Category Archives: Undergraduate Research In-Progress

Design of Flow Boiling Experiments for Launching as Payloads to Space

Description: Payloads to Space (PTS) is collaboration between New Mexico Space Grant Consortium (NMSGC) and Hawaii Space Grant Consortium (HSGC) to provide hands-on, cohort-centric STEM undergraduate research opportunities to students in their respective states. The program is designed to provide a common focus on retaining freshmen and sophomore STEM students through a combination of classroom…
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Predicting Fluid Phase Behavior of the Aerospace Fuel Hydrazine from Molecular Simulations

Description: Hydrazine is a highly reactive liquid base. It is mainly used as a rocket propellant. It is a hypergolic propellant as a single species because it will spontaneously ignite without an additional oxidizer. Other uses for hydrazine include but are not limited to, the production of spandex fibers, agricultural chemicals, nickel-plating, nuclear fuel reprocessing,…
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Characterization of Pyrolysis Feedstocks and Biochars by SEM and TGA

Description: Understanding the composition and properties of a biomass feedstock is critical to understanding and predicting the properties of that feedstock’s pyrolysis products. In this project, the thermal decomposition of biomass-derived and non-biomass-derived components of a NASA spacecraft waste simulant will be measured by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to understand the volatilization rates. Those volatilization rates…
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Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae Grown on Dairy and Municipal Wastewaters

Description: Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) converts wet biomass at high temperatures and high pressures into a solid char, an oil-phase liquid, an aqueous phase liquid, and non-condensable gases. The different phases provide opportunities for recovery of energy and materials from wastes. In this project, HTL is used to recover energy (in the form of bio-crude oil)…
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Resources for Brewery Engineering Education in New Mexico

Description: Development of the Brewery Engineering program at NMSU will require identification and compilation of educational resources. Those resources include notes and course materials from formal classroom courses on brewing, professional and industry organizations, conferences and events, small and large businesses, and individuals willing to serve in advisory roles. Completion Objectives: • Digitize and organize…
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Design of Automation for Seidel Brewery

Description: Automation presents great opportunities for improving efficiency and design within the beer industry, even at the micro- or craft scales. Some examples include small-scale, automated grain-transfer systems and automated brew kettles with volume and heat sensors. Innovations for these processes decreases the amount of labor to perform monitoring (watching the kettle) and repeated tasks…
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Electrocatalysts for oxygen evolution reaction and hydrogen evolution reaction

Description: The process of hydrogen fuel cells, solid oxide fuel cells, metal-air batteries and electrolyzers impose much less treat to the environment, but commercialization of such energy devices is limited because of the pricy noble metal catalysts. The rate-limiting reaction is the oxygen evolution reaction catalyzed by IrO2/RuO2. The catalysts are either unstable or display…
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Water purification by capacitive de-ionization (CDI) method

Description: Materials preparation: synthesis of ultra high surface area activated carbon and metal oxide nanoparticles. Material characterization: X-ray diffraction (XRD), BET surface area, Scanning electron microscope(SEM), Transmission electron microscope(TEM), capacity and stability measurements. CDI cells setup. Ions adsorption measurements: Ca2+, Mg2+, As (3+ and 4+), Cl-, F- . Brackish water purification. Completion Objectives: Materials synthesis:…
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Development of Materials for Teaching Sustainability Using Biomass-Derived Resources

Description: Guar and guayule are two crops with potential for large-scale production in the arid Southwest. The target products are natural rubber, resin (for commodity chemicals), and bagasse (for liquid fuels) from guayule, and guar gum (emulsifier), guar meal (animal feed) and bagasse (for liquid fuels) from guar. This project is part of a larger…
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Exploration of particulate and granular mass transport using LAMMPS

Description: The student will be researching the capabilities of modelling granular flow profiles using the Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator (LAMMPS). LAMMPS is a Sandia Laboratory-developed molecular modelling program that is able to model solid-state materials, soft matter, and coarse-grained systems. Completion Objectives: By the end of the semester, the student will be able to:…
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