NPOI Vacuum Manifold Capstone 

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The Project

The NAU Capstone team is tasked with designing, analyzing, and manufacturing a new vacuum manifold for the Fast Delay Lines (FDL) located at the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer (NPOI). The new manifold would be separate from the vacuum snoots allowing for shorter down times when working at the front of the tanks. The proposed manifold would be to interface with the existing bulkhead plates, greatly reduce risk of vacuum failure, partition each of the six delay lines so an individual tank can be vented without disrupting operation of other delay lines, and reduce maintenance time when working on the FDL carts. Other considerations include location of the vacuum pump to reduce/eliminate vibrations that effect optics cart performance, and access to partitioning valves. The scope of this project requires analysis of material properties, hydrostatic loading, cycle degradation prediction, cost optimization, and FEA evaluation to generate a fully engineered final product. Construction, assembly, and installment of the proposed manifold could be included in the capstone requirements requiring students to learn manufacturing processes and evaluation of final system. The proposed budget for this project is $14,000 for a completed manifold.



Wyatt Clark

Wyatt Clark is a Senior in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Northern Arizona University and is expected to graduate in May 2022. Wyatt has held positions at The United States Naval Observatory developing dark sky monitoring and seeing technology; Currently works at The Naval Research Laboratory working in the Optical Science division with fiber optic sensing technologies; and currently works at Lowell Observatory at NPOI working with adaptive optics, vacuum systems, and interferometric control systems. Wyatt hopes to be accepted to a graduate program in the Washington DC area studying bio-inspired robotics.

Cydny Clark

Cydny is a Senior in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Northern Arizona University, with an expected graduation date in May 2022. She is responsible for the internal and external communications for the team as well as overseeing the experimental design and testing. Post-graduation she hopes to enter either the renewable energy field or aerospace engineering field. Both are fields she believes will help with the greater good.

Alex McClinton

Alex is responsible for keeping track of the team purchases and staying within the allocated budget. His primary contributions to this project are helping with Solidworks modeling as well as simulation. Other skills that he has that could be used for the project are my mill, lathe, CNC, and Matlab experience. Currently, Alex has no concrete plans for after graduation but would enjoy working in the aeronautics, space, or manufacturing industries. In his free time, he enjoys mountain biking, reading, and video games.