Researchers transform machine to make runways safer

July 24, 2012
Clemson student researchers reassemble the mobile drill press. Credit: Gregory Mocko

Clemson researchers redesigned and modified a mobile drill press to retrofit a section of a runway that halts overrun aircraft, ultimately minimizing aircraft damage and passenger injury.

The process of retrofitting the end of a runway at Greenville Downtown Airport required more than 80,000 holes to be drilled in the concrete. Pace Pavement Technologies Inc. recognized that manually drilling the holes was not an option and there needed to be a more efficient and accurate way to drill.

"We visited several machine shops and pneumatic suppliers and received minimal assistance in the design and build of a mobile drill press," said Carl Pace, president of Pace Pavement Technologies Inc. "Clemson University stepped up to the challenge and enjoyed taking on this project."

Clemson student researchers redesigned and fabricated this mobile drill press. Credit: Gregory Mocko

Seven Clemson University student researchers and their faculty adviser met with representatives from Pace Pavement Technologies Inc. to discuss the design problems and challenges related to their mobile drill press.

"We needed to reduce the weight of the machine by half so as to not cause any damage to the underneath," Pace said.

The students began by redesigning the undercarriage and modifying the to evenly spread the weight of the machine and reduce ground pressure.

This is the engineered materials arrestor system at the end of the runway at Greenville Downtown Airport. Credit: Gregory Mocko

"Clemson University student researchers truly went above and beyond their call of duty by not only reducing the ground pressure of the mobile drill press, but also improving the machine's overall performance and ," said Gregory Mocko, an assistant professor in Clemson's mechanical engineering department.

The students improved the overall performance of the machine by altering the , developing a gauge to adjust each drill simultaneously and adding a device that allows the operator to better control drill depth. They also published an operations and parts manual.

"I was overjoyed to have young minds really focused on this project," said Pace. "They gave this project the attention that it deserved and I truly hope we have the opportunity to work with Clemson again."

Explore further: Mars Drill Will Seek Knowledge and Resources

Related Stories

Mars Drill Will Seek Knowledge and Resources

September 29, 2004

It will be drilling for information first, then for resources, though oil is not likely to be among exploration targets. The futuristic drilling rig, under development at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, is designed ...

Clemson rocket launches test Alaskan auroras

March 16, 2007

It may have been 40 degrees below zero at the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska, but aurora and weather came together one recent winter night in a perfect match for Clemson University researchers and students who launched ...

Engineering students score a slam dunk (Video)

February 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- When a 240-pound forward slam dunks a basketball, some fans probably wonder how much force is being generated into the goal. Students at Clemson University now can answer that question with a new creation: ...

It works! Human-powered drill strikes water in Tanzania

July 15, 2011

A human-powered drill built by a team of BYU engineering students was meant to be inexpensive, easy to operate and easy to move. Field tests in Tanzania have shown the drill does just what it's supposed to do.

Recommended for you

World is embracing clean energy, professor says

February 1, 2016

Renewable, energy efficient and flexible electricity sources are being adopted by policy makers and investors across the globe and this is sign of optimism in the battle against climate change, a University of Exeter energy ...

Battery technology could charge up water desalination

February 4, 2016

The technology that charges batteries for electronic devices could provide fresh water from salty seas, says a new study by University of Illinois engineers. Electricity running through a salt water-filled battery draws the ...

Researchers find vulnerability in two-factor authentication

February 3, 2016

Two-factor authentication is a computer security measure used by major online service providers to protect the identify of users in the event of a password loss. The process is familiar: When a password is forgotten, the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.