Header Bar Graphic
Shuttle Image and IconAerospace HeaderBoy Image
Spacer TabHomepage ButtonWhat is NASA Quest ButtonSpacerCalendar of Events ButtonWhat is an Event ButtonHow do I Participate ButtonSpacerBios and Journals ButtonSpacerPics, Flicks and Facts ButtonArchived Events ButtonQ and A ButtonNews ButtonSpacerEducators and Parents ButtonSpacer
Highlight Graphic
Sitemap ButtonSearch ButtonContact Button
 

August 17, 1999
QuestChat with Phillip Luan

Mechanical Engineer
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA


[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 2 - 11:47:49 ]
Hello to our early arriving chat participants. Today's chat with Phillip Luan from NASA Ames Research Center will begin in just under 15 minutes. Be sure you have read Phillip's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/luan.html to prepare your questions.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 3 - 11:50:23 ]
Today's chat may be MODERATED if Phillip falls behind with our questions. This means only a few questions will be posted to the chat room at a time. DON'T WORRY if you don't see your questions on your screen immediately during moderation. They will be posted as Phillip answers those ahead of you in the chat room.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 11:50:34 ]
At the conclusion of the chat, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us. Click on http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats to send your comments about today's chat to us, using our online feedback forms. We look forward to hearing from you!

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 5 - 11:57:49 ]
Hi everyone!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 11:58:59 ]
RE: [PhillipLuan/ARC] Hi everyone!
Welcome, Phillip! We'll get started just as soon as our participants log on for today's chat. Thanks so much for returning to chat with us today!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 8 - 12:09:53 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Hello Oran and Phillip! Thought I'd drop by and ask some questions. I don't know much about aeronautics, though.
Stephanie, what a terrific surprise. Phillip is online to answer your questions, so fire away!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 9 - 12:10:39 ]
Hello and welcome to today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Phillip Luan from NASA Ames Research Center. Balances used in wind tunnel tests tell engineers how the force of the wind affects the model. Phillip is responsible for making sure that balances used for these tests are extremely accurate. He also helps determine how electrical signals received during the tests are related to the accuracy of the balances.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 11 - 12:11:09 ]
Phillip is now ready to take your questions.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 18 - 12:16:21 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Can you describe a typical day in your work?
Sure, basically we have two jobs here in the lab. We calibrate balances for wind tunnel tests here at Ames and also for outside projects. When we're not calibrating balances, we work on projects like upgrading our information systems along with our automatic calibration machine.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 20 - 12:16:40 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] As a mechanical engineer, what exactly do you study? I am interested in engineering, but there are so many different fields to choose from!
Mechanical Engineers study a little bit of everything. We study electronics and controls, structures, physics, a lot of math, and experimentation.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 33 - 12:29:44 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] How was the Wright Flyer different from the other craft you tested?
Actually from a wind tunnel test standpoint its very similar. One thing is that for modern planes they usually use a lot of pressure sensors on the model, but for the Wright Flyer I don't think they had to. For a typical wind tunnel model you have a force transducer, which is the balance, and pressure sensors. The pressure sensors paint a picture of how the air is moving around the model

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 35 - 12:34:23 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] When using a model for tests in the wind tunnel, what factors must be included in order for your results to reflect what will happen on the real craft?
Some of the other factors that effect a wind tunnel test is the accuracy of the balance, and also of the measuring instrumentation.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 39 - 12:37:20 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Are you interested in working with the space program?
Yes. Right now I'm focused on the projects I'm working on. But it appears that a lot of NASA's focus is on the Space Program. It would be nice to work in that field.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 40 - 12:38:36 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Are they measured in metric?
No, the forces and pressures here at Ames are measured in lbs and psi, like most places in the US. But there's not really a problem converting back and forth.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 41 - 12:39:24 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Do you speak Mandarin? Any other languages?
Yes I speak Mandarin. My reading and writing is pretty bad though.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 43 - 12:40:37 ]
Stephanie, are you considering an education in Engineer or the sciences?

[ Stephanie/Edmonton - 44 - 12:41:50 ]
Yes, I do want to be some kind of engineer (probably mechanical/electrical) and a space scientist.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 45 - 12:42:03 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Is it hard to get into engineering in college? Does one just need mediocre marks or quite high?
Engineering is competitive, but not much more that other fields. But they look at your science and math marks.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 55 - 12:50:30 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Learning how to computer program is important as a mechanical engineer, right?
Yes, the more you know about computers the more you can do. Writing a computer program automates tasks, and allows you to do new things. I'm using Basic along with HTML at work.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 60 - 13:17:50 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Hello Oran and Phillip! Thought I'd drop by and ask some questions. I don't know much about aeronautics, though.
Hi Stephanie

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 61 - 13:20:38 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] How do you calibrate a balance? What does the balance look like?
A balance is a metal cylinder that fits inside a wind tunnel model. When we calibrate it we apply know loads and record the electrical outputs from the balance. We use this data to generate a matrix. This matrix will then calculate applied loads in a wind tunnel test.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 62 - 13:21:19 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Are computers an important part in your job?
Yes, I think computers are important in everyone's jobs. We not only use computers to control automated machines in the lab and to collect data, but also to organize our records. Computers allow us to manage alot of information.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 63 - 13:23:35 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Do you feel that you are treated differently in the working world because of your ethnic background? I am also Chinese and that is usually my concern rather than gender differences.
There is definitely a difference in culture and background, but I've only had positive experiences here at NASA Ames.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 64 - 14:50:09 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] I am pondering what university to go into (I'm over in Canada), but I guess it depends on what field I choose.
There are alot of good engineering schools. Which school you decide to go is important, but I think you can succeed anywhere.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 65 - 14:51:33 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] What planes have you worked on so far?
I've have supported the Boeing 777 test, Wright Flyer test, a leer jet test, and the High Speed Civil Transport research test, to name a few

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 66 - 14:52:20 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Do you plan to continue your education?
I try to continue my education everyday! I would like to go back to school, but the most important thing for me is that I continue learning. Whether its at a job or going back to school.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 67 - 14:52:56 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] When using a model for tests in the wind tunnel, what factors must be included in order for your results to reflect what will happen on the real craft?
Well the model has to be an accurate representation of the real plane. That becomes a problem when the models are sometimes much smaller that in life. You lose fidelity when your model is too small.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 68 - 14:56:07 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] I am pondering what university to go into (I'm over in Canada), but I guess it depends on what field I choose.
There are a lot of good engineering schools. Which school you decide to go is important, but I think you can succeed anywhere.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 69 - 14:59:23 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] What are the design differences between aircraft suited for supersonic and hypersonic speeds?
I'm not really an Aero Engineer, but planes designed for supersonic speeds usually are slicker and have swept wing angles.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 70 - 15:00:48 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] What is the paint that is put on the aircraft and changes color made out of? Does it measure pressure or temperature?
It measures Pressure. Its called pressure sensitive paint. It tells aero engineers what kind of flow exist on different parts of the plane.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 57 - 12:52:29 ]
Stephanie, we're glad you were able to join us for today's chat. Be sure to share you thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats. Phillip, our sincere thanks for joining us online today, and offering insights into you career. We hope your time with us has been enjoyable, and helped young people like Stephanie consider a career in engineering. Have a good day. Thanks!!!

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 59 - Sure, thanks Oran.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 58 - 12:57:54 ]
RE: [Stephanie/Edmonton] Well, thank you Phillip for taking the time to answer my questions. I'll E-mail you later! Thanks! Stephanie :)
Thank you!

 
Spacer        

Footer Bar Graphic
SpacerSpace IconAerospace IconAstrobiology IconWomen of NASA IconSpacer
Footer Info