WSU Tri-Cities Senior Project Team Achieves Next Design Stage

Guest post by WSU Senior Project Team

As a senior project for their engineering class, a team of WSU students is designing and developing a cart for use in AREVA’s nuclear fuel manufacturing facilities in Richland, Wash. This is the third blog post in a series tracking their progress.

Our project is now entering the third month of our partnership between AREVA and Washington State University Tri Cities to improve the design of AREVA’s NAF Pellet Boat Transfer Cart. Since our last update, we made a lot of progress as we move forward to our 50 percent design and the end of the first semester.

We spent the majority of our time building and revising the 3-D model of our design, including using analysis software to identify safety factors for individual components. We also analyzed our components under a worst-case scenario and observed the reactions.

The team created this three-dimensional model to test their pellet cart frame design using simulation and analysis software.

The team created this three-dimensional model to test their pellet cart frame design using simulation and analysis software.

We discovered one of our challenges was finding blocks of time where we, as a team, could collaborate and work on our 3-D model. This was necessary so that we are all on the same page with our design’s dimensions and geometries.

After our recent conceptual design review presentation to the managers and engineers at AREVA, we began recalibrating our design based on their input and suggestions. Their feedback was helpful and enabled us to advance to our next design stage. However, we had to brainstorm and figure out how to improve important parts of our conceptual design.

One issue AREVA’s engineers mentioned was that our design was not necessarily simple to use, which was a big part of the design requirement for the new cart. We had designed the cart with several moving parts, which can be prone to fail, as well as introduce unnecessary weight. As a solution, we removed the three individual scissor jacks used to secure the NAF pellet boat inside the cart. Now, we are working to integrate the purpose of the scissor jacks into one simplified system using threaded rods.

Overall, we are continuing to make great progress toward completing our final design by the end of January 2016.