UA in the News: May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
Researches quiet combustion with patented ‘noise sponge’
Phys.org – May 1
A sponge-like material employed by a University of Alabama engineering professor can significantly quiet combustion, possibly making work environments safer and extending the life of equipment. Dr. Ajay K. Agrawal, the Robert F. Barfield Endowed Chair and professor of mechanical engineering, was recently granted a patent for the breakthrough technology for noise reduction in combustion. This technology decreases the noise generated by combustion systems at the source by placing a sponge-like material directly in the flame. This patent is based on Agrawal’s work on jet engine combustion with Ultramet Corp., funded by the U.S. Navy. The combustion process in several engines, especially those of jets, produces a deafening noise that can also be devastating to the engine. Because the noise level is so high, the sound waves produced can cause intense pulsations. These pulsations shake the engine and result in mechanical failure. The more the engine is exposed to these intense acoustic pulsations, the more likely it is to break down. So far, noise reduction has been addressed after-the-fact, suppressing the noise outside the engine after the combustion process takes place. Agrawal’s technology eliminates the noise at the source, during the combustion process. The challenge of cutting the sound level during the combustion process is that combustion happens at extremely high temperatures and pressure. Most material cannot withstand such conditions. However, Agrawal found a porous material that can tolerate the conditions of jet engine combustion. This porous inert material, or foam, is a composite material made of hafnium carbide and silicon carbide. It can withstand intense levels of heat and pressure. The material is placed directly into the flame and acts like a sponge for the noise.
New Lockheed Martin head is an Alabama alumnus
Tuscaloosa News – May 1
A University of Alabama graduate has been named president and chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin. Marillyn A. Hewson, 58, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from UA, will succeed Chris Kubasik who was named the security and aerospace company’s new CEO. The appointments, announced last week, take effect Jan. 1, 2013. Hewson has been executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s electronic systems business since 2010… Hewson is a member of UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration board of visitors….
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