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Pulsed Power and Energy Lab

The Pulsed Power and Energy Laboratory has interest in studying pulsed power sources and loads, high voltage dielectric breakdown, electrochemical energy storage, mechanical energy storage, electric power delivery systems, microgrids, and power electronics. Established in 2010, the PPEL has specialized in supporting US Department of Defense agencies and their contractors in the research areas listed. The lab has graduated nineteen students since 2010, is ITAR compliant, and is flexible in its ability to work with federal and industrial partners.

Personnel

  • David A. Wetz Jr., Ph.D., Director
  • Greg K. Turner, Ph.D., Co-Director

Current Students

  • Alexander Johnston (Ph.D.)
  • Zachary Bailey (Ph.D.)
  • Hayden Atchison (M.S.)
  • Cameron Johnston (Undergraduate Research Assistant)

Alumni

Ph.D. 

  • Biju Shrestha (Biju Energy Pvt. Ltd.)
  • Peter Novak (US Patent and Trademark Office)
  • Anthony Matasso (Lockheed Martin)
  • Gregory Turner (UT Arlington EE Department)
  • Clint Gnegy-Davidson (Raytheon)
  • Isaac Cohen (Radiance Technologies)
  • David Dodson (EControls)
  • Brian McRee (General Atomics)
  • Charles Nybeck (Megger)
  • Jacob Sanchez (Leidos)
  • Caroline Westenhover (Raytheon)
  • Derek Wong (SF Motors Inc.)

Master's

  • Matthew Martin (EControls)
  • James Reed (Carstens & Cahoon, LLP)
  • Christopher Williams (Lockheed Martin)
  • Simon Donahue (Thousand Eyes)
  • Travis Least (CRB)
  • Christopher Martinez
  • Jay Kelley

Publications and Associated Presentations

Current Research

  • Grant sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) entitled, ‘Design and Study of an Intelligently Controlled Power System Deploying AC and DC Power Sources and Transiently Operated AC and DC Loads’ (March 2018 – March 2020)
    - This work’s aim is to model and validate a zonal shipboard architecture utilizing physical hardware that is extended using a hardware in the loop (HIL) testbed. A roughly 300 kW experimental testbed is setup integrating rotational generation sources, energy storage, and emulated transient electrical loads.
  • Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) sub-contract award from Scimitar Technologies, LLC. entitled, ‘Energy Storage Enclosure Technologies for High Density Devices.’ The SBIR is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR). (December 2017 – December 2019)
    - This work’s aim is to develop new lightweight and robust energy storage enclosure technologies and outfit them with full energy storage and power electronics required to meet Marine Corps expeditionary requirements
  • Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) sub-contract award from Luna Innovations, LLC. entitled, ‘Universal Non-Intrusive Battery Monitoring and Failure Prediction System.’ The SBIR is sponsored by the U.S. Office of the Naval Research. (February 2018 – March 2020)
    - This work’s aim is to develop and study new thermal measurement techniques that can be used on electrochemical energy storage systems operated at high rates.
  • Grant sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) entitled, ‘Electrochemical Prime Power Supply for a Repetitively Operated High Power Marx Generator.’ (September 2017 – August 2020)
    - This works aim is to assist the Navy in the characterization and sizing of a prime power supply for a high power Marx generator that will operate at high repetition rate. The project is unique in that it has a very small footprint requirement, requires low energy, and very high power.
  • Grant sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) entitled, ‘Experimental and Hardware-in-the-loop Verification of Optimal and Reliable Control Methods for a Hybrid AC/DC Power Distribution Network.’ (August 2018 – October 2021)
    Drs. Ramtin Madani and Ali Davoudi, both of the UTA EE Department, are Co-PIs on this effort
    - This works aim is to demonstrate the use of novel control strategies in the deployment of a power system utilizing distributed generation sources and loads operating at 480 VAC, 4160 VAC, 1 kVDC, 6 kVDC, and 12 kVDC.
    - System stability is being demonstrated using a new formal method verification technique and architecture parameter optimization is being performed using a new GPU solver
  • Grant sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) entitled, ‘Study of Lithium-Titanate-Oxide (LTO) Batteries under High Charge/Discharge Rates.’ (December 2018 – December 2019)
    - This works aim is to assist the Navy in the evaluation of lithium-titanate-oxide batteries for use in high rate directed energy platforms.
  • Grant sponsored by General Technical Services (GTS) entitled, ‘Prime Power for the Army’s Directed Energy (DE) Applications.’ (June 2019 – June 2020)
    - This works aim is to assisting the US Army (through GTS as a support contractor) with development of tools needed to optimize battery sizing for a host of ongoing directed energy applications
  • Grant sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) entitled, ‘Electrical Dielectric Breakdown of Insulators Used in High Energy Pulsed Power Systems.’ (September 2019 – September 2021)
    - This works aim is to study the affect of pollution and environmental factors on the dielectric surface flashover potential of polymer insulators.

Recent Publications

  • D.A. Wetz, M.J. Martin, C.L. Williams, K.D. Mckinzie, I.J. Cohen, C.G. Gnegy-Davidson, and J.M. Heinzel, Design of 1000 V Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) and Lithium-Iron-Phosphate Lithium-Ion (LFP-LI) Battery Test Beds for Driving High Rate, Pulsed Loads, Naval Engineers Journal, Vol. 129, No. 3, September 2017, pp. 99 – 108.
  • B.M. Huhman, J. M. Heinzel, L. Mili, C. T. Love, D.A. Wetz, ‘Investigation into State-of-Health Impedance Diagnostic for 26650 4P1S Battery Packs,’ Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Vol. 164, pp. A6401-A641, 2017.
  • D. Anthony, D.N. Wong, D.A. Wetz, and A. Jain, ‘Improved Thermal Performance of a Li-ion Cell Through Heat Pipe Insertion,’ Journal of The Electrochemical Society, Vol. 164, No. 6, A1 – A7, 2017.
  • D. Anthony, D.N. Wong, D.A. Wetz, and A. Jain, ‘Non-Invasive Measurement of Internal Temperature of a Li-ion Cell During High-Rate Discharge,’ International Journal of Mass and Heat Transfer, Vol 111, pp. 223 – 231, 2017.
  • C. G. Gnegy-Davidson, D. A. Wetz, D. Wong, and D.J. Horton, ‘The Effect of Saltwater Corrosion on Copper Alloy Rail Claddings in a Small Railgun,’ IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. 45, No. 7.
  • C. G. Gnegy-Davidson, D. A. Wetz, and D. Wong, ‘Impact of Corroded Copper Rails on the Performance of a Miniature Electromagnetic Launcher,’ IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. 45, No. 7.
  • J.M. Heinzel, D.A. Wetz, B.M. Huhman, C.S. Westenhover, M.J. Martin, and C.G. Gnegy-Davidson, ‘Evaluations of Cell Parallelization Effects in High Power Batteries Utilized for Directed Energy Weapons and Electric Guns,’ Naval Engineers Journal, Vol. 129, No. 3, September 2017, pp. 125-134.
  • I.J. Cohen, and D.A Wetz, ‘Fuzzy logic control of a hybrid energy storage module for use as a high rate prime power supply,’ IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, Vol. 24, No. 6, pp. 3887 – 3893, December 2017
  • B.J. McRee, D.A. Wetz, D.A. Dodson, and J.M. Heinzel, ‘Hardware in the Loop (HIL) Model Validation of Charging Capacitors with Multi-Pulse Rectifiers for Shipboard Pulsed DC Loads,’ IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. 46, No. 10, pp. 3438 - 3443, May 2018.
  • C. Nybeck, D.A. Wetz, D.A. Dodson, and J.M. Heinzel, ‘Investigation of the Dielectric Breakdown Strength of Vented Li-Ion Electrolyte,’ IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. 46, No. 10, pp. 3591 - 3598, May 2018.
  • C. Nybeck, D.A. Wetz, D.A. Dodson, and J.M. Heinzel, ‘Characterization of Ultracapacitors for Transient Load Applications,’ IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. 47, No. 5, pp. 2493 – 2499, May 2019.
  • D.A. Dodson, J.L. Sanchez, and D.A. Wetz, ‘Design and Evaluation of a 1000 V Lithium-Ion Battery,’ submitted for publication to the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Journal, pending review.
  • C.S. Westenhover, D.A. Dodson, and D.A. Wetz, ‘Current Sharing in Multi-Parallel Cell Batteries,’ submitted for publication to the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Journal, pending review.
  • J.L. Sanchez, B.J. McRee, and D.A. Wetz, ‘Hybrid Energy Storage Module Utilizing Hardware-in-the-Loop Emulated Distributed Generation,’ submitted for publication to the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Journal, pending review.
  • B.M. Huhman, J. M. Heinzel, L. Mili, and D.A. Wetz, ‘Parallel-Cell Current Sharing and its Effect on the Expected Lifetime of a Battery Pack for Directed Energy Systems,’ Proceedings of the 2017 Technology, Systems, & Ships (TSS) Symposium, Arlington, Virginia, February 14 – 16, 2017.
  • B.J. McRee, D.A. Dodson, D.A. Wetz, and J.M. Heinzel, ‘Model Validation of Multi-Pulse Rectifiers for Charging Capacitors,’ Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE Electric Ship Technologies Symposium (ESTS), August 15 – 17, 2017, Crystal City, Virginia, pp. 367 – 371. (Oral Presentation)
  • J.L. Sanchez, D.A. Wetz, and Q. Dong, and J.M. Heinzel, ‘Integration and Study of Hardware in the Loop Diesel Generator with a Hybrid Energy Storage Module for Naval Applications,’ Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE Electric Ship Technologies Symposium (ESTS), August 15 – 17, 2017, Crystal City, Virginia, pp. 580 – 585. (Oral Presentation)
  • C.S. Westenhover, D.A. Wetz, M.J. Martin, G.G. Gnegy-Davidson, D.A. Dodson, and J.M. Heinzel, ‘Current Sharing in Parallel Cell Batteries Cycled at High C Rates,’ Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE Electric Ship Technologies Symposium (ESTS), August 15 – 17, 2017, Crystal City, Virginia, pp. 586 – 591. (Oral Presentation)
  • B.M. Huhman, D.A. Wetz, and D.A. Dodson, ‘A Battery-Powered, 60-kJ, 6-RPS Rep-Rate Pulsed Power System,’ 2017 IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference, June 18 – 22, 2017, Brighton, UK (Poster Presentation).
  • B.J. McRee, D.A. Dodson, D.A. Wetz, and A.N. Johnston, ‘Utilization of Power Hardware-in-the-Loop to Study Power Conversion Topologies and Control in Distributed Generation Power Systems,’ Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE Electric Ship Technologies Symposium (ESTS), August 14 – 17, 2019, Arlington, Virginia. (Poster Presentation)
  • A.N. Johnston, D.A. Dodson, B.J. Mcree, D.A. Wetz, J.L. Sanchez, and J.M. Heinzel, ‘Design and Commissioning of a Medium Voltage Testbed Deploying Transient Loads,’ Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE Pulsed Power and Plasma Sciences Conference, June 23 – 28, 2019, Orlando, Florida. (Poster Presentation)
  • C.F. Martinez, J.L. Sanchez, D.A. Wetz, and D.A. Dodson, ‘Fast Recharge of High Voltage Capacitors,’ Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE Pulsed Power and Plasma Sciences Conference, June 23 – 28, 2019, Orlando, Florida. (Poster Presentation)
  • C.F. Martinez, J.L. Sanchez, D.A. Wetz, and B.J. McRee, ‘Measurement of Diode Reverse Recovery Losses as a Function of Switching Frequency,’ Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE Pulsed Power and Plasma Sciences Conference, June 23 – 28, 2019, Orlando, Florida. (Poster Presentation)
  • C.N. Nybeck, D.A. Wetz, D.A. Dodson, A.N. Johnston, and J.M. Heinzel, ‘Transient Loading of Ultracapacitors,’ Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE Pulsed Power and Plasma Sciences Conference, June 23 – 28, 2019, Orlando, Florida. (Oral Presentation)
  • A.N. Johnston, C.N. Nybeck, and D.A. Wetz, ‘Transient Loading of Ultracapacitors,’ Proceedings of the 2019 Pacific Symposium on Pulsed Power Science and Applications, August 6 – 9, 2019, Kauai, Hawaii. (Oral Presentation)
  • A.N. Johnston, D.A. Dodson, B.J. Mcree, D.A. Wetz, G.K. Turner, and J.L. Sanchez, ‘Design and Commissioning of a Medium Voltage Testbed Deploying Transient Loads,’ Proceedings of the 2019 Pacific Symposium on Pulsed Power Science and Applications, August 6 – 9, 2019, Kauai, Hawaii. (Oral Presentation)
  • A.N. Johnston, D.A. Wetz, R. Madani, A. Davoudi, G.K. Turner, D.A. Dodson, B.J. McRee, Z. Bailey, J.M. Heinzel, M. Giuliano, and C.M. Schegan, ‘Mitigating Transient Loads in Medium-Voltage Direct Current Microgrids,’ Abstract submitted to the 2020 American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Advanced Machinery Technology Symposium (AMTS), April 1 – 2, 2020, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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