UT Tyler College of Engineering
Below is a highlight of some of the College of Engineering research projects, for an in-depth look at our research please visit our faculty pages.
Building Air Quality and Energy (BAQE) Center:
Lead by Dr. Nelson Fumo, projects on Residential Hybrid Ground Source Heat Pump and Residential Self-Balanced Zoning System are being developed with the support of TRANE and ASHRAE at our UT System Core Facility. Dr. Fumo is also working on developing residential hybrid energy models to assess and predict energy performance using data from smart metters, a concept he calls "shadow models.’'
Enhanced Fracture Risk Assessment Using Stochastically Treated DXA Images of Bones:
A total of 54 million U.S. adults aged 50 years and older are affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass, correlating with approximately two million broken bones annually. Simple measurements of bone mineral density (BMD) from Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) give only a rough estimate of fracture risk but are not able to distinguish between patients at low and high risk. In recent years, considerable progress has been made in the understanding of bone quality, showing that skeletal microarchitecture parameters depicted by in vivo 3D image modalities (e.g., HR-pQCT and micro-MRI) are important in determining bone strength and fracture risk. However, such imaging techniques, used as research tools, have limitations for general use in routine clinical applications. Therefore, it would be extremely advantageous to utilize bone densitometers to assess changes in skeletal microarchitecture in addition to bone mineral density, thus allowing for identifying patients at high fracture risk and monitoring the treatment response of osteoporotic drugs.
Our long-term goal is to develop techniques that enable highly accurate assessment of bone fragility using clinically feasible modalities (e.g., DXA). The objective of this application is to use stochastic predictors -- the assessment of the inhomogeneous distribution of BMD from DXA scans -- to enhance the prediction of bone fracture risk for postmenopausal women.
Bike Lanes in Mid-Sized Cities:
The UT Tyler Transportation Engineering research team led by Dr. Mena Souliman has been given the opportunity to study methodologies which will generate an efficient bike network to help design a dynamic bike lane map for the City of Tyler. The design process comprised of attentive planning, progressive development, and a collective effort by his research team to design an exceptional bike lane network.
Dr. Souliman says “Providing the community with an alternative means of transportation will increase the city’s development”. Present bike networks were implemented into the design to increase accessibility. Route options require accommodation due to the diversity of users present in Tyler. The hub-and-spoke bike lane attempts to include an engineered evaluation and scoring criteria to select bike lane spokes. This will incorporate multiple factors such as lane width, geometric design features, and amount of current vehicle traffic in order to provide and facilitate safe travel and compliment present transit systems. Thus far, 3 bicycle spokes out of potential 11 have been selected and identified in Tyler.
Dr. Souliman presented his work progress on the Tyler bicycle lane map project with his undergraduate research assistant, Pedro Zavagna, at the UT Tyler Lyceum undergraduate research competition event Last April and their poster ranked FIRST among 50 UT Tyler undergraduate research posters. Dr. Souliman and Pedro received a certificate of recognition from the Provost, Dr. Mirmiran at the end of the event.
Environmental Impact of Using Recycled Concrete Aggregates as Replacement for Coarse
Conservation of coarse aggregates has been largely ignored in the U.S. even though coarse aggregates make up 40 to 50% of a concrete mix by volume while cement takes only about 10%. The production of natural crushed stone, sand, and gravel in the U.S. accounts for more than half of all mining. The associated processing and transport operations use energy and adversely affect the local land ecology.
Recycled concrete aggregates (RCA) as replacement for coarse natural aggregates in concrete structures can substantially improve the sustainability of new construction, although these benefits are currently limited to anecdotal claims without data backing. Furthermore, many remain unconvinced of the economic viability of RCA use in structural concrete. These two aspects – lack of data regarding RCA’s environmental benefits, and uncertainty in economic considerations, have slowed further research and practical adoption of RCA in structural applications.
The current research thrust addresses both issues, presenting an environmental impact index that includes key variables in natural aggregate and RCA production (production facility land use, water use, energy demand, and overall greenhouse gas emissions), and detailing economic calculations showing viability of RCA use for structures. The biggest two findings are that: (1) the environmental impact of RCA use is approximately half that of natural aggregates according to the newly derived index; and (2) RCA is predicted to be able to be sold for approximately the same cost as natural aggregate, even if process modifications to meet concrete aggregate standards are emplaced.
Design of a Wearable Biosensor System with Wireless Network:
Dr. Premananda Indic, an Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering is the lead principal investigator of a National Science Foundation Smart and Connected Health Grant: Design of a wearable biosensor system with wireless network for the remote detection of life threatening events in neonates (Total budget $656K). In the United States, one in eight infants is born prematurely and these high risk infants require specialized monitoring of their physiology not only in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) but also in home environment. These infants are prone to life threatening events such as apnea (pause in breathing), bradycardia (slowness of heart) and hypoxia (oxygen de-saturation).
Dr. Indic and his team are developing a wireless biosensor system with embedded machine learning algorithm for the remote detection and prediction of life threatening events. This project is in collaboration with David Paydarfar, MD from Dell Medical School, University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) and Hongang Wang, PhD as well as Yong Kim, PhD both from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
In addition to research, the grant provide significant support (~ $75K) for training undergraduate students in engineering in the area of Smart and Connected health. The funding will be used for organizing workshops as well as provide undergraduate research opportunities for students at UT-Tyler in the research partnering institution UT-Austin.