2011 CAN Awards

PROJECT: Quantifying Fuel Impacts on Wildfire Behavior and Emissions by Coupling Small Unmanned Aircraft In-situ Measurements with Satellites Observations

PI: Catherine Cahill, Professor, UAF

Over this three-year effort we propose to execute a series of earth science experiments designed to better understand wildfire behavior by coupling observations made from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) fleet of unmanned aircraft with those from satellite remote sensing and combining these multi-scale data with numerical models of fire behavior and weather pattern. The goal is to improve the accuracy of wildfire weather models by combining meteorological measurements, imaging spectrometers, and synthetic aperture radar with observations of burn activity and intensity. The combination of these measurements will allow insight into wildfire weather interactions that can lead to advances in modeling quality. Through combining measurements from unmanned aircraft with satellite data, it will be attempted to extrapolate high-resolution information derived locally regional scales. These objectives are in direct support of specific NASA science-focus areas within the Earth Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate and possess significant impact for Alaska, including local wildfire prediction and fighting interests.

PROJECT: Application of Nanofluids to Reduce Size and Power Consumption in Heat Transfer Systems Used in NASA Missions

PI: Debendra Das, Professor, UAF

Transfer of thermal energy through heat exchangers is present in all NASA missions, whether it is the Orion vehicle for the space station and lunar exploration or vehicles for mission to Mars. Active Thermal Controls Systems (ATCS) are vital for controlling vehicle temperatures. New generations of heat transfer fluids called nanofluids, prepared by dispersing nanometer size particles in conventional fluids, possess properties of enhancing convective heat transfer substantially. This enhancement will reduce the size and mass of the heat transfer systems. Therefore through the nanofluids research, we can
quantitatively evaluate the size, weight and the pumping power reduction, which will be beneficial in NASA missions by downsizing the hardware and enhancing the payload carrying capacity. Since it costs thousands of dollars to lift each pound of hardware to the space, nanofluids may be very attractive for
NASA missions and merits careful research.

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