What Belt Width does a Hydroponics Plant Need?

June 23rd, 2017

    Belts are important.  They make fashion statements, hold things up, keep things together.   Today we’re introducing a scenario in which the Euler-Eytelwein Formula will be used to, among other things, determine the ideal width of a belt to be used in a mechanical power transmission system consisting of two pulleys inside a hydroponics plant.   The ideal width belt would serve to maximize friction between the belt and pulleys, thus controlling slippage and maximizing belt strength to prevent belt breakage.

    An engineer is tasked with designing an irrigation system for a hydroponics plant.   Pulley 1 is connected to the shaft of a water pump, while Pulley 2 is connected to the shaft of a small gasoline engine.

What Belt Width does a Hydroponics Plant Need?

What Belt Width does a Hydroponics Plant Need?

   

    Mechanical power is transmitted by the belt from the engine to the pump at a constant rate of 4 horsepower.   The belt material is leather, and the two pulleys are made of cast iron.   The coefficient of friction, m, between these two materials is 0.3, according  to Marks Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers.   The belt manufacturer specifies a safe working tension of 300 pounds force per inch width of the belt.   This is the maximum tension the belt can safely withstand before breaking.

    We’ll use this information to solve for the ideal belt width to be used in our hydroponics application.    But first we’re going to have to re-visit the two T’s of the Euler-Eytelwein Formula.   We’ll do that next time.

 

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

Another Specialized Application of the Euler-Eyelewein Formula

June 13th, 2017

    Last week we saw how friction coefficients as used in the Euler-Eyelewein Formula, can be highly specific to a specialized application, U.S. Navy ship capstans.   In fact, many diverse industries benefit from aspects of the Euler-Eytelwein Formula.   Today we’ll introduce another engineering application of the Formula, exploring its use within the irrigation system of a hydroponics plant.

Another Specialized Application of the Euler-Eyelewein Formula

Another Specialized Application of the Euler-Eyelewein Formula

   

    Pumps conveying water are an indispensable part of a hydroponics plant.   In the schematic shown here they are portrayed by the symbol ⊗.

    In our simplified scenario to be presented next week, these pumps are powered by a mechanical power transmission system, each consisting of two pulleys and a belt.   One pulley is connected to a water pump, the other pulley to a gasoline engine.   A belts runs between the pulleys to deliver mechanical power from the engine to the pump.

    The width of the belts is a key component in an efficiently running hydroponics plant.   We’ll see how and why that’s so next time.

 

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

Navy Capstans and the Development of Specialized Friction Coefficients

June 4th, 2017

    We’ve been talking about pulleys for awhile now, and last week we introduced the term friction coefficient, numerical values derived during testing which quantify the amount of friction present when different materials interact.   Friction coefficients for common materials are routinely presented in engineering texts like Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers.    But there are circumstances when more specificity is required, such as when the U.S. Navy, more specifically the Navy Material Command, tested the interaction between various synthetic ropes and ship capstans and developed their own specialized friction coefficients in the process.

Navy Capstans and the Development of Specialized Friction Coefficients

Navy Capstans and the Development of Specialized Friction Coefficients

   

    Capstans are similar to pulleys but have one key difference, they’re made so rope can be wound around them multiple times.   When the Navy set out to determine which synthetic rope worked best with their capstans, they did testing and developed highly specialized friction coefficients in the process.  This research was at one time Top Secret but has now been declassified.   To read more about it, follow this link to the actual handbook:

https://archive.org/stream/DTIC_ADA036718#page/n0/mode/2up

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

Angle of Wrap in the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

May 25th, 2017

    Last time we learned that the two T’s in the Euler-Eytelwein Formula correspond to different belt tensions on either side of a pulley wheel in a pulley-belt assembly. Today we’ll see what the remaining variables in this famous Formula are all about, paying special attention to the angle of wrap that’s formed by the belt wrapping around the pulley wheel.

Angle of Wrap in the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

Angle of Wrap in the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

    Here again is the Euler-Eytelwein Formula,

 T1 = T2 × eθ)

    The tight side tension, T1, is equal to a combination of factors, namely:  loose side tension T2 ; the friction that exists between the belt and pulley, denoted as μ ;  and the length of belt coming in direct contact with the pulley, namely, θ.   These last two terms are exponents of the term, e, known as Euler’s Number, a mathematical constant used in many circles, including science, engineering, and economics, to calculate a wide variety of things, from bell curves to compound interest rates.   It’s a rather esoteric term, much like the term π that’s used to calculate values associated with circles.

    Euler’s Number was discovered in 1683 by Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, but oddly enough was named after Leonhard Euler.   Its value, 2.718, was determined while Bernoulli manipulated high level mathematics to calculate compound interest rates.   If you’d like to learn more about that, follow this link.

    The term μ is known as the friction coefficient.  It quantifies the degree of friction, or roughness, present between the belt and pulley where they make contact.   It’s a specific number that remains constant for a given combination of materials.  For example, according to Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, the value of μ for a leather belt operating on an iron pulley is 0.38.   The numerical values for these coefficients were determined over the last few centuries by engineers conducting laboratory testing on various belt and pulley materials.   They’re now routinely found in a variety of engineering texts and handbooks.

    Finally, the term θ denotes the angle of wrap that the belt makes while in contact with the face of the pulley.   In our example illustration above, θ measures the arc that’s formed by the belt riding along the surface of the pulley between points A and B, as shown by dotted lines.   The angle of wrap is important to overall functionality of the assembly, because the proper amount of friction will allow the pulley-belt assembly to operate efficiently and without slippage.

    Next time we’ll present an example and use the Euler-Eytelwein Formula to calculate optimal belt friction within a pulley-belt assembly.

 

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

The Two T’s of the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

May 14th, 2017

    Last time we introduced some of the variables in the Euler-Eytelwein Formula, an equation used to examine the amount of friction present in pulley-belt assemblies.   Today we’ll explore its two tension-denoting variables, T1 and T2.

   Here again is the Euler-Eytelwin Formula,where, T1 and  T2 are belt tensions on either side of a pulley,

T1 = T2 × eθ)

    T1 is known as the tight side tension of the assembly because, as its name implies, the side of the belt containing this tension is tight, and that is so due to its role in transmitting mechanical power between the driving and driven pulleys.   T2 is the slack side tension because on its side of the pulley no mechanical power is transmitted, therefore it’s slack–it’s just going along for the ride between the driving and driven pulleys.

   Due to these different roles, the tension in T1 is greater than it is in T2.

The Two T’s of the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

The Two T’s of the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

    In the illustration above, tension forces T1 and T2 are shown moving in the same direction, because the force that keeps the belt taught around the pulley moves outward and away from the center of the pulley.

    According to the Euler-Eytelwein Formula, T1 is equal to a combination of factors:  tension T2 ; the friction that exists between the belt and pulley, denoted as μ; and how much of the belt is in contact with the pulley, namely θ.

    We’ll get into those remaining variables next time.

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

A First Look at the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

May 5th, 2017

    Last time we introduced the Pulley Speed Ratio Formula, a Formula which assumes a certain amount of friction in a pulley-belt assembly in order to work.   Today we’ll introduce another Formula, one which oversees how friction comes into play between belts and pulleys, the Euler-Eytelwein Formula.   It’s a Formula developed by two pioneers of engineering introduced in an earlier blog, Leonhard Euler and Johann Albert Eytelwein.

    Here again is the Pulley Speed Ratio Formula,

D1 × N1 = D2 × N2

where, D1 is the diameter of the driving pulley and D2 the diameter of the driven pulley. The pulleys’ rotational speeds are represented by N1 and N2.

   This equation works when it operates under the assumption that friction between the belt and pulleys is, like Goldilock’s preferred bed, “just so.”   Meaning, friction present is high enough so the belt doesn’t slip, yet loose enough so as not to bring the performance of a rotating piece of machinery to a grinding halt.

    Ideally, you want no slippage between belt and pulleys, but the only way for that to happen is if you have perfect friction between their surfaces—something that will never happen because there’s always some degree of slippage.   So how do we design a pulley-belt system to maximize friction and minimize slip?

    Before we get into that, we must first gain an understanding of how friction comes into play between belts and pulleys.   To do so we’ll use the famous Euler-Eytelwein Formula, shown here,

A First Look at the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

A First Look at the Euler-Eytelwein Formula

   

where, T1 and  T2 are belt tensions on either side of a pulley.

    We’ll continue our exploration of the Euler-Eytelwein Formula next time when we discuss the significance of its two sources of tension.

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

A Pulley Speed Ratio Formula Application

April 21st, 2017

    Last time we saw how pulley diameter governs speed in engineering scenarios which make use of a belt and pulley system.   Today we’ll see how this phenomenon is defined mathematically through application of the Pulley Speed Ratio Formula, which enables precise pulley diameters to be calculated to achieve specific rotational speeds.   Today we’ll apply this Formula to a scenario involving a building’s ventilating system.

    The Pulley Speed Ratio Formula is,

                                                D1 × N1 =  D2 × N2                             (1)

where, D1 is the diameter of the driving pulley and D2 the diameter of the driven pulley.

A Pulley Speed Ratio Formula Application

A Pulley Speed Ratio Formula Application

   

The pulleys’ rotational speeds are represented by N1 and N2,  and are measured in revolutions per minute (RPM).

    Now, let’s apply Equation (1) to an example in which a blower must deliver a specific air flow to a building’s ventilating system.   This is accomplished by manipulating the ratios between the driven pulley’s diameter, D2, with respect to the driving pulley’s diameter, D1.   If you’ll recall from our discussion last time, when both the driving and driven  pulleys have the same diameter, the entire assembly moves at the same speed, and this would be bad for our scenario.

    An electric motor and blower impeller moving at the same speed is problematic because electric motors are designed to spin at much faster speeds than typical blower impellers in order to produce desired air flow.   If their pulleys’ diameters were the same size, it would result in an improperly working ventilating system in which air passes through the furnace heat exchanger and air conditioner cooling coils far too quickly to do an efficient job of heating or cooling.

    To bear this out, let’s suppose we have an electric motor turning at a fixed speed of 3600 RPM and a belt-driven blower with an impeller that must turn at 1500 RPM to deliver the required air flow according to the blower manufacturer’s data sheet.   The motor shaft is fitted with a pulley 3 inches in diameter.   What pulley diameter do we need for the blower to turn at the manufacturer’s required 1500 RPM?

    In this example known variables are D1 = 3 inches, N1 = 3600 RPM, and N2 = 1500 RPM.   The diameter D2 is unknown.   Inserting the known values into equation (1), we can solve for D2,

                               (3 inches) × (3600 RPM) = D2 × (1500 RPM)         (2)

Simplified, this becomes,

                                            D2 = 7.2 inches                                      (3)

    Next time we’ll see how friction affects our scenario.

   

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

Pulley Diameter Determines Speed

April 8th, 2017

    Soon after the first pulleys were used with belts to transmit mechanical power, engineers such as Leonhard Euler and Johann Albert Eytelwein discovered that the diameter of the pulleys used determined the speed at which they rotated.   This allowed for a greater diversity in mechanical applications.   We’ll set up an examination of this phenomenon today.

    Last time we introduced this basic mechanical power transmission system consisting of a driving pulley, a driven pulley, and a belt, which we’ll call Situation A.

 A Driven Pulley’s Larger Diameter Determines a Slower Speed

A Driven Pulley’s Larger Diameter Determines a Slower Speed

   

    In this situation, the rotating machinery’s driven pulley diameter is larger than the electric motor’s driving pulley diameter.   The result is the driven pulley turns at a slower speed than the driving pulley.

    Now let’s say we need to speed the rotating machinery up so it produces more widgets per hour.   In that case we’d make the driven pulley smaller, as shown in Situation B.

 A Driven Pulley’s Smaller Diameter Determines a Faster Speed

A Driven Pulley’s Smaller Diameter Determines a Faster Speed

   

    With the smaller diameter driven pulley, the rotating machinery will operate faster than it did in Situation A.

    Next week we’ll introduce the Pulley Speed Ratio Formula, which mathematically defines this phenomenon.

 Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

The Difference Between Driven and Driving Pulleys

March 31st, 2017

    Last time we introduced two historical legends in the field of engineering who pioneered the science of mechanical power transmission using belts and pulleysLeonhard Euler and Johann Albert Eytelwein.   Today we’ll build a foundation for understanding their famous Euler-Eytelwein Formula through our example of a simple mechanical power transmission system consisting of two pulleys and a belt, and in so doing demonstrate the difference between driven and driving pulleys.

    Our example of a basic mechanical power transmission system consists of two pulleys connected by a drive belt.   The driving pulley is attached to a source of mechanical power, for example, the shaft of an electric motor.   The driven pulley, which is attached to the shaft of a piece of rotating machinery, receives the mechanical power from the electric motor so the machinery can perform its function.

The Difference Between Driven and Driving Pulleys

The Difference Between Driven and Driving Pulleys 

   

    Next time we’ll see how driven pulleys can be made to spin at different speeds from the driving pulley, enabling different modes of operation in mechanical devices.

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________

 

Johann Albert Eytelwein, Engineering Trailblazer

March 20th, 2017

    They say necessity is the mother of invention, and today’s look at an influential historical figure in engineering bears that out.   Last week we introduced Leonhard Euler and touched on his influence to the science of pulleys.   Today we’ll introduce his contemporary and partner in science, Johann Albert Eytelwein, a German mathematician and visionary, a true engineering trailblazer whose contributions to the blossoming discipline of engineering led to later studies with pulleys.

 Johann Albert Eytelwein, Engineering Trailblazer

Johann Albert Eytelwein, Engineering Trailblazer

   

    Johann Albert Eytelwein’s experience as a civil engineer in charge of the dikes of former Prussia led him to develop a series of practical mathematical problems that would enable his subordinates to operate more effectively within their government positions.   He was a trailblazer in the field of applied mechanics and their application to physical structures, such as the dikes he oversaw, and later to machinery.   He was instrumental in the founding of Germany’s first university level engineering school in 1799, the Berlin Bauakademie, and served as director there while lecturing on many developing engineering disciplines of the time, including machine design and hydraulics.   He went on to publish in 1801 one of the most influential engineering books of his time, entitled Handbuch der Mechanik (Handbook of the Mechanic), a seminal work which combined what had previously been mere engineering theory into a means of practical application.

    Later, in 1808, Eytelwein expanded upon this work with his Handbuch der Statik fester Koerper (Handbook of Statics of Fixed Bodies), which expanded upon the work of Euler.   In it he discusses friction and the use of pulleys in mechanical design.  It’s within this book that the famous Euler-Eytelwein Formula first appears, a formula Eytelwein derived in conjunction with Euler.   The formula delves into the usage of belts with pulleys and examines the tension interplay between them.

    More on this fundamental foundation to the discipline of engineering next time, with a specific focus on pulleys.

Copyright 2017 – Philip J. O’Keefe, PE

Engineering Expert Witness Blog

____________________________________