Development of a Compact Instrumentation Package for Characterization of Aerosols, Turbulence and Surface Characteristics in the Arctic from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Phase II

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Brechtel Manufacturing, Inc.
1789 Addison Way, Hayward, CA, 94544-6900
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Fredrick Brechtel
 (510) 732-9723
Business Contact
 Fredrick Brechtel
Title: Dr.
Phone: (510) 732-9723
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the need for new widespread datasets to help reduce uncertainties in current predictions of climate change and to improve our understanding of the health impacts of air pollutants. The development of a new, compact instrumentation package for unmanned aerial vehicles will include modules to measure aerosol size distributions, cloud condensation nucleus concentrations, ambient turbulence and to acquire digital images. A coupled electrical-mobility and light-scattering-based aerosol number size distribution measurement system will provide rapid airborne observations over the 0.01 to 10 micrometer diameter range. A condensation particle counter that has already operated on-board an unmanned aerial vehicle will serve as the small particle detector. The compact cloud condensation nucleus counter allows the cloud nucleating ability of particles to be determined and will be optimized using Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling. The large particle sizer development will focus on reducing the sizing uncertainties associated with existing light-scattering techniques that suffer from multi-valued Mie scattering response. Prototypes of the mobility classifier, cloud condensation nucleus counter and optical particle counter will be fabricated and tested against conventional scanning differential mobility sizing and other systems using traceable calibration particles. Prototypes of the turbulence and imaging systems will be constructed and tested under ambient conditions. During the Phase II project, the prototype of the miniaturized turbulence system will be inter-compared with commercially available hot film anemometers deployed within a wind tunnel facility with controllable turbulence levels. Imaging technology will be integrated with the instrument payload microprocessor-based control electronics to allow characterization of land and ocean surfaces during aerial vehicle flights. The overall development project will build upon six years of existing UAV instrument development, in particular the deployment of aerosol instruments (particle counter, light absorption and filter-based chemical composition measurements) on-board an unmanned aerial vehicle over the Arctic during the spring of 2011. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The new technology will help mitigate measurement limitations in applications that include creation of new and expanded data sets for climate change and urban air quality models, aerosol health effects studies, flux measurements of aerosol species from ocean and land surfaces, studies of rapid aerosol evolution in power-plant plumes, and indoor air quality monitoring for green buildings, industry and households.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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