SBIR Phase II: Educational Particle Image Velocimetry Suites
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
INTERACTIVE FLOW STUDIES LLC
4520 MANOR BROOK DRIVE NW, Rochester, MN, 55901
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is to develop a low cost educational Particle Image Velocimetry (ePIV) suite including both hardware and software for fluid science and engineering education at university undergraduate and graduate school levels. The proposed PIV is the state of the art technology in fluid flow research that enables visual and quantitative analysis of the flow field. Industrial/research level PIV system usually costs over $100,000. The high cost and safety considerations - because of the use of high power Class IV lasers - prohibit adaptation of PIV systems in the US higher education system. Current PIV systems typically use two pulse lasers with 50 mJ/pulse energy and 5 nanossecond pulse duration. This translates to a total power of 10 mega Watts if it was a continuous laser. In summary, although it is very challenging to develop a PIV system that works with only a single 15 milliwatt continuous laser and a regular CCD camera, the Phase I outcomes indicate that it is feasible. The project will create learning materials by developing software as a virtual teaching assistant for the education process, where the students can develop enhanced understanding of fluid flow by interactive experiments through a computer terminal in the classroom. Hence, the software will be an instrument that can be used in diverse educational settings because of its effectiveness as an education tool, high-tech appeal, compact size, low cost and safety. Fluid mechanics is a highly visual subject. During the teaching process one must take full advantage of this fact. ePIV gives the opportunity to achieve this to its full extent making this technology easily accessible. The educational suite will provide faculty the latest technology as a teaching tool at a very affordable price, allowing them to acquire new knowledge and skills and to revise their curricula and teaching practices. The low cost of ePIV will allow schools with very limited budgets to use and teach the state of the art technology to their students. The project envisions bringing this new technology from technical colleges to BS, MS and Ph.D. granting institutions. Due to its simplicity of operation, low cost and being highly visual, the ePIV technology can even be used at museums, science centers and similar institutions to develop exhibits in science and engineering. This tool can also be used to promote fluid mechanics and science in general even to non-science and non-engineering students.
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