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An introduction to literature review

Presentation: An introduction to the literature review; how doing a hard work easier

Research Projects

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Smart sensing and dynamic fitting for enhanced comfort and performance of prosthetics

An integrated experimental-numerical framework for early fatigue damage study

Simultaneous strain and temperature measurement using a single fiber Bragg grating with a thermochromic coating

SmartWalker – a new design of rolling walker to reduce falls and walker-use related side effects

Distributed wireless antenna sensors for boiler condition monitoring

Remote generation and steering of ultrasound using microwave

Smart shoes with embedded shear/pressure sensors for Diabetic foot diagnosis and ulcer prevention

Wireless antenna sensor skin for Structural Health Monitoring

Unpowered wireless ultrasound/Acoustic Emission sensing

Remote-powered wireless strain gauge

Smart shoes with embedded shear/pressure sensors for Diabetic foot diagnosis and ulcer prevention

Completed projects

 

 

 Smart sensing and dynamic fitting for enhanced comfort and performance of prosthetics

Prosthetic users frequently experience discomfort and skin problems, including irritation, blistering, skin breakdown, and ulceration, etc. It is extremely difficult to address these problems because the volume of the residual limb changes throughout the day. The unavoidable fluctuation of the residual limb volume in turn changes the fitting of the prosthetic device. In this project, we are developing a socket insert with smart sensing and small air bubbles to automatically adjust the fitting of the prosthetic socket. This project is supported by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) and is a collaborated effort with the UT Southwestern Medical School and the UTA Research Institute (UTARI).

An integrated experimental-numerical framework for early fatigue damage study

The research objective is to establish a physics-based data-driven approach to study the correlation between early fatigue damage and plasticity-induced surface morphology. We hypothesize that plasticity induced surface morphology change is a manifestation of dislocation activities that dictate material damage development under fatigue loads. The evolution of the surface morphology may therefore serve as the physical basis for fatigue damage prediction. We are developing an integrated experimental-numerical framework to validate this hypothesis. This project is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

 

Simultaneous strain and temperature measurement using a single fiber Bragg grating with a thermochromic coating

The objective of this research is to demonstrate simultaneous strain and temperature measurement using a single Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) coated with a thermochromic material. The research hypothesis is that an FBG can be intelligently designed so that its spectral bandwidth is related to the optical absorption of the coating material. Adopting a thermochromic coating with a temperature-dependent absorption, therefore, will cause the FBG spectral bandwidth to change with temperature. We can then achieve simultaneous strain and temperature measurements by considering both the FBG bandwidth change and the wavelength shift. We are investigating this hypothesis using both conventional photosensitive single mode fibers and custom-made polymer waveguides. This project is supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

 

Distributed wireless antenna sensors for boiler condition monitoring

The research objective is to study the materials development, sensor design, multivariant analysis, and wireless interrogation to realize distributed condition monitoring of coal fired boilers at a low cost. We will focus on researching these sensors for a) detecting soot accumulation on steam pipes and b) monitoring temperature and strain distribution of steam pipes. This project is supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) University Coal Research (UCR) program.

 

Smart Walker – a new design of rolling walker to reduce falls and walker-use related side effects

The objective of this research is to develop SmartWalkers and use them to access elderly adults’ ambulation. The smart walker will be instrumented with custommade, nonintrusive, highly sensitive, commercially unavailable torque and shear force sensors as well as commercially available strain, pressure, and accelerator sensors. The SmartWalkers will be evaluated in two senior communities to perform baseline data assessment as well as reliability and validity tests. This project is supported by the Texas Medical Research Consortium (TxMRC) and is a collaborative effort with the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC).

 

Wireless antenna sensor skin for Structural Health Monitoring

Human skin can achieve very high sensitivity and ultra-fine spatial resolution through dense distribution of diverse sensory receptors. Despite the tremendous efforts put forth by researchers from various engineering disciplines, no engineered sensor skin can achieve comparable sensor density, functionality, and data efficiency as that of human skin. A major challenge is the wiring and power requirement of the sensor nodes. To address this challenge, ASTL has invented a new class of wireless sensor based on the microstrip antenna technology. With integrated sensing and data transmitting capabilities, these antenna sensors can be remotely integrated without needing any external wiring. The application of these antenna sensors for wireless strain sensing and multi-site crack detection has been demonstrated.  The goal of this project is to form distributed, passive, wireless antenna sensor networks for full-field strain measurement and crack characterization. This project is supported by the AFOSR and the NSF CAREER award.

 

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Remote generation and steering of ultrasound using microwave

Damage detection based on ultrasonic waves is one of the most popular and well-researched non-destructive inspection schemes employed by many structural health monitoring (SHM) systems. Current ultrasound-based SHM technologies rely heavily on wired sensors that are costly to install and maintain. This study focuses on the development of a new class of unpowered wireless ultrasound actuator (UWUA) that can be remotely and selectively excited using microwave. The goal is to realize wireless generation and steering of ultrasound. This project also strives to establish a physics-based mechanical and electrical model of the bonded piezoelectric wafer transducer, which will help understanding the effect of the bonding layer on the transducer. This project is supported by Office of Naval Research (ONR).

 

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Unpowered wireless Acoustic Emission sensing

Acoustic Emission (AE) sensing is a passive Structural Heath Monitoring technique that is very sensitive crack generation and propagation. Wireless AE sensors are attractive because the sensing data are transmitted without any electric wiring. However, the state-of-the-art wireless AE sensors do not have sufficient bandwidth and data throughput to transmit the full waveform of AE signals. We are developing a wireless AE sensor that is fundamentally different from mainstream wireless sensors. By implementing a low-power amplifier powered by light or RF interrogation signal, the wireless AE sensor is able to sense and transmit the full waveform of AE signals wirelessly without requiring any local power source. This project is supported by the Texas Ignition Fund and Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program (NHARP).

 

Related Publications

 

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Remote-powered wireless strain gauge

This project studies the implementation and characterization of a wireless strain measurement system that is powered by solar energy or RF energy. This system includes a wireless strain sensor that consumes about 6 mW, a wireless solar energy harvesting unit, and a frequency modulation/demodulation unit. To achieve such an ultra-low power operation, a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) is used to convert the direct-current (DC) strain signal to a high frequency oscillatory signal. Next, this oscillatory signal is transmitted by an unpowered wireless transponder. A generic solar panel with energy harvesting circuit is developed to power the strain sensor node. The system features ultra-low power consumption, completely wireless sensing, remote powering, and portability. This system is capable of both dynamic and static structural measurement.

Related Publications

 

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Smart shoes for diabetic foot diagnosis and ulcer prevention

A foot ulcer is the initiating factor in 85% of all diabetes amputations. Ulcer formation is believed to be contributed by both pressure and shear forces. However, the interaction of pressure and shear is rarely studied because of the lack of in-shoe shear sensors. We are developing a hybrid antenna sensor that can measure pressure and shear simultaneously and at the same location. These sensors will be embedded in the insole of custom-made shoes to monitor the in-shoe pressure/shear distribution. If successful, the smart shoes will benefit diabetic foot diagnostics and ulcer prevention as well as footwear design for diabetic patients. This project was funded by the Texas Medical Research Collaboration program.

Related Publications

 

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Completed projects

ASTL has completed a variety of projects on optical fiber sensors, including LPFG-based whitelight interferometry for arbitrary small distance measurement, hybrid polymer-silica optical fiber strain sensors, light reflectance distance sensors, and tapered optical fiber sensor for refractive index measurement. In addition, we have also studied elastic wave generation using piezoelectric patches. For more details on these completed projects, please see the related publications.

 

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