• Design of a micro-hydrokinetic electric power generation system

      Han, Rui (2011-08)
      The objective of this thesis project is to design a Micro-Hydrokinetic Power Generating (MHPG) system to generate electricity from sustainable and distributed hydrokinetic resources. The system is developed from a patent held by one of our team members, Robert Kallenberg. The MHPG does not require a dam or diversion, thus avoiding the negative environmental impacts associated with dams. The project could also help some communities to make use of their locally available hydrokinetic resources and significantly reduce their electricity costs. Reviewing of the literature in hydrokinetic electric power generation technology shows that hydrokinetic projects developed to date have largely made use of hydro turbine systems. These hydro turbines have a strong potential to cause fish mortality, while by design, the MHPG has little chance of causing mortality due to its gentle motion. On the other hand, the build-up of debris on a conventional hydro turbine can easily disable or even destroy the turbine, while the hydro foil in our device is generally oriented with the angle of attack less than 30 degree from the current, keeping debris build up at a minimum. The state of the art software COMSOL Multiphysics has been used as our numerical analysis tool. The interaction of water and the designed foil in a straight rectangular turbulent channel is modeled, explicitly, using two conservation laws: conservation of momentum and conservation of mass. The incompressible Navier-Stokes application mode in COMSOL Multiphysics has been used in this simulation to solve the distribution of the pressure and the velocity filed. Results show that the oscillating hydro foil has the potential to surpass the efficiency of a conventional turbine, and is deployable in relatively low velocity streams. Future project development suggestions will be presented focusing on further improvements electric machinery design and system integration. Finally, the prototype of the device has been fabricated and tested in natural rivers. The first test in Chena River, AK, verified the design by showing that the prototype can move in an oscillating manner. The second test in San Gabriel River, CA, shown that the designed Scotch Yoke, which was used to convert linear motion into rotational motion, could be efficiently integrated with the motion generation system. Future test work including permanent magnetic generator coupling and energy efficiency measurement need to be carefully studied concerning the system efficiency and maintenance.
    • Design of a multichannel outdoor data logger for precise temperature measurements

      Dolgikh, Kirill; Raskovic, Dejan; Romanovsky, Vladimir; Thorsen, Denise (2018-12)
      In this thesis, we present the prototype of a multichannel data logger (the Logger) for precise temperature measurements. Its intended application is to take soil (permafrost) temperature measurements with a thermistor probe or thermistor string. However, its hardware and firmware architectures are quite flexible, so it can be used in other applications. The Logger has 16 channels. In addition to the internal memory, it supports microSD-cards of up to 2 GB, which allows it to store up to 41.9 million measurements for each channel. The Logger's estimated battery life is 8 years when making measurements once per hour. It has a radio transmitter, which will allow it to download data wirelessly and potentially participate in a wireless sensor network once the appropriate firmware is developed. Currently, only the communication protocol with the radio is implemented, while the radio-to-radio protocol is under development. The Logger is small - only 6 x 1 x 1 inches and the final product will be even smaller. Components are rated down to -40° C and the Logger successfully passed testing at -30° C. After the extensive testing to ensure performance it has been shown that the Logger outperforms the Campbell Scientific, Inc. CR1000 logger and exceeds the design requirements. Measured temperature resolution of the Logger is below 2.5 mK in the entire temperature range. The Logger's equivalent temperature accuracy, which was determined using a known resistive input, is below 10 mK within -25° C to 40° C and below 20 mK elsewhere. The developed calibration technique provides the equivalent accuracy below 0.3 mK within -40° C to 40° C. To provide an accuracy of ±0.01° C when making temperature measurements with thermistors, the Logger should be calibrated against a thermometer that has been calibrated as a secondary standard, which will be done in the future.
    • Design of a receiver for measurement of real-time ionospheric reflection height

      Raghavendar, Changalvala (2005-08)
      The HF (high frequency) radar at Kodiak Island, Alaska, is part of the SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) network of radars designed to detect echoes from ionospheric field-aligned density irregularities. Normal azimuth scans of the radar begin on whole minute boundaries leading to 12 s downtime between each scan. The radar makes use of this down time, by stepping through eight different frequencies for each beam direction using 1 or 2 s integration periods. A new receiver system has been developed at Poker Flat Research Range (PFRR), to utilize the ground scatter returns from radar's sounding mode of operation and calculate the ionospheric virtual reflection height. This would result in considerable improvement in the accuracy of critical frequency and Angle Of Arrival (AOA) estimations made by the Kodiak SuperDARN.
    • Design of a wireless sensor network platform and testing environment

      Vadlamani, Srikar; Raskovic, Dejan; Mayer, Charles; Thorsen, Denise (2005-05)
      In this thesis, we present the design and implementation of a wireless sensor network platform and testing environment, for energy efficient, centralized Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) architecture. The entire design process for an energy efficient sensor network requires several design considerations, from component selection for the design of sensor nodes, to the design of a power efficient application specific communication protocol. This thesis provides an insight into all these design considerations. We also discuss tools and techniques for the analysis and assessment of the performance and energy efficiency of a chosen sensor node design. We present a comprehensive design and analysis of sensor node architecture, including a survey of sensor node platforms and energy management techniques. Hardware choices, as well as software solutions, will be discussed. Software components that act as device drivers are briefly explained in this work. We also define and present a sensor node emulator, used to emulate a number of sensors, which can be used in other projects.
    • A Design of an nterface Board between a MRC Thermistor Probe and a Personal Computer

      Raskovic, Dejan (2013-09-30)
      The main purpose of this project was to design and build a prototype of an interface board between an MRC temperature probe (thermistor array) and a personal laptop computer. This interface board replaces and significantly improve the capabilities of an existing MRC RD100 readout instrument. The new interface board provides the user to test a new installation as well as read instantaneous thermistor array. The report also documents the outputs of the the MRC temperature probe for future and the operational characteristics of both the MRC RD100 and the new interface board.
    • Design of circularly polarized, omnidirectional microstrip sounding rocket antennas for telemetry and GPS applications

      Sullins, Ty (2001-08)
      The orientation of a sounding rocket with respect to ground stations or GPS satellites is often highly variable and sometimes unpredictable due to its trajectory and spin. Therefore, a sounding rocket antenna should have a radiation pattern that is nearly omnidirectional to ensure sufficient signal strength in any direction, and the antennas should be circularly polarized to minimize polarization loss. Microstrip antennas are well suited to meet these requirements because they are low profile, lightweight, durable, and can be conformed to nonplanar geometries. Additionally, circularly polarization can be achieved using simple geometries and small size. This dissertation presents the theory and equations required to design common microstrip antennas. Circularly polarized telemetry and GPS antennas are designed for sounding rocket payloads with 6, 8, and 14-inch diameters, and their performance is compared with linearly polarized antennas. A circularly polarized antenna for a 14-inch diameter rocket payload is fabricated and it measured performance compared with theoretical predictions.
    • Design of microcontroller based generic radar controller

      Kolatkar, Aditi (2004-05)
      Increasingly radar stations contain multiple radar systems, each individually controlled. Non-standard control requires that a user of multiple systems learn each system separately. Additionally, multiple radar controllers make coordination of multiple systems difficult. The goal of this thesis is to design a generic radar controller that can be used to operate any pulsed radar system or multiple radar systems simultaneously. The Generic Radar Controller attempts to meet and improve upon the specifications of a previous radar controller and collapse its rack-mounted system into a single PC card. The University of Alaska Generic Radar Controller (UAF-GRC) is a microcontroller based PC card with a minimum of 16 control channels. Each channel can be individually programmed to provide pulses of 400 ns duration up to several milliseconds and variable pulse repetition intervals with a timing resolution of 10 ns. The hardware and software issues that appeared during the design phase are discussed in the thesis. The thesis concludes with improvements of UAF-GRC over the previous radar controller.
    • Detecting Methane Ebullition In Winter From Alaskan Lakes Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Remote Sensing

      Engram, Melanie J.; Walter, Katey (2012)
      Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas with a high radiative forcing attribute, yet large uncertainties remain in constraining atmospheric CH4 sources and sinks. While freshwater lakes are known atmospheric CH4 sources, flux through ebullition (bubbling) is difficult to quantify in situ due to uneven spatial distribution and temporally irregular gas eruptions. This heterogeneous distribution of CH4 ebullition also creates error when scaling up field measurements for flux estimations. This thesis reviews estimates of CH4 contribution to the atmosphere by freshwater lakes presented in current literature and identifies knowledge gaps and the logistical difficulties in sampling CH 4 flux via ebullition (bubbling). My research investigates various imaging parameters of space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to constrain current CH4 emissions from northern lakes. In a GIS spatial analysis of lakes on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska, comparing field data of ebullition to SAR, I found that SAR L-band backscatter from lake ice was high from lakes with CH4 bubbles trapped by lake ice and low from lakes with low ebullition activity. The 'roughness' component of a Pauli polarimetric decomposition of quad-pol SAR showed a significant correlation with the percentage of lake ice area containing CH4 bubbles and with CH4 ebullition flux. This indicates that the mechanism of SAR scattering from ebullition bubbles trapped by lake ice is single bounce. I conclude that SAR remote sensing could improve our ability to quantify lake ebullition at larger spatial scales than field measurements alone, could offer between-lake comparison of CH 4 ebullition activity, and is a potential tool for developing regional estimations of lake-source CH4.
    • Detection of F-region electron density irregularities using incoherent-scatter radar

      Gudivada, Krishna Prasad; Watkins, Brenton; Sonwalkar, Vikas; Bristow, William (2014-08)
      Incoherent-scatter radar data from Poker Flat, Alaska has been used to determine size distributions of electron density structures in the evening time sector of the auroral zone. At high latitudes ionospheric plasma typically moves east-west with speeds of several hundred meters per second. Density irregularities that rapidly move through the radar beam are therefore observed as time-varying power fluctuations. The new phased array radar used for this study has been operated with several antenna directions with successive pulses transmitted in each direction. It is therefore possible to observe plasma Doppler velocities in multiple directions and determine the vector direction of the plasma motion. This near-simultaneous observation of the plasma velocity in conjunction with the electron density height profile data enable a new technique to determine the scale sizes of electron density fluctuations that move horizontally through the radar beam. The study focuses on the collision-less F-region ionosphere where the plasma drift is approximately constant with altitude. The experimental technique limits the range of scale sizes that may be studied to relatively large-scale sizes (i.e. greater than few tens of km). Results show that during magnetically disturbed conditions (Kp ≥ 4) when westward plasma velocities are relatively high (500-1000 m/s) the scale sizes of irregularities (often called plasma blobs) are in the range of 100-300 km and predominantly originate from the polar cap and are transported over long distances (~1000 km) due to the long chemical recombination times (30-90 minutes). Some irregularities are caused by local auroral particle precipitation and have been identified with associated electron temperature enhancements. For cases of low magnetic activity (Kp ≤ 1), when the radar is located in a region of low plasma velocities (100-500 m/s) well south of the auroral oval (essentially a mid-latitude type ionosphere), the density distribution is always biased strongly toward small-scale sizes (less than 50 km).
    • Determination mercury in Alaskan coals by flameless atomic absorption

      Rao, P.D. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1973)
      An oxygen combustion, double gold amalgamation system is constructed for the determination of mercury in Alaskan coals. Solutions have been found for certain problems in design and operation. The effect of operating variables have been thoroughly evaluated and analytical procedure is outlined. The system involves combustion of goal in an oxygen atmosphere and amalgamating mercury on gold coils. The amalgamated mercury is released by heating and measured in an atomic absorption cell.
    • Determination of lateral inflows in the Kuparuk River watershed, a study in the Alaskan Arctic

      Overbeck, Levi D.; Kane, Douglas; Stuefer, Svetlana; Toniolo, Horacio (2015-05)
      The objectives of this research were to investigate the relationships between lateral inflows and watershed characteristics within the Kuparuk watershed of Arctic Alaska, as well as to quantify the lateral inflows to be used as an input for calibrating and running a process-based instream water temperature model. Determination of lateral inflows was accomplished by constructing hydrographs at multiple locations along Imnavait Creek and the Kuparuk River using stage and discharge field measurements. The hydrographs were then routed between gauging stations downstream (starting upstream) using the Muskingum routing method; and finally subtracting the routed hydrograph from the downstream measured hydrograph to calculate any additional water that had entered the reach between gauging stations. Results showed, as a general trend, that reaches within the northern foothills of the Brooks Range experienced larger lateral inflow contributions per square kilometer and had larger runoff ratios than subsequent reaches to the north where the terrain flattens out and transitions into the coastal plain. Two reaches within the watershed contradicted the general trend. The low-gradient reach nearest to the Arctic Ocean experienced larger lateral inflows throughout the summer that were unaffected by rainfall precipitation events; this is believed to be caused by snowmelt water initially stored in the low gradient terrain and slowly released into the drainage network during summer months. This area is rich with wetlands, ponds, and lakes and snow-damming during break up is prevalent. The other reach was located upstream of the Kuparuk aufeis field and was observed to lose water during the summer of 2013, supporting a hypothesis that the aufeis formation in this area is fed throughout the winter by a large talik upstream.
    • Determination of methane hydrate stability zones in the Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk River, and Milne Point units on the North Slope of Alaska

      Westervelt, Jason V. (2004-05)
      Estimates range from approximately 37 to 44 trillion cubic feet of in-place gas in methane hydrate from within the Eileen Trend of the Prudhoe Bay (PBU), Kuparuk River (KRU), and Milne Point (MPU) Units on the North Slope of Alaska (Collett, 1993). This study was based on measuring pressure and temperature conditions for hydrate dissociation. The results showed that the depth of the hydrate stability zone (HSZ) ranges from 585 to 780 meters. The results from this study also show that the HSZ in the Alaska North Slope (ANS) is thinning westward. This study also showed that the effect of formation brines typically found on the North Slope only affects the depth of the hydrate stability zone by 30 to 45 meters when a porous media is not present. Experiments carried out on a porous media sample provided by the Anadarko Corporation showed that the formation brines only affect the depth of the hydrate stability zone by 10 to 15 meters. Geothermal gradients, gas composition, and the type of porous media play the biggest role in the thickness of the HSZ. These variables are also the most important when determining the depth to the HSZ.
    • Determination of molybdenum in geological materials

      Rao, P.D. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1971-09)
      This paper will describe a method for the determination of molybdenum in geological materials. It is known that molybdenum as molybdate or phosphomolybdate ion can be extracted using the liquid ion exchanger, Aliquat 336 (methyl tricapryl ammonium chloride, available from General Mills, Inc. Kankakee, Ill.). Aliquat 336 has been used for analytical separation of gold, tungsten, and actinide-lanthanide elements.
    • Determination of Seasonal, Frequency and Durational Aspects of Streamflow with Regard to Fish Passage Through Roadway Drainage Structures

      Ashton, William S.; Carlson, Robert F. (1984-11)
      Optimal design of culverts for fish passage for each stream crossing requires the magnitude, duration, frequency and seasonal relationship of the flow and the timing of fish movement. Although previous studies have measured fish swimming abilities and culvert water velocity profiles, there are limited studies in northern regions of the hydrologic relationship among magnitude, duration, frequency and season of discharge for the design of culverts for fish passage. We analyzed streamflow records from 33 gaging stations in southcentral, western, interior, and arctic Alaska (from watersheds with a drainage area less than 100 sq. miles each) to determine the highest consecutive mean discharge with one-, three-, seven and fifteen-day durations, and the lowest consecutive mean discharge with three-, seven-, fourteen- and thirty-day durations. Streamflow during three seasons were analyzed: spring, April 1 to June 30; summer, July 1 to August 31; and fall, Septermber 1 to November 30. The lognormal distribution, using the Blom plotting position formula, was used to estimate flows at recurrence intervals of 1.25, 2, 5, 10 and 20 years. Multiple linear regression equations were developed to predict flows from ungaged watersheds. Significant basin and climatic characteristics for high flows were drainage area, mean annual precipitation and percent of the drainage basin with forest cover. Significant characteristics at low flows were drainage area, mean minimum January temperature, mean annual precipitation and percent of drainage basin covered by forests. This report provides the culvert designer with equations to predict flows, other than the instantaneous peak flow, for use in designing culverts for fish passage. Two example problems are given to show the application of these equations.
    • The determination of titanium in titaniferous magnetite ores by atomic absorption spectrophotometry

      Rao, P.D. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1972-03)
      Amos and Willis (1) first investigated the use of nitrous oxide for the determination of titanium. They found that the presence of HF and iron enhance the absorption of titanium. They recommended “much more extensive investigation before a practicing chemical analyst can determine this element in a routine fashion by atomic absorption.” Various authors (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) have investigated titanium by atomic absorption and have recommended a number of different procedures to remove interference. In attempting to analyze lithium metaborate fusions (7, 8) of titaniferous magnetite ores of Alaska by atomic absorption, it was found that the interferences are not completely removed by any single approach suggested in the literature. Silicon, iron and aluminum could vary widely between samples and an approach was needed that would completely eliminate interference effects of all these elements, without having to match the gross matrix composition of samples and standards.
    • Develop a Regional Multi-Source Database System for Safety Data Management and Analysis in RITI Communities in Washington State

      Wang, Yinhai; Zeng, Ziqiang; Gottsacker, Christopher; Yang, Hao (Frank) (2019-05)
      Rural, Isolated, Tribal, and Indigenous (RITI) communities across the United States are disadvantaged from a transportation safety perspective. Particular concern is focusing on rural road safety. Since RITI communities often do not have the capability and resources to sufficiently solve roadway safety problems, several challenges are encountered for addressing transportation safety issues in RITI communities, including: (1) Crashes are often distributed along roads in RITI areas without known patterns; (2) Strategies to address safety issues are diverse for different RITI communities and draw from several safety areas. As a result, there is a critical need to realize equitably-augmented safety solutions that address the needs of these underserved and underinvested RITI communities. To address this gap, this project aims to develop a regional multi-source database system for traffic safety data management and analysis of RITI communities in Washington State. The existing crash data sources in RITI communities in Washington was identified and documented. The crash data on rural routes was extracted from the raw data from Washington State Department of Transportation and integrated into the multi-source database system, including traffic flow characteristics, crash attributes and contribution factors, crash-related trauma data and medical records, weather conditions, etc. The Colville tribe also provided the crash data in their tribal communities under a confidentiality agreement. A multi-source database fusion and integration system architecture was designed. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 was used to implement the database and manage the data. A six-step data quality control method was employed to clean the data by wiping out the outliers from spatial and temporal aspects. The tribal crash data was made accessible to authorized users so they can download the datasets by using password, while the WSDOT crash data was set to be public for all the users. A safety analysis module was developed for visualizing the data in the regional multi-source database system in RITI communities. The data visualization platform is developed based on the Vaadin Framework. The users can interact with the interface for data analysis. A safety performance index and a potential safety improvement index were also developed. By combining the two indexes, one can easily identify crash hotspots and the key influencing factors to consider in an improvement package.
    • Develop Guidelines for Pavement Preservation Treatments and for Building a Pavement Preservation Program Platform for Alaska

      Hicks, Gary; Cheng, DingXin; Zubeck, Hannele; Liu, Jenny; Mullins, Tony (Alaska University Transportation Center, California Pavement Preservation Center, 2012)
    • Developing a Data-Driven Safety Assessment Framework for RITI Communities in Washington State

      Wang, Yinhai; Sun, Wei; Yang, Hao; Gottsacker, Christopher; Ricord, Sam; Yin, Shuyi (2019-10-03)
      In the history of this country, rural, isolated, indigenous, and tribal (RITI) communities were commonly overlooked with regards to social infrastructure and support. This issue is evident in the development of the transportation networks of these areas and the distinct lack of road safety in these types of communities. RITI communities carry a significantly disproportionate amount of traffic collisions and fatalities compared to urban areas. In order to improve the traffic safety conditions of the RITI communities in Washington State, it is necessary to build a traffic safety management system. A baseline data platform was developed by integrating the collected safety related data for the RITI communities in Washington State in the Year 1 Center for Safety Equity in Transportation (CSET) project. Besides the baseline data, the traffic safety management also requires the safety assessment framework, which is the corner stone of the traffic safety management system. Therefore, this project aims to develop a data-driven safety assessment framework to enable an effective roadway safety management system and improve the traffic safety conditions for RITI communities. The framework is based on an effective and efficient database management system for traffic and crash-related data of the RITI communities. In addition, in order to assist transportation agencies in practices such as the identification of high-risk roadway segments, the developed database management system has powerful visualization functions. Besides the database management and visualization platform, this project also develops roadway safety performance indices and traffic safety assessment methods in the safety assessment framework. This project also provides guidance on how to utilize these safety performance indices and results of safety assessment methods for visualization and analysis.
    • Developing an Interactive Baseline Data Platform for Visualizing and Analyzing Rural Crash Characteristics in RITI Communities

      Zhang, Guohui; Prevedouros, Panos; Ma, David T.; Yu, Hao; Li, Zhenning; Yuan, Runze (2019-10-01)
      This project focused on developing an interactive baseline crash data platform, termed as Rural Crash Visualization Tool System (RCVTS), to visualize and analyze rural crash characteristics in RITI communities. More than 975 thousand crash records were collected in the state of Alaska, Idaho, and Washington, from 2010 to 2016. Data fusion is applied to unify the collected data. In the proposed RCVTS platform, three main functions are defined: crash data visualization, data analysis, and data retrieval. Crash data visualization includes an on-street map based crash location tool and a graphic query tool. Data analysis involves a number of visualization approaches, including static charts— i.e., the scatter chart—the line chart, the area chart, the bar chart, and interactive graph— i.e., the sunburst chart. Users are allowed to generate customized analytical graphs by specifying the parameters and scale. The three types of authorized users are defined to download crash information in the data retrieval section following corresponding limitations. The proposed RCVTS was illustrated using a sample case with crash records of the State of Alaska. It showed that the proposed RCVTS functions well. Recommendations on future research are provided as well.
    • Developing Computer Models To Study The Effect Of Outdoor Air Quality On Indoor Air For The Purpose Of Enhancing Indoor Air Quality

      Marsik, Tomas; Johnson, Ron (2007)
      People in developed countries spend the majority of their time indoors. Therefore, studying the effect of outdoor air quality on indoor air is of a great importance to human health. This thesis presents several dynamic computer models that were developed to study this effect. They estimate indoor pollutant levels based on outdoor levels, ventilation rate, and other factors. Also, an analysis method is presented that allows for quantifying the effect of outdoor air quality on indoor air at a given building based on measured real-time outdoor and indoor pollutant levels. An important part of this method is separating the measured indoor level into two components - a component caused by indoor sources and a component caused by pollutants penetrating from outdoors. This separation is accomplished using a dynamic model, which, unlike some other methods, also allows for processing transient samples and thus simplifies the needed measurements. Outdoor and indoor pollutant levels were measured at eight buildings in Fairbanks, Alaska and the developed method was used to analyze the data. The main focus was on fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO) - the pollutants of major concern in Fairbanks. The effective penetration efficiency for PM2.5 ranged from 0.16 to 0.69, and was close to unity for CO. The outdoor generated PM2.5 was responsible in average for about 67% of the indoor PM2.5 in residences, and close to 100% in office environments. These results imply that reducing outdoor pollution can have significant health benefits even for people spending the majority of their time indoors. An air-quality control algorithm for a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system was developed and tested using one of the models. This algorithm was shown to reduce indoor PM2.5 levels by 65%. Another model was used to study various ventilation options for a typical Fairbanks home with respect to indoor air quality, energy consumption, overall economy, and environmental impact. Using a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) with an additional filter was shown to be the best option. Another model was successfully used to address key factors for radon mitigation in a home located in a radon-prone area.