Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisor: Hirotaka Sakaue
The Development of Luminescent Ice for Environmental and Energy Applications
This research project concerns luminescent imaging, which is an analysis technique capable of capturing spatiotemporal changes in temperature. This technique functions through the use of luminophores. Luminophores are a type of chemical compound that illuminates when exposed to various kinds of external phenomena. The Sakaue group seeks to utilize this functionality of luminophores in a novel ice sensor to measure 3D temporally and spatially resolved information for environmental and energy applications. Sensors capable of producing such three-dimensional information are difficult to accurately produce, and therein lies the use of luminescent ice. It can be easily shaped into any desired form and thus will be able to provide a map of the temperature change across a wide variety of model 3D bodies. This project is a continuation of a research project started last semester (Fall 2020) that received funding from the Slatt Fellowship program. The objective of that Fall 2020 project was to identify and characterize luminophores useful for the production of luminescent ice. The project was a success – many luminophores – including Pyranine, Acid Red 52, tris-(Bathophenanthroline) Ruthenium (II) Chloride, and Tris(2, 2’-bipyridyl) ruthenium (II) chloride hexahydrate – were characterized and identified as either useful or not useful for the production of luminescent ice. Extensive luminophore characterization and testing is required for the manufacture of effective luminescent ice. Luminophores are, generally, an invaluable tool in the analysis of various energy-related processes. Luminophores, in their capacity as a sensor of temperature change, can be used to conduct an experimental analysis of the temperature change on the inner surfaces of an engine, to analyze transient heat transfer processes in power plants, and to gather experimental data on many other traditionally difficult to analyze facets of energy production and usage. In characterizing luminophores, special attention must be paid to the sensitivity of the luminophore to various phenomena, the excitation wavelength at which the luminophore exhibits its highest emission peak, and the wavelength of the luminophore’s highest emission peak. Luminophores with properties likely to be favorable in a frozen medium will be used in this project to develop luminescent ice, a variant of luminescent paint with a more unique, and arguably more powerful, breadth of applications.
During the coming semester, the work begun in Fall 2020 on characterizing luminophores and combining them into ideal luminophore mixtures can, with funding from the Slatt Fellowship, be continued and used to make increasingly effective luminescent ice samples. These samples will be more advanced, more able to accurately indicate the temperature in a 3D body through minute changes in illumination intensity. The energy applications of such advanced luminescent ice are the motivations for this research project. Success will result in the creation of luminescent ice capable of cataloguing the warming of the planet through the tracking of “multiyear ice” in the Arctic ocean and, in its capacity as a sensor, capable of experimentally determining how and where ice forms on wind turbines in hazardous, frigid weather. This first application of luminescent ice will provide the engineering and scientific communities with yet more incentives to pursue methods of clean energy production. The second application will provide critical data on the effectiveness of one method of clean energy production in adverse climate conditions. As the project continues, the goal is to pursue valuable outreach opportunities with other institutions already affiliated with Sakaue Lab (such as the Kanagawa Institute of Technology and Fraunhofer IFAM Bremen). Specifically, the icing wind tunnel at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology would be useful for testing the luminescent ice’s ability to indicate the locations of ice development on wind turbine blades.