogeneous, compartmental model of college drinking developed by Scribner, et.al. (2006, manuscript). In order to consider the dynamics of college drinking, our model assumes that social interactions, social norms, and individual risks are most influential in students' decisions to consume alcohol. We focused our attention on binge drinkers by combining light and moderate drinkers into one class and by incorporating the social interactions between social drinkers and problem drinkers and between bingers and problem drinkers. As part of our investigation, we simulated different alcohol environments by varying the parameters. We analyze the implications of this model from both mathematical and sociological perspectives. However, we recognize that a homogeneous model of drinking does not accurately represent the individual-to-individual interaction, connection, and influence of members of the same group. Hence, we created a second model based on graph theory and small-world networks. This model considers a heterogeneously mixed population, where students are represented as unique individuals. In particular, the effects of clusters, or ``clique'' groups, are analyzed in relation to the dynamics of the system. Finally, we compare our deterministic model with our network model and offer some recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Scott, Mary C.

Adam, Donald H.

Anderson, Trevor E.

Bennett, Rick M.

Janney, Terry G.

Dept & College or University:                        

Aerospace Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Andre Mazzoleni/Aerospace Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Designing a Proof-of-Concept Demonstration of a Lunar Penetration Mission

 

 

Our group has researched and designed an experiment to be built and carried out over the spring semester.  This project will demonstrate the feasibility of a lunar penetrator mission by testing the impact dynamics of a body penetrating into a soil target.  The penetrator’s design has been optimized to reach a desired penetration depth with minimum deceleration, as it would be in an actual mission.  The instrumentation in the penetrating body will record acceleration and temperature data, which will be wirelessly transmitted to a computer base. Our design plan includes a pneumatic cannon to carry out multiple, high-velocity tests.  The cannon will accelerate the penetrator downwards towards a soil target.  The cannon will also allow tests to be performed at multiple speeds, with the maximum velocity of 240 ft/s resulting in a penetration depth of over two feet. The experimental data taken during this project will be compared to previously investigated models of penetration depth and deceleration.  Furthermore, the accuracy of determining penetration depth by integrating acceleration data will be established. 

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Seyam, Mohamed A.

Dept & College or University:                        

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Richard J. Spontak/Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Cross-Linked Polymer Nanocomposites for Gas Separation

 

 

Gas separation is an important process in the chemical industry, particularly in the separation of the gaseous products resulting from the water-gas shift reaction during steam reformation of hydrocarbons. In this process, hydrogen (H2) must be separated from a mixed gas stream containing carbon dioxide (CO2) primarily, but also potential trace amounts of water (H2O) and carbon monoxide (CO). The hydrogen gas is utilized in many different ways, however in the growing demand for alternative energy sources, hydrogen fuel cells have emerged as one option. It has become industrially important to reduce energy and economic demands of the current separation processes and polymer membranes provide an opportunity to achieve this goal. In this study, we have examined the gas separation properties of a cross-linked polyimide containing palladium (Pd) nanoparticles. Implementation of Pd nanoparticles into these polymer membranes decreases the free volume of the membrane as well as improves the affinity for H2 over the other gas species. Additionally, chemical cross-linking of the membranes further reduces the free volume and increases chain rigidity, aiding in the prevention of the phenomenon of CO2 plasticization and disallowing relatively larger gas molecules to penetrate.

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Sikes, Kathryn M.

Dept & College or University:                        

Mathematics and Statistics; Art; UNC-Greensboro

Research Mentor(s)

Jan Rychtar/Mathematics and Statistics, UNC-Greensboro

Chris Cassidy, Chris/Art, UNC-Greensboro

Title of Presentation:

The Art of Math

 

 

Over the years I have noticed that many people consider the subjects of Art and Mathematics as belonging to opposite sides of the brain, with nothing in common aside from the occasional fractal or Escher print. As a student of both however, I’m here to tell you of two common grounds shared by Art and Mathematics that are often overlooked. Namely that of the common “When am I ever going to use this information?” question, and that both fields are heavily utilized in digital art programs, which are popular among students, professionals and hobbyists the world over. In my talk I will discuss how concepts from undergraduate level Mathematics (linear algebra in particular) are applied in these programs both in the creation and alteration of digital artwork.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Stadler, Brian T.

Dept & College or University:                        

Mathematics and Statistics;  Art/UNCS-Greensboro

Research Mentor(s)

Jan Rychtar/Mathematics and Statistics, UNCS-Greensboro

Title of Presentation:

Evolutionary Dynamics on Small-World Networks

 

Graphs can represent nearly everything we encounter in life, cites interconnected by highways, the national power grid, ecological structures and even the human population. We can populate these graphs and see how they react in different situations. We introduce a mutant (or simply just a new element) into a specific type of graph to study the probability of the entire graph mutating. Different graph structures and sizes yield greatly varying results and give rise to a struggle between natural selection and a random mutation. We first study graphs with known theoretical solutions to the above problem. We then take these graphs and apply a random permutation to transform them into a more real life like graph, so called small-world networks. We compare the results against the initial graph in an attempt to see if there is any relation or, rather, no relation but completely new results.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Thelen, Michael Y.

Dept & College or University:                        

Statistics, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

Thomas W. Reiland/Statistics, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

College Football Bowl Championship Series Team Rating System: 0, Our Improved Team Rating System: 7

 

 

Since 1998 the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) has been the mechanism for selecting the college football teams that compete in several financially lucrative and prestigious end-of-season bowl games. The primary intent is to designate a national champion in college football utilizing the structure of the traditional bowl system without an onerous multi-game playoff. To rank the teams the BCS created a rating system that has generated considerable controversy, despite several attempted corrective adjustments. The original rating system consisted of four elements: subjective polls of writers and coaches, the average of three computer rankings (Sagarin, Seattle Times and New York Times), the teams' records, and a strength-of-schedule index based on the records of a team's opponents and its opponents' opponents. Even after modification, the obscure nature of their rating system and the continued presence of controversial subjective components expose the BCS to recurrent charges of inherent favoritism toward certain teams and conferences. To increase understanding and to remove the biases, real and imagined, introduced by the rating system’s subjective components, we developed a rating system that depends solely on the teams’ game-related performance variables. Specifically, we distilled the information from over one hundred performance variables and created a straightforward regression model that produces team ratings, which we then use to rank teams. Our rating system exhibits the capability to downgrade the ranking of teams whose current BCS status is due more to the aftermath from past success rather than from current achievements.

 

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Thornton, Sarah A.

Christoph, Elizabeth

Dept & College or University:                        

Statistics, NCSU

Research Mentor(s)

William F. Hunt/Statistics, NCSU

Title of Presentation:

Toxic Overload: Modeling Ambient Mercury Air Pollution at a Trillionth of a Gram

 

Mercury is a toxic pollutant that causes adverse health effects in humans through bio-accumulation in fish. It is released into the atmosphere in several ways, most of which involve industrial processes. The primary health effect of mercury is impaired neurological development. Impacts on cognitive thinking, attention, memory, communication, and fine motor skills have been seen in children exposed to mercury in the womb. Other minor side effects of elevated blood mercury levels include impairment of vision, lack of coordination, impairment of speech, tremors, insomnia, muscle weakness, and even death. From the atmosphere, mercury enters the water via wet and dry deposition where it bio-accumulates in fish. Mercury air monitoring sites were established in Elizabeth and New Brunswick, NJ. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection used the Tekran Continuous Mercury Analyzer to measure elemental, particulate and reactive gas mercury during 2004 and 2005. We are looking at all three phases of mercury pollution versus wind direction and wind speed at the time the data were collected. We are working to construct a more advanced model which will take wind direction and wind speed into account as well as other meteorological variables. The model will predict mercury concentrations measured in either billionths or trillionths of a gram using approximately collocated meteorological data. Temperature and precipitation are two variables that will also be used to construct the statistical model. Our objective is to construct a model that will be used to help identify the sources and locations of mercury emissions.

 

 

 

Student Author(s): 

Vish, Nathaniel

Dept & College or University:                        

Mathematical Sciences, Appalachian State University

Research Mentor(s)

Katherine J. Mawhinney/Mathematical Sciences, Appalachian State University

Title of Presentation:

Scaled Structures and Self-Similarity in the Morse-Thue Sequence

 

 

The Morse-Thue binary sequence, sometimes known as the Morse-Thue-Prouhet sequence, occurs frequently in many different fields of mathematics, ranging from combinatorics on words to number theory to differential geometry. The sequence is recursively defined by a simple algorithm, but may also be generated by a morphism on the alphabet {1,0}. Though non-cyclic, the sequence presents fractal-like self-similarity on expanding scales. In this poster, the author considers the sequence as a product of nested morphisms, and uses this property to prove the sequence self-similar on expanding scales for words of length 2^n. The author also conjectures on self-similarity in other sequences derived from Morse-Thue.

 

 

 

 

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