The NSF EPSCoR Research Fellows Awards (RII Track-4) are designed for early career, non-tenured faculty with the purpose of enhancing the fellow’s research capacity through site visits and collaborations with premier private, government or academic research centers across the nation. Through these partnerships, the NSF EPSCoR Research Fellows learn new techniques using specialized equipment and facilities. These fellowship experiences are expected to potentially transform the fellow’s research career path beyond the award period as well as enhance the research capacity of their institutions. Kansas NSF EPSCoR congratulates 2020-2021 Track-4 Fellows,  Dr.  Gisuk Hwang, an Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Wichita State University, and Dr. Hongyu Wu, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Kansas State University.

    Dr. Gisuk Hwang, titled his proposed project Tailored Flow Boiling Mechanisms Using 3D Printed Multifunctional Wick Structures. The following excerpt is taken from his NSF EPSCoR RII Track-4 Award Abstract #1929187 and explains his research: “Efficient and sustainable electrical power generation is critical to the U.S. energy supply/security and economy, and it is dominated by thermo-electric systems as the 83% of the electricity in 2018 has been generated from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The efficiency of the electrical power production is bottle-necked by the performance of a steam generator, i.e., flow boiler, which is caused by local premature water dry out from excessive unwanted vapor blankets. To address this challenge, the proposed research will a multifunctional wick structure is proposed for effective liquid-vapor separation, to simultaneously advance current technical limits on heat transfer coefficient and maximum heat transfer rate per given surface area without creating a significant hydraulic pressure drop. A key success of the proposed research requires an advanced manufacturing approach for the proposed multifunctional wick structure with complex geometries. The PI will conduct the research working with a collaborator at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL) using a state-of-the-art metallic 3D printer with a high resolution at Nano-Engineering Research Core Facility (NERCF). Also, this fellowship will greatly strengthen the collaboration between the WSU and UNL. The obtained new knowledge will be implemented into the education plans, which will empower the future engineering workforce.”

    Dr. Hongyu Wu, Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering at Kansas State University titled his proposed project Robust Matrix Completion State Estimation in Low-Observability Distribution Systems under False Data Injection Attacks. The following excerpt, taken from his Award Abstract #1929147, provides a brief explanation of his research: “The operational landscape at electric distribution grids is undergoing a radical transformation. Notably, the impact of distributed renewable energy sources and the impetus to improve cybersecurity are challenging the status quo and calling for innovative techniques to enhance situational awareness in the distribution grid. With the support of an EPSCoR Research Fellowship, the PI and a Ph.D. student will receive training on new techniques, including a novel state estimation approach and a next-generation cyber-physical system simulation platform, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The PI and the student will closely collaborate with NREL researchers by focusing on how to acquire better state estimation in low-observability distribution grids under cyber data attacks. This fellowship will provide an excellent opportunity for a Ph.D. student and an underrepresented undergraduate to gain valuable experience and develop new skill sets. The PI will bring the new techniques back to the home institution, i.e., Kansas State University (KSU), and introduce them to other investigators in related fields. This fellowship will foster a strong partnership between KSU and NREL, and help the state of Kansas better meet its renewable energy goals.”