There is a new trend in the aviation industry to build aircrafts with variable wing geometry to increase their aerodynamic efficiency and reduce their noise signatures and emissions. One of the most promising morphing degrees of freedom is span morphing where the wingspan is continuously adjusted during flight to optimize the efficiency and performance of the aircraft. A lot of research effort has been dedicated to develop advanced structural concepts and actuation mechanisms that facilitate span morphing; however, very little work has been done on modeling, characterizing, and understanding the aeroelastic behavior of span morphing wings. Without proper and robust understanding of their aeroelastic behavior, it is not possible to estimate the actual benefits and limitations of the span morphing wing technology that will limit its appearance on the aircraft. This proposal aims to address this gap and develop a comprehensive framework to model and assess the aeroelastic behavior of span morphing wings. The framework will involve multi-fidelity aeroelastic modeling and experimental testing of various span morphing wings.
The aviation industry in the UAE has grown dramatically in the last decade and it is anticipated that in 2020, aviation will contribute $53 billion to the UAE’s economy and create up to 750,000 jobs. Therefore, the UAE has strategic interests in sustainable aviation and in reducing the negative impact of aviation on the environment and society. The proposed research fits within the UAE’s strategic objectives and targets because it aims to develop and mature a promising technology that can positively contribute toward sustainable aviation. In addition, this proposal aims to train students and develop the capability of the country in the area of aerospace engineering. The outcomes of this proposal will be published in high impact factor journal papers and will be presented at international conferences. This will maximize the impact of the proposed research and will give outstanding visibility for aerospace research activities in Khalifa University and the UAE. The proposal will establish a promising collaboration with a leading research team from the University of Bristol (UoB). Finally, the proposal will form the basis for a strategic partnership with the UAE’s aerospace industry which will strengthen the impact of this proposal and will facilitate further future collaborations and commercialization.
Rotordynamic systems are central to many aerospace and industrial applications. Aircraft engines and rotating parts, helicopter rotor systems, and UAV rotor systems are some examples of applications of various kinds of rotating systems in the aerospace industry. Such mission-critical applications of rotating systems dictate, as first priority, the development of early fault detection methodologies to avoid failures, some of which can lead to loss of human lives and huge economic losses. In this context, early detection of propagation of fatigue damages represents a major challenge. Recent findings by the PI regarding the occurrence of a new kind of post-resonance backward whirl in cracked rotor systems with anisotropic bearings poses the need to understand this revealed complex phenomenon. This phenomenon is found to be associated with different damage forms and it needs to be studied from the perspective of nonlinear dynamical analysis, numerical simulation, and experimental validations.
This proposal aims to develop methods and tools for detection of fatigue damage in accelerating rotor systems that exhibits recurrent passage through their resonance rotational speeds during run up and coast down operations. In such rotor systems, passing through at least one of the critical rotational speeds during startup and coast down operations is usually recurrent in real-life applications such as in helicopter rotor systems, jet engines, and UAV rotors where developing a vibration-based health monitoring technique becomes highly demanding.
This project will be executed in collaboration with worldwide leading academic collaborators from Swansea University (UK) and Villanova University (USA) who have extensive long-term experience in the rotordynamics field. The outcomes of this project are expected to become a very important advancement in the rotordynamic engineering community, which will help put Khalifa University, the emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the UAE at the forefront of global research and development efforts. Therefore, significant impact on nondestructive health monitoring technologies in local and global aerospace industries and the related civil and military applications is anticipated to be achieved.
Aluminum alloys (Al‐alloys) have many applications for 21st century industries. These alloys are an excellent choice for many applications including automotive, aerospace, construction of machines, appliances, structures, cooking utensils, electronic equipment, and cryogenic. In spite of their many applications, Research & Development (R&D) efforts are still ongoing to further improve their mechanical properties. The overarching goal of developing newer generations of Al alloys is about enhancing their mechanical properties by adapting couple of approaches namely melt casting strengthening and wrought composition alloying. Such enhancements in the mechanical properties are related to work‐hardening or precipitate hardening of Al‐alloys. To this regard, the single most important material parameter that governs the mechanical properties is elastic modulus or Young’s Modulus (Ym) of elasticity. The conventional methods for the determination of Ym include mechanical (static and dynamic), acoustic, ultrasonic, and optical methods. However, these methods allow only determination of Ym at bulk scales.
It is known that Ym is fundamentally controlled by the microstructure of alloys. Currently, the determination of microstructure and Ym are done in two separate experiments. This route allows establishing an “indirect” structure‐property between these two quantities. This exercise is often inefficient in providing the entire information about the dependence of property on microstructure. Whereas, a “direct” method will prove to be an excellent way of establishing the structure‐property relationships as it allows drawing point‐by‐point analysis between microstructure and property. That is why, in this proposal, an innovative and novel method for generating “direct” structure‐property relationships are proposed. It will be performed in a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) instrument. In fact, the proposed method involves utilizing the scanning TEM (STEM) mode of TEM in conjunction with electron energy‐loss spectroscopy (EELS). Under this scheme, the nanoscale microstructure is determined by using STEM imaging and while the mapping of Ym is carried out by using the so called low‐loss EELS. This method not only provides an opportunity of having a direct microstructure‐property relationship for Al alloys but it also provides the nanometer scale spatial resolution containing relationships. The proposed study nicely aligns with the 2030 plans of both the United Arab Emirates as well as the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is expected that Abu Dhabi industries that will be the direct beneficiary of this research include aerospace, water, environment, and sustainability.
Extremely miniaturized, very low power, navigation-grade attitude control systems are an enabling technology for a number of civilian and defense systems, including miniature, autonomous sensors, navigation systems for satellites and unmanned air vehicles (UAV), ground and underwater robotic systems, and defense and law-enforcement systems for widely dispersed surveillance and precision targets. Space systems employing an attitude control system should include the control and processing of appropriate electronics to provide the most direct method for sensing inertial angular velocity. Another component that is typically required is a magnetometer that provides a measurement of the direction and magnitude of the local geomagnetic field. Such measurement can be used for spacecraft attitude determination and as the reference for attitude control using magnetic torqueing. Khalifa University develops an innovative, affordable, miniature, low-power, navigation-grade integrated gyroscope and magnetometer for the attitude control system that applies micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to achieve the performance, size, power, sensitivity, and cost objectives of space and other commercial applications.
The development of this project is well aligned with the UAE Space Agency’s ST&I Component as: (Level 1) 8. Science Instruments, Observatories and Sensor Systems/(Level 2) 8.3 In-situ Instruments and Sensors/(Level 3) 8.3.3 In-situ (Other) – Inertial Measurement Unit under the Initiative of 4.b.2. Communication, Navigation, and Orbital Debris Tracking and Characterization.
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are, without a doubt, the most popular batteries to power everyday mobile devices. Since their introduction to the market in the early 1990s, significant research efforts have been directed toward improving lithium-ion batteries’ performance in terms of developing better cathode electrodes, anode electrodes, electrolytes, and separators to match the demand of today’s consumers. Nevertheless, substantial improvements are still needed, especially in high-tech space applications that face a particularly tough life. Batteries for space must bring added assurances of reliability, durability, and performance. The development of a cathode material requires special attention. It directly affects the capacity and the energy ratings of the battery. Additionally, the cathode material accounts for 40% of the total cost of the battery. Therefore, the cathode material offers the major potential for the enhancement of the battery performance and efficiency, especially for a space power subsystem.
Among all cathode materials, lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is of interest to space energy storage requirements due to its several inherent safety characteristics; namely, protection against overheating, charging, and discharging. Another feature is that they offer long cycle life and calendar life; thus, they will last through thousands of charge/discharge cycles. Moreover, they have high current and peak-power ratings, provide high charge levels and do not suffer from capacity loss when operated at elevated temperatures. An important edge of LiFePO4 chemistry is that it can deliver full power until the battery is fully discharged.
Despite the above discussed advantages, LiFePO4 suffers from poor electrical conductivity. A valuable solution to this problem is to downsize the LiFePO4 particles to the nanoscale and coating it with conductive materials such as graphite, carbon black, or carbon nanotubes. A careful evaluation of the reported approaches to improve the electrical conductivity of LiFePO4 particles reveals that they are limited when it comes to the scalability of the fabrication process. In this work, we intend to develop cost-effective, scalable, and novel nanostructed LiFePO4 cathode electrodes for lithium-ion batteries and investigate the performance of the newly developed electrode with the aim of achieving high specific capacity, high power, and excellent stability at wide temperature range (-30 to +60C). The approach we are proposing (tape-casting and so-gel) is yet to be fully exploited in energy storage devices.
The ultimate goal is to develop a prototype of a battery cell and present a demo to show the improvement of energy and power of the battery cell compared to a heritage battery cell. Moreover, we will produce a battery cell that encompasses all of Masdar Institute of Khalifa University of Science and Technoloigy’s battery technologies. Finally, the fully developed battery will be evaluated under space simulated environment to show its potential for space applications.
The proposed project is fully aligned with the Space Agency’s ST&I objectives and it falls under Level 1 ST&I area of “space power and energy storage” and level 2 “energy storage.” The project is aimed at developing enabling technologies for promising mission and system concept; in particular, an in-house prototype of lithium-ion battery. The project implementation has very high feasibility and the hardware prototyping can be done given the available expertise and facilities at Masdar Institute. The project can potentially result in a commercially viable lithium-ion battery technology for spacecrafts/satellites.
Memristors are novel micro-electronic devices that are currently investigated for their utility in ultra-low power computing. Memristors have history-dependent resistance states which can be altered by small applied voltages. At Khalifa University, we are investigating their use as radiation detectors, whereby the energy required for resistance state changes is provided by the radiation dose. The main goal of this project is to demonstrate that a memristor-based dosimeter can determine the radiation dose with considerably less electrical power requirements relative to traditional radiation detectors and can do so in a space environment. The main objective for the developed system is to be a promising technology for ultra-low power radiation sensing and dosimetry to monitor the long-term electronic “health” of satellites.
The objective is to establish a collaboration between Khalifa University, the UAE Space Agency, and the National Space Science Agency of the Kingdom of Bahrain. As a part of the collaboration, a group of students from Bahrain are enrolled in the relevant Master of Science programs with Space Systems and Technology concentration at Khalifa University, where they are participating in a small satellite development project funded by the UAE Space Agency. The students also work on their individual research projects toward their course requirements.
The UAE Space Agency, in collaboration with Khalifa University, have devised a STEM-oriented contest called the “UAE Mini Satellite Challenge: Design, Build, Launch.” The challenge provides the opportunity for students interested in the fields of engineering, material sciences, and physical sciences to develop technology applications and experiments that are exposed to the space environment and have a clear view of the Earth and universe. The winning team will test their technology on a CubeSat platform deployed from the International Space Station. The challenge targets university undergraduate and graduate students. New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) won the competition. NYUAD students developed the payload to monitor terrestrial gamma ray flashes; while KU students are working on the design and development of the spacecraft bus where the payload will be integrated. KU is also responsible for the operation of the satellite once it is launched in early 2021.
Recent advancements in the various fields of artificial intelligence have led to many new paradigms to find solutions for engineering challenges that were tackled using classical methods. In this research proposal, we present a new approach for real-time identification of UAV dynamic system parameters. We aim at designing special excitation signals that reveals certain system qualities. The output of the excitation signal is fed into a deep learning classifier that is able to select model parameters that corresponds to the measured system output. The design of the excitation signal can be hardly done using existing analytical methods, instead, a reinforcement learning agent will be trained to select the excitation signal that best suits the selected system model. The presented approach guarantees safety in the identification phase, can be applied in real-time, and results in precise trajectory tracking even in the presence of external disturbances.
This research focuses on utilizing a low-cost sensing network created using novel heterogeneous 2D materials to monitor key manufacturing parameters and in-service health of a composite structure. This network of sensors will be embedded in the composite material to endow built-in sensing and intelligence capabilities to an aircraft skin. Using this approach, important manufacturing parameters including the degree of in-situ compaction, the vacuum level, the extent of mold-filling, the gelation point, and the degree of cure can be monitored without the use of expensive array of sensors. In addition, the long-term goal is to utilize this low-cost sensing network to create smart structures for in-service structural health monitoring, such as identifying the severity and location of barely visible impact damage (BVID), EMI shielding, lightning strike protection, and conferring anti/de-icing capabilities to the smart skins. The use of this novel sensing technology will be a step closer to achieving COMPOSITES 4.0.
The reduction of aerodynamic drag of terrestrial vehicles is the focus of current and future industrial research, given the importance of energy consumption and harmful gasses emissions. As much as 50% of drag originates from the rear vehicle’s shape, i.e., the low-pressure turbulent wake forming at the base of the vehicle. While the front can be streamlined, the rear of the vehicle is very often limited by logistic and functional requirements to an aerodynamically unfavorable shape. Facing such constraints, active flow control emerges as a solution with an enormous potential for alleviating the drag penalties without significantly changing the vehicle’s base shape. This project proposes to develop and test novel actuation methods for open- and closed-loop control of the wake, in pursuit of a demonstrable drag reduction of the generic vehicle model.