Cross-cutting Capabilities

IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering is one of the nation’s premier and oldest fluids research and engineering laboratories, and educates students and conducts research in the broad fields of hydraulics and fluid mechanics (annual budget of $13 million). IIHR is a large institute with 38 research engineers at the PhD level, about 10 postdoctoral scholars, and 110 MS and PhD graduate students. IIHR's 28 support staff include machine and electrical shop engineers, research computing support, and administrative staff. IIHR also utilizes nine facilities housing its state-of-the-art laboratories, hydraulic models, shops, boats, flow-testing facilities, and remote sensing equipment. Resources in each of these areas are vast. For example, remote sensing equipment includes a mobile X-band polarimetric radar network with four radars, mobile rainfall observatory, with a vertically pointing X-band radars, optical disdrometers, elastic lidar, wind-sounding lidar, and a LSPIV system.  Related to wind energy, IIHR has extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) capabilities for moving objects in its numerical code CFDShip-Iowa, developed over the past 20 years under sponsorship of the US Office of Naval Research. CFDShip-Iowa has been tested for naval applications, including ship resistance, propulsion, seakeeping and maneuvering, propeller computation, controllers, etc. Wind turbine modeling capabilities were recently developed and tested to evaluate and adapt CFDShip-Iowa to wind turbine flows. Currently the complete wind turbine (ground, tower, rotor, hub, nacelle) can be modeled with elastic rotating blades and variable pitch, enabling studies coupling control algorithims to the aerodynamics of the machine. CFDShip-Iowa also provides free-surface capabilities which allow the computation of wind turbines in floating structures for off-shore applications. Current work is oriented to coupling a dynamic structure code (LMS's Virtual.Lab) with CFDShip-Iowa to predict reliability and fatigue of gearboxes with fully coupled computation of the aerodynamics with the dynamics of the housing, shaft, bearings, and gearbox components.

Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD) is a Board of Regents-sponsored research unit in the College of Engineering with about thirty years of expertise in simulation as it pertains to mechanical system modeling and simulation, structural design optimization, human factors and ergonomics, digital human modeling and simulation supporting design for operability, maintainability, and serviceability, and virtual reality, among other areas. CCAD is a dynamic, multi-disciplinary, solutions-driven research environment comprising 39 University of Iowa faculty members from multiple academic departments, 40 professional staff members and 80-100 graduate and undergraduate engineering and computer science students in any given academic term. Since its inception in 1981, CCAD has achieved international recognition as a leader in simulation and in recent years in the field of digital human modeling and simulation. CCAD researchers have substantially advanced computational technologies and methodologies for dynamic systems and structural design applications, developing, deploying, and commercializing a number of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) capabilities that are in widespread use, including the Dynamic Analysis and Design System (DADS), Design Sensitivity Analysis and Optimization (DSO), Design Optimization for Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH), Reliability-Based Design Optimization (RBDO) and, most recently, the SANTOS™ Human Modeling and Simulation Environment. Technology transfer and spinning off companies has been a trademark of the Center’s accomplishments. As it pertains to wind energy, the Center is currently engaged in research to specifically apply RBDO tools and methodologies in the development of wind power systems sin support of the US Department of Energy strategic goal to produce 20% of United States electricity from wind power by 2030. The objective of this research program is to significantly increase turbine reliability to yield an efficient wind energy system design that can be uniformly relied on to demonstrate consistently high levels of performance under a wide range of operational conditions without being subject to unanticipated failure, with substantially reduced maintenance requirements, and that can be achieved without a significant increase in turbine component costs. Complementing the Center’s initiatives in wind power systems design, other CCAD researchers are pursuing efforts in the development of predictive capabilities for the management of electrical energy distribution from wind power systems, through the application of data mining, evolutionary computation, and systems engineering methodologies. With respect to design for operability, serviceability, and maintainability concerns, a major CCAD achievement has been the development of the SANTOS™ virtual human modeling and simulation environment. SANTOS represents the state-of-the-art in anthropomorphic modeling, simulation, and graphic representation, implementing realistic computer-generated human characters that can see, move, touch, grasp, and interact with virtual systems. SANTOS™ is the product of a large-scale collaborative effort involving anatomical human modeling, biomechanics, modeling of clothing, kinematics and human dynamics, muscle activation (electromyography), optimization, human performance measures, artificial intelligence and task planning, virtual environments, multi-body dynamics, motion capture, and real-time rendering and real-time visualization. A principal application of the SANTOS technology is the introduction of highly accurate human simulation early in system development, and well in advance of physical product construction, to optimize mechanical system design for ease of accessibility and maintenance, thereby yielding designs that are more easily serviced and for which system down-time and costs due to maintenance are substantially reduced.

The Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) at The University of Iowa is the result of a group of scientists with interests in the areas of global change and environmental sciences getting together in the Fall of 1988 to discuss the implications of global change. In November of 1989 the group hosted a symposium, Preparing for Climatic Changes: A Midwest Perspective. Subsequently a seminar series was formed and prominent speakers were invited to campus. In the Spring of 1990 the Board of Regents Environmental Research. CGRER promotes interdisciplinary efforts that focus on the multiple aspects of global environmental change, including the regional effects on natural ecosystems, environments, and resources, and on human health, culture and social systems. Center membership is composed of interested faculty members at any of Iowa's colleges and universities. Currently there are 50+ CGRER members.