Engineering Departments at ISU

Research Areas and Groups

Biomedical Engineering Research Group

Faculty: Marco P. Schoen, D. Subbaram Naidu, Solomon Leung

Graduate Students: Keith Fisher (PhD), Vidya Nandlikova (PhD), Jeff Bingham, Balaje Thumati, Rahul Sekhri.

Objectives: The biomedical engineering research group is addressing issues that have direct impact to the daily live of persons with disability, illness, and hardship. Research is currently conducted in biomechanics, biomaterials, bio-signals, and controls. Traditional areas such as interaction with the human respiratory system, complication with diabetics, and paralyzes are investigated. The following sections include a more detailed description about the ongoing research projects and the affiliations of faculty and students.

Research Projects

Dec 11 2007

Fusion of Hard and Soft Computing Control Strategies in Biomedical Engineering

Human body is the most complex, nonlinear, adaptive and unpredictable control system. Some success has been achieved in trying to model various sections of human body. Using some of the models, hard computing techniques such as optimal control, robust and adaptive control have been used. Also, soft computing techniques involving neural networks, fuzzy logic, genetic algorithms and other evolutionary algorithms are being used in biomedicine. Recently, there is much interest in using hybrid techniques by fusion of both hard and soft computing methodologies to cash in their advantages. Problems of interest, for example, are diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease, cancer therapy and drug administration.

Dec 11 2007

Electro Active Polymers (EAP)

EAPs are newly developed polymers with interesting capabilities. The current research focuses on dynamically characterize these materials, and utilize their properties for actuator design. One such design under investigation is the use of EAP as membranes for drug delivery in biological active materials.

Dec 11 2007

Active Foot Pressure Control for Diabetic Patients

A major contributor for the development of diabetic foot ulcers is a high, localized plantar foot pressure. It is believed that in diabetes the nerves in the extreme parts of the human body are damaged and cause deregulated blood flow, which may cause an insufficient blood supply. This can lead to a loss of feeling, change in shape of the feet, necrosis and ulcerations, and ultimately to partial or total amputation of the body part. The loss of feeling in the feet results in a loss of feedback to control the foot pressure distribution. The current research focuses on avoiding high foot pressure concentration by using an active, intelligent shoe insert, which is based on the mechanics of smart materials.

Dec 11 2007

Adaptive Control of a Human Incubator System

Infants with respiratory distress or with respiratory insufficiency, respiration must be carefully controlled by external means to maintain both arterial CO2 and O2 homeostasis. For newborns in incubator systems, the oxygen concentration is controlled at a high level. This may lead to retrolental fibroplasias arterial oxygen partial pressure PaO2 becomes very high. The goal of an adaptive controller design is to force the optimum oxygen concentration FiO2 of the mixed gas into the incubator so that the partial arterial oxygen pressure becomes normal. To achieve this, several steps must be undertaken. The incubator must be modeled dynamically, the human respiratory system must be identified such that the identified model can be used for the adaptive controller, while the identification scheme's input to the system is save for the newborn inside the incubator. The results should be compared with an analytical model of the human respiratory system. Finally, the models should be used to design an adaptive controller.

Dec 11 2007

Control and Stabilization of Robotic Orthotics

Weakness in walking due to partial paralysis, or other weakening mechanisms, of the lower extremities is often worsened by the resulting lack of use of the muscles. The current research focuses on developing means, which will allow those persons to get a consistent level of use from their legs, and to allow them to have some independence. The goal is to develop the controls of an exoskeletal brace fitting the ankle, knee and hip joints of a person with a walking disability. This brace will provide walking assistance in an adaptive manner to that person in accordance with the person's own movements.

Dec 11 2007

Myoelectric Signal Analysis for use with Prostheses

Human muscle motion is initiated in the central nervous system where a nervous signal travels through the body and the motor neurons excite the muscles to move. These signals, termed myoelectric signals, can be measured on the surface of the skin as an electrical potential. By analyzing these signals it is possible to determine the muscle actions the signals elicit, and thus can be used in manipulating smart prostheses and teleoperation of machinery. Due to the complexity of myoelectric signals, extraction of the intended dynamics from the signal is difficult. The ongoing project focuses on new techniques and approaches to characterize these signals and describes the intended motion.

Aerospace Engineering Research

Faculty: D. Subbaram Naidu, Marco P. Schoen, Brian Williams

Graduate Students: Lalitha Paladugu, Prakash Ramandan, Michael Miller, Ebenezer Seisie-Amoasi

Research Projects

Dec 12 2007

Mechatronics Systems

Fusion of modern control and intelligent control. Traditional or so-called hard computing controller designs provide advantages and disadvantages. Recently, it was pointed out that the soft computing, also called the intelligent control approach, complements the hard computing and vice versa. The fusion of these two controller paradigms is investigated.

Dec 12 2007

Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UAVs)

Addressing the problem of moving obstacle avoidance and tracking determination during autonomous operation.

Dec 12 2007

Intelligent Active Flow Control

Research is concentrated on active control of the unsteady flow in a wide variety of components and/or subsystems. The term active flow control is used to describe the methods to actively manipulate flow fields with auxiliary power introduced to the flow. This project explores the possibilities of further performance improvement using the theories and technologies of intelligent systems. Intelligent systems can be applied to better sensing and actuating, improve model accuracy, and optimize the control schemes.

Dec 12 2007

Hybrid Rockets for Attitude Control

The traditional approach to actuation of a space vehicle for attitude control centers on the use of hydrazine monopropellant rocket motors. This technology has aspects that make it prohibitive for certain missions (high cost and special handling of the hydrazine). Hybrid rocket motors, combining liquid/gaseous oxidizers with solid fuels, have proven themselves to be safer and less expensive than traditional rockets. This project examines the feasibility of using hybrid rocket motors for low-thrust, high-cycle attitude control applications and is identifying key technologies/components for further research.

Dec 11 2007

Attitude control

The attitude control of space vehicles, or in other words the control of the direction of pointing, is addressed by combining the efforts of the star tracker, space structure vibration control, and advanced control techniques.

Dec 12 2007

Robust control and identification of large flexible space structures

Large space structures exhibit very low damping ratios and relatively low natural frequencies. Space structures are frequently repositioned to accurately point to a new location on earth or in orbit. This pointing ability is often of very high accuracy. For example, a mobile communication system mission requires that the antenna will have to point to within 0.03 degrees root mean square. The positioning rockets induce considerable vibration on the structure and due to the low damping are most undesirable. It is therefore paramount for the operation of such large space structures to control these induced vibrational modes. An additional problem is the representation of the space structure in a compact mathematical form, since such structures tend to have a very large number of states. System identification algorithms are being developed for such problems. In addition, robust controllers are proposed that improve the performance of the dynamics of existing space structures.

Dec 11 2007

Star Tracker

Using intelligent techniques, such as genetic algorithms, enhanced routines can be formulated to determine the attitude (or pointing) of a space vehicle using star pattern recognition. These newly developed algorithms apply to both the tracking and lost in space mode of operation of a spacecraft attitude determination system.

Dec 11 2007

Autonomous Control of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs)

The unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) along with unmanned ground and underwater vehices will be an essential part of the future electronic warefare. Unlike the traditional aircrafts with pilots, these UCAVs incorporate hierarchical architecture and operate under complete or near-complete autonomy. Some of the research areas identified are hierarchical control, decentralized control, large scale systems modeling and control using regular and singular perturbation methods, unified approach, path planning and trajectory tracking, and intelligent techniques using hybrid of soft (neural networks, fuzzy logic and genetic algorithms) and hard (optimal, robust and adaptive control) computing techniques.

Dec 11 2007

Aerobraking/Aeroassit Technology

According to the report of the National Com mission on Space, PIONEERING THE SPACE FRONTIER, the concept of aerobraking for orbital transfer has been recognized as one of the critical technologies and recommended for demonstration projects in building the necessary technology base for pioneering the space frontier such as the establishment of a permanent space station and space explorations to other planets such as Mars. In particular, considering the economic benefits and reusability, an orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) is proposed for transporting payloads between low Earth orbit (LEO) and high Earth orbit (HEO). The two basic operating modes contemplated for OTV are a ground-based OTV which returns to Earth after each mission and a space-based OTV which operates out of an orbiting hanger located at the proposed Space Station Freedom. The main areas of research are guidance and control aspects of atmospheric entry problem, orbital transfer with aeroassist technology, aerocruise, and guidance.

Dec 11 2007

Guidance and Control of Hypersonic Vehicle

The US Air Force has recognized hypersonics as one of the key technologies to be developed for the 21st century and that hypersonic technology and ramjet/SCRamjet propulsion offer potentially large increase in speed, altitude and range with flexible recall, en route redirection and return to base for military operations such as interceptor, reconnaissance and orbital transport. In pursuing this direction, research is focused on guidance and control (G&C) strategies for hypersonic vehicles for military applications. In this work, we address the G&C issues for various missions such as ascent-to-orbit, atmospheric entry, hypersonic cruise, and orbital transfer operations.

Measurement & Control Theory Research

Faculty: D. Subbaram Naidu, Marco P. Schoen

Research Projects

Dec 12 2007

Intelligent Control

Dec 12 2007

Intelligent Sensors

Development of predictive filters and the compensation of the sensor dynamics using system identification, genetic algorithms, and signal processing.

Dec 12 2007

Adaptive Control - System identification

System identification is the process of inferring a mathematical description of the governing system characteristics from experimental input/output data. System identification can be partitioned into parametric and nonparametric system identification as well as direct and indirect system identification. Research is being conducted in the development of parametric, linear, direct and indirect system identification algorithms using traditional and intelligent approaches. The problem of identifiability, input design, and accuracy improvement is addressed.

Dec 12 2007

Singular Perturbations and Time Scales in Guidance and Control of Aerospace Systems

The theory of singular perturbations and time scales (SpaTS) has played an important role in aircraft performance analysis and in the development of feedback guidance laws for aerospace vehicles. The research focuses on the applications of the theory of SPaTS in guidance, navigation, and control of air and space transportation systems. In particular, emphasis will be placed on problem formulation and solution approaches that are useful in applying the theory for various types of problems arising in aerospace systems. Further, the research embraces the related fields such as fluid dynamics, space structures and space robotics.

Dec 12 2007

Singular Perturbations and Time Scales in Control Theory and Applications

A basic problem in control system theory is the mathematical modeling of a physical system. The modeling of many systems calls for high-order dynamic equations. The presence of some 'parasitic' parameters such as small time constants, resistances, inductances, capacitances, moments of inertia, and Reynolds number, is often the source for the increased order and stiffness of these systems. The stiffness, attributed to the simultaneous occurrence of slow and fast phenomena, gives rise to time scales. The systems in which the suppression of a small parameter is responsible for the degeneration (or reduction) of dimension (or order) of the system are labeled as ?osingularly perturbed systems, which are a special representation of the general class of time-scale systems. The curse of dimensionality coupled with stiffness poses formidable computational complexities for the analysis and design of multiple time-scale systems.

Dec 12 2007

Unified Approach to Optimal Control Theory

A unified approach that is simultaneously applicable to both continuous-time and discrete-time systems is developed so that there is no need, as being presently done, to develop separate methodologies for continuous-time and discrete-time systems. The main issues for research are: development of a unified approach to solve state unconstrained and constrained problems, and development of numerical algorithms and software implementation to solve these problems.

Structures Research

Faculty: Arya Ebrahimpour, Habib Sadid, Marco P. Schoen

Graduate Students: Janice Martell (Ph.D)

Research Projects

Dec 12 2007

Vibration Control using Smart Materials

Active vibration control of civil structures are addressed using smart materials such as PZTs. The experimental as well as theoretical approach is investigated.

Thermal Group

Objectives: Apply advance measurement techniques to thermal/fluid problems.

Faculty: Brian G. Williams

Research Projects

Dec 12 2007

Advanced Control Strategies for Heating, Ventilation, & Air-Conditioning

At present, there is a national effort to provide security, safety, and comfort for all critical building structures in the country such as the nuclear facilities at Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems play a vital role in any building structure to provide comfort and protection of vital equipment and people. There are particular concerns in the Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear and hazardous facilities, where HVAC systems are used to prevent the migration of radioactive and other hazardous materials.

Dec 12 2007

Triple-Point Thermal Storage Unit

The thermal design and thermodynamic analysis of a cryogenic triple-point thermal storage unit for application towards infrared sensors.

Dec 12 2007

Liquid/Vapor Interface Sensor

A novel device has been postulated, designed, and tested for the determination of the free surface (liquid/vapor interface) between a liquid and gas. Efforts are now focusing on the adaptation of this technique to a smaller scale and 3-D application. Additionally, work is being performed to quantify the variations between the natural convection of liquid and gaseous mediums.

Nuclear Group

Faculty: John Bennion, Jay Kunze, Brian Williams

Research Projects

Dec 12 2007

Condensation Induced Water Hammer

Investigation of the events leading up to condensation induced water hammer in horizontal pipes in two-phase flow.

Control In Manufacturing

Objectives: Apply advance measurement techniques to thermal/fluid problems.

Faculty: D. S. Naidu

Research Projects

Dec 12 2007

Control in Semiconductor Manufacturing/Processing

In order for the U.S. semiconductor industry to retain and improve its competitiveness in the international market place, it is critical that its factories produce highly advanced products at a very low costs. To achieve these goals, these factories must be equipped with processing systems which can perform their functions with very high accuracy and throughput but with low costs. At the present time, most semiconductor manufacturing equipment is designed to be operated in an open-loop mode. Due to this in-run open-loop operation, their manufacturability properties are not as good as desired. Reactive ion etching is a critical technology for modern VLSI circuit fabrication at many steps of the manufacturing process. The National Research Council report on plasma processing materials cites the lack of feedback control as one of the main problems facing the semiconductor manufacturing industry in general. The research issues are using modern control techniques for improving the efficiency of the processing and fabrication equipment.

Dec 12 2007

Modeling, Sensing and Control of Gas Metal Arc Welding

The practice of industrial welding has always been dependent on the skill of the welder, which has made it more of an art than a science. However, in the last two decades significant efforts have been made not only to introduce automated welding, but also to ensure that automated welds are of a sufficiently high quality. Modelling, sensing and control of the automated welding process are vital to achieving this goal.Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is one of the key welding processes in industrial manufacturing. Thus, the modeling, sensing and control of the GMAW process is vitally important. The research topics include modeling of the GMAW process, including the physics of welding, weld pool geometry, metal transfer characteristics and process voltages; sensors for arc length, weld pool control and weld pool geometry, including both optical and intelligent sensors; control techniques, including PI, PID, multivariable, adaptive and intelligent control.


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