A student team calling itself OmegaTech was given the challenge of designing a retractable inlet cover that would prevent snow and ice from entering the inlet of a 25-foot diameter bell-mouth at the GLACIER (Global Aerospace Center for Icing and Environmental Research) Testing Facility in Thompson, Manitoba. The project client was EnviroTREC in partnership with MDS AeroTest while the design team was comprised of four undergraduate mechanical engineering students from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Engineering.
Team OmegaTech have used their collective engineering skill and experience developed over the past 4-5 years of education and related internship experience to design a fully functioning, retractable cover, which will be operable by one person.
In addition to keeping snow out of the bell mouth and being retractable, the design needed to be safe, structurally stable and operable by a single person. No components could be in front of the bell-mouth when the cover was retracted in order maintain the quality of inlet airflow when testing. The retractable cover needed to be easily portable and could not consume track space during the summer testing season. The cover also needed to be durable, reliable, and preserve the standards of the current testing and maintenance operations, while not exceeding $200,000 in cost.
OmegaTech developed a preliminary design to prevent the ingress of snow into the bell-mouth driven by the needs developed by the team and MDS AeroTest personnel. The team’s design consists of an advanced material – tarp that deploys downward through a set of retractable guides and covers the entire bellmouth inlet.
The cover allows for remote operation for simple retraction and deployment of the tarp from a housing cart located above the bell-mouth. The cover can be fully deployed in 10 minutes by a single person.
EnviroTREC sponsored a team visit to the GLACIER site at the end of the project development phase to provide the students with sense of the real world conditions in which the bell mouth cover would need to operate.
EnviroTREC would like to take this opportunity to thank the OmegaTech student team (from left: Hishaam Perrbuccus, Prince Soriano, Scott Entz, and Paul Rydberg) and their Engineer in Residence – Kathryn Atamanchuk for their contributions to this project’s success. Since submitting this project the team has graduated. We wish the student team all the best of success in their engineering careers.