Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

EL Highlights November 2015

EL Highlights November 2015

Return to Highlight page

Programmatic/Technical Accomplishment

NIST Team Members Recognized at Annual Smart Grid Interoperability Conference

At the annual conference of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP), held November 3-5in New Orleans, members of NIST's Smart Grid Team were active participants,giving presentations and receiving recognition. The conference featured talks by more than 70 thought leaders from across the electricity sector, representing utilities, manufacturers, and government agencies and labs.With several hundred attendees on hand, discussions focused on key issues involved in grid modernization and the convergence of the Smart Grid and Internet of Things.From NIST's Engineering Laboratory, Dr. Chris Greer spoke at a panel session titled "Smart Grid and IoT Unite," and Dr. David Wollman moderated a panel on "Management of the Grid."Gerald FitzPatrick, from NIST's Physical Measurement Laboratory, received an award recognizing his leadership over the past five years as chair of the Transmission and Distribution Domain Expert Working Group, Priority Action Plan (PAP) 08 (CIM/61850 for Distribution Grid Management), and PAP 12 (Mapping IEEE 1815 (DNP3) to IEC 61850).Dr. Allen Hefner, from NIST's Physical Measurement Laboratory, was recognized for his role as chair of PAP 07(DER/Electric Storage Interconnection & Object Model Standard).

The SGIP is an on profit organization that accelerates grid modernization and energy Internet of Things through policy, education, and promotion of interoperability and standards to empower customers and enable a secure and sustainable energy future.NIST established the organization in 2009 as a public-private partnership. In 2013, the SGIP fully transitioned to a nonprofit private-public partnership organization, SGIP 2.0,Inc., supported by industry stakeholder funding and funding provided through a cooperative agreement with NIST.SGIP's members include utilities, universities, manufacturers, regulators, service providers, consultants, associations, and government. More information about SGIP is available online at

Contacts: Chris Greer 301-975-5919, David Wollman 301-975-2433

EL Incorporates Infiltration Modeling into Commercial Building Energy Simulation

The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Ventilation Group (Engineering Laboratory) has developed new methods to incorporate airflow calculations into building energy calculations, which are more accurate than current approaches and easier to apply. The new method reflects known dependencies of infiltration (unintended airflow through the building envelope) on outdoor weather and heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system operation. To enable building energy modelers to easily incorporate the new method into their projects, a "plug-and-play "feature has been developed for the most widely used building energy simulation tool, EnergyPlus, using its graphical front end Open Studio. These features, called "Measures", are a set of programmatic instructions that makes parametric changes to a baseline energy model. The Measure developed by the IAQ & Ventilation Group is called "Adding infiltration correlated for weather and building characteristics".It replaces existing infiltration objects in a project file with objects that account for building height, exterior surface area, volume, system operation, and weather, most of which are already in the energy model. The user enters values for the system flow and schedule only. The Measure can be found within the Open Studio program or on the Building Component Library at The development of the method employed by the Measure is described in a recent article in the Energy and Buildings journal doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2014.11.078.

Contact: Lisa Ng,301-975-4853

EL Researchers File Patent on Environmentally Friendly Technology to Reduce Furniture Flammability

EL Fire Researchers Rick Davis and Yu-Chin Li submitted a US Patent Application (US 2015/0017856A1) on a flexible environmentally-friendly fire safe coating to reduce the flammability of flexible polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam is a major constituent of upholstered furniture - the first item ignited in many deadly residential fires.The researchers were able to achieve a 75% reduction in the peak heat release rate of full-scale furniture - a factor of three times better performance than commercial flammability reduction technologies currently in use in the United States. A description of this innovative technology is presented in a recent journal publication (

Contact: Rick Davis, 301-975-5901


NIST SBIR Phase II "Grasps" for Commercialization

EL researcher Joe Falco and the NIST Performance Assessment Framework for Robotic Systems project team are collaborating with California-based company SynTouch as part of an SBIR Phase II project with NIST. The goal of the SBIR project is to develop and commercialize a bio-inspired approach to tactile sensing in support of next-generation robot hand technologies for manufacturing environments. In their successful Phase I effort, SynTouch integrated a set of three distalphalanx BioTac tactile sensor systems onto a robotic hand, the Schunk Dexterous Hand (SDH), in place of the resident tactile sensing system. The BioTac system is a multi-modal tactile sensing system capable of resolving force in three dimensions, as well as detecting object slip, texture, and temperature.

For the Phase II effort, SynTouch is making significant progress in the commercialization of their new industrially-hardened BioTac-SP tactile sensor system that stemmed from this award. The developed sensor system( has been integrated with two anthropomorphic robotic hands, the Shadow Hand and the DLR Hand II (Wessling Robotics), and will soon be integrated onto the SDH II, a three-fingered robotic hand used in NIST research.

Phase II objectives include development and implementation of an industrial hardened set of BioTac sensors with higher force capabilities onto the distal phalanx region of the robotic hands, as well as implementation of SynTouch's new NumaTac contact sensors onto the proximal phalanx and palmar region of the NIST SDH. As part of this effort, SynTouch will work closely with Schunk to integrate their sensors with the SDH electronics and communications for increased control performance, as well as to implement reflexive control strategies. SynTouch will also collaborate with NIST to develop metrics, test methods, and associated artifacts to support grasp performance testing using the additional tactile sensing components.

Contact: Joe Falco 301-975-3455

EL Hosts ISO Technical Committee on Fire Safety

During the week of October 19, EL's Fire Research Division hosted the semi-annual meeting of ISO's Technical Committee on Fire Safety (TC92). The meeting brought hundreds of fire researchers from all over the world to NIST. NIST Fire researchers, including Dick Gann and Nathan Marsh, have been involved in the leadership of ISO TC92 for many years.

To reduce the costs of and losses from unwanted fires, the scientific basis for technically sound codes and standards are needed. There are few organizations in the world that are developing standards for fire safety engineering - ISO TC92 is one of them. International standards are important as they have a direct influence on international business competition. Standards that are technically sound and that address the proper fire behavior properties are (1) less likely to restrict exports of U.S. products unfairly and (2) more likely to ensure that imported products actually measure up to U.S. safety requirements. Sub-committees that are meeting include SC1 on Fire Initiation and Growth, SC2 on Fire Resistance, SC3 on Fire Thereat to People and the Environment, and SC4 on Fire Safety Engineering.

Contact: Anthony Hamins 301-975-6598 



EL Fire Modeling Software to be included in DOE's Safety Software Registry

The Department of Energy has decided to include EL Fire Research Division's Consolidated Model of Fire and Smoke Transport (CFAST) Version 6.2.0 (released by NIST in November 2011) as an approved toolbox code in the DOE Safety Software Central Registry. DOE maintains the list of Toolbox codes that have been evaluated against DOE's Software Quality Assurance requirements (SQA). The SQA process is intended to provide an enhanced level of assurance that software will perform its intended function and the results can be relied upon in critical applications. CFAST is one of the most heavily used fire models in the world and is extensively used within DOE for accident consequence analysis. CFAST Version 5.1.1 (released in 2004) underwent the DOE SQA in 2004 and is currently listed in DOE's Central Software Registry. CFAST is a two-zone model that calculates the evolving distribution of smoke, fire gases, and temperature throughout compartments of a building during a fire. CFAST was developed by NIST as a computer program that fire investigators, safety officials, engineers, architects and builders can use to simulate the impact of past or potential fires and smoke in a specific building environment.

Contact: Rick Peacock 301-975-6664



EL's Piotr Domanski Elected as President of the IIR Science and Technology Council

The General Conference of the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) re-elected Piotr Domanski of the Energy and Environment Division to serve as the 2015-2019 President of the Science and Technology Council. The election took place on August 17, 2015, in Yokohama, Japan, and coincided with the 24th International Congress of Refrigeration. The IIR is an intergovernmental organization with 58 member countries with the mission of promoting knowledge and disseminating information on refrigeration and associated technologies to address today's major issues, including protection of the environment and food safety. The Science and Technology Council, consisting of sixteen internationally recognized experts from twelve countries, coordinates scientific and technical activities of the IIR.

Contact: Piotr Domanski, 301-975-5877

EL Lead's IEEE P1872 Working Group to Receipt of Emerging Technology Award

The IEEE P1872 Working Group on Ontologies for Robotics and Automation, chaired by EL research Craig Schlenoff, was selected for the IEEE Emerging Technology Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize working groups that have initiated or advanced a new technology within the IEEE Standards Association open consensus process. The Working Group received this award in large part due to the recently-approved "Core Ontologies for Robotics and Automation" standard, which was the first standard issued by the Robotics and Automation Society, as well as one of the first ontology-based IEEE standards. The selection process for this award is very competitive, with only one recipient selected. The IEEE Standards Association Awards Ceremony will be held in December 2015, at which Craig will receive the award on behalf of the working group and give an acceptance speech.

Contact: Craig Schlenoff 301-975-3456

EL's Barnard Feeney Receives PDES, Inc., 2015 Brad Rigdon Technical Management Award

Allison Barnard Feeney was awarded the prestigious Brad Rigdon Technical Management award at PDES, Inc's recent fall offsite held in Albuquerque, NM. Barnard Feeney's management and leadership on the PDES, Inc. STEP Development project led to the significant landmark international standardization and publication of ISO 10303-242 -Managed model-based 3D engineering (more commonly known as STEP AP242). She also worked toward improved interoperability with the publication of AP242, exhibiting outstanding management and leadership to continue to drive the scope and standardization effort of working draft AP242, Edition 2, as well as leading a functional comparison/harmonization effort of AP242 and the Quality Information Framework.

Barnard Feeney exemplified leadership by example, and accelerated worldwide standards' progress by providing resources in critical areas of limited technical expertise. A particularly important aspect of the PDES, Inc. STEP Project is that she worked tirelessly to make the necessary major architectural changes to the concepts and standardization of the ISO 10303 (STEP) application protocols. The new STEP AP architecture will improve harmonization and encourage industry to use newer commercial tools and approaches currently in widespread use.

The Brad Rigdon Technical Management Award was established in honor of Brad Rigdon, former President and Chairman of the PDES, Inc. Executive Board. Since 1996, the annual award honors a PDES, Inc. technical team leader who has exhibited outstanding technical management or contributed significantly to a PDES, Inc. project.

Contact: Vijay Srinivasan 301-975-3508

EL's Srinivasan delivers keynote at Product Lifecycle Management International Conference

The International Conference on Product Lifecycle Management (IFIP PLM15) was jointly inaugurated by the Minister of Energy and Industry, H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada and President of Qatar University, Dr Hassan Rashid Al Derham, followed by Dr. Vijay Srinivasan of NIST. Srinivasan delivered the keynote address on 'Product Lifecycle Management in an Era of Manufacturing Innovation.' The event is an annual technical conference, whose 12th edition was held at Doha, Qatar October 19-21, 2015. The conference is part of the activities of the International Federation of Information Processing Working Group 5.1 (IFIP/WG 5.1) that deals with 'Global Product Development for the Whole Life-cycle.' There was considerable interest in the manufacturing innovation initiatives in the U.S.A. and, in particular, about the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (NNMII). The attendees wanted to know more about the technical topics addressed by the NNMII, and the process of establishing these institutes. About 150 researchers attended the conference and about 75 papers were presented.

Contact: Vijay Srinivasan 301-975-3508

EL Fire Researchers receive 2015 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal

The 2015 Fire Protection Research Foundation Medal was awarded to its Cooking Fire Mitigation Technologies Project. The award goes to a project completed in the prior year that best exemplifies the Foundation's fire safety mission and collaborative approach to execution that has overcome significant technical challenges. The results from this project were cited by the American Home Appliance Manufacturers in their draft standard, UL 858, on mitigation of electrical stove-top cooking fires. The award was formally announced at the June 2015 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Annual Meeting. The award is for the project and recognizes all its contributors – sponsors, project panel, and contractors including three EL fire researchers (Johnsson, Madrzykowski, and Hamins), who made significant contributions to the project. Cooking fires represent about 25% of fires in the USA and stove-top fires represent a majority of cooking fires. Work from this project supported the establishment of a new UL standard on electric stoves that addresses cooktop fires.

Contact: Anthony Hamins 301-975-6598

EL's Mensch to Receive ASME's 2015 Warren M. Rohsenow Prize

EL's Amy Mensch of the Fire Research Division was selected for the 2015 Warren M. Rohsenow Prize for the best presentation at a Technical Session on heat transfer in gas turbine systems by the Heat Transfer Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The award will be presented at the International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE) in Houston in November 2015. IMCE is the largest interdisciplinary mechanical engineering conference in the world. Dr. Mensch's research was on simulating multiphase particle deposition on a gas turbine endwall considering impingement and film cooling. Particle deposition is important as it impacts the performance of a turbine's cooling system. The work was conducted as part of Dr. Mensch's dissertation studies and was sponsored by DOE

Contact: Amy Mensch 301-975-6714

Created February 12, 2016, Updated September 21, 2016