USNA | Abstracts 2006


Ruth M. Gaunt

Midshipman First Class
United States Navy

Using Non-orthogonal Iris Images for Iris Recognition

            Iris recognition is a noninvasive method of biometric signal processing with a high-degree of accuracy that makes it a popular choice for human identification. At the present time an orthogonal, or head-on image of the iris is needed to positively identify the individual. This project will investigate developing an algorithm for identifying individual iris images taken from varying off-center angles. The information content of the iris portion of these images will be evaluated to determine their suitability for identification based on a training and test database using a custom identification algorithm that will be developed. Issues to be addressed include the amount of the iris needed for identification as well as using operations on the iris image to compensate for rotation, distortion and skew. In addition, the extent of non-orthogonality that still allows identification will be investigated. MATLAB® and existing biometric signal processing lab equipment will be used to analyze and implement this research.

FACULTY ADVISORS
Assistant Professor Robert W. Ives
Professor Delores M. Etter
Electrical Engineering Department


 
Marshall M. Hoffman
Midshipman First Class
United States Navy

Design, Synthesis and Testing of Novel Folate Antagonists as Antimalarials

        Over one million deaths occur each year due to malaria, which is caused by four protozoan parasite species. To combat the parasite responsible for these deaths, there are many drugs available, though resistance has been recorded to nearly all of them. There is therefore a need for new antimalarial drugs to which the parasite is not resistant.

        This Trident project includes taking a lead compound, already known for its antimalarial properties, and enhancing its effectiveness against the disease with the hope of contributing to the fight against malaria. The lead compound in this project is in a class called "folate antagonists", which cease parasitic DNA synthesis and which eventually cause cell death. This lead compound was discovered by a 3-D computer-generated pharmacophore model, which describes the structural requirements for maximum efficacy of a drug for another class of antimalarials called chalcones. Several derivatives of this compound, which differ from one another in only one way, have been selected and submitted for antimalarial testing at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). From the results obtained via this testing, an evaluation will be made to determine if any of the differences in structure directed contribute to antimalarial efficacy.

        Combining the chalcone data with the new data for the folate antagonists, this project will then focus on designing new compounds that hopefully have greater effectiveness against malaria. Sufficient literature exists to guide the design and synthesis of these compounds. However, the actual execution of any of these synthetic schemes to produce a novel compound are challenging and time consuming. It is expected that a significant portion of this project will be spent in the laboratory, attempting to implement the theoretical synthetic schemes designed in the first portion of the project.

        The standard process of drug development, after lead compound discovery and compound synthesis optimization, includes in vitro testing, consideration of metabolic stability and toxicity, and in vivo testing. Although the later steps in the development sequence are out of the scope of this project, the data and synthetic information that will be gathered in this project will be important contributions to the field of anitmalarial drug development.

FACULTY ADVISOR
Assistant Professor Clare E. Gutteridge
Chemistry Department


 
Clifford N. Jessop
Midshipman First Class
United States Navy

Investigating the Use of Wavelength Conversion for Routing in Optical Networks

        In optical networks, there is currently a need to perform an optical-electrical-optical (O-E-O) conversion at each routing point or node. This introduces latency due to the relatively low speed of the electronic circuitry compared to the bandwidth of the optical medium. Wavelength conversion is a nonlinear process in which the frequency of an optical signal is changed without an optoelectronic conversion. This technique can be used to route data in an optical format, eliminating the O-E-O conversion and drastically reducing network latency at each node. This research will investigate: 1) the feasibility of wavelength conversion as a routing tool and 2) possible construction of an actual wavelength converter. Throughput and reliability will be analyzed for networks with and without wavelength conversion. Additionally, the suitability of this technology will be analyzed in digital, analog and mixed signal networks.

FACULTY ADVISORS
Associate Professor R. Brian Jenkins
Captain Robert J. Voigt, USN
Electrical Engineering Department


 
Justin L.R. Langlois
Midshipman First Class
United States Navy

Dynamic Computer Model of a Space Power System Consisting of Stirling Engines and Coupled to a Nuclear Reactor

        Although the SP-100 program was canceled in the early 1990's, NASA's focus on nuclear power and propulsion has not waned. NASA has created a new nuclear space power initiative in concert with their new Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) program, with the goal to study the moons of Jupiter using the Prometheus 1 nuclear electric propulsion spacecraft. A nuclear power source is essential for this type of mission because of the low solar power intensity at these solar system locations. A reactor power source would supple stable power during eclipse/night periods, and it could be operated in space or on the surface of a planetary body. The use of radioisotope thermal generators (RTGs) for these missions would not be viable since they are limited to 10 kW(e), and the required power levels for missions of the JIMO and SP-100 program are in the range of 50-300 kW(e). There have been several studies within the JIMO program to determine which type of engine to couple with the nuclear reactor. The two most promising concepts being examined are engines based on either the Brayton or Stirling cycle.

        This Trident project has the following primary objectives:

        (1)    To develop time-variant models for the thermodynamic, mechanical and electrical process of the reactor, Stirling engines, radiators, alternators and heat transfer components.
        (2)    To use the empirical data from either the SP-100 or Prometheus 1 designs to determine system parameters such as sizes, ratios, etc.
        (3)    To test the system for numerical stability and to test the dynamic stability during power transients (i.e., during start-up, shut-down, etc.)
        (4)    To optimize performance characteristics, such as efficiency or specific power, of the system.
        (5)    To determine the material requirements that will allow or increase the optimum performance of the system.

   Creating a Stirling model with this power capacity and coupling it to a nuclear reactor are both very unique processes. The topic of this research project is at the forefront of NASA space exploration, and the results of the study will be of benefit to the NASA nuclear power initiative and to the space community in general.

FACULTY ADVISORS
Commander David D. Myre, USN
Aerospace Engineering Department
Professor Martin E. Nelson
Mechanical Engineering Department


 
Caleb M. Reed
Midshipman First Class
United States Navy

Integration of Sensors and Controls for an Automated Surface Vessel

        This project focuses on the development of a small, robust surface vessel, with autonomous feedback control, navigation via GPS and local sensors, obstacle avoidance, and fly-by-wire capability. The system will be designed to traverse a known body of water to a desired end-point. This will be accomplished through the incorporation on the hull of a suite of sensors and microprocessors with propulsion and directional control. In addition to designing a suitable controller for low speed travel, part of the project will involve tuning the controller to guide the vessel during high speed travel when it is traveling on plane. This is a particularly difficult system to accurately model because of the unstable and variable nature of a craft traveling on plane. The potential applications for such a craft are numerous, ranging from harbor management and protection to forward deployed force protection and reconnaissance. In addition, the robustness and simplicity of a surface vessel may result in it performing some maneuver functions better than the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) currently being investigated.

FACULTY ADVISORS
Associate Professor Bradley E. Bishop
Weapons and Systems Engineering Department
Associate Professor Jennifer K. Waters
Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department


 
Eric A. Roe
Midshipman First Class
United States Navy

Search for the Tenth Planet: Testing Interferences from the "Kuiper Cliff"

        Several scientific studies argue that there exists a planet located in the Kuiper belt which serves to influence the Kuiper belt objects in a method similar to that of Jupiter and the main asteroid belt, resulting in the formation of the Kuiper Cliff. In order to search for this “Planet X”, this project will use several terabytes of imaging data, taken over successive weeks, covering regions of the sky surrounding the ecliptic. Computer software will be refined and utilized to contrast the locations of celestial bodies identified in each image. Orbiting bodies can be discovered and cataloged as possible candidates for follow-up analysis by fitting their orbits, light curves, and rotation curves. Further observation of the most promising candidates will be conducted at Kitt Peak National Observatory. If the planet is found, not only will a previously unknown member of our solar system be uncovered, but further insight into planet formation and solar system dynamics will be gathered. If the planet is not found in a significant portion of the sky, the competing theories explaining the existence of the Kuiper Cliff will have been differentiated.

FACULTY ADVISORS
Assistant Professor Jeffrey A. Larsen
Professor C. Elise Albert
Physics Department


 
Kristofer M. Womack
Midshipman First Class
United States Navy

Combined Effects of Pulsed Film Cooling and Upstream Wakes on Gas Turbine Airfoil Heat Transfer

        This project is a follow-on effort to current research involving pulsed film cooling with a steady mainstream flow. For the current study, a large test plate was constructed with a row of holes through which film cooling air could be pulsed. A wind tunnel provides a wall jet as a controlled velocity across the test plate. The plate is heated to determine the heat transfer coefficient between the mainstream air and the test plate. The current study is examining the the film cooling effectiveness and the heat transfer coefficient as a function of the blowing rate of pulsed jets and the frequency of pulsing.

        The primary objective of this project is to study the effects of pulse timing on the passing of a wake over the test plate. As the study progresses, the goal is to look for ways to increase the film cooling effectiveness and to lower the heat transfer in an effort to reduce the chances of turbine blade failure. Furthermore, the project is designed to look at the feasibility of applying considered flows to an actual gas turbine. Finally, the project will create experimental data that may be used by researchers in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as a spring board to further innovative research.

        Conducting pulsed cooling experiments in the presence of an upstream wake is the next step in making pulsed film cooling technology ready for implementation in the modern gas turbine. With positive results, pulsed film cooling could increase efficiency, power output and survivability of the U.S. Navy's equipment.

FACULTY ADVISORS
Associate Professor Ralph J. Volino
Mechanical Engineering Department
Associate Professor Michael P. Schultz
Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department

 
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