• All optical magnetic field sensor

      Van Sickle, Sam; Czerski, John; Sarkar, Susanta K.
    • Design and construction of a thermal conductivity system for low thermal conductivity materials

      Martinez, Ramon; Singh, Abhishek; Toberer, Eric
      Modern day laser flash apparatuses can only measure the thermal conductivity of materials if the thermal conductivity (K) is between 0.1 and 100 W/mK. Our goal was to create a system that could relay reliable data for materials with an expanded thermal conductivity range down to 0.001 W/mK. To accomplish this, a more powerful laser flash was used in conjunction with a circuit designed to amplify the signal so that the thermal conductivity could be deduced.
    • Development of a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Mobile Universal Surface Explorer (MOUSE)

      Crowe, Landon; Livo, Kurt; Prasad, Manika
      The purpose of the project is to develop a mobile NMR unit that can be used to determine pore size distribution of geological samples. Standard NMR machines are fairly large, expensive, and have a restricted sample size. A NMR MOUSE can be transported to take quicker preliminary readings on large samples, with decreased cost. This work is focused on the design aspect of creating an NMR MOUSE, future work will go into the build process.
    • Effects of a nitrification inhibitor on decentralized biological wastewater treatment

      Preisser, Matthew; Newhart, Kate; Cath, Tzahi
      Decentralized biological wastewater treatment has the potential to help communities conserve water and energy resources by tailoring effluent water quality for reuse closer to the point of generation. Because distributed wastewater treatment plants generally have a lower buffering capacity, pollutants pose a greater threat to the microbial community, which can greatly affect the quality of effluent water. Nitrification and denitrification are essential processes of biological wastewater treatment for the conversion of nitrogen from ammonium to atmospheric N2. This project examines and quantifies the effects of a known nitrification inhibition compound to be better able to develop an early fault detection program that utilizes multivariate statistical analysis to allow a treatment plant to operate at optimal conditions.
    • Effects of various leaving groups on chain growth condensation mechanism by computational methods

      Losada, Natalie; Etz, Brian; Vyas, Shubham
      Optimizing polymer mechanisms is a popular area of study and one such mechanism that is still not fully understood is the chain growth condensation. A systematic study of the behavior of different leaving groups on an ester-based monomer was performed for the chain-growth condensation of N-octyl benzamide. Quantum mechanical calculations were performed to determine the energies and charges of each step of the reaction for each of the leaving groups, ranging from extremely electron withdrawing to extremely electron donating. The leaving groups are phenyl oxides with functional groups that were placed in both the para and meta positions on the ring. In both the meta and para positions the functional groups that are electron withdrawing tend to increase reactivity with the exception of the halogens. The halogens tendency to be electron donating through resonance makes them slightly more reactive in the meta position. The most favorable reactions are then tested out by the experimental chemists working on this project.
    • Electrodeposition of refractory metals from ionic solvents

      Greymountain, Tamara; Blagg, Kirsten; Singh, Meenakshi
      Electrodeposition is a widely used technique in research and industry. We have developed a technique to electrodeposit Niobium (Nb) from an ionic solution. The process was monitored using cyclic voltammetry and electron microscopy.
    • From poop to gold: an examination of energy-positive wastewater treatment in an anaerobic reactor system

      Lucio, Daniel; Pfluger, Andrew; Callahan, Jennie; Van Houghton, Brett; Munakata Marr, Junko; Figueroa, Linda A.
      Today’s current best practices for wastewater treatment involve aerobic processes that require substantial amounts of energy. Best practice aerobic wastewater treatment facilities with anaerobic digestion of biosolids are able to produce 500-700 kWh/MG, which is approximately one-third to one-half of the 1500-2000 kWh/MG used to operate the facility. On the other hand, primary anaerobic treatment has the potential to be energy-positive by using methane gas produced by anaerobic microbial communities in the system. Previous results from the pilot-scale four-compartment anaerobic hybrid reactor (anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR) – anaerobic fixed film reactor (AFFR)) at Mines Park suggest that the multiple-compartment configuration enhances COD and TSS removal while generating stoichiometric amounts of methane. Additional advantages of anaerobic wastewater treatment in multiple-compartment reactors include the production of less biosolids and low energy usage. The purpose of this research is to characterize the ABR-AFFR for COD removal, TSS removal, and methane generation during the month of July when high temperatures (22-25 ˚C) are observed. COD and TSS removal is compared to the EPA 7-day secondary standards (45 mg BOD5/L and 45 mg TSS/L). Methane flowrate is also evaluated for trends and converted to theoretical energy values. Results suggest that the ABR-AFFR is able to achieve the 7-day EPA secondary standards for BOD5 and TSS under summer conditions, while generating enough methane to theoretically power the reactor system.
    • Hydraulic selection to transform and improve activated-sludge based wastewater treatment

      Blair, Emily; Maltos, Rudy; Holloway, Ryan; Vuono, David Charles; Cath, Tzahi Y.
      A majority of wastewater plants in the United States use conventional activated sludge (CAS) in their treatment process. While CAS is a common practice, it is not without faults. One of its drawbacks is the difficulty in maintaining the process, as it is often prone to bulking, which is caused by an undesired build up of filamentous bacteria and results in sludge that does not settle. Additional drawbacks include limited space for WWTPs to expand and the energy costs required for aeration during CAS treatment. Because CAS infrastructure is so common, optimizing this technology is crucial for the prevention of water pollution. Some solutions for these problems have been developed including aerobic granulation, which allows the plant to have a smaller footprint; however, these advanced wastewater technologies are not easily implemented in existing WWTPs.
    • Hydrogen-bonded polyaramid brush growth on silica surfaces

      Graham, Emily; Reese, Caleb; Boyes, Stephen G.
    • In operando investigations of lithium-sulfur and lithium-ion battery electrolytes using ATR FT-IR spectroscopy

      Ohlhausen, Gretchen M.; Saqib, Najmus; Porter, Jason M.
      An in operando spectro-electrochemical Lithium-Sulfur cell is used to show performance benefits of using a LiNO3 additive. Using attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy, we are able to track the evolution of lithium polysulfides in a coin cell during cycling. We see that the concentration of polysulfides in electrolyte containing LiNO3 is substantially higher, and capacity retention of the cell is improved. ATR FT-IR spectroscopy is used to monitor thermal decomposition of organic carbonate and room temperature ionic liquid electrolytes. Samples are tested in a flooded coin cell and heated up to a temperature of 175°C. The results will be used to monitor decomposition products and study limitations inherent to RTIL electrolyte.
    • In vitro 3D bioprinting trabecular meshwork models using organic hydrogels

      Huff, Raymond; Osmond, Matthew; Krebs, Melissa D.
      In this study, biocompatible hydrogels and 3D bioprinting were brought together to explore the construction of structurally representative models of the trabecular meshwork (TM) of the eye. Two biologically derived polymer hydrogels—sodium alginate and methacrylated gelatin—were investigated for suitability in the printing process, and optimized for print resolution. This testing lays a foundation for creating living, three-dimensional cellular models.
    • In-operando FT-IR spectroscopy of electrolyte decomposition in lithium-ion batteries

      Shelton, Austin; Saqib, Najmus; Porter, Jason M.
      One of the major problems of Li-ion batteries is the decomposition of electrolyte at elevated temperatures. In situ FT-IR spectroscopy can be used to study the health of the electrolyte in Li-ion cells. We used an ATR FT-IR spectro-electrochemical cell to observe thermal decomposition of LiPF6 EC/DEC electrolyte in a LiCoO2 coin cell. Results show that at 70 ℃, several infrared absorption peaks were irreversibly lost. This led to a significant degradation of the electrochemical performance of the battery.
    • Inverse polymer mesoporous silica nanoparticle controlled release device

      Duncan-White, M.; Adams, M.; Evans, T.; Trewyn, Brian
    • Investigating high speed deflagrations through rock rubble resulting from methane gas explosions in confined spaces

      Pardonner, Davy; Treffner, Brianne; Strebinger, Claire; Brune, Jurgen F.; Bogin, Gregory E.
    • Isolation of an uncharacterized methanogen of class thermoplasma from an anaerobic wastewater treatment reactor

      Gagen, Sonja; Pfluger, Andrew; Vanzin, Gary; Munakata Marr, Junko; Figueroa, Linda A.
      Conventional wastewater treatment plants account for approximately 3% of the United States’ energy demand1. A potential energy-positive alternative is anaerobic wastewater treatment, which generates methane-rich biogas while producing less biosolids. One challenge of AnWT is ensuring that wastewater is continuously meeting effluent standards. To ensure that this is happening, the mechanism of wastewater transformation in relation to environmental conditions needs to be well understood. At two AnWT in Colorado, namely Plum Creek and Mines Park, established microbial communities consist of numerous anaerobic microbes, including methanogens. Vadin CA 11 is an uncharacterized methanogen of the Thermoplasmata class that could represent up to 7% of the microbial community. Its abundance is different from compartment 2 to compartment 3 of the Mines Park AnWT. Further, Vadin CA 11’s presence has been observed to change with temperature. The goal of this study was to isolate Vadin CA 11 from the Mines Park AnWT. The methanogens with the highest observed relative abundance in the system are Methanobrevibacter, Methanosaeta, and Vadin CA 11. Methanobrevibacter’s metabolism is hydrogeotrophic. Methanosaeta’s metabolism is aceticlastic. Vadin CA 11’s metabolism is expected to be hydrogen dependent methylotrophic.
    • Neutron shielding capabilities of 3D printing filaments

      Mendoza, J. A.; King, Jeffrey C.
      3-D printers have improved significantly as time has passed. This has allowed the cost of printers to go down and has made them more commercially accessible. The increasing accessibility of 3D printing has allowed more and more engineering disciplines to incorporate additive manufacturing. Nuclear engineering is no exception since the costs for any sort of nuclear reactor and apparatus is still quite high, and the ability to create parts that can protect against radiation and be made on-site is very valuable. This research project determined the neutron shielding properties of readily available plastic filaments for 3D printers.