Turbomachinery Lab to host 39th annual Turbomachinery Research Consortium meeting

Representatives from 33 industrial firms will visit or call in to Aggieland next week during the Turbomachinery Research Consortium (TRC) annual meeting. They will select the next round of student-led research projects, the results of which will not only impact these companies, but the turbomachinery industry at-large.

The 39th annual TRC meeting will kick off at Phillips Event Center at Briarcrest, 1929 Country Club Drive in Bryan at 9 a.m. on May 14 and continue through May 16. TRC representatives will hear 31 proposals for research projects lead by student and faculty researchers in the Turbomachinery Laboratory at Texas A&M University. Representatives evaluate each proposal, electing to fund 15-20 of the top-ranking projects. Turbo Lab faculty and students whose projects are selected will begin their research in September.

The TRC is a members-only group of companies who have united with the Turbo Lab, a center of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, to find answers to important questions about turbomachinery performance and reliability through research. TRC member companies provide annual payments of $25,000 to support a broad range of member-selected projects. TRC member companies have exclusive access to a continuing series of reports and computer programs on all TRC research activities dating back to the foundation of TRC in 1981. Member companies also have exclusive access to software, including XLTRC2, a suite of high-speed, experimentally verified and user-friendly codes for executing rotordynamic analysis of rotating machinery, including pumps, compressors and turbines.

At any given time, 15 to 20 graduate students in Texas A&M’s Department of Mechanical Engineering are supported by the TRC. Students conduct research on TRC projects at the Turbomachinery Laboratory research facility, located on George Bush Drive in College Station, adjacent to Texas A&M’s main campus. The 37,000 square foot high-bay facility is equipped with 12 top-of-the-line vibration damped test cells and variety of compressors that provide air for test rigs with capacities ranging from 4000 standard cubic feet per minute (scfm) at 120 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) to 1350 scfm at 300 psig.

Jennifer Gaines, a mechanical design engineer for Sulzer Turbo Services in Houston, conducted research on a two-part project for the TRC before earning her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M in 2014. Gaines has the pleasure of returning to the annual TRC meetings, this time as Sulzer’s point-of-contact. “Presenting at the TRC meeting as a student was pretty overwhelming, considering the amount of knowledge and experience in the room,” Gaines said. “Whenever a TRC member has feedback, you know it’s approached with a wide base of knowledge and experience. It’s a humbling experience getting the advice of so many experts all in one room. So now, being on the other side, I have a greater sense of responsibility in trying to guide the presenting engineers in the way that I was guided.” Gaines said she comes to the TRC meetings with an open mind. “The purpose of the Turbo Lab is to discover new and interesting things and provide solutions to preexisting problems. Any findings that come through the Lab are beneficial for us to know.”

TRC industrial firm members include:

•         ARL (Army Research Laboratory)

•         Atlas Copco Comptec

•         BHEL Hyderabad

•         ConocoPhillips

•         Danfoss Turbocor

•         Dresser-Rand Business, part of Siemens Power and Gas Division

•         Elliott Company

•         Equinor

•         ETU i+D Mexico

•         ExxonMobil Research and Engineering

•         Garrett Advancing Motion

•         GE Oil & Gas-Nuovo Pignone S.p.A.

•         Hanwha Techwin

•         Hitachi

•         Indar MH

•         Ingersoll Rand – Engineered Centrifugal Compression

•         Kawasaki Heavy Industries

•         Kobe Steel Ltd.

•         Koch Industries

•         MAN Energy Solutions Schweiz AG

•         Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

•         PETROBRAS

•         Pratt & Whitney

•         Praxair

•         Safran Aircraft Engines

•         Schlumberger Oilfield Pte. Ltd.

•         Shell Global Solutions

•         Shenyang Blower Works Group

•         Solar Turbines Inc.

•         Southwest Research Institute

•         Sulzer

•         Torishima Pumps

•         Waukesha Bearings

For more details on TRC, including membership information, visit turbolab.tamu.edu/trc.