Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Starscraper Sounding Rocket Kickstarter

The Boston University Rocket Propulsion Group (BURPG) is developing a sounding rocket designed to top 150km and funding it partially through a kickstarter campaign. They plan on launching from Blackrock next year like Qu8k, but this is a more ambitious and complex effort.

The rocket will be controlled using fluid injection thrust vectoring. The thrust levels of their hybrid motor are comparable to Qu8k, but it is a significantly larger (30 vs 14ft long, 12 vs 8in diameter) and heavier (1100 vs 320 lbs) and aims higher (150km vs 120kft). It's hard to tell, but it also seems to be an order of magnitude or so more expensive.

The advantage the BURPG folks claim for their concept over traditional solid fuel sounding rockets is a gentler ride for payloads on the longer, smoother burning hybrid.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fully Scripted Open Source Topology Optimization

Helical Extruder Gear for Printrbot with Optimized Topology

I've used a couple different methods for stringing together open source tools to do topology optimization, but they have all required some interactive user input. Here are some previous posts demonstrating those manual methods:
Those approaches are fine if you've got time to fiddle with interactive software, but I wanted to do some parametric studies, so I need an automated approach that would be scalable to lots and lots of optimizations.