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Bowman Scholars
Bancroft Hall in the spring with midshipmen

2006 Bowman Scholars

Division of Engineering and Weapons

1/C Ruth Gaunt

  • Major: Electrical Engineering
  • Title: Using Non-orthogonal Images for Iris Recognition
  • Advisors: Assistant Professor Robert W. Ives - Electrical Engineering Department, Professor Delores M. Etter - Electrical Engineering Department


Using Non-orthogonal 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.

1/C Clifford N. Jessop

  • Major: Electrical Engineering
  • Title: Using Wavelength Conversion for Routing in Optical Networks
  • Advisors: Associate Professor R. Brian Jenkins - Electrical Engineering Department, CAPT Robert J. Voigt, USN - Electrical Engineering Department


Using 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.

1/C David M. Koeppel

  • Major: Aerospace Engineering
  • Title: Space Capability of Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Advisor: CDR David D. Myre, USN - Aerospace Engineering Department


Space Capability of Lithium Ion Batteries

Nickel-hydrogen batteries are widely used as spacecraft power sources. Lithium Ion batteries have a greater energy density and cost-to-energy ratio than that found in Nickel-Hydrogen batteries. Lithium Ion batteries, however, have not been tested for tolerance to the space environment. As such, this research will test the batteries for different types of charging and discharging characteristics, while comparing the results to those of Nickel-Hydrogen and Nickel-Cadmium batteries. The Lithium Ion batteries will be tested for rate of discharge, discharge current, internal impedance, capacitance and external temperature. Similar characteristics will be observed and recorded during the charging of the batteries. The number of charge and discharge cycles will be recorded in order to study these characteristics over the life of the battery. This data will help to analyze the suitability of Lithium Ion batteries for use in spacecraft.

1/C Joseph J. Koessler

  • Major: Mechanical Engineering
  • Title: Heating and Frictional Wear of Al-Si-C Metal Matrix Composites for Application in the Navy's Electromagnetic Railgun
  • Advisors: Assistant Professor Andrew N. Smith - Mechanical Engineering Department, CDR Lloyd O. Brown, USN - Mechanical Engineering Department


Heating and Frictional Wear of Al-Si-C Metal Matrix Composites for Application in the Navy's Electromagnetic Railgun

During the firing of an electromagnetic railgun, the electrically conducting rails experience high levels of heat and friction. Copper rails are currently used for their superior electrical properties. However, the life cycle of this material does not meet the standards required for implementing this weapon on a ship. Aluminum-Silicon-Carbide metal matrix composites have been proposed as an alternative to copper because of the composite’s superior strength and hardness. This research proposes to investigate the suitability of Al-Si-C as a material for use in the naval electromagnetic railgun.  While analytical methods do exist for predicting the thermal performance of these materials, the behavior of Al-Si-C MMCs in the complex environment of a railgun is unknown. Finite element analysis of an Al-Si-C using the ANSYS software package and data from test firings will provide an accurate portrayal of the thermal gradient that occurs during firing.  Finite element analysis of different combinations of Al and Si-C will help determine which composition offers the best thermal performance while maintaining acceptable levels of electrical conductivity.

1/C Alan M. Marsh

  • Major: Systems Engineering
  • Title: Silencing Magnetic Force
  • Advisor: CAPT Owen G. Thorp, III, USNR - Weapons and Systems Engineering Department


Silencing Magnetic Force

Shaft vibration in the propulsion systems of naval vessels has a number of negative effects including increased wear, decrease in habitability for passengers and crew and, most importantly, decrease in stealth. The objective for this project is to use magnetic bearings to implement multi-tonal noise control. Multi-tonal noise control will identify unwanted sounds waves/noise from the shaft and counter vibration with an adaptive feedforward system. To demonstrate multi-tonal noise control, a DC motor will be constructed rotating shaft and fan blades. Magnetic bearings will provide position control for the shaft and act as the actuating force to create cancellation waves. Microphones will be set up to test for multi-tonal noise and feedback error. The system should be able to keep the shaft suspended in air, rotating between magnetic bearing while vibrating the shaft to cancel out multi-tonal noise emitted from the rotating blades. The system design will consist of a feedback-closed loop to control the position of the shaft in suspension between two opposite magnetic bearings, and an adaptive feedforward closed loop as an active noise controller.

1/C Jonathan A. Shaver

  • Major: Systems Engineering
  • Title: Control Systems Friendly Environment on Digital Signal Processors
  • Advisor: Assistant Professor Matthew G. Feemster - Weapons and Systems Engineering Department


Control Systems Friendly Environment on Digital Signal Processors

Digital signal processing is an essential component of controls engineering. Currently the Naval Academy's Weapons and Systems Engineering Department utilizes the Rabbit Microprocessor to perform digital control. The Rabbit is limited by its architecture in performing many of the common digital signal processing functions of controls engineering. This processor limitation decreases the capabilities of student projects and labs. The Texas Instruments LF2407A, a digital signal processor that is intended for control system application, will be utilized to develop a control environment usable for all systems engineering applications at the Naval Academy. Software will be written that will make the controls environment on the digital signal processor (DSP), user friendly. Peripheral serial communications will be set up to eliminate the user’s need to do so. This new DSP will be able to replace the current Rabbit Microprocessors, allowing many new possibilities for students in its application.

1/C Daniel S. Shevenell

  • Major: Systems Engineering
  • Title: Electrical Power Automation System
  • Advisor: Associate Professor Edwin L. Zivi - Weapons and Systems Engineering Department


Electrical Power Automation System

Future generations of naval vessels will rely ultimately upon their electrical backbone in order to reduce manning and conserve space, thus, continuity of service for the electrical distribution system is a paramount concern. The goal of the proposed research is to prevent cascading damage and to reestablish operability of key systems by automatically reacting to disruptions faster than the human crew is capable. The investigation of current techniques available to deal with electrical control will yield the most promising control method, which will be applied to a small piece of a larger power distribution system. Design, analysis, simulation, prototyping, and integration of a controller into the existing framework will be preformed. Finally, experimentation will be done to test the system’s overall ability to deal with unplanned disruptions.

Division of Humanities and Social Sciences

1/C David E. Faherty, III

  • Major: History (Honors)
  • Title: The History of China's Nuclear Submarine Program
  • Advisor: Associate Professor Maochun Yu - History Department


The History of China's Nuclear Submarine Program

On the 27th of July 1958, Mao Zedong signed a directive authorizing the development of a Chinese nuclear ballistic submarine program. The program was conceived during the Great Leap Forward and survived the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution. A study of the Communist China’s nuclear submarine program will illuminate the intricacies of the Chinese government, uncover tensions permeating a communist society and reveal a great deal about the nation’s temperament. This study will include, but is not limited to: Chinese culture and history, modern Far East Asian politics, Chinese-Russian relations during the Cold War, and the role of sea power in international relations. The scope of this research will become more focused as the project progresses.

Division of Math and Science

1/C Matthew B. Baker

  • Major: Physics
  • Title: Measurement of the Neutron from the Scattering of Polarized Electrons from Polarized Deuterium
  • Advisor: Assistant Professor Kevin L. McIlhany - Physics Department


Measurement of the Neutron from the Scattering of Polarized Electrons from Polarized Deuterium

Deuterium is the first nuclear material produced in stars as well as being the simplest nucleus to study. The neutron embedded in the deuterium is loosely bound such that it can easily be struck and released from its nuclear environment. Although electrically neutral, neutrons do possess an electric moment as they are comprised of quarks. Statistical properties of quarks within neutrons can be measured by striking neutrons with sufficient energy and then detecting the moment distributions of the outgoing particles. The spatial distribution of charged quarks within the neutron gives rise to an electric moment which plays a significant role in all nuclear reactions above an energy threshold of approximately 50 MeV. The current world data set describing the electric form factor of the neutron (GnE) has a relative error of 15-20% in the region that can be observed at BLAST (Bates Large Acceptance Spectrometer Toroid). Using BLAST, a measurement of the electric form factor (GnE) will be extracted from scattering data of polarized electrons from polarized deuterium. The proposed relative error should be better than 5% statistical plus 5% systematic, once the entire 2003-2004 data set collected at BATES has been analyzed.

1/C John R. Pepin

  • Major: Physics
  • Title: A Quest of Exploration: The Analysis of Exoplanet Behavior to Lead to the Eventual Discovery of Earth-type Exoplanets
  • Advisor: Professor C. Elise Albert - Physics Department


A Quest of Exploration: The Analysis of Exoplanet Behavior to Lead to the Eventual Discovery of Earth-type Exoplanets

The discovery of exoplanets, or planets which orbit stars other than the sun, and the understanding of their behavior is a necessary prelude to answer the age old question: “Is there the possibility of life outside of our solar system?” This research will center on an observational program of visual photometry of exoplanets using the United States Naval Observatory’s 24-in. reflective telescope. Data will be regularly gathered on four to six exoplanet systems with known, jovian-sized planets. This observational data will be analyzed to look for deviations in photometric fluxes in various wavelength bands to discover a potential variability in the radiation of the star that would indicate a coronal mass ejection and possible aurora activity. The observational data indicating possible aurora activity will be compared with radio observations conducted for the same purpose. Correlations between the optical and radio variability could indicate a possible magnetic field and a planet that may be of similar composition to our own.

1/C Eric A. Roe

  • Major: Physics
  • Title: Search for a Tenth Planet: Testing Interferences from the Kuiper Cliff
  • Advisors: Assistant Professor Jeffrey A. Larsen - Physics Department, Prof. C. Elise Albert - Physics Department


Search for a 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.

1/C Jon D. Stockton

  • Major: Chemistry
  • Title: Synthesis of Polymer-silica Composite Materials for the Development of Elevated Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells
  • Advisor: Associate Professor Joseph F. Lomax - Chemistry Department


Synthesis of Polymer-silica Composite Materials for the Development of Elevated Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Of all of the different kinds of fuel cells currently available, hydrogen and direct-methanol fuel cells show the most promise. Both of these fuel c ells require a membrane that keeps the fuel and oxidant separate while allowing hydrogen ions to migrate through. This proposed research will investigate the development of a proton transfer membrane from polymer-silica composite materials after sulfonation. In order to address the issues of elevated temperatures, cost of production, effective proton conductivity and swelling in proton transfer membranes, sulfonated polymer-silica composites will be synthesized and characterized for ionic conductivity. The hope is to exploit these materials to expand on the type of properties that can be tailored for them, specifically those related to effective polymer electrolyte membranes which can be used in fuel cells.

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