Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Weeks 7 & 8: It's Never too Late

Hey everyone! Back with another (late) update of my research progress.

Sorry Alyssa!

Today I had the opportunity to review a poster presentation of my own research project. It gave me an interesting, somewhat external, perspective of it. Below is said poster summarizing the progress made by my research mentors Dr. Eric Barth and Anna Winkelmann.

Controlled Stirling Thermocompressor

Fortunately, this was nowhere near as dense as I expected it to be. I believe one of its strengths is that it was able to provide a vivid picture of the project and its desired outcomes without bogging the reader down in superfluous (to the layman) information. It also has a visually pleasing mix of text and graphics without leaning too far to one side or the other and while remaining very professional in nature. Furthermore, it lays out the research goals, advancements, and details in a chronologically sound manner. It also appropriately acknowledges the collaborators of the project.

One improvement I may suggest is to have a little more provocative of a title. Perhaps it should be one that better captures the interest of readers who may not be familiar with the innovative nature of this project. Prior advancements in Stirling engine technology and implementation has been slow and relatively uninteresting. This project has the capacity to be a compact source of energy conversion with unforeseen efficiencies surpassing many current technologies. This thing has potential!

On that note, I am still very interested in this project and the eventual implementation of such a revolutionary engine design. I haven’t been as active in the project as I was last week, but we are currently in a slight standby phase. We are waiting on a power extraction and accompanied housing unit to attach to the engine. Once attached, we will be able to take valuable experimental data to further validate the prototype. In the meantime, we are running simulations of a new prototype which will allow for greater control, efficiencies, output power, and hopefully versatility. The parts for the power extraction unit will likely come around the end of my REU experience.

I have had a wonderful time here at Vanderbilt this summer. I am very grateful to Dr. Barth, Anna, and the CCEFP for giving me such a positive introduction into the world of engineering research.

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