High-temperature molten salt studies

This project is motivated by the pressing questions of sustainability, energy, and the environment. Molten salt nuclear reactors have the potential to provide a carbon-free source of electricity. Our collaboration will investigate the performance of reference electrodes for fluoride salts, and the relationship between fluoroacidity and the activity coefficient of solutes in the molten fluoride salts.

m3 Marvelous Micro-Motes

Micro-motes are a breakthrough technology which offers communication and computation capabilities in a single-chip design the size of a grain of rice. Our long-term vision is to use micromotes at the heart of micro-robots to form swarms of coordinated ant-sized micro-robots. These swarms can carry out missions in small and hard-to-reach places. One example is exploring and mapping the internal structure of a collapsed building after an earthquake. A micro-mote has no stable crystal oscillator, only an unstable internal oscillating circuit.

Analysis of the impacts of information-based routing on city congestion and optimal remediations

The goal of this project is to co-develop joint methods in the field of control/optimization and systems verification in the context of large-scale networks. The project will apply the results to a specific problem in transportation engineering: the impact of traffic information on large scale mobility patterns in urban environments. Specifically, it will analyze the recent impacts of routing apps such as Waze, Google maps, Apple traffic etc. on residential street congestion.

Characterization of Depositional Fabric of Sands Using 3-D X-Ray Computed Tomography (3-D XRCT)

The objective of this project is to initiate a cooperative effort to examine the fabric of natural granular deposits, sands in particular. The study of the influence of depositional structure of granular deposits has been Sitar’s long-term research interest. However, until recently, there were no practical methods for obtaining high resolution images of the actual 3-D structure of undisturbed samples.

Large-scale structures in anisotropic turbulence

This project deals with the formation of large scale coherent structures in anisotropic turbulent flows. The main objective is to understand better the physical mechanisms at play in geophysical and astrophysical flows. The project will combine theoretical, numerical and experimental approaches to characterize non-local interactions between small-scale turbulence and large scale vortices frequently found in such flows.

Engineering a pathogen-resistant seed microbiome

The seed microbiome, the microorganisms that live on and within seeds, directly affect early stages of the plant life cycle but can also have long-term consequences on plant health and survival. We have designed high-throughput genetics and microbial ecology methods that will inform our design of engineered seed microbiomes to limit seed transmission of microbial pathogens. This project works toward new pathogen treatments for crops.