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Master's degrees completed 2010

Mr U Spangenberg 2010 "Development of a robust output-only strain based damage detection technique for wing-like structures, requiring a minimum number of sensors"

In recent years more emphasis has been placed on in-situ condition based monitoring of engineering systems and structures. Aerospace components are manufactured from composite materials more often. Structural health monitoring (SHM) systems are required in the aerospace industry to monitor the safety and integrity of the structure and will ensure that composites reach its full potential within the industry. Damage detection techniques form an integral part of such SHM systems.

With this work a damage detection technique is developed for intended eventual use on composite structures, but starting first on isotropic structures. The damage mechanism that is of interest is delamination damage in composites. A simple numerical equivalent is implemented here however. Two damage indicators, the strain cumulative damage factor (SCDF) and the strain-frequency damage level (SFDL) are introduced. The respective damage indicators are calculated from output-only strain and acceleration response data.

The effectiveness of the system to detect damage in the structure is critically evaluated and compared to other damage detection techniques such as the natural frequency method. The sensitivity to damage and performance of both these indicators is examined numerically by evaluating two deterministic damage cases. The numerical study is enhanced through the use of an updated finite element model. The minimum number of sensors capable of detecting the presence and locate damage spatially is determined from numerical simulations. Monte Carlo type analysis is performed by letting the damaged area vary stochastically and calculating the respective damage indicators.

The model updating procedure from measured mobility frequency response functions (FRFs) is described. The application of the technique to real structures is examined experimentally. Two test structures with two different damage scenarios are examined.

The spatial location and presence of damage can be established from both the SCDF and SFDL values, respectively. The spatial location obtained from the SCDF values corresponded to the known damage location for both the numerical and experimental study. The SFDL proved to be more sensitive than the natural frequency method and could potentially be used to calculate the level of damage within the structure.

Supervisor: Prof PS Heyns
Mr O I Ogunronbi
2010 "Maximum heat transfer rate density from a rotating multiscale array of cylinders"

This work investigated a numerical approach to the search of a maximum heat transfer rate density (the overall heat transfer dissipated per unit of volume) from a two-dimensional laminar multi scale array of cylinders in cross-flow under an applied fixed pressure drop and subject to the constraint of fixed volume. It was furthermore assumed that the flow field was steady state and incompressible. The configuration had two degrees of freedom in the stationary state, that is, the spacing between the cylinders and the diameter of the smaller cylinders. The angular velocity of the cylinders was in the range . Two cylinders of different diameters were used, in the first case, the cylinders were aligned along a plane which lay on their centre lines. In the second case, the cylinder leading edge was aligned along the plane that received the incoming fluid at the same time. The diameter of the smaller cylinder was fixed at the optimal diameter obtained when the cylinders were stationary. Tests were conducted for co-rotating and counter-rotating cylinders. The results were also compared with results obtained in the open literature and the trend was found to be the same. Results showed that the heat transfer from a rotating array of cylinders was enhanced in certain cases and this was observed for both directions of rotation from an array which was aligned on the centreline. For rotating cylinders with the same leading edge, there is heat transfer suppression and hence the effect of rotation on the maximum heat transfer rate density is insignificant. This research is important in further understanding of heat transfer from rotating cylinders, which can be applied to applications ranging from contact cylinder dryers in the chemical processes industry and rotating cylinder electrodes to devices used for roller hearth furnaces.

Supervisors: Dr T Bello-Ochende and Prof J P Meyer

 Mr Alfred E.J. Bogaers 2010 "Reduced order modelling techniques for mesh movement strategies as applied to fluid structure interactions."

In this thesis, the method of Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) is implemented to construct approximate, reduced order models (ROM) of mesh movement methods. Three mesh movement algorithms are implemented and comparatively evaluated, namely radial basis function interpolation, mesh optimization and elastic deformation. POD models of the mesh movement algorithms are constructed using a series of system observations, or snapshots of a given mesh for a set of boundary deformations. The scalar expansion coefficients for the POD basis modes are computed in three different ways, through coefficient optimization, Galerkin projection of the governing set of equations and coefficient interpolation. It is found that using only coefficient interpolation yields mesh movement models that accurately approximates the full order mesh movement, with CPU cost savings in excess of 99%.

We further introduce a novel training procedure whereby the POD models are generated in a fully automated fashion. The technology is applicable to any mesh movement method and enables potential reductions of up to four orders of magnitude in mesh movement related costs. The proposed model can be implemented without having to pre-train the POD model, to any fluid-structure interaction code with an existing mesh movement scheme.

Supervisors: Dr S Kok and Dr AG Malan
 Mr Richard C. K. Nkhoma 2010 "Use of individual wheel steering to improve vehicle stability and disturbance rejection"

The main aim of this research project is to extend theories of four-wheel-steering as developed by J. Ackermann to include an individually steered four-wheel steering system for passenger vehicles. Ackermann's theories, including theories available in this subject area, dwell much on vehicle system dynamics developed from what is called single track model and some call it a bicycle model. In the bicycle model, the front two wheels are bundled together. Similarly, the rear wheels are bundled together. The problem with this is that it assumes two front wheels or two rear wheels to be under the same road, vehicle and operating conditions. The reality on the ground and experiments that are conducted are to the contrary. Therefore this study discusses vehicle disturbance rejection through robust decoupling of yaw and lateral motions of the passenger vehicle.

A mathematical model was developed and simulated using Matlab R2008b. The model was developed in such a way that conditions can be easily changed and simulated. The model responded well to variations in road and vehicle conditions. Focus was in the ability of the vehicle to reject external disturbances. To generate yaw moment during braking, the brake on the left front wheel was disconnected. This was done because lateral wind generators, as used by Ackermann, were not available. The results from both simulations and experiments show disturbance rejection in the steady state.

Supervisor: Prof NJ Theron
Mr B Breytenbach 2010 "Optimal vehicle suspension characteristics for increased structural fatigue life"

 The designers of heavy, off-road vehicle suspension systems face unique challenges. The ride comfort versus handling compromise in these vehicles has been frequently investigated using mathematical optimisation. Further challenges exist due to the large variations in vehicle sprung mass. The suspension system must provide adequate isolation from road load inputs throughout its payload operating range. This is imperative if good vehicle structural life is to be ensured. A passive suspension system can only provide optimal isolation at a single payload. The designer of such a suspension system must therefore make a compromise between designing for a fully laden or unladen payload state. This work deals with suspension optimisation for vehicle structural life.

The work mainly addresses two questions: 1) What are the suspension characteristics required to ensure optimal isolation of the vehicle structure from road loads? and 2) If such optimal suspension characteristics can be found, how sensitive are they to changes in vehicle payload? The study aims to answer these questions by examining a Land Rover Defender 110 as case study.

An experimentally validated mathematical model of the test vehicle is constructed for the use in sensitivity studies. Mathematical optimisation is performed using the model in order to find the suspension characteristics for optimal structural life of the vehicle under consideration. Sensitivity studies are conducted to determine the robustness of the optimal characteristics and their sensitivity to vehicle payload variation. Recommendations are made for suspension characteristic selection for optimal structural life.

Supervisor: Prof Schalk Els 

Me B Meyers 2010 "The experimental flowfield and thermal measurements in an experimental can-type gas turbine combustor"

 In this study, experimental data was collected in order to create a test case that can be used to validate computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and the individual models used therein for gas turbine combustor applications. In many cases, the CFD results of gas turbine combustors do not correlate well with experimental results. For this reason, there is a requirement to test the simulation method used before CFD can successfully be used for combustor design. This test case encompasses all the features of a gas turbine combustor such as a swirler, primary, secondary and dilution holes as well as cooling rings.

Experiments were performed on the same combustor geometry for both non-reacting and reacting flows. The non-reacting flow experiments consisted of stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements performed at various planes in the three zones of the combustor. Data was collected on planes, both in line with the holes and in between the holes of each zone.

For the reacting experiments, the temperatures on the outlet plane were measured using a thermocouple rake, thus a temperature contour plot on the outlet plane was produced. Further, the combustor can was modified with passive inserts, which were tested to determine their influence on the outlet temperature distribution during reacting runs. In this set-up, the outlet velocity profiles were also measured using a pitot tube during both non-reacting and reacting flows. In addition to the outlet temperature distribution and velocity profiles, images of the flame patterns were captured, which showed the positions of flame tongues, fluctuating flames and steady flames. Carbon burn patterns on the walls of the combustor liner were also captured. From the data collected during the reacting runs, the pattern factor, profile factor, overall pressure loss and pressure loss factor were calculated.

The non-reacting experiments performed using the PIV, produced three-dimensional velocity vector fields throughout the combustor. These experiments were performed at various flow rates, which gave an indication of which features of the combustor flow were affected by the flow rate. When comparing the individual PIV images alongside one another, the temporal nature of the combustor flow was also evident.

The reacting experiments revealed a hot region of exhaust gas around the outer edge of the exhaust while there was a cooler region in the centre of the outlet flow. The PIV flowfield results revealed the reason for the hot outer ring-like region was due to the path the hot gasses would take. The hot combustor gas from the primary zone diverges outwards in the secondary zone then is further forced to the outside by the dilution recirculation zone. The hot flow then leaves the combustor along the wall while the cooler air from the jets leaves the combustor in the centre.

The experiments performed produced a large variety of data that can be used to validate a number of aspects of combustor simulation using CFD. The non-reacting experimental data can be used to validate the turbulence models used and to evaluate how well the flow features were modelled or captured during the non-reacting stage of the combustor simulation process. The typical flow features such as jet penetration depths and the position and size of the recirculation regions are provided for effective comparison. The thermal results presented on the outlet plane of the combustor can be used for comparison with CFD results once combustion is modelled.

Supervisor: Prof Josua Meyer
Co-Supervisors: Dr G.I. Mahmood & Mr G.C. Snedden

Mr R Badenhorst 2010 "Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis on Improving the Drying Uniformity of Mango Tunnel Dryers"

Industrial tray-air dryers are increasingly used for the drying of agricultural products. The main drawback of these dryers is the non-uniform velocity distribution in the drying zone resulting in a non-uniform drying of the product. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software was implemented to predict and decrease the non-uniform velocity distribution of various mango dryer configurations. Tunnel dryers in commercial use were used to obtain experimental data. The CFD results were correlated with the test data.

Trolley and tray tunnel dryers provide a relative simple, low capital intensive and versatile method for drying a wide range of products. Artificial drying has the advantage of controlled drying conditions compared to traditional sun drying. It provides the means of adding value to fruit with skin blemishes and to obtain a product, which is far less perishable. The main focus of every tunnel design is to increase the evaporation rate without increasing the energy required to do so. Many studies focus on the mango structure and food dehydration principles that influence the uniform drying product with the assumption that the airflow over the produce is uniform. Few have been conducted on the air movement inside industrial dryers. CFD analysis predicts the airflow without influencing the airflow pattern compared to the measuring equipment inside test dryers.

The experimental data was obtained from an empty dryer without a flow diverter. This was compared to dryer with the flow diverter included and compared to a dryer with the trolleys, trays and mango slices included. The test results showed that turbulence created by this configuration, still played a major role in the non-uniform velocity distribution along the drying zone of the tunnel. The inclusion of a flow diverter did however dampen the swirl effect of the main fan. Measuring the velocity distribution was practically difficult with the handheld devices used, which influenced the accuracy of the measurements taken. This justified the CFD analysis in order to better visualise and predict the airflow pattern inside the dryer.

Airpak 2.1, a CFD analysis software program, was used to create models and simulate the dryers used in obtaining the experimental data. Applying the automated mesh generation of the program, the design engineer could without using too much computational effort, create a CFD model which is mesh independent. Initial results were obtained by implementing the indoor zero-equation model to solve the Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) equation. These results were then used as initial input for numerically solving the mass and momentum equations of the flow field by using the more accurate two-equation RNG model.

The total average speed CFD results of the sections in the drying zone (without mangoes and trolleys) of the dryer without a flow diverter was 11.2% higher compared to the test results. It was 14% higher for the dryer with the flow diverter included. The dryer with the mangoes, trays, trolleys and flow diverter showed a large difference where the total average speed of the CFD analysis was 49% higher compared to the test results. The CFD analysis showed that the coefficient of variance (CV) of the dryer with the flow diverter (mangoes and trolleys included) was 3% lower compared to the dryer without one.

Various dryer configurations were analysed using the CFD software to investigate what the best combination of flow diverter, vanes and blanking-off plates would be. A dryer configuration where flow diverters (Up-and-downstream of the main fan) above the false ceiling and inside the drying zone was analysed. A 16% decrease in terms of the CV value was obtained compared to the dryer with just the flow diverter downstream of main fan above the false ceiling. There was however a large region of swirl upstream of the main above the false ceiling resulting in a larger loss of heated air through the outlet fan before it reached the drying zone.

The cost of manufacturing a simple vane and flow diverter for an existing dryer is 4% of the initial building costs (excluding the initial cost of the trolleys). The overall drying uniformity of this dryer is improved according to the CFD analysis by 7%. A cost analysis (taking into account the 15 year life cycle of a dryer) in terms of the energy requirement to evaporate water from the drying zone, showed that the dryer with the flow diverter was 6% less expensive to run on a yearly basis.

Supervisor: Prof L Liebenberg
Mr S Aye 2010  'Evaluation of operator whole-body vibration and shock exposure in a South African open cast mine.'

This study quantifies whole-body vibration on a range of mine machinery typically used in a South African open cast mine. The ISO 2631-1 (1997) standard was used in the computation of weighted root mean square (WRMS) and vibration dose values (VDVs) whereas the ISO 2631-5 (2004) standard was used in the computation of daily static compressive stress (Sed) and R factor values. Two methods have been used to evaluate the whole-body vibration on a wide range of equipment used in an open cast mine. There are two main parameters for each of the standards. The ISO 2631-1 (1997) standard utilises the daily exposure A(8) and VDV, whereas the new ISO 2631-5 (2004) standard methodology uses the parameters Sed and R factor.

ISO 2631-1 (1997) is poor in taking account of transient shocks. This led to the development of ISO 2631-5 (2004). Signals were therefore generated in the laboratory to further explore the parameters of the two standards. Vibration signals of more-or-less steady periodic processes can be approximated by superposition of sinusoids. To investigate the effect of shocks on the WBV response parameters used in the two standards, a series of investigations were conducted using very simplified simulations to capture the essential nature of various operational conditions, and qualitatively explain the trends in the response parameters. Pure sinusoidal data was first generated without shocks and investigated. Subsequently, sinusoidal signals with higher amplitudes were generated and investigated. Sinusoidal signals with increasing shock amplitude up to and exceeding the crest factor of 9 based on ISO 2631-1 (1997) were generated and analyzed. Finally, simulated data with different shock magnitude for five typical example cases were then generated and analyzed.

The pure sinusoidal data was artificially generated using the signal generator at different amplitudes and frequencies, which are similar to field observed frequencies to enable numerical investigation of parameters to be carried out. A subset of the data was selected based on frequencies and amplitudes obtained on the field so as to have a representative data set on which investigations were carried out.

The two parameters of the two standard methodologies were computed using simulated sinusoidal signal data. The trends in each of the parameters corresponding to each of the standards were monitored using various scenarios obtained by varying the signal parameters and compared against each other. There was approximate proportional correlation between the two parameters (VDV and Sed) with varying degrees of slope for each scenario. The Sed and VDV parameters are plotted on the x- and y-axes respectively. The graphs with slope greater than 1 corresponded to signals with low or no shock content; whereas the graphs with slope less than 1 corresponded to high shock content.

The shock parameters (VDV and Sed) corresponding to the ISO 2631-1 (1997) and ISO 2631-5 (2004) standard methodologies were computed from field data and compared to see if the same trend obtained from the numerically obtained sinusoidal signals could be validated. It was found that the there was a gradual band correlation with slope less than 1 between the VDV and Sed parameters corresponding to signals of high shock content thereby validating the numerical findings.

Since little or no extensive epidemiological studies have been carried out on the new methodology; it is recommended that more epidemiological studies be done to determine the exposure action and exposure limit values with respect to shocks in the Sed parameter for the new ISO 2631-5 (2004) standard methodology.

It is advisable that caution is taking when using the new ISO 2631-5 (2004) standard methodology in evaluating whole-body vibration measurements until the limits are properly established. It is suggested that the new standard be used along with the established ISO 2631-1 (1997) standard methodology.

Supervisor: Prof PS Heyns

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