Engineer develops technology to upgrade lab
Brian Cook, Tennessee Technological University graduate, demonstrates his senior design project that gives the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's aviation and missile center a mechanized way to apply liners to rocket motor cases.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (May 9, 2013) -- A design project planned and executed by Tennessee Technological University students has given the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's aviation and missile center increased capabilities to accomplish its mission.

While a co-op student with the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center in 2010, and looking for a project to design and build, Brian Cook found inspiration from a suggestion from Weapons Development and Integration Directorate technician Darrell Simonds. Cook, and his team of six Tennessee Tech students, set out to develop a machine that would upgrade the process for applying motor case liners.

Cook's invention uses pressure to force the liner substance through a series of tubes and into a spinning head. A DC motor spins the head at up to 10,000 RPMs -- slinging the liner in an even coating on the inside of the motor case.

"We have this automated arm that moves in and out, so we can control how much liner we have coming through and control the speed," Cook said. "In return, we get equal lining throughout."

The carbon black liner is applied inside motor cases to bond with the propellant, and an even coating is important for the motor to perform well.

Before Cook's team completed its project, engineers appplied rocket motor case liners by hand.

Michael Morrison, chief of the energetic materials function, said the device gives the team consistency in liner thickness, which brings greater reproducibility when doing the many motor demonstrations the lab is called upon to do.

When you hand paint it, Morrison said, you end up with thick areas and thin areas that potentially affect the bond between the liner and the propellant which is cast inside the case. The liner serves as a bond between the propellant and the case.

"If you get an unbond -- depending on where the unbond is and when it happens -- it can be a not very successful day for a motor test," Morrison said.

The sling liner process improves reproducibility reliability significantly, he said.

Simonds' experience with similar lining systems and other personal support was instrumental in the team's success, according to Cook.

Cook moved from being a co-op student into the Army Pathways Internship program in 2012. He completed his bachelor's in mechanical engineering and is working on a master's in aerospace engineering.

AMRDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

Page last updated Mon May 6th, 2013 at 00:00