Lyle Research Days

4th Annual Lyle Research Day Showcases Student Research

Lyle Research Days 2016

More than 50 graduate and undergraduate students at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering participated in the fourth annual Lyle Research Day. During this year’s competition, faculty members from each of Lyle’s five academic departments served as judges. They chose the top competitor from Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Engineering Management, Information, and Systems; and Mechanical Engineering. Each research topic was evaluated on contribution to subject knowledge, visual presentation of the poster, and oral presentation by the author.

“This year’s Lyle Research Day was another successful event where graduate and undergraduate students from all disciplines had an opportunity to showcase their research,” said Senior Associate Dean Volkan Otugen. “Venues like this challenge our students to capture their work visually, verbally, and academically while interacting with Lyle Executive Board members, faculty, staff, and fellow students in celebration of the research taking place at our school.”

Award Winners

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jase Sitton – Advisor: Brett Story

Compressed earth blocks (CEB) represent an exciting development in the field of earth building, allowing masonry blocks to be produced using soil available on-site. These blocks provide a cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly building alternative that is able to be deployed at relatively low costs to remote locations. Of particular interest to the SMU Smart Structures research group is the structural performance of CEB and how the quality of soil used in production affects the strength of the blocks. An important first step was to develop a neural evaluation system capable of classifying soil according to ASTM standards based solely on field soil analysis data, so that the quality of soils can be rapidly evaluated in the field. Next, SMU produced a pilot run of CEB using different mix designs and performed strength testing on the blocks in order to study the effect of mix design on final block strength.

Computer Science and Engineering

Soha Alhelaly – Advisor: Jennifer Dworak

Security issues, for instance Trojan hardware, has been an area of interest for researchers. Issues with Trojan Hardware in 2D have been addressed by several studies. However, 3D chips are more likely to get attacked by inserting Trojan circuitry. 3D technology can be compromised during packaging by inserting embedded malicious circuits between stacked die. Trojan chips are hidden to alter or steal data, or even control the system. The challenge of a 3D integrated circuit security is that it is easier to hide Trojan chips due to the stacked nature of the 3D design. Placing a Trojan chip into a 3D system is a new threat that should be addressed. We propose a Trojan detection technique and the required architecture to measure the propagation delays across the 3D dies to detect and locate the extra die in a 3D die stack. The proposed method provides the ability to differentiate between the extra delay due to the Trojan die and the delay caused by fault or defect in the TSVs. By using the proposed method, the Trojan die between stacked die can be revealed and located.

Electrical Engineering

Mehdi Nouri – Advisor: Duncan MacFarlane

Increasing data throughput of optical links remains a driving force behind innovation in optical communications. Spatial division multiplexing with orbital angular momentum (OAM) beams, combined with WDM and doubled capacity with polarization using externally modulated laser sources, has been previously demonstrated. The majority of multimode VCSEL sources used in datacenters today operate at less than 10Gb/s. As an optical source for OAM beams, VCSELs represent a practical low-cost option. Here we present a multi-channel free space data communications link using OAM, SDM, and 850nm VCSELs, designed to ultimately operate at 28 Gb/s, directly modulated by on/off keying. Unique OAM beams are multiplexed using variable-length optical mode sorters.  As designed, the mode sorter accepts only planar wavefronts. A 2-meter multimode fiber acts as an integrating rod to planarize the VCSEL output. An optical configuration has also been designed to obtain mode spacing with minimal crosstalk.

Engineering Management, Information, and Systems

Mamdouh Mubarak – Advisor: Halit Üster

We present a model to optimize the location and power capacity of in-motion electric charging stations. We formulate the problem as an MIP and we propose a Benders-decomposition-based algorithm to solve it efficiently. We present the computational results of testing the algorithm on large-scale grid networks.

Mechanical Engineering

Jafar Ghorbanian – Advisor: Ali Beskok

A phenomenological continuum model is developed using systematic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of force-driven liquid argon flows confined in gold nano-channels at a fixed thermodynamic state. Well-known density layering near the walls leads to the definition of an effective channel height and a density deficit parameter. While the former defines the slip-plane, the latter parameter relates channel averaged density with the desired thermodynamic state value. Definitions of these new parameters require a single MD simulation performed for a specific liquid-wall couple at the desired thermodynamic state. Combined with our observations of constant slip-length and kinematic viscosity, the model accurately predicts the velocity distribution, volumetric and mass flow rates for force-driven liquid flows in nano-channels. Model is validated for liquid argon flow at different thermodynamic states and using various argon-wall interaction strengths. Further validation is performed for water flow in silica and gold nano-channels, exhibiting slip lengths of 1.2 nm and 15.5 nm, respectively. Excellent agreements between the model and the MD simulations are reported for channel heights as small as 3 nm for various liquid-wall couples.