22.033 | Fall 2011 | Undergraduate, Graduate

Nuclear Systems Design Project

Lecture Videos and Class Notes


Lecture 1 Follow Up

Topics: Goals for Week 1, LyX Installation, Group Contracts & Meeting Times
Posted by: Michael Short

I’ll be going over this in class, but I wanted to give you a heads up. As we mentioned the first day, the goal of the first month is just to choose the design path to follow, which can be more work than it sounds.

Over the next week, I expect the teams to mostly complete a survey of what your options are for each sub-task. For example, the core group should know what reactor designs are out there, and which ones are immediately excluded. Literature searching would include having 1–2 fairly complete design papers for each reactor concept, as well as any other literature that you turn up in your search. As another example, the hydrogen group should know most (if not all) of the possible ways to create hydrogen, and compile a list of parameters regarding their production (such as temperature vs. efficiency, inputs, outputs, rough relative cost). This should be done by a couple of days after Lecture 3. The week after that (Lecture 4, Lecture 5, Recitation 3) will involve choosing how to assign importance and success criteria to the possible design choices that you have found.

Also, please let me know if you have any trouble installing LyX on your computers before this week’s recitation (Recitation 1). It takes about half an hour to run through (lots of little files), so don’t save it until that afternoon. If you have a laptop, please bring it to class. If you don’t, that’s OK, you can look on with a friend.

Finally, to the group leaders, please remember to write up your group contract before tomorrow’s class. This is a statement of your expectations for one another. You can sign it together ahead of time, or at the beginning of class. And to the integrators, feel free to gently check in on the group leaders to make sure it’s getting done (you are managers, after all!).

Lecture 2 Follow Up

Topic: Cross Pollination
Posted by: Michael Short

First of all, thank you all for writing and signing the group contracts.

Next, one of the students in the biofuels group had a great idea for energy storage, which is a process heat problem. By all means, please do tell each other about ideas you have; I encourage as much cross pollination between groups as possible.

Also, the technologies I’ve presented in class are certainly not a complete list. I hope that you can all find other examples of reactor, heat, hydrogen and biofuel technologies that we don’t mention in class. Knowledge of new, currently emerging technologies can significantly improve the design, and if nothing else, shows that you’ve really done your research. Seeing other, far-out technologies can also help you decide what aspects of them to consider when looking at other, more well-established technologies.

Topic: Heat Exchanger References
Posted by: Tyrell Arment

These two heat exchanger references are very valuable. Not only do they give you the basics of heat exchanger design, they also have a ton of good references at the end of each section.

Hewitt, G. F., executive editor. Heat Exchanger Design Handbook. 5 volumes. Begell House. [MIT Libraries has the 1998 edition; the publisher has recently launched a fee-based online edition.]

Shah, R. K., and D. P. Sekulic. Fundamentals of Heat Exchanger Design. John Wiley & Sons, 2002. ISBN: 9780471321712.

I also came across free downloadable heat transfer textbook by MIT MechE Professor John Lienhard. Chapter 3 has some really good pictures to show what heat exchangers look like and it covers the basics of design.

Lienhard, J. H. IV, and J. H. Lienhard V. A Heat Transfer Textbook. 4th ed. Dover Publications, 2011. ISBN: 9780486479316.

Recitation 2 Follow Up

Topics: Gantt Chart; EES and Heat Transfer
Posted by: Tyrell Arment

This is the Gantt chart template for Excel that we used in class. You can download it for free. It does have a few tricks to get used to, but it is a very convenient way to display a lot of information.

I am still planning on holding a recitation related to thermal design using the EES computer program whenever that gets operational; however, in the mean time I know that some of you have questions on general heat exchanger design concepts. I would recommend reading through Chapter 11 of the Introduction to Heat Transfer book by Incropera, DeWitt, Bergman, and Lavine if you have it available.

Lecture 4 Preparation

Topic: QFD/HoQ Lecture
Posted by: Michael Short

Tomorrow’s lecture will first go through a bit of logistics (formats of the short journal communications and group oral progress reports). We’ll then work through a QFD (Quality Function Development) example, in the form of a House of Quality (HoQ). I don’t want to give anyone an unfair advantage, so I’d like to use a consumer product as an example. Please come to class with ideas of consumer products (laptop, bicycle, iPhone…) with which you would like to illustratively work through the HoQ example. We’ll pick our favorite as a class tomorrow.

Lecture 5 Preparation

Topic: Team Presentations, Group Time!
Posted by: Michael Short

Since the first round of presentations is coming up soon, at our next class (Lecture 5), I thought I would give you all some time to work in your teams, and as a class, to work on settling some design parameters. Tyrell and I will be available for any quesitons you have.

Before group time begins, I will take 10–15 minutes to go through elements of a good (and a bad) presentation, since I don’t know how much experience everyone has at creating slides. Some of it may be redundant, but hopefully some of it won’t be.

Recitation 3 Preparation

Topic: EES Recitation
Posted by: Tyrell Arment

Tomorrow I will be going over the basics of how to use EES.

EES has many thermodynamic properties built into the program. Some of its more powerful features include solving systems of equations that are not solved explicitly for unknown variables, variable optimization, and error propagation.

I will be covering a basic Rankine power cycle calculation with some optimization. I was told that some of you may already be familiar with this program, so hopefully the session tomorrow won’t be too boring for those of you who have. If you haven’t done so already, try to download it on your laptops and bring them to class. I know that this program doesn’t work on Macs (sorry), so that will just be one of the hurdles for you to overcome if you choose to use it.

Recitation 4 Follow Up

Topic: Reflections on Engineering Leadership and Leadership Styles
Posted by: Tyrell Arment

I found a few links that I think you all would be interested in reading and watching that are related to our discussion today.

On engineering knowledge and responsibility: Petroski, Henry. “Engineering Knowledge and Responsibility.” Project Syndicate, May 11, 2004.

On innovation: dizzo95. “Henry Ford Biography.” April 16, 2009. YouTube. Accessed April 2, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnZgWM7NmwA

On planning and managing a project to completion: Wikipedia: Henry J. Kaiser

Project Work 3 Follow Up

Topic: Start Designing; Journal Article Feedback
Posted by: Michael Short

This Week—Start Designing!

This week, I would like you all to meet with your teams and begin the quantitative design process. This involves picking numbers, sizes, device/plant layouts, and energy/mass flow diagrams for your processes. The first step is to divide up the work, which should be done by Monday (Group work 2). We expect that you will all have a rough design fleshed out (except perhaps the MCNP modelers) by about two weeks from now (Recitation 6). This will give you enough time to iterate and improve your designs after discussion as a class.

Monday and Wednesday’s classes will consist mostly of team time, with individual meetings between Tyrell, myself, and each of you. We want to individually make sure that everyone knows what he/she will be doing over the next four weeks of designing.

Journal Article Feedback

We’ve graded Journal Article 1. Overall you did very well on the depth of your research, but had some issues with referencing, clarity, expression and presentation. Tyrell and I have both reviewed and graded each article, and I averaged the two grades for the final score. We will be handing out detailed journal article critiques during Monday’s class (Group work 2).

We noticed that a number of articles weren’t really proofread, referenced, and/or spellchecked. This was the single biggest factor in lowering scores. It is also the easiest to fix, in my opinion, compared to how challenging it is to learn new concepts and designs on your own.

Over the next week, please proofread, clean up, and resubmit your journal articles. I will then average your two grades as the final grade on this assignment. This offer is only for this assignment (Journal Article 1).

Remember that you are free to use all (legal) resources to improve your articles. That includes asking friends to proofread your articles. I will be going over common mistakes and tips for writing better articles during Monday’s class.

Group Work 2 Follow Up

Topic: Journal Article 1: Detailed critiques, resubmission
Posted by: Michael Short

See two of your fellow students’ journal articles as examples of what we’re looking for on this assignment. While re-tooling your articles, please pay particular attention to the following:

  1. Make sure to use the passive voice (don’t say “I did this, I did that…”). It is much more professional to avoid the first person.
  2. When describing the abstract & introduction, frame it so that the reader knows nothing about 22.033. The focus should be on the problem itself and why it is important, with a reference or two. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) refer to a problem that you have been assigned, since that isn’t of interest to the reader.
  3. Focus on your results, and avoid writing it like an entry in a diary. Rather than say what you did, talk about what you found out, and why it is significant.
  4. Don’t forget to include an abstract, your name, and an informative title.
  5. If you have any questions about formatting in LyX, please ask us! This includes things like figures & tables not fitting in the text, referencing styles, and anything else that just doesn’t look right.
  6. Spellcheck! Proofread! Give it to a friend to help you with both! It will make a huge difference in how your writing is perceived.
  7. Some of you may have received comments to put the bibliography in alphabetical order. This isn’t necessarily required; in fact, most articles list the bibliography entries in the order in which they are referenced in the paper. You can follow whatever convention you think is most logical, just remember to keep it consistent. You may want to arrange with your group or the whole class to pick one convention, so that putting people’s contributions together will be easier.

At our next class (Group work 3) we will continue meeting with each one of you individually, while you work together in your teams on your design. I must say we’re impressed with the rapid progress you are making so far, so keep up the good work!

Recitation 5 Preparation

Topic: LyX Intermediate Class
Posted by: Michael Short

This recitation will consist mainly of formatting and time saving tricks in LyX. I noticed that most of you used LyX for your journal articles, and things look very good! There are a few conventions and time-saving steps that I think we can show you, both specific to LyX and about scientific writing in general. These tips & tricks will help you to better present your thoughts, and to give your integrators an easier time integrating.

Please bring your LyX-equipped laptops, if available. Also, please bring any questions you have about using LyX, since we should have time to go over those at the end of the recitation.

Recitation 5 Follow Up

Topic: Mid-Term Survey
Posted by: Michael Short

Since it’s about the midpoint of the term, I’ve created a survey to help us gauge the effectiveness of the design course. Please fill out this survey within the next week.

Mid-term survey questions (PDF)

Thanks in advance for your responses, and we’ll see you tomorrrow!

Recitation 6 Preparation

Topic: Recitation 6 preview; Journal 1 Resubmission
Posted by: Michael Short

Recitation tomorrow will begin with a quick talk by StartLabs.org, an entrepreneurship non-profit that helps recruit people for many kinds of startups, including energy. If you are interested in starting or joining a new venture, I encourage you to attend.

Following that (which will be quite short), I’ll be working with the Process Heat group to develop their schematic. Anyone is welcome to stay and ask any questions you may have during recitation, though it isn’t required to attend for other groups.

We’ve finished regarding the Journal 1 resubmissions. I am impressed with the extra work you put in retooling your articles; styles and technical abilities have improved across the board. I will go over a few general pointers for future articles in class on Monday.

Lecture 7 Preparation

Topic: Acetylene Block Diagram, Ongoing Optimization
Posted by: Michael Short

I’ve generated and posted a block diagram in Inkscape that covers the CaC2/acetylene example we went over in class. It includes color block diagrams from each iteration in the calcium carbide / acetylene system design.

  • CaC2/acetylene block diagram (PNG)

Please have a look at this diagram, as it contains an example of the general methodology for optimizing the systems you will be working on (especially hydrogen and biofuels). We will be continuing to work from this diagram, so I recommend printing it out (in color, if possible) for easier note taking.

We will be talking about the next qualitative steps in its optimization tomorrow in class. I feel the math for these problems is quite easy, but knowing when & where to relax assumptions, add/remove components, and change operating parameters can be challenging. I will be guiding you through ways of optimizing and improving this example system, so you can apply the general methodology to your designs.

Lecture 7 Follow Up

Topic: Need Help on Your Designs? Ask us!
Posted by: Michael Short

I hope the CaC2/acetylene example we showed in class this week (Lecture 6 and 7) was helpful to you in learning how to iterate and optimize a design. I know we pulled tons of material out of the air, and it can be very difficult to gain intuition as to where to attack first, which battles to choose, which assumptions to make, how to simplify things using simple models, etc.

That being said, I wish to remind you that Tyrell and I are always available by appointment to look over your designs at any stage in the process. If you need help with anything, or just don’t know where to go next, please let us know, and we will be happy to help you along.

I strongly encourage each group to make at least one appointment with either of us, so we can give you as much guidance as possible. It can be bewildering to develop the intuition for designing new systems, and we would like to give you that intuition by using your designs as examples. I am available to meet almost every day, including late. Not everyone from the group has to be there (it can even be just one person), and you can have any set of questions, including “which questions should I be asking myself?”

Good luck, and we’ll see you on Friday for one more recitation session on this topic. Tyrell has diagrammed our class example in EES, and he will be showing you how to optimize it using software much faster than by hand during recitation.

Group Work 6 Follow Up

Topic: Scaling H2 & Biofuels; Final Report Outlines
Posted by: Michael Short

At our last class, Aditi mentioned an interesting point. By her calculations, “Biofuels mentioned that they had to scale down their design because of hydrogen mass flow constraints and the Hydrogen team was (presumably) constrained by the amount of steam they could get to produce hydrogen. The Hydrogen plant needs 2.82kg/s of steam at 760C. To provide this, we (Process Heat) need only ~10 MW ( 2.82 kg/s * (3690.7 kJ/kg - 85.79300 kJ/kg) = 10 165.8377 kW) to produce steam at 600C and then another ~10 MW to heat it up to 760C (20MW). Add to that 30MW of steam that the Biofuels plant needs and that’s still only 50MW—a tiny fraction of what the Core can provide.”

Hydrogen and biofuels folks—please double-check these numbers to see where we stand. If the biofuel plant was scaled down significantly, it may make sense to return to higher output levels at this point while keeping the overall design the same (just changing some numbers). As I understand it, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the H2 group, since storage is no longer being used. If scaling the UT–3 process up too much gets dicey, it may make sense to have a few smaller H2 facilities to support one large biofuel refinery.

We will be going over the overall design together as a class at our next session (Group work 7) and possibly the next class if required. Please bring whatever design materials, key figures, and diagrams you think we will need to class. Remember, the mission is to use the heat produced in the most efficient manner. If we’re only using 50MW of process heat for biofuel production, we could feasibly use our energy much more efficiently.

Also, as mentioned in the last class (Group work 6), I would like each team leader to produce a detailed outline of what you will discuss in the results section for the final report. I’ve heard that the intro & background sections are nearly done, which is great!

Feel free to send me preliminary outlines before the Group work 8 class, or make an appointment with me or Tyrell to discuss your outlines if you want.

Group Work 8 Follow Up

Topic: Deadline List
Posted by: Michael Short

Here is a list of the deadlines we went over in class today:

  1. Focus Area Leaders—Send me your results section outlines by this afternoon. These will also be your presentation section outlines.
  2. CAD Integration—This Friday, Recitation 10 (2D overall plant diagram)
  3. Results Sections—Send to me and the integrators by next Monday, Group work 9
  4. Integrators—Send me and Tyrell a background section draft by Friday, Recitation 10
  5. Biofuels group—Come to class on Wednesday (Group work 8) with numbers for Syngas mass flow & temperatures that you need cooled for final integration

Course Info

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Fall 2011
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