P16371: Controlled Oscillating Meniscus Test Fixture
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Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Problem Statement

A boiling system can be an incredibly useful tool for removing vast amounts of heat from a surface. However, due to the complexity and chaos of a boiling environment, the fundamental physics of a nucleating bubble are not well understood.

The Rochester Institute of Technology Thermal Analysis, Microfluidics, and Fuel Cell Laboratory (RIT TAµFL) has proposed and started a preliminary design to study the boiling process by simulating bubble nucleation. They believe that observing an oscillating and evaporating meniscus will provide tremendous insight into the physics of bubble growth and departure. However, the current design by TAµFL does not meet the specifications necessary to adequately study bubble nucleation; the setup cannot oscillate the meniscus at an appropriate frequency, is not climate controlled, is not modular, and is rigid where it needs to be flexible. Furthermore, none of the subsystems in the current setup have been integrated with each other, and it is unclear whether they are capable of interacting with one another.

The goal of our MSD team is to design a system that addresses these issues. It’s expected that the meniscus will oscillate via a piezoelectric actuator while a capacitive sensor will be used to monitor the size of the meniscus. Then, a feedback loop connected to a syringe pump will control the volume of the liquid in order to maintain stability. The resulting experimental setup will be utilized in future boiling systems studies, and in order to facilitate long term thermal technology improvements. The applications of understanding bubble nucleation pertain to any system that requires heat dissipation, ranging from jet engines to computer chips.

The project statement can be accessed via a Word Document by clicking here.

Images of Current System

Image of the existing system as viewed from above. The syringe pump is located outside of this image to the left, while the circuit is located outside of this image to the right.

Image of the existing system as viewed from above. The syringe pump is located outside of this image to the left, while the circuit is located outside of this image to the right.

Image of support structure that holds the needle and transfers the working fluid.

Image of support structure that holds the needle and transfers the working fluid.

Image of the copper plate and needle. The meniscus if formed between these two objects.

Image of the copper plate and needle. The meniscus if formed between these two objects.

Image of the syringe pump and current plastic syringe.

Image of the syringe pump and current plastic syringe.

Image of the existing circuit design.

Image of the existing circuit design.

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

Plans for the problem definition phase:

Accomplishments during the problem definition phase:

Project Goal and Project Plan

It's anticipated that this MSD team will design and construct a functioning test fixture that will enable the Rochester Institute of Technology Thermal Analysis, Microfluidics, and Fuel Cell Laboratory to study bubble nucleation. The anticipated project plan, as of MSD week 3, is provided below in the form of a Gantt chart.
Gantt chart

Gantt chart

An Excel Worksheet with the Gantt chart can be accessed by clicking here.

Use Cases

Use case scenarios

Use case scenarios

An Excel Worksheet with the use case scenarios can be accessed by clicking here.

Customer Requirements

Customer requirements

Customer requirements

An Excel Worksheet with the customer requirements can be accessed by clicking here.

Engineering Requirements

Engineering requirements

Engineering requirements

An Excel Worksheet with the engineering requirements can be accessed by clicking here.

The Deliverable

It's expected that this MSD team designs and constructs a device that is capable of meeting the customer requirements. Specifically, this means that the device must create a stable liquid meniscus, oscillate the meniscus at a frequency of approximately 100 Hz, be capable of utilizing multiple different working fluids, be able to interface with the other subsystems, and it must be reliable. In order to fulfill the customer requirements, it's also expected that the MSD designs a computer program that allows for adequate control of the device. Therefore, upon completion of MSD II the customer will receive a device that meets his requirements along with a program that is capable of supplying the necessary controls. It's the customer's desire that the device designed and constructed by this MSD team will enable him to conduct his doctoral research.

Constraints

The constraints for this project are as follows:

House of Quality

House of Quality

House of Quality

An Excel Worksheet containing the house of quality can be accessed by clicking here.

Design Review Materials

Item Link to document
Project readiness package Click here.
Initial customer interview Click here.
Team norms Click here.
Risks identification Click here.
Problem definition presentation Click here.
Presentation feedback Click here.

Plans for Next Phase

It's expected that the following tasks are completed by the end of the next phase:

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