CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
UI engineering project to fly aboard Nov. 19 shuttle mission
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When the USMP-4 Mission of the Columbia Space Shuttle
lifts off Nov. 19, the University of Iowa College of Engineering will be
on board in the form of a shuttle "Glovebox" investigation to
study ways to make jet engines cleaner and more reliable.
L.D. Chen, professor and chair of the department of mechanical engineering,
is the principal investigator of a four-year, $415,000 project funded by
NASA's Microgravity Science Division to study the stability and characteristics
of jet engine flames. Chen, who will use space as a laboratory to aid
his investigation, plans to spend one week of the mission, including launch
day, at the mission control center at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville,
Ala. Also, the UI will be represented at the Cape Canaveral shuttle launch
site by David J. Skorton, UI vice president for research.
The investigation, called ELF (for Enclosed Laminar Flames), is a study
of jet engine stability phenomena that occur regularly in a combustion
engine, furnace or gas-fired fireplace operated in a gravity environment.
Chen, who has conducted project simulation experiments and investigator
training sessions at Marshall Space Flight Center with NASA astronaut/mission
specialists Dr. Kalpana Chawla and Dr. Takao Doi, said that jet engine
flame out occurs when there is an abrupt change in engine conditions.
He added that flame out and engine emission of nitrogen oxides and soot
can best be studied in the near-weightless environment of space before
trying to alleviate the problems in a gravity environment.
Chen's co-investigators on the project are Dennis P. Stocker and John
E. Brooker, both research scientists at NASA-Lewis Research Center, Cleveland,
Ohio. The ELF investigation is being supported by engineering expertise
and experimental hardware developed by NASA.