Robot Engineers – A Dream or a Nightmare?

by Barbara Shea on Dec 14, 2017 12:05:44 PM

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the profession that is creating all the robots was eventually replaced by them? It could happen. Engineering is all about applying laws, measurements, facts, and analysis to solve a problem. Dealing with these finite things is exactly what robots do WAY better than people.


Can you really get something for nearly nothing? In many cases, a properly-designed compressor casing treatment can extend compressor operating range without having to pay an appreciable efficiency penalty. Major automotive turbocharger OEMs have been leading this design effort for years and have successfully gained compressor operating range increase on both sides of the compressor (pressure versus flow) map. In most cases, the range increase has outweighed any efficiency penalty and best of all, these so-called “ported shroud” designs are naturally uncomplicated to implement, meaning that incremental cost is low.

Vibration and Resonance Issues in Turbomachines

by Arsalan Adil on Nov 29, 2017 3:09:18 PM

Structural vibration is a natural phenomenon exhibited by all structures, by virtue of simply possessing mass and having an associated structural stiffness. Thus, any structure or assembly of structures, with a mass attribution, will possess some structural stiffness. This stiffness will characterize the vibrational response of the structure, depending on the type of boundary conditions constraining the structure. For complex structural configurations, this vibrational response can be determined by numerical techniques, such as the finite element method, which allows calculation of the natural frequencies of vibration of the structure and the respective mode shapes of vibration associated with each of these natural frequencies.


How did I get from not knowing (or caring) anything about home-built aircraft to owning a gas turbine powered helicopter? As you might imagine, it’s complicated.

Ground Source Heat Energy Storage for Power Generation

by Francis A. Di Bella, P.E. on Nov 15, 2017 3:28:25 PM

Have you ever been to the beach on a very hot day? Then I am sure you noticed that the sand is very, very hot, uncomfortably so. Congratulations, you have had first-hand experience with ground source energy storage! Now, as you were hopping across the burning sands, seeking out tufts of grass to cool your burning feet, did you ever wonder how to harness the energy stored in the sand? I have, because it’s too hot for me to read on the beach and sand is a great place to draw diagrams and write equations.


The Value of Visualizing Velocity Vectors

by Mark R. Anderson on Nov 9, 2017 11:12:39 AM

Beyond being a fun tongue twister, visualizing the velocity vectors is probably the most useful and intuitive information available in turbomachinery design. Many fundamental parameters can be gleaned directly from these triangles. These include: flow coefficient, work coefficient, stage reaction, de Haller number, diffusion factor, and diffusion ratio, to name just a few. A great many design rules are predicated on these parameters in the initial design process, which is generally geared to target velocities as the starting point, rather than a predetermined geometry.


Who has not dreamed of living on an island? You’re getting away from it all, walking alone along a secluded beach, as the ocean gently laps at shore…ahhhh. Excuse me – I have to go search for vacation packages!


OK, I’m back. Ironically, the very thing that attracts people to islands is the same thing that makes them a nightmare to live on when disasters strike - being “cut off” from the mainland. A recent example is Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria roared through with 190 mph winds that completely wiped out the power across the island. Well over a month later, most of the island is still without power and clean drinking water is in short supply. It will take years for the island to recover.


Getting to the Root Cause of a Catastrophic Impeller Failure

by George C. Zitka, P.E. on Oct 27, 2017 10:00:38 AM

Finding the root cause of a failure by narrowing down multiple overlaid symptoms can be a long and tedious process—and very often the true underlying problem is not what one might expect by a casual examination of the symptoms. That was the potential difficulty a customer of ours wanted to avoid when they investigated the catastrophic failure of a super-critical, feed-water pump used for a powerplant boiler.

Off-Highway Turbochargers

by Dr. Nicholas C. Baines on Oct 20, 2017 9:57:27 AM

The turbocharger is a very mature device that has been refined over the past 100+ years to achieve the right compromise between competing requirements. Efficiency, boost pressure, and range are all important goals, but so are low inertia to combat turbo lag, and low cost for commercial success. For off-highway vehicles, durability and service life are also important. These vehicles often operate over extreme load cycles and in very dusty conditions. In some circumstances, foreign object damage and blade fatigue may be life-limiting for the turbocharger. Turbocharger manufacturers in this space have focused on getting the right balance of these factors rather than maximizing any single parameter, and designers know that further gains in one area come at a cost to the others.


Full Disclosure on Non-Disclosure Agreements

by Bradley C. Leiser on Oct 13, 2017 9:41:21 AM

If you are working in a technical field as an engineer, and odds are you do, if you are reading this blog, then you have almost certainly come across a few Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). You have probably been asked to sign one or have asked someone to sign one. NDAs are not, by any means, restricted to the technical world, but their close tie to patents and patent applications make them very commonplace in our field of turbomachinery. In this blog, I’ll briefly dissect the anatomy of NDAs, explain their dual purpose, and share a few pitfalls to watch out for as well.

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