In previous years we have held in-person poster sessions, but due to the pandemic, the event was virtual in 2020. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding in using this new format.
This event was held on December 4th, 2020, from 0830-1030 (EST). During this time, guests joined specific Google Meets to talk to the midshipman researchers or listen to their explanations.
0830-0900 Open Poster Viewing
Midshipman researchers should have their Meet open but can join other Meets to
talk to classmates about research.
Guests can view posters and note which ones to visit (Poster #).
0900-1030 All midshipman researchers must be at their assigned Meet to talk to guests about
The posters below are arranged by department and Poster #, with a specific Google Meet assigned to each poster. Abstracts and posters can be viewed before the live event. Clicking on a poster will allow viewing in full size.
A listing of all posters can be found here.
We appreciate your support of midshipman research at USNA, and hope you will visit these posters during the live event.Top
Aerospace Engineering - Posters #1-7
Performance Characterization of a Modern Gyroplane
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Jacob Dewey
Adviser(s): Professor Rob Niewoehner
The study of gyroplanes has been largely neglected in the United States in favor of helicopter research because gyroplanes cannot hover. However, hovering comes with extensive mechanical complexity making helicopters much more expensive than gyroplanes. As a result, gyroplanes are experiencing a resurgence due to their high maneuverability and the increasing demand for low-cost rotorcraft. This project entails a flight-testing campaign of the FAA certified Calidus gyroplane to support the contemporary need for more informed gyroplane users. This project determines the effectiveness and necessary adaptations of industry standard flight test techniques for conventional aircraft as they relate to gyroplane performance.
Characterizing End Plate Drag on the USNA Eiffel Wind Tunnel
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Matthew Pinney
Adviser(s): Major Benjamin Switzer
Wind tunnel testing of airfoils introduces a variety of aerodynamic effects that would, otherwise, be negligible in a freestream. Among these effects is end-wall drag, created due to small unavoidable gaps between the airfoil and the test section, which is notoriously difficult to characterize. This project attempted to standardize an approach for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of the end-wall drag in the USNA Eiffel wind tunnel. The CFD model produced drag results that compared favorably to experimental data, validating the approach for further testing.
Determining the Optimal Trajectory For a Lunar Lander Using Modified Clohessy-Wiltshire Relative Motion Equations
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Bradley Stephens
Adviser(s): CDR Jeffery T. King
The ability to land on the surface of the moon is a major focus of NASA in the coming future. With proposed missions like Artemis and Gateway, a minimum fuel trajectory for a lunar lander from lunar orbit to surface is crucial to advancement in space exploration. To determine the trajectory, an Optimal Control Problem (OCP) was defined using the Clohessy-Wiltshire (CW) relative motion equations. The CW equations were modified and rederived to remove traditional assumptions in order to make the solution to the OCP more robust.
Determining the Optimal Trajectory For a Lunar Lander Using Modified Equinoctial Elements
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Julian Olivarez
Adviser(s): CDR Jeffery T. King
With renewed interest in returning to the Moon in the coming decade, it will be necessary to determine an optimal trajectory to minimize propellant expenditure for a lunar lander to land on the surface of the Moon from low lunar orbit. A common approach with low thrust orbital maneuvers is using a set of orbital elements known as the modified equinoctial elements to describe the motion. An optimal control problem was formulated to reduce the propellant mass consumed. The resulting dynamical data was then converted into the classical orbital elements to aid in spatial awareness.
Generative Adversarial Network for Classification and Aimpoint Selection of Unmanned Air Vehicles
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C John Gale
Adviser(s): Professor Tae Lim
Target classification is an operator intensive process. As UAVs become more prevalent, software used to track and classify UAVs will require speed and accuracy. An automated classification system powered by a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) and machine learning would greatly reduce the operator’s effort and improve speed and accuracy of decision making. This research will determine the viability of using GAN generated synthetic images to train a UAV classification system. If successful, synthetic images could be generated of UAVs in any desired orientation, weather, and lighting, providing time efficient training data while reducing the need for real images in training.
Photorealistic Image Generation for Satellite Pose Estimation Using Generative Adversarial Networks
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Alec Engl
Adviser(s): Professor Tae Lim, Professor Randy Broussard, and Professor Gavin Taylor
Pose estimation, or the estimation of relative orientation and position of an object in space, is crucial for the autonomous rendezvous and servicing of a satellite. Convolutional Neural Network (CNN)-based methods show promise in satellite pose estimation, but are currently limited by the images used in their training. Few real images of satellites in orbit are available, so many turn to procedurally-generated imagery, despite the vast difference from the CNN’s perspective. This research gauges the ability of the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) to refine synthetic imagery in order to better train CNN pose estimators.
UAV Pose Estimation via Convolution Neural Networks
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Raven Heath
Adviser(s): Professor Tae Lim
The development of unmanned vehicles has presented serious privacy and security threats, especially to the military, in the last decade. The military's capability to fight against drones is imperative as the dynamic of warfare changes. For drone detection, classification determines whether the drone is friendly or hostile. The next step is to find the estimation of the pose or the range and relative attitude. Utilizing both steps allows the user to track aimpoints of the drone for targeting. This research will evaluate a possible solution, convolutional neural networks, for creating a precise pose estimation system for drone surveillance.
Chemistry - Posters #8-26
Acute Blood Lactate Response to Interval Exercise with Compression and Cooling
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Isabella Penkwitz and 1/C Marina Lazarides
Adviser(s): Professor Christine Copper, LCDR Martin Wright
This is an acute response study designed to investigate the muscular response to interval exercise with compression and cooling. We evaluate acute objective physiological markers, such as lactate levels and heart rate, throughout a workout with compression and cooling and compare them to the control session without compression and cooling. We also interpret patterns in subjective measures of perceived exertion and lactic acid 'burn', in order to understand how these might relate to the measured whole blood lactate response. Finally, we investigate the application of cold compression exercise technology as a potential training method based on lactate threshold.
Changing the Ligand Specificity of a Riboswitch from Guanine to Hypoxanthine
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Mimi Chin and 1/C Ann Jackson
Adviser(s): Professor Daniel Morse
The goal of this project is to find RNA molecules that detect hypoxanthine with great sensitivity and specificity. Hypoxanthine is the product of a family of RNA editing enzymes called ADARs. A sensor that can detect hypoxanthine will facilitate the study of the regulation of ADAR activity. There are naturally occurring guanine sensors called guanine riboswitches. We will use in vitro selection to find variants of a guanine riboswitch that can detect hypoxanthine rather than guanine. While performing the selection experiment, we encountered a technical problem. Instead of isolating hypoxanthine sensors, a group of related RNAs that could not detect hypoxanthine dominated the selected RNA pool. Here we report our efforts to separate these aberrant RNAs from the desired RNAs.
Analysis and Comparison of Pen Inks Using Cyclic Voltammetry, Square Wave Voltammetry, and TLC
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Darion Isom
Adviser(s): Professor Graham Cheek
Our project sought to use two semi-destructive techniques, cyclic and square wave voltammetry, to analyze and compare different pen inks. This process was supplemented with Thin Layer Chromatography, and applied to inks of varying color and brand. The electrochemical signals were analyzed from both the positive and negative sides, making sure to account for both reduction and oxidation effects. Three different electrolyte solutions were also used for comparison. Cyclic voltammetry, square wave voltammetry, and thin layer chromatography were found to be efficient and effective ways of differentiating and comparing pen inks.
Assessment of Clicker Use in a General Chemistry Course
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Daniel Midgette and 1/C Lauren McDonnell
Adviser(s): Professor Maria Schroeder and Professor Melonie Teichert
The General Chemistry Course taught to all freshmen at the United States Naval Academy is modelled after the same two-semester course taught at numerous other institutions across the country. Our research aims to evaluate student learning through the use of instant polling, otherwise known as "clicker questions." We are investigating how a student's confidence level correlates with their correctness in answering clicker questions. A student is considered "calibrated" if they can accurately predict their performance on a question. We have found that the students who answer correctly are the most calibrated and have the highest confidence in their answers.
Characterization of Arctic River Bacteria by Analysis of 16S Ribosomal DNA Sequencing
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Logan Treaster
Adviser(s): Assoc. Prof. Charles Sweet
The microbiological community resident in Arctic rivers is of interest, both to microbial ecologists and more generally for its relevance to arctic hydrology, geochemistry, and applied microbiology. We have conducted culture-based population sampling, genetic identification, and taxonomic analysis of bacteria from two Alaskan River systems that provide insight into their genetic diversity, and may show identifiable trends in comparison to location as well as hydrological and/or geochemical conditions in two Alaskan watersheds during June of 2019. These results will be compared to ongoing parallel work analyzing the winter microbiome of the Chesapeake Bay and also to full metagenomic studies.
Computational Investigations of Acetanilide Structures
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Torrance Kang
Adviser(s): Professor Joseph Urban
Several computational methods have been used to characterize the amide linkage within the acetamide series. The effect of neighboring interactions, such as substituents, are researched to determine crystal structure deviation from the intrinsic nature of the molecules.
Copper-Catalyzed Trifluoromethylation of Aryl Halides via Concurrent Tandem Catalysis
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Claire Holmvik
Adviser(s): Professor Shirley Lin and Professor Amy MacArthur
The design of a microwave-assisted, concurrent tandem catalytic (CTC) methodology for the copper-catalyzed trifluoromethylation of aryl bromides and aryl chlorides is proposed. In the CTC methodology, aryl bromides and aryl chlorides are transformed into a more reactive aryl iodide before undergoing trifluoromethylation. Progress toward adapting published examples copper-catalyzed trifluoromethylation of aryl iodides to microwave conditions will be discussed. Experimental challenges, such as accurate quantification of product yields, are presented.
Corn-based Biodiesel Mixtures with JP-5
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Michael Hamilton
Adviser(s): Professor Dianne Luning Prak
The kinematic viscosity, density, and flash point of corn-based biodiesel were determined following the trans-esterification of the triglycerides found in corn oil. In addition to these properties the composition of the synthesized biofuel was determined through GC/MS analysis to contain palmitic acid methyl ester, stearic acid methyl ester, oleic acid methyl ester, linoleic acid methyl ester, and linolenic acid methyl ester. Purity was determined through a miscibility test with methanol. Mixtures of biodiesel and JP-5 were then made and it was determined that compositions by weight that fell between 0% and 80% fell into the milspec for naval distillate, F-76.
Developing a System to Measure the Conductivity of Fiber Welded Polyionic Bicomposites in Controlled Relative Humidity
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Ethan Fessler, 3/C Anders Gulbrandson
Adviser(s): Dr. Tyler Cosby, Dr. Ashlee Aiello, Professor Paul C. Trulove, CDR David P. Durkin
Poly(ionic) biocomposites were prepared by the Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) process using the ionic liquid methyl vinyl imidazolium methylphosphonate (MVIMPhos), cotton yarn. Then a system was designed to accommodate electrochemical evaluations under conditions of controlled relative humidity. Further work is ongoing to evaluate the biocomposites structure, morphology, and conductivity.
Development of Vanadium Precursors for Metal Vanadium Oxide Nanocrystals
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Lucas Johnson
Adviser(s): Dr. Matthew Buck
The target for this project is the successful synthesis of colloidal ternary metal oxide nanocrystals containing vanadium. Metal vanadate compounds exhibit optical, magnetic, and catalytic properties that are of interest for diverse applications. The metal vanadate semiconductors that support photocatalytic water oxidation, for example, continue to attract a great deal of interest, including bismuth, copper, and manganese vanadates. There is currently a dearth of vanadium precursors compatible with the non-polar solvents and surfactants typically used in synthesis of nanocrystals. We aim to develop anionic vanadium-oxygen clusters as precursors for the preparation of metal vanadium oxide nanocrystals.
Enzymatic Synthesis of Mycobacterial L,D-transpeptidase Substrates
Midshipman Researcher(s): 2/C Taylor Forrester, 2/C Hannah Ortiz, and 1/C Maddie Peterson
Adviser(s): Professor Leighanne Basta
Mycobacterial infections are set to surpass cancer as the leading cause of death by 2050. Treatment for antibiotic resistant infections is complicated and expensive. Many mycobacterial species are highly resistant to common antibiotics largely because of their unique cell wall, with a differentially crosslinked peptidoglycan (PG) layer. L,D-transpeptidase (Ldt) enzymes crosslink PG and are potential therapeutic targets for combatting mycobacterial infections. Six classes of Ldts have been identified, which are predicted to serve unique roles in PG biosynthesis. By better understanding the roles of Ldts, we can design novel antibiotics that target Ldts effectively and better treat deadly mycobacterial infections.
Evaluation of Anti-Corrosion Coatings Using Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Sophia Schramm
Adviser(s): CDR Julie Spencer and Professor Raymond J. Santucci
Corrosion is prevalent in today's society. Paint is applied to ships and aircraft to minimize corrosion. The most common anti-corrosion ingredient in paint has been chromium (VI), which is highly toxic during application. Studies are being done to find a replacement anti-corrosion additive that is less toxic than chromium (VI). Currently, paints with differing amounts of cerium oxide nanoparticles are being evaluated for anti-corrosion properties. Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy makes this determination by applying a voltage to the paint samples; differences in measured current are used to determine how effective the cerium oxide nanoparticles are at inhibiting corrosion.
Hydrolyzable Tannins of Northern Red Oaks: Separation and Identification
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Breanna Akins and 1/C Andrew Mitchell
Adviser(s): Professor Dillner and Professor Rehill
This experiment seeks to quantify and characterize the tannic profile of the Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) by separating chemical components of the leaves and identifying significant hydrolyzable tannins. Two examples of hydrolyzable tannins can be seen in Figure 1. The research conducted proposes a direct effect of these tannins on the gypsy moth population. Through classification of the tannin profile in the Northern red oak leaves, we seek to define the manner in which these tannins affect the population cycles of the moths.
Identification and Characterization of the Winter Aquatic Microbiome in the Chesapeake Bay
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Caitlyn Koo
Adviser(s): Assoc. Prof. Charles Sweet
In this project we identify and characterize the aquatic microbiome of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in winter by bacterial culture-based population sampling, genetic identification, and taxonomic analysis. This microbiome is of both civilian and DoD interest as it may reveal interesting metabolic, toxic, and pathogenic capabilities of the microbiome and identify potential threats to health and readiness. Sampling was conducted in both Severn River and mid-bay locations in February 2020, the resulting data reveal trends in bacterial diversity and composition by location and sampling depth. This work will also be compared with ongoing metagenomic efforts for thorough characterization.
Novel Zr Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) Embedded in Cotton Fibers for the Neutralization of Chemical Warfare Agents
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Madison Jones, 1/C Turner Morse, 1/C Crawford Smith and 1/C Michelle Therianos
Adviser(s): Professor Craig Whitaker
This research project focused on the design, synthesis and characterization of novel Zr-UiO-66/67/68 metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) embedded in cotton fibers for the neutralization of chemical warfare agents. The goal was to evaluate how subtle changes in the microsolvation environment around the Zr nodes effect the ability of the MOFs to neutralize the nerve agent mimic dimethyl 4-nitrophenyl phosphate (DMNP). Cotton fabric implanted with functionalized MOFs based on the Zr-UiO-66/67/68 structures were developed, the MOF-fiber materials were characterized and their ability to rapidly and selectively destroy chemical warfare agents was tested in the liquid and vapor state.
Preparation and Analysis of Chloroaluminate Ionic Liquids
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Michael Schnabel
Adviser(s): Professors Paul Trulove, Tyler Cosby, CDR David Durkin
Chloroaluminates are a class of ionic liquid made by mixing a chloride salt with aluminum chloride. By varying the reactant concentrations and salt structure, a wide range of properties can be achieved, including ionic conductivity and a wide range of Lewis acidity. Chloroaluminates may be able to be used as battery electrolytes, photoelectrochemical cells, and in electroplating. In the research, we study the results of changes in reactant concentrations and salt chemical structure on viscosity, heat flow, and thermal stability. A long-term goal of the research is to produce an alternative electrolyte to lithium-based batteries.
Synthesis and Combustion Testing of Energetic Boron:PTFE Mixtures
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Madison Jones, 1/C Turner Morse, 1/C Crawford Smith and 1/C Michelle Therianos
Adviser(s): Professor Craig Whitaker
This is an inter-departmental effort to explore the effect of fluorinated binders on the combustion of boron-containing propellants. The main technical objective is to determine quantitatively how much fluorine is required to achieve a significant improvement with boron propellants, and to assess the relationship between how fluorine is integrated into the binder and its effectiveness in aiding combustion. The chemistry/synthesis thrust involves developing suitable fluorinated binders to address the challenge of developing novel high density propellant components and will enable a direct comparison of the properties with materials that are well-established in the energetic community. The experimental testing thrust involves measuring mechanical properties and combustion burn rates using an existing strand burner, and modification of the burner to allow ignition delay characterization.
The Role of Short-Range Electron-Molecule Interactions on Ultra-Long-Range Polyatomic Rydberg Molecules
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Samantha Orie
Adviser(s): Assoc. Professor Seth Rittenhouse
A Rydberg molecule forms when an electron orbit of highly excited atom encompasses a ground state perturber such as another atom or molecule. This interaction between the electron and the perturber can weakly bind the two objects together. In this work we examine the Rydberg molecules formed when the ground state perturber is a diatomic molecule, specifically nitrogen oxide. Unlike an atom, a diatomic molecule has different states that respond differently to the electric fields of the Rydberg system. We examine how these internal states affect the structure of Born-Oppenheimer potentials of the Rydberg molecule.
Effects of Tannins from Red Oak Leaves on Growth, Mortality, And Development of Gypsy Moth Larvae
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Caitlyn Thompson and 1/C Hazel Acosta
Adviser(s): Dr. Brian Rehill
For over a century, gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) larvae have caused massive deforestation periodically throughout the Eastern United States. By studying the feeding behavior of gypsy moth larvae, greater understanding of host plant characteristics that alter gypsy moth larval behavior can be gained. In particular, by understanding how plant defense chemicals may make gyspy moth larvae more susceptible to a species-specific virus that causes massive gypsy moth mortality, we may advance the efforts to control outbreaks of gypsy moth larvae.
Computer Science - Posters #27-29
Breaking Neural Networks in Common Applications
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Harrison Foley
Adviser(s): Dr. Gavin Taylor
As neural networks are deployed to solve a wide variety of problems, it becomes increasingly important to understand what can cause them to fail. The goal of our project is to cause neural networks to perform poorly via adversarial methods that are more destructive than previous state-of-the-art approaches. Specifically, we have drastically improved adversarial attacks on images of faces in order to avoid detection by facial recognition, and we have carried out the first successful data-poisoning attacks for reinforcement learning.
Drone Swarm Tactics using Reinforcement Learning and Policy Optimization
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Elizabeth Gergal
Adviser(s): Professor Ric Crabbe
The goal of this project is to develop offensive and defensive swarm tactics using reinforcement learning (RL). We are simulating battles between two swarms of military fixed wings drones using both pre-programmed and agent learned tactics. The drone agents are developing intelligent behaviors and tactics as a result of the RL algorithms through which they are trained. Implementing RL into the development of swarm tactics will maintain the US military advantage over our enemies and protect America’s national interests.
Implementing Resiliency In Exact Matrix Multiplication
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Harrison Ray
Adviser(s): Professor Daniel Roche
Matrix multiplication is useful in various scientific fields and comes up in computation relatively frequently. Calculating matrices is a computationally intensive task however, and when errors occur, calculating the corrected product is a costly undertaking. This project aims to implement a recent algorithm to correct matrix products more efficiently than simply recalculating the entire product.
Cyber Operations - Posters #30-34
Analyzing Firmware in Embedded Devices
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Brendan Henry
Adviser(s): Professor Dane Brown
Hardware encryption implementations should perform at least as well as software implementations. In this research I worked through the process of learning about the architecture of embedded Solid-State Drives. Once the architecture was understood, the firmware located could be extracted and analyzed to better understand drive operations and security. A long-term goal of this research is to find weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the firmware of these embedded devices that we could benefit from.
Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in an IP Address - The Tor Browser and other Anonymization Measures
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Jonathan Goohs
Adviser(s): Professor Jeff Kosseff and Professor Dr. Ellis Fenske
This project explores whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in a user's IP Address, specifically in scenarios where users are purposely employing anonymization measures that attempt to mask their IP Address. The project consists of a paper that argues for the reasonable expectation of privacy for the user's IP Address considering their attempts to gain privacy while traversing the internet. This paper discusses the differences in the top anonymization platforms and techniques. On the law side, the paper uses case law to justify the position of a reasonable expectation of privacy in an IP Address.
United States and China Cyber Policy: Game Theory
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Ryan Grady, 1/C Camille Madion
Adviser(s): Professor William Casey
China poses arguably the greatest national security threat to the United States. The uncertainty and lack of historical precedent for conflict in the cyber domain adds another dimension of complexity to this threat. The goal of our research was to analyze the relationship between the United States and China regarding Cyber Policy, using Game Theory simulations and the framework of the extensive form games to formally model conflict scenarios and to demonstrate the applicability of Game Theory to this great power dynamic. Future work includes recommending best practices and strategies for mitigating the risk of conflict.
Preliminary Analysis on the Recruitment Process for Domestic Violent Extremist Groups
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Brendan Reilly
Adviser(s): Dr. April Edwards
The current study analyzes patterns of communication in the Iron March dataset. Social network analysis and graph clustering was used to draw insights from the dataset. Notably, either during or directly after the initial recruitment approach, the conversation would be taken off of the Iron March Forum and directed to platforms such as Skype or Discord. This shows a level of organization within the forum, and an adversarial approach to recruitment, which preserved anonymity and ensured that only ideologically congruent people were recruited. Users who completed the requirements for recruitment were permitted into other, more private, communication channels.
Testing Formally Specified Software Requirements for Cybersecurity Regulatory Compliance
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Kam Chumley-Soltani
Adviser(s): Professor Jeffrey Kosseff
The proposed research focuses on providing software developers and testers with a formal and experimentally evaluated technique to verify compliance at later phases of software development, not only in the beginning phases of the process. The purpose of the research assignment is to identify, classify, and resolve ambiguities in the NIST standards (SP 800-171) as well as define the legal requirements under both DOD and NARA regulations.
Electrical and Computer Engineering - Posters #35-45
Design of a Parallel-Pipeline Architecture for Real-time Lane Detection
Midshipman Researcher(s): 2/C Josh Ralston
Adviser(s): Prof. Hau Ngo
Many modern devices such as autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence require the ability to process images, and more specifically, detect lines. The Hough Transform is a very accurate method of finding lines in a still image. This method can be implemented into hardware to speed up the rate at which images are processed.
HELPUS: How Entry-Level Programmers Use Synchronization
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Matthew Friedel
Adviser(s): Professor Christian DeLozier, LCDR James Shey
Parallel programming is a powerful tool that can be used to increase performance in most applications, however the skillset required to program in parallel is unavailable to novice programmers. HELPUS is a visual programming language (VPL) that can be configured to directly represent different parallel programming models, such as Traditional Locks or SOFRITAS. It is presented alongside a series of games that represent various parallel challenges faced in real-world applications. By working through the games using the VPL, novice programmers learn to recognize opportunities for adding parallelism in real-world applications.
On the Security of Encryption Implementations in Embedded Devices
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Philip Gatbonton
Adviser(s): Professor T. Owens Walker, Professor Dane Brown
Modern embedded devices are under attack at an unprecedented rate. These devices exist in every facet of society from mobile phones to hard drives. All of these devices are being protected through the use of encryption algorithms. However, attackers can still bypass these protections due to vulnerabilities in the implementation of the encryption algorithm. As a result, we need a method to test the security of encryption implementations within embedded devices. Our contribution is a set of methods: power analysis and the use of debugging ports to detect the existence of a chosen set of vulnerabilities in the device.
Additively Manufactured Mobile Device Lens Case for 5G Antenna Gain
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Bryson Horn
Adviser(s): Assoc. Professor Deborah Mechtel, Assoc. Professor Hatem ElBidweihy, LT Steven Yee
5G promises higher data rates and low latency. However, increased path loss at mm-wave frequencies relative to 4G-LTE frequency bands motivates highly directional antennas to mitigate the loss in transmission. This research presents a low-cost, small-profile 3-D printed lens integrated into an additively manufactured phone case to improve the performance of mm-wave antennas on a mobile device. Currently, most proposed lenses for mm-wave applications have been for base station type antennas and are not compatible in size and form with a mobile device’s structure. This lens presents a solution for compact, multi-functional electronic antenna packaging for mobile devices.
Characterization of Vertical Gallium Nitride Schottky Diodes
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Nathaniel O'Neal
Adviser(s): CDR Chris Martino
The objective of this research is to improve the manufacturing process of Vertical Gallium Nitride Schottky Diodes in order to realize significant benefits to Navy pulse power weapons systems and power distribution. While GaN devices have appreciably higher voltage blocking potential than comparable silicon devices, they are not currently in high power circuit design due to the youth of the manufacturing processes. One area in which maturity can be pursued is the high rate of failure of Schottky contacts. It is the intent of this research project to characterize devices manufactured with alternative methods that will make them more reliable.
Improving Reliability of Reactor Control Rod Systems
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Arthur Devine
Adviser(s): Associate Professor Daniel Opila
The United States Navy relies heavily on its aircraft carriers and submarines for power projection around the globe. These vessels depend on their nuclear reactors to generate the steam used for both propulsion and electrical power. Making these systems more robust and reliable helps ensure that more time is spent on mission versus in port waiting on repairs. The feasibility of a three motor design is tested in order to provide a wider degree of redundancy – allowing operation to continue even if one or more devices fail.
Lidar and Reflective Barcodes with Mobile Agents
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Ben Brown
Adviser(s): Professor Kevin Galloway, Professor Levi DeVries, Professor Charles Nelson
Manipulation of Microrobots Using Chladni Plates and Multimode Membrane Resonators
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Lillian Usadi
Adviser(s): Professor Samara Firebaugh, Professor Hatem ElBidweihy, LT Steven Yee, Professor Murray Korman
Micromanipulation is a nascent technology that has the power to revolutionize microelectronics and biological sciences. Previous studies have included optical, magnetic, chemical, and electrical actuation of microparticles. We propose to develop a platform for precise two dimensional microparticle manipulation via acoustic forces arising from Chladni figures. The organization of this project contains two phases: macroscale manipulation with Chladni plate in air and the microscale manipulation using microscale membranes in liquid. The macroscale experiment will reproduce previous studies in order to gain a better understanding of the underlying physics and to develop control algorithms based on statistical modeling techniques. The microscale experiment involves the design and testing of custom micro-fabricated structures and the coupling of macroscale statistical modeling techniques with microscale autonomous control systems.
Optically Powered Multi-Robot System Based on Diamagnetic Levitation
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Matthew Beauchamp
Adviser(s): Professor ElBidweihy, LT Yee, LCDR Chapman, Professor O'Carroll
This project intends to capitalize on the diamagnetic properties of pyrolytic graphite (PyG) and its temperature dependent levitation. The samples have shown to levitate over certain magnet arrays and can be controlled with only light. This research uses these key properties and attempts to combine it with micro-pipettes to give these levitating samples utility. As there are many avenues to pursue this topic, this project will improve upon systems of milli-robots and techniques that can be employed to assist in further projects, specifically in the worlds of tissue engineering and chip design.
Self-powered High Energy Laser Detectors via Thermoelectric Generators
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Michael Seymour
Adviser(s): Professor Mechtel, Professor ElBidweihy, Professor Nelson, Professor Joyce, Professor Jenkins
Prompt and accurate detection of laser strikes is important to the survivability of military assets in modern warfare. Current laser detection systems can compromise an asset’s stealth capabilities. This project proposes a detection system using an array of thermoelectric generators (TEGs) that can be integrated into the skin of an asset. The TEGs harvest the incident energy of a laser strike to power a sensor node that transmits an address indicating which TEG is irradiated. The prototype board under fabrication has a step-up converter that uses harvested TEG energy to power a microprocessor for address storage and antenna transmission.
Characterization of 3D-Printed Scintillators for Portable Radiation Detection and Discrimination
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Matthew Alese
Adviser(s): Professor Hatem ElBidweihy, LT Steven Yee, Professor Brian Jenkins
The silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) can be used to detect radiation when coupled to a scintillator. A SiPM is low-level light sensitive device which generates current from an incident photon. The ability to shape a 3d-printed scintillator to couple with any SiPM while maintaining a portable form factor offers great flexibility to radiation detectors. Results indicate that SiPMs can successfully detect radiation with 3d-printed scintillators. Pulse shape discrimination methods (such as charge-integration) can be used to discriminate between neutron and gamma/beta radiation in both commercial and 3d-printed scintillators. Current research focuses on increasing the portability of the detector.
General Science - Posters #46-50
Analysis of Glacial Melting in Glacier National Park, Montana
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Meaghan Allen, 1/C Jeena Bermudez
Adviser(s): Professor Peter Guth
Satellite imagery of Glacier National Park in Montana displays the environmental effects this area is facing, such as erosion and melting. Glacier National Park entails 25 active glaciers today. Sentinel-2 (or Landsat) satellite imagery shows environmental change in Hudson Glacier, Old Sun Glacier, Pumpelly Glacier, Rainbow Glacier, Chaney Glacier, and Shepard Glacier from year to year. While even the large reduction in glacial area is distinct even to the naked eye, the Normalized-Difference Snow Index (NDSI) shows that the edges of even the largest glaciers have melted within the past 30 years.
Coastal Erosion on Bald Head Island, NC
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Grace Zagaja, 1/C Sophie Gatzounas
Adviser(s): Professor Peter Guth
Coastal erosion is extremely prevalent along the coast of North Carolina impacting the beaches along with the vegetation, homes and businesses. Lidar data shows just how much the coastline of Bald Head Island has shifted in the last 20 years and how hurricane damage has been extremely detrimental in the elevation and width of beaches. Overlaid terrain profiles, grids displaying change in elevation, and satellite imagery to provide clear insight into how the coastline has dwindled following major hurricanes over the last 20 years.
The Effect of Resolution on Elevation and Slope Data
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Morgan Kane
Adviser(s): Professor Peter Guth
Lidar data from the southern portion of Guam was used to create elevation and slope maps at one-half, one and two arc second resolutions. The maps were compared and the data collected from the slope maps indicated that at one and two arc second resolution the data was being generalized. The lower resolution maps reported lower average slope, maximum slope, and standard deviation values. This indicates smoothening of elevation data points used in the lower resolution slope grids. Therefore, the one-half resolution grids provided the most accurate representation of the used data.
Using Lidar to Monitor Coastal Erosion in Southern California
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Cassidy Hylton
Adviser(s): Professor Peter Guth
Lidar technology can quantify coastal erosion in southern California. Ocean Beach, a heavily populated coastal town, can lose key infrastructure, such as houses and hotels. The cliffs of Point Loma pose no threat to infrastructure but can see a significant amount of erosion. From 1997 to 2016, both areas experienced at least 10 meters of erosion. Ocean Beach experienced lesser erosion, however a hotel and home had to be relocated. Point Loma experienced greater levels of erosion, specifically in small coves. These erosion rates are very similar to those along the west coast, specifically the California coast.
Changes in Tidal patterns in Bay of Fundy’s Cobequid Bay and the Effects on future Coastal Engineering
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Samantha Nassif
Adviser(s): Professor Peter Guth
The purpose of this report was to investigate the effects of rising Sea-Level and the tidal change of the Cobequid Bay, a subset bay in the Bay of Fundy. The effects of semi-diurnal tides are shown in the four Sentinel-2 images, all taken on a different day. This data was used to develop normalized differences indexes of the site. In the DEMs you can see the widespread of coastal zones including, rivers, estuaries, marshes, and mudflat sedimentation, and ice jamming. This project explains the high tides and how they are changing due to global climate change.
Mathematics - Posters #51-53
Analyzing Error Correcting Codes via Matroid Invariants
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C John Johnson
Adviser(s): Professor Max Wakefield
Error Correcting Codes (E.C.C.'s) are used to transmit data efficiently when errors in transmission can occur. Underlying each E.C.C. is a rich mathematical structure called a matroid. The aim of this project is to define and study methods to extract and condense specific numerical, topological, and algebraic information from a matroid. The methods we define are generalizations of the classical Mobius function in number theory and the chromatic polynomial in graph theory. We also examine topological representations of matroids and determine a close relationship between our methods and the well-known Betti numbers.
Monte Carlo Tree Search for a Search Game on a 2-D Lattice
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Elana Kozak
Adviser(s): Professor Scott Hottovy
Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) is a branch of stochastic modeling that utilizes decision trees for optimization, mostly applied to artificial intelligence (AI) game players. This project imagines a “game” in which an AI player searches for a stationary target within a 2-D lattice. We analyze its behavior with different target distributions and compare its efficiency to the Levy Flight Search, a model for animal foraging behavior. In addition to simulated data analysis we prove two theorems about the convergence of MCTS when computation constraints disappear.
Predicting USNA Performance using Holistic Personality Analysis in Multidimensional Space
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Philip Smith
Adviser(s): CAPT Kevin Mullaney and Professor William Traves
Previous psychological models have focused on using either personality types or personality traits to group or categorize subjects. Both of these approaches, however, face significant methodological issues, stemming from the dichotomization of subjects into set personality groupings or from the lack of grounding in cognitive science, respectfully. This project aims to construct potentially predictive types, drawing from both type and trait psychological theory using several different machine learning tools to predict institutional outcomes of interest at the Naval Academy.
Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering - Posters #54-66
Characterization of an Oscillating Bristol Cylinder Wave Energy Converter Prototype Using Image Analysis
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Andrew Waldron
Adviser(s): Professor Luksa Luznik
Ocean waves possess an abundance of energy that can be harvested by wave energy converters (WECs), but the ocean's dynamic state makes extracting wave energy cumbersome and inefficient. Research into heaving WEC prime movers such as the Salter Cam and the Bristol cylinder show that these shapes have an antenna effect on incident waves at a small range of frequencies, resulting in higher efficiencies and power outputs. The goal of this research is to observe and measure the interaction between an oscillating Bristol cylinder prototype and waves. Image Analysis was also conducted to confirm free surface and WEC characteristics.
Characterization of Atmospheric Optical Turbulence Using Turbulence Flux Measurements
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Alex Peralta
Adviser(s): Professor Cody Brownell, Professor Charles Nelson
Light propagation through the atmosphere is affected by fluctuations in the refractive index along the path of propagation, called optical turbulence. In the atmospheric surface layer, these fluctuations are due to variations in temperature and humidity. To improve understanding of optical turbulence, a characterization of the atmospheric surface layer above the Severn River is presented. Using characteristics such as wind speed, temperature, and pressure, the structure parameters for temperature, humidity, and refractive index can be calculated. These parameters are the primary means of estimating turbulent effects on laser propagation. This paper describes work on the setup, calibration, and installation of a sensor suite to calculate these structure parameters.
Computation of Radiation Dose Quantities Using the MCNP6.2 Code
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Madeline Prince
Adviser(s): Professor Steve McHale, Professor Marshall Millett
Recent research into conversion factors calculated by Veinot and Hertel suggests that certain neutron environment shielding scenarios can result in higher dose equivalents with shielding as opposed to without. The goal of this research is to first verify the Veinot and Hertel results using updated cross-section data to calculate dose quantities using the most recent version of the Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport Code, MCNP6.2. The end goal is to quantify specific shielding situations where higher dose equivalents may be produced. This may provide useful data for the Department of Defense with regards to shielding military vehicles entering neutron environments.
Effect of Powder Spheroidization on Select Properties of Additively Manufactured Stainless Steel
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Jordan McLaughlin
Adviser(s): Professor Michelle Koul
Powder spheroidization of additively manufactured 316L stainless steel affects the microstructure of the sample. Powder spheroidization reshapes the irregular normal powder elements into regular, uniform spherical components, in order to achieve higher corrosion resistance and other beneficial material properties. The goal of this research is to compare the corrosion resistance and other material properties, to include strength, surface effects, and microstructure, in order to investigate the effects powder spheroidization has on AM stainless steels. Potentiodynamic testing, tensile strength testing, and SEM imaging found that the spheroidized powder had enhanced corrosion resistance at the cost of a slight decrease in strength.
Effects of Freestream Deceleration on Gas Turbine Film Cooling
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Matthew Gillcrist
Adviser(s): Professor Ralph Volino
This study seeks to determine the effects of freestream deceleration on gas turbine film cooling. This process of cooling gas turbine blades during operation increases the engine efficiency and power output. Knowing the effect of freestream deceleration on the film cooling effectiveness will allow film cooling to be further optimized. Measurements were recorded at three different blowing ratios for a zero acceleration case and a deceleration case with a K value of -0.5E-6. Two additional cases will be analyzed during the study. Next semester will be focused on measuring the airflow characteristics to determine why these effects are occurring.
Near-Body Velocity Measurements of an Inclined 6:1 Prolate Spheroid
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Zach Nygaard
Adviser(s): LCDR Ethan Lust
Experimental data are needed to improve, verify, and validate computational fluid dynamics codes for use designing the next generation of air- and water-borne vehicles. To that end, flow field measurements in the near-body region of a 6:1 prolate spheroid were conducted using stereo particle image velocimetry. The body measures 0.43 m in length and was tested at length-based Reynolds numbers of 1 to 3 million and angles of inclination of 2.5° and 20°. Preliminary results suggest the location of the separation point, which is shown to move downstream with increasing Reynolds number at constant angle of inclination.
Powder Reuse Impact on Quality of Additive Manufactured 316L Parts
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Wendy Tao
Adviser(s): Professor Emily Retzlaff and CDR Jonathan Gibbs
Traditionally cast fuel elbows used in aerospace applications, have had issues meeting minimum wall thickness requirements. Metal additive manufacturing (AM) provides an alternative fabrication method that could allow for consistent, acceptable quality parts, even in various aircraft carrier field environments. However, there are some disadvantages to metal AM, such as waste in powder bed fusion. This project explores the effects of powder reuse on the final geometry of printed parts through non destructive testing methods and explores potential design changes required and the possible need to accommodate for post processing machining.
TRISO Fuel Pellet Safety Development
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Justin Budan
Adviser(s): Professor Marshall Millett, Professor Steve McHale
In order to minimize convoy use in the US Army and meet new power demand, mobile nuclear reactors are being developed. TRISO fuel pellets are recommended for fueling these reactors due to their safe nature compared to alternatives, but the unique risks of enemy weapons require further testing of this fuel to ensure safety. This research aims to accurately model of a TRISO fuel pellet based off of material properties and previous experimental data, and apply a variety of forces similar to that of an enemy weapon to the nuclear fuel to determine the likelihood of both damage and proliferation.
Wave Power Absorption By Oscillating Bodies
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Matthew Peshek
Adviser(s): Professor Luksa Luznik
Wave energy is a promising renewable energy resource, but currently lags other renewable energy technology due to the dynamic and nonlinear nature of the ocean. One type of wave energy converter, a fully submerged Bristol cylinder, was restricted to oscillate in heave motion only in order to measure the amount of incident wave absorption in one degree of freedom and to test the cylinder in more realistic conditions outside of the linear wave approximation. The goal of this research was to create a proof of concept model to find the frequencies it absorbed the most energy and its natural frequency.
Wireless Electromechanical Power Transfer Using Piezoelectric Materials
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Natalie Schieuer
Adviser(s): Dr. Radice and Dr. Burkhardt
With the realities of a finite defense budget, efficient systems for power transfer are vitally important for a wide array of applications such as surface ships, submarines, and weapons systems. Piezoelectric materials are an excellent choice for electromechanical power transfer applications owing to their bidirectional conversion between electrical signal and mechanical response. These smart materials are characterized by their ability to induce an electrical charge when subject to a mechanical strain. This research has focused on optimizing a piezoelectric actuator system used to transfer electrical power via transduction from electrical voltage to mechanical vibrations and back to electrical voltage.
Characterization of the Stereolithography Method using FormLabs' MaterialsEditor
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Samuel Rice
Adviser(s): CAPT Brad Baker
Additive manufacturing using the stereolithography (SLA) method is one of the most versatile way to print complex three-dimensional objects. Using FormLabs’ MaterialsEditor software, parameters such as laser intensity, spatial alignment, timing, and operating temperatures can be fine-tuned to affect a print outcome. Tests done in this project categorized the most influential parameters and pushed each’s bounds until failure. Each resin for the SLA printer reacts differently to these changed parameters. Analyzing these modes of print failure, the SLA method can be better understood, and these new parameter settings can be used to increase the effectiveness of printed items.
Parametric Analysis and Optimization of an Elastocaloric Refrigeration Cycle
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Sarah Nguyen
Adviser(s): Assoc. Prof. Warzoha, Assoc. Prof. Radice, Prof. Smith
Elastocaloric heating/cooling using shape memory alloys (SMAs) offers a potential solution to the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants found in common heat pump/refrigeration cycles. Recent studies have shown that the Coefficient of Performance (COP) for elastocaloric cycles is comparable to (or greater than) those achieved with standard HVAC systems of the same scale. In this study, COMSOL Multiphysics is used to model the behavior of a SMA as strain is applied/released around a bend, and subsequently optimize its performance based on a parametric study to identify the parameters that will maximize COP, endothermic temperature change, and cooling power.
Molten Salt Corrosion Capsule Testing in Support of Advanced Reactor Designs
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Elizabeth Farnan
Adviser(s): Professor Elizabeth Getto
Molten Salt Reactors were named one of the six reactor designs most worth pursuing by the Department of Energy. However, there is limited data on which materials would best limit the deleterious effects of molten salt corrosion on core structural materials. The candidate materials studied in this project were 316H Stainless Steel (Fe-16Cr-20Ni) and Ni-16Cr, FLiNaK and chloride salts with and without magnesium addition.salts, at varying temperatures. This project was completed using a capsule test, into which the sample coupon is immersed in the salt. Specifically, we examine the electroplating onto the experiment capsule via scanning electron microscopy.
- Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering - Posters #67-77
Oceanography - Posters #78-80
Classifying Tropical Cyclone Intensity by Applying Machine Learning Techniques to USAF WC-130J "Hurricane Hunter" Aircraft Data and Radar Imagery
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Lucas Herron and 1/C Madison Lozano
Adviser(s): CAPT Elizabeth Sanabia
Accurately forecasting tropical cyclone intensity remains both a priority and a challenge. USAF and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft routinely measure environmental characteristics within tropical systems that are not currently assimilated in numerical weather prediction models. In this work, we first collect a new dataset of aircraft data from 199 flights by the USAF 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron into 71 named tropical storms between 2014 and 2019. Second, we apply machine learning techniques to this data to predict tropical cyclone intensity and intensity change. Finally, we analyze these results to identify features that are most predictive of these critical storm properties.
Mass Fluxes through Small River Systems on the Alaskan North Slope in Response to Spatial and Temporal Thermodynamic Variations
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Katherine Long
Adviser(s): CDR Shawn Gallaher and Associate Professor Joseph P. Smith
Recent climate changes have altered thermodynamic balances within high latitude watersheds, especially on the Alaskan North Slope where glacial-fed rivers flow through transitional and coastal plain tundra to the Arctic Ocean. This study examines precipitation, discharge, water and soil temperatures, turbidity, and material fluxes through the Kuparuk and Sagavanirktok watersheds on the Alaskan North Slope during the 2019 melt season. Results show that there are episodic peaks in material fluxes associated with late-summer precipitation events, integrating organic and inorganic inputs from deepened active layers.
Seasonal Variability in Material Fluxes Through Rivers and Streams on the North Slope of Alaska
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Haven Cofer
Adviser(s): Associate Professor Joseph P. Smith and CDR Shawn Gallaher
Regional changes in climate are impacting North Slope Alaska watershed landscapes through enhanced permafrost thaw and degradation and alteration of hydrologic processes. Results of the biogeochemical analyses of river and stream samples collected from June – October 2019 and mixing estimates show that during high discharge conditions in the open water season, integrated material inputs from smaller tundra streams can significantly alter surface water biogeochemistry in and constituent fluxes through larger rivers that discharge into the Arctic Ocean. Such variability can be used as an indicator of material contributions from changing tundra landscapes.
Physics - Posters #81-93
Characterization of environment-dependent transduction efficiency of Fluidic Artificial Muscles (FAMs)
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Carter Lorenz
Adviser(s): Professor Edward Chapman
This study explores fluidic artificial muscles (FAMs) actuated by hydraulic and pneumatic systems in a variety of environments. FAMs are lightweight, inexpensive actuators which are simple to align and inexpensive to build. By designing, constructing, and testing a hydraulic pressurization system along with a variety of FAMs, the project will evaluate the design characteristics of an effective bimodal soft-robotic system. It investigates FAMs toward operation in both atmospheric and underwater environments.
Charged Particle Densities in the Outer Radiation Belt
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Marty D. Y. Schob
Adviser(s): Dr. Lauren Blum, NASA, Professor Jeff Larsen
The Earth is not a magnetic dipole, which is to say that the magnetic field lines that exit the planet do not only go through the poles. Instead, they enter and exit seemingly at random with varying intensities. Charged particles from the Sun get trapped in these magnetic fields and are accelerated to energy levels four to six orders of magnitude beyond the energy they contained drifting through space. The mechanisms within the magnetic fields, or radiations belts, are unknown, but their products are very real and damaging to satellites in orbit above Earth. I will continue research next semester.
Construction and Operation of a Flicker Polarimeter at the USNA 20" Telescope
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Kero Ahling, 2/C Cade Gelhar
Adviser(s): Professor Jeffrey Larsen
Naturally, unpolarized light has an electric field that points in all directions perpendicular to the direction of propagation. Polarization of light is the filtering of the light to reduce the directions of the electric field to a single plane. A polarimeter is a device that can measure the intensity of light at different polarization angles. Our device is a telescope-mounted rotating polarimeter that will enable measurement of the polarization signatures of astronomical bodies. Ongoing work is mounting the device to the USNA telescope and observing a star with a known polarization signature to determine the accuracy of the device.
Constructing a Light Curve for Asteroid 2019 WC5 to Determine Its Period
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Christian Daniel, 1/C Nathaniel Huff
Adviser(s): Professor Jeffrey Larsen
Lightcurve periods for smaller near-Earth asteroids are typically difficult to measure due to their relatively small sizes and great distances, however, during close flybys of Earth they can be measured. This project will construct a lightcurve for asteroid 2019 WC5 as observed by the University of Arizona Bok 2.3 meter telescope. The newly discovered asteroid's lightcurve and period may have value to people studying close approaches as this asteroid passed within 1.5 million miles of Earth and its rotational period from the lightcurve would predate any changes to the period by tidal torquing during the encounter.
FRET Study of the Binding of HIV-1 RRE RNA to Rev Peptide
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Jade M. DeSpain
Adviser(s): Professor Katherine Truex
In the viral life cycle of HIV-1, binding of the Rev protein to the Rev Response Element (RRE) RNA to form a complex is essential for viral RNA to be exported from the cell nucleus. The m6A posttranscriptional modification is known to regulate gene expression and modulate infectivity of viral RNAs. This study measures binding of an RNA hairpin that contains the high-affinity Rev-binding site to a peptide that contains the 17 amino acid binding region of the Rev protein as a model of the RRE-Rev binding site. Binding is measured via single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) spectroscopy.
Magnetic Properties of Fe-Pd Nanoparticles
Midshipman Researcher(s): 2/C Matthew Fox
Adviser(s): Professor Elena Cimpoiasu
We studied the magnetic properties of Fe-Pd nanoparticles grown in natural biopolymer materials, such as linen and cotton, using incipient wetness. These kinds of biopolymer composite materials are promising for applications like electromagnetic shielding. Magnetization measurements were performed with a physical property measurement system using vibrating sample magnetometry. We measured the zero-field-cooled and field-cooled magnetic moment as a function of temperature. Additionally, magnetic hysteresis measurements versus applied field were taken. This study addressed the variation of the magnetic properties due to the biopolymer structure, the mass of the measured sample, exposure to atmosphere, and the atomic composition.
Physics-informed Interpretable Machine Learning
Midshipman Researcher(s): 2/C Wesley Nourachi
Adviser(s): Professor Kevin McIlhany
Traditional solutions to the diffusion equation are computationally expensive when boundary conditions change with time. We have formulated an approximate matrix solution which is computationally cheaper than traditional approaches and can be implemented in a neural network to find a higher-order solution. Additionally, LiDAR point cloud data of urban infrastructure is one such case where incredibly large datasets need to be reduced to much lower dimensionality while still maintaining all the information contained therein. To that end, we have determined that neural networks are capable of performing principle component analysis, although generally with less accuracy for isolated structures.
Searching for Polarized Lines from AO Cassiopeiae
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Morgan Bollinger
Adviser(s): Professor Jamie Lomax
AO Cas is a colliding wind binary (CWB) that is a younger version of a Wolf-Rayet CWB. Using 17 observations of AO Cas, I searched for polarized absorption lines to compare to the polarization from other Wolf-Rayet CWBs, to determine how physical properties of CWBs change with age. I only found one absorption line that was polarized, which turned out to be due to O2 from Earth’s atmosphere. I also created broadband polarization curves of AO Cas. Some features in AO Cas data resemble features seen in WR42, which suggests both systems may be orientated at the same inclination angle.
Spin splitting in atom-scale defects in diamond
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Alec Grant
Adviser(s): Dr. Peter Brereton
Spin defects in crystal lattices can be utilized for quantum information processing and magnetic resonance detection and imaging techniques. NV centers in diamond lattices have been extensively studied for the relatively long lifetime of coherent spin states present in NV centers. In this project, we explore the spin splitting due to an external magnetic field in the NV defect in isotopically purified diamond films.
Superradiance in spin-active solid state defects
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Joe Wiedemann
Adviser(s): Assoc. Professor Seth Rittenhouse, Asst. Professor Peter Brereton
Emerging abilities to engineer on quantum scales motivate the search for an ultra-stable, narrow frequency standard as the foundation for quantum sensing systems. Superradiance is a quantum effect predicted in 1954 which has been used to demonstrate non-classical behaviors in quantum systems, and is now revisited for its signature narrow linewidth. We develop a superradiant master equation to explore the superradiant regime for quantum dots incoherently driven in a waveguide, coherently driven quantum dots in a wave guide, and silicon vacancy silicon carbide. We have developed our foundation model and report on our initial findings in comparison to relevant literature.
Underwater Ultrasonic Acoustic Imaging
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Maddy Bell
Adviser(s): Professor Murray Korman
The goal of the experiment is to image a 2D pattern of the slender stainless steel and Garolite vertical rods Using Circular – Synthetic Aperture Sonar. A second goal is to measure differences in the imaging of the two materials. The imaging algorithm involves back-projection in a geometry of the stationary transmitter/ receiving transducer, but a target platform that can rotate at 2-degree increments or even less for fine scale work. The imaging program is Mathematica-based. Experiments will include different target configurations, target materials, and a study of the resolution of the experiment apparatus by data runs using just two targets with different spacing.
Validation of In and Out of Plane Forces in Diamagnetic Levitation
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Louisa Oney
Adviser(s): Professor Hatem ElBidweihy, LT Yee
Optical actuation of pyrolytic graphite (PyG) occurs over arrays of permanent magnets that result in complex magnetic fields that are spatially varying and thermally dependent. Analysis of magnetic forces on a PyG sample over an alternating pole permanent magnet with and without photothermal effects to provide a better understanding of forces on a sample actuated in the plane of the magnetic array. The experiments are designed to use gravitational forces as a simple method to observe the effects of optical irradiance on magnetic forces.
β-decay of Promethium-157 into Sammarium-157
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Alex Leland
Adviser(s): Dr. Daryl Hartley
A level scheme for the β-decay of 157Pm already exists; however, it was never formally published. With the use of the CARIBU source, SATURN moving tape station, and X-ARRAY array of detectors, this level scheme could be improved. This research is intended to improve the unpublished level scheme by finding new energy levels and adding Nilsson states to them. 24 new γ-rays were detected and 11 new energy levels were added and assigned a Nilsson state. Ultimately, our motivation was to potentially find evidence of a recently proposed N=98 gap in energy to support the shell model of nuclei.
Quantitative Economics - Poster #94
Characterizing The Economic Abundance of Water
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Logan Williams
Adviser(s): Professor Kurtis Swope, LT RJ Amador
Water is a naturally heterogeneous good. It is valued, priced, and provided differently across regions of the world. This project models water provision under four primary expected provision mechanisms (private, non-governmental aid-based, non-governmental community-based, and public) and empirically analyzes water provision in practice in order to develop a "metric of abundance" that characterizes accessibility and affordability. Early results applying this metric to public municipal water provision point to increasing abundance in much of the world, but rising percentages of income spent on water consumption in Africa – an initial, but ambiguous sign of changing water affordability in that region.
Robotics and Control Engineering - Posters #95-108
Autonomous Formation Control on Non-Convex Closed Shapes
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Nate Hersom
Adviser(s): Associate Professor Levi DeVries
Most Ground Control Station (GCS) mission planners provide users simple waypoints and elementary shapes (squares, circles) for autonomous missions. This is insufficient for non-convex shapes that may contain hundreds of points. This project simplifies mission design by allowing users to draw specific trajectories for autonomous vehicles. We reconstruct the user shape with a finite number of Fourier descriptor coefficients. The coefficients define the trajectory of a relative reference frame; traversing a circle in the relative frame produces the desired inertial frame trajectory. We use Lyapunov Guidance Vector Field control to steer vehicles to the required circle in the relative frame.
Simulation Environment for a Visually Impaired User at the U.S. Naval Academy
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Michelle Silver
Adviser(s): Assistant Professor Paola Jaramillo Cienfuegos
This project will develop a smart phone application to help visually impaired individuals orient and navigate around the U.S. Naval Academy. In order to create this application, a simulation environment of the campus was created on MATLAB. This simulation allows the user to select their starting location, desired destination, and waypoints along their route and automatically calculates and displays the orientation and distance from each point to the destination. The application will eventually be implemented on an Android device and will be most effective for users with a preexisting familiarity with the Naval Academy.
Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Mobile Mesh Networks - Applications for Hydrographic Surveying
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Corwin Stites
Adviser(s): Assistant Professor Dennis Evangelista
Underwater surveying is a costly and time consuming endeavor. My project is investigating how a mobile mesh network could be applied to make hydrographic surveys more efficient and accurate. Such a network would consist of a group of sonar equipped Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) connected via a mesh network actuated through an acoustic modem. The project focus is on the spatial arrangement of the nodes as well as how nodes of the mesh network would communicate for best effect to accomplish fast hydrographic surveying of a predetermined area or fast location of an underwater target of interest.
Utilization of Bio-inspired Fin Structure for the Enhancement of UVV Maneuverability
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Jim Kenneally and 1/C Evan Klatt
Adviser(s): Professor Dennis Evangelista
The ability of a UUV to navigate confined environments, coral reefs, and return to its launch site remain prevalent concerns for naval superiority and oceanic research. Considering previous studies of fish locomotion, we will study the fin motion pattern for desired activity. This project builds on previous research, which only analyzed the thrust generated by single fin types. Using hardware recreation of fins, we analyze the ideal foil patterns to recreate a desired motion, with intentions of blending forward and lateral movement for seamless operation. The results from research will utilize bio-inspired fins to facilitate low speed maneuverability.
Cyber-Physical System Security of Surface Ships using Intelligent Constraints
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Daniel Butchko
Adviser(s): Professor Kiriakos Kiriakidis, CDR Brien Croteau
This work provides a theoretical solution for increasing the resiliency of cyber-physical systems to cyber attacks and malfunctions. We propose a supervisory device that exists between the controller and actuator in a feedback loop that monitors and regulates control signals that would cause the system to reach an undesired state. We explore three approaches for calculating actuator limits: analytical, reachable set, and Monte Carlo simulations. Each method is applied to the Nomoto model for ship motion and a unmanned underwater vehicle inspired model. For each model, we examine each method's potential to maximize system maneuverability under safety constraints.
Tracking Additive Manufacturing Using Machine Vision
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Lenny Davis
Adviser(s): Associate Professor Michael D.M. Kutzer and Assistant Professor John Donnal
This paper presents a method of vision-based trajectory reconstruction for additive manufacturing (AM). With the rise in popularity of AM comes severe cyber-physical risks. Towards addressing this issue, this paper presents a method of reconstructing printhead motion with retrofitted cameras. A feature-based Visual Odometry (VO) algorithm is used to estimate the relative motion of the extruder. Preliminary results in simulation demonstrate feasibility of the proposed VO method and identify factors that may limit performance. Further, alternative methods of VO with potential applications to this project are presented to include machine learning, H.264 motion vector extraction, and template matching.
Modeling and computer vision validation of tackling dynamics for increased safety and tackle effectiveness in women's rugby union
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Cledo Davis
Adviser(s): LCDR Edward Chapman
This study will model and characterize the tackle in Women’s rugby union, focusing on the tackler’s head impulse. Recorded women’s rugby tackle video is analyzed via computer vision and by-hand motion tracking. Our preliminary results include a method for estimating motion of head and torso Centers of Mass in three-dimensional coordinate space.
Applying Machine Learning to Predict Midshipmen Performance
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Thomas Maly
Adviser(s): Professor Randy Broussard
Predicting Midshipman performance help USNA identify students likely to succeed in a given environment and scope those who may need further assistance. Machine learning classifiers can improve their accuracy through experience. This project will design an artificial neural network and a Bayesian classifier to predict Midshipman performance at the Naval Academy. It uses inputs provided by the Naval Academy, including High School Data and Academic, Physical, and Military Records, to predict a various things like whether the Midshipman graduates on time or receives their desired service selection. The measured characteristic is the accuracy of the machine learning classifiers.
Autonomous Surface Vehicle Simulation
Midshipman Researcher(s): 2/C Kelly Klettner
Adviser(s): CDR Paul Frontera and Professor Matthew Feemster
This project developed a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) environment for use with autonomous maritime vehicles. Specifically, the response of a surface vehicle due as a reaction to thrust forces. The simulation loop can be used to test control functions on a microcontroller without having to use hardware, which is applicable to a classroom environment. Hardware-in-the-loop simulates the surface vehicle's dynamics, which are passed to the controller; this provides a time and cost effective method for testing different controllers. The system is significantly modular in that vessel's dynamics, the environmental noise contributors, and sensor readings can all be altered.
Characterization of Monocopter Performance with Regards to its Airframe Design
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C James Anthony
Adviser(s): Professor George Piper
Current UAVs, such as quadrotors, remain expensive to manufacture, complex in design, and inefficient in power consumption. The monocopter, a samara seed inspired vehicle, is a monowing rotorcraft. Previous work in the monocopter field was primarily concerned with developing its dynamic model and control techniques. However, in this project we will investigate and characterize the monocopter’s inflight performance due to the alteration of parameters such as angle of attack, mass properties, and aspect ratio. We plan to demonstrate this through simulation and proof-of-concept experimentation.
Communications through a Near Maritime Environment using Light carrying Orbital Angular Momentum
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Marco McGavick
Adviser(s): Professor Svetlana Avramov-Zamurovic
Free space optical communication systems suffer significant deterioration from optical turbulence during beam propagation. However, optical turbulence has yet to be reliably characterized, especially in the maritime environment. Structured light has been shown to mitigate the effects of optical turbulence. Additionally, light carrying orbital angular momentum (OAM) exhibits the property of orthogonality. This allows Laguerre-Gaussian beams to be overlaid without interference, in theory allowing for data transfer rates in the terabits per second range. Using machine learning to classify the beams, a communications system utilizing OAM can perform with >99% reliability in the maritime environment.
Diabetes Treatment by Cobelli Parameter Modification
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Maria Satre
Adviser(s): Professor Richard O'Brien
Type 2 Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of Americans every year. While many treatments for this disease exist, there lacks an algorithm to streamline these treatments in the most effective manner. The goal of this project is to take advantage of the developed Cobelli model to create "human" patients and experiment with altering the parameters of this model to create a physiologically realistic and reliable treatment algorithm. This preliminary analysis will be used to determine which parameters are most useful, and to create a cost function that will respond in a time sensitive manner to the patient's actions.
Dynamic Analysis of a High Speed RC Car
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Riley Hogan
Adviser(s): Professor Jeremy Dawkins
Radio Controlled cars are often used as scaled vehicles in various research studies, yet they have not been analyzed exhaustively based on their own unique dynamics. This is especially important since scaled vehicles can outperform their full sized counterparts relative to their sizes. In this study we present an experimentally validated dynamic model using mathematical analysis, simulation, and experimental validation. To model the lateral dynamics of the vehicle, a 3-DOF dynamic bicycle model is used. The model simulation will be constructed in Simulink using the equations of motion produced by the mathematical models. The experimental validation is conducted on a Traxxas XO-1 which is capable of achieving speeds in excess of 100mph. The platform is instrumented with inertial sensors, time-of-flight sensors and an optic flow sensor to measure the states and inputs of the vehicle.
Search and Rescue Neural Networks
Midshipman Researcher(s): 1/C Sofia Di Antonio
Adviser(s): Professor Randy Broussard
Search and rescue missions occur around the world at all hours of the day. The quicker the mission is completed, the higher the survival rate for all involved. A cascade classifier and two different neural networks will be created in MATLAB to detect people in images to make the missions more efficient. The accuracy of each network will be evaluated based on the rate of true and false positives and negatives. The speed at which each network performs will also be taken into consideration when picking the best network.