Three Texas Tech University professors have been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation
Aranya Chakrabortty, John Schroeder and Ronald Hedden are receiving nearly $770,000
to further their research in various areas.
, an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering, received nearly $300,000
to investigate how the complicated behavior of large power grids can be efficiently
monitored and understood during critical disturbances using high-resolution power
system data referred to as synchrophasors.
“We will develop simple, yet informative dynamic models of very large-scale power
systems using synchrophasor measurements,” Chakrabortty said. “Our models will allow
power system operators to track the global health of an entire power network in real-time
so that catastrophes such as blackouts and voltage collapses can be prevented. The
study, in fact, will lead to an entirely new vision of monitoring and controlling
the North American grid which is becoming more expansive, and, hence, more chaotic
day by day.”
, an associate professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geosciences,
received about $280,000 to study the relationship between extreme thunderstorm winds
and engineering design. Schroeder, the principal investigator for the study, said
the research results will provide data for realistic simulation studies to evaluate
thunderstorm wind-structure interaction, to develop appropriate design standards and
to mitigate thunderstorm wind damage.
“This project will deploy an arsenal of newly-developed, state-of-the-art mobile radar
instrumentation directly in the path of thunderstorms,” Schroeder said. “The data
will be analyzed to evaluate the differences between thunderstorm winds and those
typically assumed for engineering design and wind tunnel testing.”
, an associate professor in chemical engineering, received $190,000 for research on
the elasticity of certain polymers. Smectic liquid crystalline elastomers (LCE) are
rubber-like materials that possess the flexibility and toughness of a rubber-like
polymer, but have layered molecular ordering at the nanometer scale.
“Smectic LCE have unique mechanical properties that potentially make them useful as
vibration-damping or impact-absorbing rubber coatings, or as soft actuators with properties
similar to muscle tissue,” Hedden said. “The results of our study will broaden understanding
of the mechanical behavior of rubber-like polymers, and possibly uncover broader insights
regarding mechanical instability in polymers.”
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