Paul V. Quinn, Sr.
Paul V. Quinn, Sr.
Dr. Paul V. Quinn Sr. is a computational physicist formally trained in the fields of thermodynamic, statistical mechanics, and granular flows. Being a computational physicist requires the use of theoretical modeling skills, as well as experimental data analysis skills. Theoretical knowledge of the system being modeled is necessary to ensure that programs built to simulate these system are accurate, producing results as close to what is observed in nature as possible. Once the computer simulation is run, experimental skills are need to properly collect the data being produced, and extract the information necessary to test your theoretical model. All of this requires a skilled understanding of computer coding and simulation.
Dr. Quinn has continued conducting research in the field of granular materials, modeling the various granular flows and trying to determine when they exhibit fluid like properties as opposed to the solid properties most common with grains. A publication on this material is listed below. Currently, Dr. Quinn has expanded his research to include actual experiments designed to match the theoretical predictions as well as the computational results of these granular systems. One such experiment, involves looking at the angle of repose of a cylindrical column of sand due to various flow patterns in the sand that occur when the column is vibrated. The overall goal is to determine how multiple variables such as vibrational frequency, and cylindrical radius of the system effect the maximum angle of repose. This research has relevance to understanding avalanche flows in nature as well as the effects of liquefaction in sands and other sediments caused by vibrations in the Earth.
Dr. Quinn is also involved in a project designed to study, measure, simulate, and characterize the performance of photo-voltaic solar cells under extreme temperature conditions (-321 oF to 305 oF). The use of solar cells has continued to increase at a nearly exponential rate since their early incorporation into the space program. The overall worldwide capacity of photo-voltaic solar cells topped 175 Gigawatts in 2014. The use of solar cells in space subjects the cells to harsh environmental conditions which eventually degrade the performance and lifetime of solar cells. This research project focuses on characterizing the power output of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells subjected to harsh environmental conditions simulated in the lab. The results will be used to develop a theoretical model to simulate the change in solar cell properties at an atomic scale. These results coupled with the theoretical modeling will help organizations such as NASA and device engineers to better understand the impact of harsh environmental conditions on solar cells and possibly contribute to improving their performance.
One other project of interest conducted by Dr. Quinn is the design and manufacturing of a cooking apparatus used to increase the volume of popped popcorn. A publication on this material is listed below. Popcorn is an extremely popular snack food in the world today. Thermodynamics can be used to analyze how popcorn is produced. By treating the popping mechanism of the corn as a thermodynamic expansion, a method of increasing the volume or size of a kernel of popcorn can be studied. By lowering the pressure surrounding the unpopped kernel, one can use a thermodynamic argument to show that the expanded volume of the kernel when it pops must increase. In this project, a variety of experiments have been run to test the qualitative validity of this theory. The results show that there is a significant increase in the average kernel size when the pressure of the surroundings is reduced.