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Boosting power

New endowed researcher in electrical power to boost research at UDRI, GE Aviation EPISCenter

The University of Dayton Research Institute’s newest Ohio Research Scholar brings expertise in electrical power systems – talent that will complement existing capabilities at UDRI and support research and development at GE Aviation’s new EPISCenter.

Zhenhua Jiang joined UDRI Nov. 12 as an endowed researcher in electrical power systems modeling and simulation under funding from the Ohio Research Scholars Program; additional funding will come from a $1.2-million, three-year contract from GE Aviation. Jiang will initially work in a lab at GE Aviation’s new Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center, which opened in August and is located on the University of Dayton campus. He will be joined in the EPISCenter lab by Syed Hossain, whose expertise lies in the modeling and design of motors and controls. Hossain joined UDRI Nov. 8.

Jiang’s research will focus on the design, modeling and simulation of entire electrical systems with a goal of improved system reliability, efficiency and performance. “There is a growing demand within the aviation industry for modeling of electrical power systems, because commercial and military aircraft are becoming increasingly power intensive,” said John Leland, UDRI director and associate vice president for research at the University. “As more flight-critical systems go from being hydraulically to electrically driven, aircraft power systems grow in size and complexity. Add to this the growth in radar, communications and entertainment systems on aircraft, and these systems are being required to perform under highly demanding conditions that were not even possible only a few years ago.

“The ultimate goal is to make sure aircraft power systems can do their most essential job – keeping aircraft in the air – while also providing new capabilities to the military and a better flying experience for the public,” Leland said.

Work will be performed through UDRI's Energy Technologies and Materials division, Advanced Power Components group.

Jiang’s research will complement existing research in similar technologies at UDRI, which in 2012 received a seven-year, $42-million Air Force contract for research in advanced power and thermal management for aircraft. Researchers are looking at ways to more efficiently manage and dissipate heat created by advanced power systems, as well as develop more efficient electrical components that will generate less heat.

Leland said Jiang’s presence will round out UDRI’s capabilities in modeling and simulation. “We’re already proficient in the modeling and simulation of structures, fluids, heat transfer and aerodynamics, but we’ve always wanted to offer our customers expertise in electrical power systems.”

Jiang holds a doctoral degree in power electronics from the University of South Carolina, where he performed his postdoctoral fellowship, then taught and performed research at the universities of New Orleans and Miami and at North Carolina State University. Prior to joining the Research Institute, he served as lead electrical engineer and project manager at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, N.Y.

Hossain holds a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University of Akron. He worked as a senior project engineering at Globe Motors in Dayton for 11 years before joining UDRI.

Each year, sponsored research programs at the University of Dayton provide real-world research opportunities to nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate students working with more than 500 professional and faculty researchers from the Research Institute, the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Nov. 18, 2013

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