Air Engine

Role | Mechanical Engineer
Team Size | 3 M.E. students
Duration | 4 weeks
Class | Thermal-Fluid Sciences I&II, Rowan University Fall 2015 & Spring 2016
Challenge | Design and fabricate a pneumatic air engine
Software | SolidWorks, MATLAB
Fabrication Tools | Bandsaw, mill, lathe, waterjet, lasercutter

For Thermal-Fluid Sciences I & II, we were tasked with designing, fabricating, and analyzing a pneumatic air engine to be modeled off of old steam engines.  The volume of our power cylinder was specified to 25cc to judge each team on the same scale.  Our team used SolidWorks to design the air engine and did hand calculations using the Reuleaux diagram to determine the timing between the valve and power cylinder.  We fabricated the air engine using our school’s bandsaw, mill, lathe, waterjet, and laser cutter.  In the fall term, our task was to minimize weight and maximize speed output of the engine.  Our team achieved 3100 rpm, placing first in our class’s competition and breaking the school record at our university.

In the spring term, we made improvements to our original design and hooked up a dynamometer to our air engine to measure its torque and efficiency.  We used Excel to create a torque vs. speed graph at different engine speeds and MATLAB to create surface plots of our torque vs. speed and power vs. speed data points at full throttle.  Our air engine produced about 1/2 hp, 22 in-lbs of torque, and an efficiency of 24%.sw_airengine