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Category: Publications: Engineer Research & Development Center (ERDC)
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  • Vehicle Modeling in Unreal Engine 4

    Abstract: Vehicle modeling software has presented considerable challenges in properly representing vehicle mobility in extreme conditions. We have recently been developing new vehicle models and scenes in Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is best known as a video game creation platform focused on graphics and has relatively few options for real world accurate physics modeling. UE4 allows for lots of customization internally or via supplemental C++ code, so this can be mitigated by the addition of various functions to account for different situations a vehicle might be in. We have successfully implemented the following: accurately functioning wheeled vehicles, tracked vehicles, and created simulated and real world environments, downloaded through Geowatch heightmaps. Each environment can have various terrain conditions including soil, rock, snow, and sand applied across its surface. Modeling snow in these environments is of particular interest and recent motion resistance and sinkage models have been integrated into the software to affect graphics and vehicle performance. This new model for vehicle mobility offers an opportunity to improve the physics and graphics of differing terrains especially for winter conditions. The new model also allows for features to be updated and added with ease in the future.
  • Toxic Industrial Chemical / Material Intelligence Tool (TICMINT) User Guide

    Abstract: The Toxic Industrial Chemical / Material Intelligence Tool (TICMINT) is a web application that provides critical chemical and toxicological information to users quickly and efficiently for the purpose of enacting safe maneuvers in areas of operations. It provides an in-depth look at the makeup, properties, and hazardous effects of nearly 400 toxic chemicals of interest. It also provides background on the chemical makeup of a bevy of building materials, enabling soldiers in areas of operation to determine the toxicological risks associated with the combustion of those materials in their environment. This document’s purpose is to demonstrate the functionality of the TICMINT web application and provide instructional material for those managing its content.
  • Total Water Level Controls on the Trajectory of Dune Toe Retreat

    Abstract: This study examines the trajectory (slope) of coastal foredune toe retreat in response to nine storm events that impacted the Outer Banks, North Carolina, USA. High resolution, three-dimensional, repeat mobile terrestrial lidar observations over a four kilometer stretch of coast were used to assess spatiotemporal beach and dune evolution at the storm timescale. Consistent with existing field observations from other sandy coastlines, an upward toe retreat was observed for most instances of dune retreat in the Outer Banks. However, these new topographic data indicate that the retreat can proceed steeply downward when the maximum total water level (TWL) defined by the 2% runup exceedance level is not high enough, for long enough, to erode the dune face. Non-linear relationships were found between the dune toe retreat trajectory as well as both the magnitude and duration of TWL above the dune toe, where instances of upward- and downward-directed retreat are best differentiated using the 7% runup exceedance level, rather than the commonly used 2% level. This physically justified non-linear relationship is shown to be consistent with observations from other studies, and could be a more effective parameterization for the retreat trajectory than those currently implemented in wave-impact dune erosion models.
  • Discover ERDC 101 and 201 Training Modules User’s Guide

    Abstract: Discover ERDC is a web-based tool that functions as a knowledge management hub by enabling employees of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to access valuable resources such as detailed employee profiles, organizational details, and links to other knowledge stores. This document covers the update of the ERDC 101 and 201 video player systems, the addition of a training component to those modules, and the integration of the systems into Discover ERDC. The updated video systems contain a collection of onboarding video presentations that give new employees critical information about their careers at ERDC. In addition, Discover ERDC 101 and 201 provide progress-tracking mechanics for asynchronous learning, as well as the ability to certify that employees have completed the training modules. This document serves as a user guide for these tools, providing an overview of the content and functionality.
  • Investigation of Steam Adsorption Chillers to Modernize Existing Central Steam Plant Systems

    Abstract: This report investigates the integration of steam adsorption chillers as a modernization strategy for conventional central steam plant systems. Our objective is to assess the feasibility, advantages, and challenges of incorporating steam adsorption chillers into existing steam plant setups to enhance energy efficiency and cooling capabilities. Central steam plant systems have historically been used for steam-based heating but often lack cooling capabilities, necessitating additional cooling infrastructure. Steam adsorption chillers offer a potential solution by using waste steam for cooling, optimizing energy utilization and reducing reliance on traditional cooling methods. Through a comprehensive analysis, this report evaluates the technical compatibility and potential cost implications of implementing steam adsorption chillers. It explores factors such as system integration, operational dynamics, and maintenance requirements to provide a holistic view of the feasibility and benefits of this modernization approach. The findings aim to offer valuable insights to decision-makers and Army facility managers seeking innovative ways to upgrade central steam plant systems. By considering the technical and economic aspects of adopting steam adsorption chillers, this report contributes to the knowledge base for sustainable and efficient energy utilization in central plant operations.
  • Rotorcraft Resupply Site Selection (RRSS) v1.0 and the USACE Model Interface Platform (UMIP): Documentation and User’s Guide

    Abstract: This research effort aimed to create an operational prototype of the Geomorphic Oscillation Assessment Tool (GOAT) v1.0, developed by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, as a part of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Model Interface Platform (UMIP). This platform is a web-based software that allows for easy and rapid construction and deployment of spatial planning and analysis capabilities. The prototype tool in UMIP represents the science embedded in GOAT while providing a user-friendly interface for interaction and spatially referenced result viewing. It also includes user access control, data storage, and integration with a long-term data management system, enabling users to access, share, and interrogate past analyses through profile management and result persistence. The prototype tool incorporates surface roughness into terrain suitability assessment tools used in the forward arming and refueling point (FARP) site-selection process.
  • Internal Standard and Deuterated Solvent Selection: A Crucial Step in PFAS-based Fluorine-19 (¹⁹F) NMR Research

    Purpose: This work is vital because it provides researchers with a framework and rationale for selecting the best internal standard and deuterated solvent for their nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)-based compounds. Selecting the best internal standard and deuterated solvent will help to ensure that their results are accurate, precise, and sensitive. The internal standard that is chosen can significantly affect the accuracy, precision, sensitivity, and quantification of NMR measurements. Therefore, it is essential to carefully select an internal standard and a matching deuterated solvent that are well-suited for analyzing PFAS compounds.
  • Advancing Engineering With Nature Initiatives in Point Hope, Alaska

    Purpose: Growing environmental risk threatens communities in cold regions, particularly as climate change contributes to permafrost thaw, a reduction in sea-ice extent, and some of the largest rates of coastal erosion on earth. In the context of these significant and growing risks, the Engineering With Nature® (EWN®) program formed its cold regions work unit in 2021 to explore the potential to apply EWN approaches in these areas to mitigate environmental risk while supporting resilient outcomes. The work unit’s objectives include working with communities to preserve the natural environment and traditions, advancing the work unit’s understanding of cold-region environments, and providing guidance on the implementation of natural and nature-based features (NNBF) and EWN in cold regions to increase resilience. This technical note (TN) provides an overview of the EWN in cold regions technical approach as applied to Point Hope, Alaska, which includes community engagement, the integration of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) throughout the project, and the development of cold-regions-specific knowledge and tools.
  • AI on Digital Twin of Facility Captured by Reality Scans

    Abstract: The power of artificial intelligence (AI) coupled with optimization algorithms can be linked to data-rich digital twin models to perform predictive analysis to make better informed decisions about installation operations and quality of life for the warfighters. In the current research, we developed AI connected lifecycle building information models through the creation of a data informed smart digital twin of one of US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) buildings as our test case. Digital twin (DT) technology involves creating a virtual representation of a physical entity. Digital twin is created by digitalizing data collected through sensors, powered by machine learning (ML) algorithms, and are continuously learning systems. The exponential advance in digital technologies enables facility spaces to be fully and richly modeled in three dimensions and can be brought together in virtual space. Coupled with advancement in reinforcement learning and computer graphics enables AI agents to learn visual navigation and interaction with objects. We have used Habitat AI 2.0 to train an embodied agent in immersive 3D photorealistic environment. The embodied agent interacts with a 3D environment by receiving RGB, depth and semantically segmented views of the environment and taking navigational actions and interacts with the objects in the 3D space. Instead of training the robots in physical world we are training embodied agents in simulated 3D space. While humans are superior at critical thinking, creativity, and managing people, whereas robots are superior at coping with harsh environments and performing highly repetitive work. Training robots in controlled simulated world is faster and can increase their surveillance, reliability, efficiency, and survivability in physical space.
  • Environmental Monitoring of Munitions Constituents During a Demonstration of the Underwater Cut-and-Capture System Demilitarization Technology

    PURPOSE: The presence of underwater military munitions (UWMM) in aquatic environments may present explosive blast risks and potentially affect the environment because of the release of munitions constituents (MC). Therefore, in situ demilitarization of UWMM is highly desirable. This technical note presents the results of environmental monitoring measuring water and sediment contamination resulting from the demonstration of an in situ technology that uses high-pressure water jets to render UWMM safe.