Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Aim for the stars, because even if you miss, you might see an explosion

Figure its probably time to do an update. And the only thing I can think to update about right now is that I am going for my Level 2 certification for rocket launching this Saturday. It involves a written test on technical knowledge and safety which I have been studying for, and a flight test. I have a J270 motor that I am flying my rocket on for the certification, and the rocket should reach an altitude of around 4400 ft. The cool part is that I have made my first rocket a little longer by adding in a payload bay. I have collaborated with a guy doing a class project on rocket instruments and he has agreed to use my rocket to test his altimeter, so I should get some real altitude and velocity data for my launch on Saturday! I included a picture, so you can see the new addition to the rocket. The payload is the red section. On careful inspection, you can see some of the pressure relief holes drilled into the payload section to keep the payload bay at atmospheric pressure for accurate altitude measurements.

Also, with the experimenting that I am starting to do with this rocket and its design, I am thinking a starting a new blog. Since I struggle with the broad topic I initially gave myself for a blog, and the desire to brag less and simply disseminate gained knowledge, I  am entertaining the idea of beginning a rocketry specific blog. It will give me an excuse to explore my eccentric ideas and I think it will be fun to share the successes (and definitely the failures) of my rocket endeavors. Not sure if this is turning into a last post... maybe it is... maybe not... We'll see!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"You in HD"

There is this really cool company called GoPro that makes these little HD waterproof cameras that you can take anywhere and attach to anything.... and I bought one! And since I got it, I have taken it on every adventure I go on, and have even made little side-adventures, just because I have the camera. I've made a list of all the things I want to do this coming year with the GoPro and plan to make a movie montage of all my adventures. Here are a few videos of some of the things I have done with the camera so far.

THE ROAD TRIP (Manti temple trip)

MOUNTAIN HIKE (Timpanogos Glacier)

ROCKET LAUNCH (Hellfire 17 at Bonneville Salt Flats)

Some of my next adventures- Wakeboarding/Boating/Jetskiing; Alpine Sliding Rock; Longboarding in Provo Canyon; Rafting the Provo River; Fishing (I'll only keep the footage of when I actually catch a fish)
Anybody have some more ideas for me??

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Life as a Grad Student

Well, it has been a long time since the last post and much needs to be reported in my life. First off, I graduated!! I am now working on my Mechanical Engineering Master's Degree and, starting in Fall 2013, will be earning an MBA at the same time. The program will take a total of 3 years, so I will be finished with school April 2015. My research is in Flow Analysis. I will be using a technique called "Synthetic Aperture Particle Image Velocimetry", SAPIV for short, to capture data about the flow of water around a model of a ladybug wing in a water tunnel. SAPIV uses multiple high speed cameras to capture images of particles seeded in the flow and meshes the images into a series of images at various focal lengths, giving a time-resolved, 3 dimensional velocity field of the flow; not something easily achieved. This will allow us to see the various swirls and twirls in the water around the wings so we can better understand how to better mimic insect flight. The research is fully funded through a grant from the Air Force, so I will not have to work as a TA at all- just focus on the research! Here is a picture of what the setup may look like. A laser is used to illuminate the particles in the flow.

The Supermileage Vehicle turned out great! Our team placed 2nd at the competition in Michigan and had a top MPG of 1,135! Mind you, I won't be buying one of these cars to drive around town with. The cramped space and slow speed would drive anyone crazy. Here is an article on BYU's mechanical engineering website about it-Supermileage Vehicle Standout

The rocket team I participated on went to the competition in Green River, UT with hopes of simply being allowed to launch the rocket. We were allowed, and, to our surprise, the rocket blew up. It wasn't the rocket failing that surprised us, but how it failed. The rocket took off strong, was set on a great trajectory with no wobblies, when all of a sudden, there was a pop and fire started shooting out of the middle of the rocket. The rocket separated, burned the parachute cord, and tumbled back to the earth, still on fire (don't worry, we had a fire permit, special permission from the state, and there was nothing to burn on the ground). Turns out, the rocket motor burned through the aluminum casing. We aren't sure why yet, but it was good to know that it wasn't anything we designed on the rocket that had failed :). The reading we got back from the altimeter was 742 ft when the rocket failed. Pretty good, I'd say, for a bunch of non-rocketeers.

Speaking of non-rocketeers, I'm not sure I want to be one of those anymore. This past week, I ordered myself a high-powered rocket kit and a motor to go to the Salt Flats in August for a rocket launch event. I am going for my Level 1 certification, which, I think, will make me a rocketeer.

I'd like to finish with my other new hobby: fishing. Fishing is great. I thought I was good at it. The first two times I went this year, I caught a total of 9 fish, and cooked a couple of them too. The last 3 times I have gone out with my pole, I've caught nothing. Hopefully I will have better luck tomorrow; I want to have a fish bbq for lunch!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

XXX mpg = Way more mpg than the average car

I'm posting a link to the most recent trial run of our Super Mileage Vehicle. This actually took place this morning in the West Stadium Parking Lot. It gives us the most room to practice. I'm not reporting the mpg we got because of a bet that has been placed. Earlier this week, we had a design review where our review claimed that he did not think we could reach 350 mpg by March 22, 2012, let alone 1800mpg, which is the day our final car should be fully assembled with the monocoque fuselage and tuned engine. He said if we could do it, he'd buy all of us ice cream. So, in the spirit of that challenge, we are not publicly reporting any mpg numbers for our car until March 22, 2012. But I will have you all know, that I feel insulted and belittled by this challenge and am prepared to knock it out of the park. AND WE WILL KNOCK IT OUT OF THE PARK.

Anyway, enjoy the video!
-For help understanding the video, just before it started recording, I had just turned off the engine to coast, and I restart the engine as I drive past Kevin (you can hear it as I drive by).
-We didn't actually drive the full 9 miles. We drove 1.912, which is when we ran out of gas (its in a little buret so that we can take readings in mL of how much fuel we have used, so it holds hardly any). We are working on a new way of holding the fuel and measuring it so that we can drive the full 9 mile distance of the race.
-This was our only good test for the day because on the next two tests, the engine struggled to start every time. Come to find out, the wheels kick up a lot of gravel from the parking lot and a grain-of-sand sized piece of asphalt clogged the buret tip and kept the engine from being supplied with fuel. Again, something that we will fix and move forward with.

 There is also a link to our first drive of the car after the video. Check it out!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

110 mpg = "5.1 Times the Average Mid-size Car"

That's right. 110 mpg, and that was on our first try. A really poor try at that. This morning, our Capstone Team was able to collect data from a coast around a course set-up in the west stadium parking lot. Despite many setbacks including a flat tire, dead battery, and an unforeseen pothole, one good run was recorded, calculated, and put us on the chart. Literally.
Our coach, Dr. Bowman, has a chart in his office with a list of all of the schools that competed in last year's competition with their best mpg for the competition day. All last semester, we were constantly reminded that "you have not posted an mpg; therefore, you have an mpg of 0 and are in last place at the bottom of my chart". Today we received the following email,

       "110 mpg sounds great to me.  This is better than Hawaii and UCLA.  The next school to beat is University of Houston.  They achieved 125 mpg.  I know you can do it.  I’ve moved your marker off the bottom of the list.  I am ready to move it higher."

If you have taken a look at the chart on the left, you will notice that while we did beat the mpg of two schools with our first run, both of them did not actually get a chance to race since their cars never got assembled at the competition. BUT, we have a working car!

The next step is to recharge the battery, remember to check the tire pressure before leaving the workshop, and develop our start-stop method of drive-coasting. 1800mpg, you don't stand a chance.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Sports, and Old Books

Happy New Year! And what a great year it will be! For starters, I will be a part-time student; took too many classes this last semester, so I don't have enough left to be full-time, :). One of these few classes will provide a big step forward in progressing towards my life as a wealthy gentleman- skiing. No, skiing will not provide me with wealth, or make me a gentleman. It will, however, give me one of the skills that wealthy gentlemen have. I believe that there are three sports that a wealthy gentleman must be proficient at; namely, Golf, Tennis, and Skiing. These are the three sports that I associate with extravagant vacations and luxurious living, so they are the sports I will learn. And I'm doing alright at learning them, too! I have golf clubs... not very good with them, but I have them; I have a tennis racquet and tennis balls, but as for winning matches... well, just don't ask Blair about it.

As for skiing, last season was the first winter that I went skiing more than once. I could keep up with my friends, but only because they would stop and wait while I clipped back into my skis, so, actually, no. I did not keep up with my friends. That picture above IS of me, but it was also taken just before I became, in the words of my cousin, "A Snow Cone". My goal is to make it down the mountain without falling, and when I can do that, I will get my own pair of skis.

This year will also be great because of the awesome resolutions I have made. Unfortunately, I will not be sharing those on this blog as I saw a video recently from TED that discouraged me from doing so. Apparently, as you can see from the video, sharing my resolutions will lower my chances of actually achieving them. I will let everyone know that I will continue reading many books to enrich my life and broaden my perspectives. And along with that, I would like to give a list of the books I read and am still currently reading from this past year, and a short critique of each.

1. Pride and Prejudice -Even better than the movies. I highly recommend it to all who are fans of chick-flicks.

2. The Art of War - A bit of a difficult read, mostly because of the commentary inserted after each line. Interesting read, but is probably better read a few lines at a time, instead of all at once.

3. Shakespeare's Sonnets - Boring. Found a few sonnets I liked, though. Numbers 17, 18, and 47.

4. Common Sense - A must read for anyone who considers themselves an American. I would have fought for a revolution after reading it, too.

5. The Hunger Games - A thrilling tale that immediately had my full attention. A fast read. It does have an addicting affect though, and you WILL have to read the other two.

6. A Christmas Carol - Read it at President Monson's recommendation. Great read for the holidays.

7. The Mansion - Another of President Monson's holiday recommendations. Definitely gave me a more charitable spirit during Christmas and made me rethink why I do the things I do.

8. Catching Fire (Hunger Games II) - Same as the first, thrilling and addicting. Also a fast read.

9. Mocking Jay (Hunger Games II) - I told you, "You WILL have to read the other two".


10. Les Miserables - Wow. It is a long book. I am reading the unabridged version, but perhaps should have picked a condensed one. Compelling story, but lots of side stories for unneeded background.

11. The Natural Navigator - A very interesting book on the ways of finding your location and bearings from signs and patterns in nature. Good for those who don't like GPS, like me.

Well, that's it for now. Again, Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Oh, we're just friends"

        I am not an expert at love. I do not know how to find love, create love, or grow love. I am, after all, an engineer, so no feelings of sympathy need be directed my way; I choose to indulge in my geeky tendencies and accept the consequences. However, I have gotten lucky a few times. The luck is probably building up right now, growing and maturing, until it reaches that critical mass where sparks will fly. And hopefully, those sparks can ignite a small flame.
        Something that I have learned through the spots of luck that I have experienced is that guys and girls can't be "just friends". It does not work that way. We have been programmed to want more than just friendship from each other, and if you think that you and someone of the opposite gender are "just friends", you are living in a state of denial. Somebody's feelings are being suppressed for that friendship to work, trust me. Now, there are probably a lot of girls who will read this and think, "Oh my gosh! Does Eric secretly have a crush on me because I thought we were just friends?" When in reality, you should probably be saying to yourselves, "Oh my gosh! Do I secretly have a crush on Eric??" If the latter is is the case, feel free to stop by and profess your love to me. Truth is, I'm probably secretly crushing on you, too, and we will be able to live happily ever after.
         Now, out of the mouth of two or three witnesses is truth declared. I did not come to proclaim my crazy radical ideas all by myself. Oh, no. Check out this video by a Utah State student where he interviews 20+ other students about this exact same topic. And please pay close attention to the differences between the men's and women's responses. Remember my earlier statement about living in denial... Enjoy!