Graduate Student Research Experiences

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    How would climate change affect Texas Coast — A model design for alkalinity in one estuary
    (RCN CE3SAR, 2016-09) Yao, Hongming; Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi
    To better understand the influence of climate change, a total alkalinity model is needed since Texas Coast has been experiencing a long-term acidification during past decades. The entire model will include three sub-models: water transport, evaporation and biochemical reactions. In this study, we developed a transport model for one Texas estuary derived from Advanced Circulation Model (ADCIRC), and improved it based on our studying estuarine hydrologic conditions. This transport model solves the Nueces Estuary hydrodynamics by directly considering the change of flow velocity from tides, and this approach will be very computationally demanding for chemical transport. Tidal cycling will be accounted for using the concept of longitudinal dispersion, which can be calculated from the difference between the actual and mean flow velocities. The simulated results well matched with real-time monitoring data, which shows its applicability on modeling the hydrologic condition of this estuary. In addition, the results indicate this estuary is ocean-dominated, it also shows a long-term acidification potential resulted from diminishing riverine inflow and advection of more acid Gulf of Mexico seawater.
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    Report of Research Experience in SwRI
    (RCN CE3SAR, 2016-09) Choi, Julius; Texas A&M University, College Station
    Monica Medrano at SwRI through the UTSA Connect Program tried to develop the catalytic pyrolysis model of circulated fluidized bed reactor under high-pressure incorporated with the biomass properties such as moisture and ash contents which affect the biooil or biodiesel properties. Currently, most models do not take into account these properties. Therefore, the mathematical model incorporated with these biomass properties will help to predict the product yields and properties. In order to do that, the experimental data was required. However, there was not a lab scale circulating fluidized bed reactor to make a kinetic model at the given conditions. The batch reactor was alternatively chosen. Monica Medrano’s team would like to develop the simulation model using the results obtained from batch reactor. However, it is well known that the kinetic model derived from slow pyrolysis normally conducted by a batch reactor was not suitable for fast pyrolysis. In order to solve this drawback and emulate fast pyrolysis using the batch reactor as much as possible, a high heating rate system was required. During last two months, I tried to make 100°C/min heating rate system through internal heating system. However this development was unsuccessful. Using an external heater, it was impossible to get 100°C/min heating rate because the controller could not heat the external surface up to 1000°C due to the gasket melting temperature which was around 500°C. Practically, 3-4 °C /min heating rate was maximum heating rate using the external heater. For one of the experiments, slow pyrolysis was conducted at 420°C and 3000 psig with 3-4 °C/min. More than 70% of biomass was converted into charcoal with little liquid product. Also, there were leakages during the experiment. From this, I made the procedure for operators to follow my works and conduct further experiments.
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    Graduate Student Research Experience Report
    (RCN CE3SAR, 2016-09) Ruelas, Anibal Morones; Texas A&M University, College Station
    This report includes five session. Project I - Knock quantification Project II - Spark plug and early flame kernel development study in optical chamber Project III - Flame kernel development study of emission certification gasolines and their surrogates Project IV - Spectroscopy Project V - LBV