Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineering Students’ Airplane Research Is Crystal Clear

25.06.2008
An engineering team at Rowan University has created ice clouds in an ice cloud chamber as a way to work toward preventing some airplane crashes.

Forget delays, lines and ticket costs — for many people, flying isn’t just an aggravation, it’s an outright phobia.

Thanks to research conducted by an engineering professor and College of Engineering students at Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.), those airplane passengers may be a little less fearful in the future.

The Rowan team has been focusing on ice clouds and crystals, which can contribute to plane crashes. Some crashes occur because ice crystals collect on a plane’s wings as it passes through a cloud, causing the shape of the wing to change, reducing the lift force needed for flying.

Though these clouds pose a serious threat to airplanes, there is no way to determine which clouds are hazardous to fly through. Enter Rowan engineers.

The team has re-created ice clouds in an ice cloud chamber on a small scale, successfully forming ice crystals with the same characteristics of those in nature. Using these lab-created crystals, they can project a laser beam through the chamber, measuring its change in polarization, which is dependent on the size, shape and distribution of ice crystals in the cloud. The polarization state of light is invisible to the naked eye, but measurable using sensitive lenses and photodetectors. Eventually, this process could enable a pilot to use low-power lasers to detect the crystals in time to allow the plane to avoid the crystal-bearing clouds.

“No one has previously done what we are doing in terms of this lab scale and the ability to vary as many elements,” said Todd Nilsen, a 20-year-old (spring semester 2008) junior from Brick studying mechanical engineering and a member of the team that worked on the project.

Other members of the team during the past year were:

• Metin Ahiskali, an electrical and computer engineering senior from Randolph
• Matthew Costill, 23, of Mantua, a senior chemical engineering major
• Anthony LaBarck, 21, of Vernon, a senior mechanical engineering major
• Joseph Urcinas, 20, of Flemington, a junior mechanical engineering major
• Shawn Sacks, a civil engineering junior from West Berlin
• Rane Pierson, an electrical and computer engineering senior from Sparta
• Dr. Paris VonLockette, advisor for the project and associate professor of mechanical engineering

During the course of two semesters, the team constructed an insulated Plexiglas unit—the ice cloud chamber—to house the ice crystals they would create using liquid nitrogen and water, chilling the chamber to a literally freezing -40 degrees Celsius. The entire system is computer-controlled. A microscope attached to the unit allowed the team to magnify the 40-micron crystals, which are roughly as wide as a human hair, and then take pictures.

After producing the ice cloud in the chamber, a laser beam is directed into the unit. The light that bounces back from the ice crystals, called backscattered light, passes into a detector. The data that are collected from this process can be used to determine which clouds contain ice crystals detrimental to airplane flight.

Thus far, the team has successfully re-created the ice crystals that have characteristics that are needed for further research. This is a significant step toward providing a method to detect the specific crystals in the path of aircrafts. The ability to re-create ice crystals that have the same characteristics as those found in nature, on such a small scale, enables further research by other companies with little financial burden.

The team’s research was sponsored by a $5,000 grant from R.L. Associates, Inc., a research and development company specializing in optical technology located in Chester, Pa.

Patricia Quigley | newswise
Further information:
http://www.rowan.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics
22.06.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal
22.06.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>