Spencer Richards (EngSci 1T5)

I have been working in the Experimental Engines (E2) Laboratory, which is headed by Professor Adam M. Steinberg at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS). The E2 Lab conducts research in many areas of propulsion systems. In particular, my work concerns the study of thermo-acoustic instabilities, which are amplified pressure oscillations driven by heat release during combustion.
Presently, I am collecting and analysing data from a test rig designed to mimic the path travelled by acoustic waves in the actual E2 burner apparatus. The test rig consists of a large main tube into which the pressure duct is affixed, leading to the external microphone. In this setup, a loudspeaker is used as an acoustic source; the sound waves travel down the main tube until they reach the junction between the main tube and the pressure duct. At the junction, a reference microphone receives the original sound wave (i.e. the true value of the pressure fluctuation within the combustor).
Overall, I was able to enjoy a rich and rewarding experience at UTIAS through the Engineering Science Research Opportunities Program (ESROP). I learned a number of technical skills that I believe will aid me in future projects. In particular, I found that learning to use LabVIEW software was important to expediting data collection and analysis. In addition, my research preserved that engineering flavour by allowing me to design laboratory equipment via SolidWorks in order to meet particular constraints and criteria.
Furthermore, I feel that the most enjoyable part of this experience has been interacting and working with the many talented individuals at UTIAS and the University of Toronto. From Professor Steinberg and my colleagues at the E2 laboratory, to the people working in the MC-78 Machine Shop, I found inspiration, innovation, and support around every corner. For this opportunity, and for the future, I know that I can thank the Division of Engineering Science!