SpinOffs

   

The Wright Stuff for Turbomachinery

by Dr. David Schowalter on Dec 14, 2018 9:17:41 AM

As an engineer, you probably have at least some familiarity with the story of how two bicycle mechanics, named Orville and Wilbur Wright, invented controlled-powered flying machines at Kitty Hawk, NC. While I knew the basic story, I learned a lot more reading David McCullough’s book “The Wright Brothers,” which, I highly recommend. I could not help but make the connections to what we, in the turbomachinery industry, owe to these dedicated and industrious brothers. Their groundbreaking flight, pictured below, on December 17, 1903,  is often cited as the birth of modern aviation.

Gas Turbine Automobiles - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

by Francis A. Di Bella, P.E. on Nov 2, 2018 9:58:38 AM

Credit for the first gas turbine engine used in flight is given to Dr. Frank Whittle.  Dr. Whittle maintained a steadfast commitment to developing gas turbine-powered aircraft in the midst of World War II when England was being attacked by Germany’s conventional aircraft bombers. While the gas turbine aircraft wasn’t developed early enough to impact WW ll, the interest in increasing the speed of aircraft continued to spur development for use in commercial as well as military planes. The advancements in gas turbines, combined with rapid advances in several technologies, including rocketry, computers and material sciences, contributed to the dawn of the Space Age.

Extending the Operating Range of Centrifugal Compressors

by Adam Weaver on Sep 28, 2018 10:36:51 AM

Extending the operating range of centrifugal compressors has been a highly sought-after goal for several decades. In fact, the potential benefits have motivated researchers to develop and put into practice many pieces of technology, including full span inlet guide vanes (IGV’s), complex multistage systems with interstage bleed, passive casing treatment, and many others.

Yellow Ropes

by Jim Miller on Aug 17, 2018 9:36:45 AM

In the mid 1980’s, while serving in the Canadian Air Force, I had the good fortune, on one of my many adventures, to fly into Sondrestrom Air Base in Greenland. The Base is at the head of a beautiful fjord, so the scenery during the flight to Sondrestrom was magnificent. We arrived in the early summer on a beautiful clear day. I got out of the plane and wandered around the base while the aircraft was being serviced. One feature that caught my eye was all of the bright yellow ropes and stanchions that were strung from building to building. I couldn’t figure out what they were for, so I stopped one of the locals and asked, “Why the Yellow Ropes?”  Now, for those who are not students of the geography of Greenland, Sondrestrom is north of the Arctic Circle, and, apparently, the weather is not always as bright and clear as it was that day! As a matter of fact, one of the meteorological phenomena in the area was virtually instantaneous whiteouts, caused by snowstorms funneling up the fjord. Several people had been caught out between buildings and become disoriented during a blinding storm, a dangerous thing during the long darkness of winter. To eliminate this danger, they had put up the yellow ropes to safely guide people to their destination.

Avoiding the "Bad Day" in Aerospace

by Francis A. Di Bella, P.E. on Jul 6, 2018 9:17:04 AM

The AS9100 Certification identifies companies who have qualified to manufacture products for the Aerospace Industry.  Manufacturers who meet the extensive requirements of the AS9100 Certification have committed to maintaining quality assurances that ensure that their products are engineered, manufactured and maintained to provide the aerospace customer with a quality product. 

What Is Pogo and Why Is It Bad For Rockets?

by Kerry Oliphant on Jun 28, 2018 5:21:25 PM

Space launch vehicles can exhibit self-excited longitudinal oscillations, also known as “Pogo” — so named because the phenomenon vibrates the rocket up and down in a manner similar to bouncing on a pogo stick. The vibrations severely impair the astronauts’ ability to pilot or respond to emergencies and can cause structural failure of the vehicle. NASA first became aware of the disastrous consequences from Pogo during the Gemini-Titan program. The issue continued to plague the agency through the Saturn V Moon launch missions.

What is a Consortium, and Why Would You Join One?

by Dr. David Schowalter on Mar 16, 2018 11:14:20 AM

Merriam-Webster’s definition is, “an agreement, combination, or group (as of companies) formed to undertake an enterprise beyond the resources of any one member.”  The word is Latin, derived from “con” (together) and “sors” (fate).  In commercial industries that rely on technology development, a consortium can be a way to share the cost of research and development among several companies that would benefit from the resulting technology. Consortia can also be commercial in nature.  One example would be the company, Airbus, which was originally a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers. It eventually evolved into a standalone company, Airbus, SAS. 

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