Turbo Lab directors, researcher win ASME Best Paper Award

The work of two directors of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s (TEES) Turbomachinery Laboratory (Turbo Lab) and a research engineer has been recognized with a Best Paper Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Structures and Dynamics Committee. The paper was presented at the ASME 2016 Turbo-Expo Turbomachinery Technical Conference & Exposition in Seoul, South Korea, last June. The Turbo Lab offers graduate engineering education through the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Luis San Andres, Mast-Childs Chair Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University and associate director of the Turbo Lab, and Dr. Dara W. Childs, L.T. Jordan Chair Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M and director of the Turbo Lab, along with Stephen Phillips, a research engineer for the Turbo Lab, earned the distinction for their paper, “A Water Lubricated Hybrid Thrust Bearing: Measurements and Predictions of Static Load Performance.” The paper detailed the design, construction, operation and test results of a hydrostatic thrust bearing test rig for validation of an advanced computational physics tool. The authors stated in the paper that the “ultimate aim” of the research was to “advance reliable predictive tools to design fluid film bearings, LH2 and LO2 lubricated, for cryogenic turbo pumps.

“ASME recognizes the impact and permanent relevance of state-of-the-art research,” said San Andres, who was the lead author of the paper. “Earning a best paper award is a recognition that a particular paper contains key ingredients such as critical and honest appraisal of prior art, recognition of the need and description of the tools and methods to tackle the issue toward its successful resolution, a detailed exposition of measurements and predictions and validations, and significant conclusions quantifying the advances — not merely qualifying them. “The research put forth in the paper validates the predictions of performance of thrust hybrid bearings for turbo pump applications using a reliable experimental data base.”

San Andres and Childs are ASME Fellows. Childs won an ASME Best Paper Award in 2009 and 2015, and San Andres has received the honor from the organization with ASME Best Paper awards in 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011 and twice in 2012. San Andres specializes in rotordynamics of turbomachinery, structural vibrations and computational mechanics. He is the founder of the Asia Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium in Singapore (ATPS), the select training and networking opportunity for professionals in turbomachinery, pump and related industries. ATPS is approaching its second year, after an inaugural event which drew more than 900 attendees from 38 countries.

Childs has studied rotordynamic issues related to rocket-engine turbopumps and commercial turbomachinery for more than 50 years. He has pioneered the growth of the annual Turbomachinery & Pump Symposia (TPS) in Houston, which began in 1972 as the Turbomachinery Symposium on the Texas A&M campus. TPS is widely recognized as the premiere learning and networking opportunity for industry professionals. The 2016 event drew more than 360 exhibiting companies and 5,000 attendees from 40 countries. Childs will retire as director of the Turbo Lab in September 2017 after 33 years of service. San Andres will succeed Childs as Turbo Lab director.