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CEED Project Abstracts 2007-2008

Civil & Resource Engineering

  • Numerical Models of the Behaviour of Frangible Steel Guardrail Posts Under Collising Vehicles

Electrical, Electronic & Computing Engineering

  • Noise Reduction for L-3 Nautrinix Receivers
  • Feasibility of Solar Power for Remote Mining Camps

Mathmatics & Statistics

  • Rural Over Taking Lanes

Mechanical Engineering

  • Cost Estimation of Process Plant Utility Systems
  • Processing Plant Specification Guidelines
  • Portfolio Predictive Maintenance Funding Model
  • Flow Transients in Multiphase Pipelines


Numerical Models of the Behaviour of Frangible Steel Guardrail Posts Under Colliding Vehicles

Tristan Bridge
Civil & Resource Engineering
Main Roads WA

Steel guard rails are used along motorways to protect errant motorists from leaving the road in areas of increased danger. However the terminating ends of the rail can create a significant hazard to motorists who lose control of their vehicles, and impact the rail in a direction parallel to its length. To address this danger, the posts which support the rail in the end terminals are designed to safely break away upon impact. Main Roads W.A (MRWA) currently use frangible wooden posts in the end terminal of a common guard rail system - the West Australian Modified Eccentric Loader Terminal (WAMELT). Due to a number of issues associated with the use of timber, including those of supply and maintenance, a study to find a suitable replacement composed of steel was undertaken. Three years ago a previous CEED student Peter Kapitola, began investigation into this problem and developed a design for a potential steel post replacement. The next step was to test the post under impact using finite element analysis. The aim of this project is to investigate the performance of the proposed post design under impact scenarios which simulating physical crash testing. Findings from resultant analysis will help MRWA to develop guidelines for the final post design. Two programs are being used to simulate the post behaviour, SAP2000 and LS-Dyna. Multiple tests have been run involving differing impact velocities, masses and geometries. All tests thus far show the post design proposed by Kapitola performs in a satisfactory manner.

Noise Reduction for L-3 Nautronic Receivers

Jessica Manea
Electrical, Electronic & Computing Engineering
L-3 Communications Nautronix Limited

L-3 Nautronix provides a variety of underwater acoustic communication systems products which all stem from the same technological base. To improve range and reliability performance, there is a continuous desire to increase the signal to noise ratio of an incoming signal. Often, a limiting factor of the signal to noise ratio (SNR) is the proximity of the receiving hydrophone to a noisy platform, such as the engine of a boat from which the hydrophone is deployed.
The desired outcome of this project is to determine the benefits of local boat noise reduction on system performance. Adaptive filtering techniques were used to determine the amount of performance increase obtained by reducing boat noise interference in both model and real world environments. Using popular adaptive filtering setups, the processed model data demonstrates that a theoretical improvement in SNR of 12 dB can be achieved using an ideal setup. The processed trial data achieves an improvement of 3dB, which demonstrates the potential of this approach to form the basis for future extension to a real time system.

Feasibility of Solar Power for Remote Mining Camps

Blair Bartley
School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Rio Tinto Iron Ore

The potential for climate change due to the effects of greenhouse gases and increasing demand for limited oil resources have prompted Rio Tinto to explore alternative energy sources for their operations.  Solar power has become a very important industry because of this and Rio Tinto Technology Division has funded research into finding the most effective solution to a solar plant.  This paper researches the different technologies needed to implement a solar powered remote camp such as batteries and photovoltaic panels.  Solar designs have been made that compare these technologies in order to find both the most elegant and the most cost effective solution.

Rural Over Taking Lanes

Kah Wai Ng
School of Mathmatics & Statistics
Main Roads WA

The TRAffic on Rural Roads (TRARR) program is a micro simulation model of traffic flow on two-lane roads originally developed by the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) for the investigation of overtaking lane projects. Its latest version, the TRARR06 (T06) user interface was introduced to Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) in 2006. Seeing this as an opportunity to encourage staff of MRWA to harness technology in the workplace, MRWA decided to have a collaborative project with UWA and CEED. This paper provides a methodology to integrate existing MRWA applications such as IRIS and SIGHT into T06 to identify overtaking lanes. The outputs from T06 could also assist users to select overtaking lanes projects from a benefit cost perspective.

Cost Estimation of Process Plant Utility Systems

Jay Dhondea
School of Mechanical Engineering
United Group Limited Resources

The current dynamic climate of the Australian resource sector has lead to an increased number of new projects being constructed throughout the country. United Group Limited Resources has identified the need to screen a large volume of these projects reliably and efficiently to ascertain their feasibility. During the project screening process, the cost estimation of process plant utility systems are often overlooked, even through they may contribute up to 40% of the final construction costs. This paper discusses the development of an approach to cost estimating process plant utility systems, in particular firewater systems, as well as the creation of an interactive cost estimating tool for the benefit of United Group Limited Resources. The project focussed on an investigation into cost estimating techniques and commercial cost rates as well as the engineering design of firewater systems. Upon implementation, the outcomes identified in the study are expected to lead to a significant reduction in the resources required to cost estimate process plant utility systems at a project screening phase.

Processing Plant Specification Guidelines

Fong Meang Lai
School of Mechanical Engineering
Homestyle Vegetable Processors Pty Ltd

The current increasing demand for healthy food has created a market opportunity for the food industry. Homestyle Vegetable Processors, a leading producer of salad has identified the need for an increased capacity to cater the rising demand of consumers nationwide and potentially within the Asian market. Homestyle’s existing plant is operating with intensive dependence on human labour. Upgrading both efficiency and productivity of the plant creating a highly automated environment facilitates a move towards lean manufacturing. However, the creation of a fully automated factory may require significant capital investment and therefore several other options have been considered. These include remodeling of current plant and replacing labour intensive operations with automation. The current plant has been used as the base case against which the other options are compared. A financial analysis has been conducted separately for each case to identify the suitability of each upgrade option by matching the annual sales growth rate. This paper discusses the development of an approach to produce a design guideline to improve efficiency and assess the value of each upgrade in monetary terms. The project focused on an upgrade of the pasta salad production line in terms of efficiency. Upon completion of this project, the findings and recommendation are expected to lead to a significant reduction in production time and cost.

Portfolio Predictive Maintenance Funding Model

Arj Selvam
School of Mechanical Engineering
Dept of Housing & Works

Predicting maintenance funding for government building portfolios is an issue which has received widespread attention in the last two decades. Research in the field, however, has failed to achieve a commonly accepted method in which maintenance funds may be predicted. The goal of this study is to formulate a mathematical model to predict the level of maintenance required for public buildings in the Perth metropolitan area, as managed by the Department of Housing and Works (DHW).
The study seeks to derive separate prediction models for the top five clients in the DHW portfolio which collectively represent 78% and 91% of the building portfolio by value and volume respectively. The predictions will then be used to assess the level of allocated funding provided by the Department of Treasury and Finance. The preliminary findings thus far outline a useful model has been developed to predict the level of maintenance funds for the Department of Education (Primary Schools), the largest client in the portfolio. This paper further discusses the importance of including qualitative variables in such a model and seeks to accomplish this.

Flow Transients in Multiphase Pipelines

David Wiszniewski
School of Mechanical Engineering
Woodside Energy Ltd

Multiphase pipelines may exhibit a range of transient flow conditions, including unstable flows (severe slugging) and operator induced transients (shut-in, start-ups, ramp-ups, pigging). OLGA is a flow simulator which is in widespread use for analysis of transients in multiphase flowlines. Although OLGA has been applied for a very broad range of flow problems, there is still a need for careful validation against experimental data taken under controlled conditions. This paper details the experimental set-up and method used for the validation of the particular flow problem of flushing an air filled, undulating pipeline with a liquid stream, and outlines some of the observations of the bubble turning process from the experiments.

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