With his first year as a member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty behind him, Assistant Professor Aaron Wemhoff, PhD, has been spending his summer collaborating on a green technology project with engineers at Ship Systems Engineering in Philadelphia, a major operating site of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division. This site is home to the Navy’s primary technical facilities for naval machinery research, development, and engineering.
The collaboration has been made possible by a $14,000 fellowship that Dr. Wemhoff received through the Summer Faculty Research Program, which is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and administered by the American Society for Engineering Education.
During the 10-week program, Dr. Wemhoff has been designing code to make HVAC systems on Navy ships more efficient. Specifically, he is looking at how these systems, which are made up of fan coil units or assemblies, can dynamically adjust to transient loads (for example, empty versus populated rooms) and thus save energy.
“My idea is to apply controls within the code to determine what is the best way to respond to various situations. This research has broad applications to many kinds of building technology,” Dr. Wemhoff said.
Dr. Wemhoff does not expect to fully develop the code by end of the 10 weeks. However, he hopes to demonstrate that the code works and yields useful results so that he can seek additional funding from the ONR to take the code to the next level. Providing summer faculty fellows with a basis for future collaborations is one of the goals of the ONR’s program.
Dr. Wemhoff, who earned his PhD at UC Berkeley, has several areas of expertise, including micro-scale heat transfer and computational heat transfer. His extensive experience in modeling is enabling him to team with experimentalists in the department on a number of projects.