While our team is always making progress, it is nice to see physical results. On Saturday, April 24th, the LPRD team took to the banks of the Mississippi to do a water simulated kerosene cold test. For those of us who see the words “water simulated kerosene cold test” and need a dictionary and a few rocket science manuals, suffice to say that it is a pressure test for our partially-constructed engine.
Getting ready for the test
Unfortunately, the pressure test revealed some problems the LPRD team has to deal with. Firstly, there weren’t enough connectors to use oxygen and full pressure. Also, leaking occurred in some of the lines. Lines were not the only victims of leakage; pressure relief valves also showed signs of leaking. These are all pressing problems that the team must devise solutions for before the engine will be ready for further testing. Luckily, we were able to run a liquid flow test through the injector spray nozzle, video of which can be found here!
No caption necessary.
At Sunday’s meeting, the entire team underwent an administrative overhaul. Collectively, we wish to increase communication between sub-teams. We also want to enumerate goals for each of the sub-teams, so that every sub-team has clear paths and clear goals. In the future, sub-teams will have to take meeting minutes; this will allow other sub-teams to follow the progress of the team as a whole. This will also make the job easier for the resident reporter (yours truly), who is often absent from meetings. Basically, the team needs to be more organized and more focused.
Some LPRD members hard at work!
From a distance…What a beautiful rig
We have a few problems to take care of, but we are making tangible progress, and we are looking good doing it!
With finals rapidly approaching, the LPRD team still managed to make a great deal of progress. At the last meeting, the team was split into groups of three; the groups of three then came up with goals for each sub-team, no matter how unrealistic the goal. Surprise, surprise, the LPRD team used Post-Its to map out the goals. Each person was tasked with researching one of these ideas, delving into the possibilities and working out what it would take to accomplish that goal. Each person will report at the 4/19/2015 meeting about their topic of research.
A beautiful evergreen tree
The above picture might lead you to believe that it is mid-December and that everyone is scrambling to find cheap, last minute gifts for our family members ; however, it is late April, and the above picture is simply a product of a LPRD member in a festive mood. That’s right, the gang learned CAD! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Computer-aided Design (CAD), it is an integral part of any engineering design process. It allows engineers to utilize the power of computers and make, edit, and share remarkably accurate models. The LPRD members honed their craft in preparation for future CAD projects.
In other news, the business sub-team has undergone significant restructuring. The business sub-team now has an autonomous role, tasked with the summer-long project of raising $7,000 for the LPRD team to utilize next fall. The team has a long summer of fundraising ahead and will be meeting next week to discuss strategy. Our money-motivated LPRD members will likely be using one of these!
Gift Pyramid for fundraising
Finally, the LPRD blog has come under new management. Feel free to give David feedback about the new writer’s performance.
The team didn’t meet this week in a large group due to Easter weekend, but we’ve still been working hard on getting everything together for some cold tests. Our last piece to machine is projected to be completed by the end of next week (thank you, ATK), but we ran into some trouble sourcing nitrogen through the routes we originally planned. Due to these two developments, we will be postponing our pressure test, likely to April 19th.
However, we’re not one to let some less-than-perfect news get in the way of doing work, so here’s some of the cool stuff we’ve been doing in the meantime!
This is an interesting idea the regenerative cooling subteam CADed up as they continue to explore various ways we could build a regeneratively cooled engine. Also, now that the engine team no longer has a machine shop to work in, the two subteams will be merging to increase the flow of ideas!
And below is a look at the ball valves we will be using for the pressure tests. We originally hoped to use them for full operation as well, but it looks like they won’t make the cut. The ball valves have no setting to hold in a partially open position, and time from power to fully open is more than a minute. Unfortunately, that sluggishness just won’t do for an engine firing of only 30 seconds! Still, they’ll be helpful in the pressure tests, when that timing won’t matter.
– David Deng