Justin Koeln: Dynamic Modeling and Model-based Control of Electro-Thermal Systems
Thermal energy systems are becoming increasingly important to the advancement of technology.  This is largely due to the rapid advancement and miniaturization of electrical system whose inefficiency can generate significant amounts of heat.  Managing this heat effectively is crucial to the performance of electro-thermal systems ranging from advanced aircraft to consumer electronics.  My current research focuses on improving the power density of thermal management systems through model-based control of these systems, without changes to the physical system itself.  This goal is to be achieved using a multi-level hierarchical control framework with varying degrees of system dynamics knowledge used at each level, capable of preparing the system for upcoming thermal loads and routing heat through the system more efficiently.

Position Open

We are currently looking for someone to join our lab as a Postdoctoral Scholar. Contact us if you are interested!


Ph.D. Students

Matthew Williams: Dynamic Modeling of Aircraft Thermal Systems
Modern air vehicles are complex “systems of systems” encompassing the domains of high-performance engines and thermodynamic cycles, electric power, thermal energy, propulsion, reliability management, and others. Previously, these systems could be designed and operated in relative isolation from each other with acceptable results. As modern systems become increasingly integrated, it becomes essential that these systems be designed and operated in concert, in a manner that optimizes the multi-objective outcome. For example, the complete system should maximize its operating domain while being able to accommodate significant transients.

Herschel Pangborn: Dynamic Modeling and Control of Energy Systems
Optimizing the performance, efficiency, and safety of energy systems is a critical research area.  Improvements in energy management are needed for both stationary systems (e.g. air conditioning and refrigeration) and vehicle systems (e.g. high performance aircraft). My research spans a number of challenges associated with the control of energy systems.  For air conditioning and refrigeration systems, I work to better understand and control the complex dynamics of multi-phase heat exchangers.  These systems can be captured in modeling by treating them as a collection of distinct operating modes, each with its own model formulation. Controllers for these systems can also benefit from a switched framework, allowing for the development of model-based control laws for each mode.  For vehicle systems, I work to develop modeling frameworks that capture multi-domain and multi-timescale interactions. By embedding these models into model predictive controllers (MPC), we can utilize preview of upcoming loads and disturbances to improve energy management for these systems as compared to traditional approaches.  Ongoing work includes the development of model-based hierarchical controllers that leverage knowledge of system interconnections to robustly optimize system-wide performance and efficiency.

Nathan Weir: Precision Motion Control
My research focuses on the development of precision motion control strategies for inertially stabilized pointing systems. Precision pointing systems are used to aim and stabilize sensitive instrument or sensor payloads for a variety of applications including photography, videography, astronomy, remote sensing, and communications. The jitter requirements for future systems grow more demanding as higher resolution sensors become available. Pointing systems that require a large field of regard and high precision are often limited in performance with conventional bearing technologies. This research seeks to advance the state of the art of precision stabilization systems through the design, analysis, and experimental evaluation of a novel hybrid flexure bearing concept to minimize the effects of nonlinear friction that typically degrade jitter performance in systems with conventional ball bearing joints.

Oyuna Angatkina: Thermosys Improvements
headshot My current research is about making Thermosys more user-friendly. In the Fall semester I worked on the thermostatic expansion valve model to better align the model parameters with information available on manufacturer data sheets.

M.S. Students

Ashley Armstrong: Dynamic Modeling and Control of a Micro Robotic Deposition System
Dynamic modeling and control of a Micro Robotic Deposition System, with bone scaffold manufacturing as the target application. In this research, precision motion control techniques will be explored to achieve the high levels of precision and response time demanded by microscale applications. Movement coordination between two additive manufacturing extrusion heads will be used to print bone scaffolds with advanced architecture.

Malia Kawamura: Information-Driven Energy Systems
With the rapid development of many new energy related technologies, there is a need for a quicker way to test novel ideas and system designs without building large physical plants. For instance, solar farms, wind farms, chemical plants, vehicle platforms, and other complex machines are expensive, energy consuming, and slow to build. Ideally, these information-driven energy systems could be modeled, simulated, and optimized with hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing prior to full-scale construction. To demonstrate the effectiveness and broad applicability of the developed methodology, I will develop a dynamic model and test control algorithms using HIL for chemical process systems.

Pamela Tannous: Electrical Thermal Power Systems
headshot My current research is sensors placement and optimization. High temperature has negative effects on the lifetime and the efficiency of electronic components. This research objective is to decide on the minimum number and placement of temperature sensors needed in order to estimate the temperature distribution of an inverter so that the highest temperature of the board can be maintained below a certain specific temperature.

Sarah Garrow: Electro-Thermal Power Systems
headshot My work will be within the scope of the center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS). I will model a mobile thermal management system for electric vehicles and design a control algorithm to meet the needs for human health and comfort as well as the power electronic temperature constraints.

Spencer Igram: Additive Manufacturing and Optimization of Superparamagnetic Electronics Components
Profile - Spencer Igram

    My current work aims to create a new class of novel inductors and related passive devices from superparamagnetic nanomaterials. Specially formulated to maintain magnetic properties, we extrude the nanoparticles in an expoy substrate using additive manufacturing techniques similar to microRobotic Deposition for fast prototyping and development as opposed to common molding methods.

Sunny Sharma: Energy Optimization of Battery Powered HVAC Systems
headshot My research will be centered on the energy optimization of battery powered HVAC systems.

Christopher Aksland: Electro-Thermal Power Systems
My research focuses on the modeling of electro-thermal systems and components such as batteries and battery packs. The performance of batteries is closely related to their operating temperature; if a battery is to hot, its lifetime degrades. By modeling these components and integrating them with HVAC components, we can better understand and control a variety of power systems, such as those that exist in HEVs.