October 20, 1998
QuestChat with Russ Claus
NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH
- 2 - 09:24:20 ]
Hello to our early arriving Aerospace Team Online chat participants! Today's
Aerospace Team Online chat with Russ Claus from NASA Lewis Research Center
will begin at 9:30 a.m., Pacific Time. Be sure you have read Russ' autobiography
before joining this chat.
[ Deb - 3 - 09:26:06 ]
Hello! Ypsilanti COPE is standing by ready to participate in this chat.
[ MrsMock - 4 - 09:26:06 ]
Good morning. My students have an assembly this morn, so we will be participating
- 5 - 09:26:44 ]
Good morning Ypsilanti and Mrs. Mock. We will begin our chat in aapproximately
5 minutes. Please stay with us.
- 6 - 09:28:58 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we ask that you let us know what you
thought about it. Please use our online feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys
to share your thoughts with us.
- 7 - 09:30:43 ]
Today's chat will be moderated in the event we receive too many questions
for Russ to keep up with. This means only a few questions will be posted
to the chat rom at at time. Don't worry if your questions do not appear
on the screen immediately. They will be posted as Russ answers those ahead
- 9 - 09:31:44 ]
Hello and welcome to today's ADTO chat with Russ Claus from NASA Lewis
Research Center. Russ researches how to design gas turbine engines more
efficiently. A gas turbine engine (like those on commercial jets) can
require up to 7 years to design and test. This means that it can take
a long time to design a new aircraft. The 7-year design and test time
means that new technologies that increase travel speed or reduce emissions
will not be available for many years. Russ is exploring new computer technologies,
such as neural networks and genetic algorithms, that can reduce this design
- 10 - 09:31:59 ]
And now, here is Russ Claus to answer your questions.
[ DebandDane-Mrs.Regal/YpsilantiCOPE - 11
- 09:33:56 ]
We would like to thank Russ Claus for agreeing to take this time to talk
with us. Can you tell us how your current project will reduce the time
involved in the design and testing of gas turbine engines?
[ Russ - 14 - 09:36:53
That's a good question and there are many aspects to the answer. The short
answer is that we try to remove the manual translations that occurr in
the design process. In other words, we try to automate the transfer of
design information between memebers of the design team.
[ Yash-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona -
13 - 09:36:22 ]
What qualifications do you need to get your job?
[ Russ - 19 - 09:41:40
The qualificants for my job are: 1. 4 year engineering degree 2. curiosity
PS ability to spell is not one of the qualifications.
[ Russ - 16 - 09:38:17
RE: [Jeff-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Do you like
I love my job. I can't believe they pay me to do this work. I am constantly
intellectually challenged to learn new things and think of old things
in new ways.
[ Russ - 18 - 09:40:06
RE: [Adam-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] What is a gas
A gas turbine engine is what powers a commerical jet. Something like a
Boeing 737. It sucks in air, burns fuel and produces thrust that propells
the aircraft throught the air.
[ Russ - 20 - 09:43:16
RE: [Dane-Mrs.Regal/YpsilantiCOPE] What is the biggest engine
you have ever helped design since you have been at NASA?
Some members of my design team have worked with Pratt and Whitney in their
new engine for the Boeing 777. It produces about 90,000 pounds of thrust
and you can walk into the inlet.
[ Russ - 24 - 09:50:49
RE: [Deb] How do you study a problem in your job?
Can you walk us through what you say to yourself in your head when you
encounter a new and unsolved challenge?
That's a tough question, because there is no one single answer. Most of
the time I'm working on a big problem that requires 1-4 years to solve.
Along the way, there are several small problems that need to be solved.
I usuall am working on both long term and short term problems. The answer
to a short term problem may occur to me, while I'm skiing or something
similar. But much of the time I'll start by reading the recent technical
papers in the field. ---Find out what other researchers are trying. Then,
I'll call or visit other engineers to explore various options. Frequently,
I'll spend a large amount of time (months) to study a problem before trying
to solve it. I hope this explaination helps!?
[ Russ - 25 - 09:53:54
RE: [Dane] Have you ever seen a gas turbine engine
blow up? Does your work study safety or malfunctions?
I personally haven't seen an engine blow-up, but several of my co-workers
have pushed engines to the extreme and had them blow-up. This was done
on purpose. We normally don't like to have engines blow-up. The biggest
safety issue is usually bad parts (or materials). Some of my co-workers
are exploring these issues.
[ Russ - 28 - 10:00:12
RE: [Deb] How much and what kind of contact do you
have with other members of the aircraft and engine design teams? How do
This morning I had a 4 hour meeting with some designers from private industry.
We frequently communicate via telecons (approx. 1 every 2 weeks), face-to-face
meetings (once every 2 months), and constant telephone calls on a daily
basis. These are technical "brain-storming" meetings and calls. They can
last 5 minutes or 5 days.
- 29 - 10:02:34 ]
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[ Russ - 30 - 10:02:43
RE: [Dane] What kinds of materials are used in gas
turbine engines? How heavy are they?
The material are usually high-temperature alloys. They are pretty expensive.
A great deal of research is being spend of the use of ceramics and composite
materials (carbon fibers).
[ Russ - 31 - 10:04:56
RE: [Dane] What kinds of materials are used in gas
turbine engines? How heavy are they?
I forgot your question on weight. The composites and very light and inexpensive,
but they aren't ready for commerical use. The high-temperature alloys
are very heavy and expensive.
[ Russ - 36 - 10:13:58
RE: [Deb] What has been the high point of your career?
The low point?
The high point of my career. That's a tough one. It is probably when I
worked with a personal friend in industry to help solve one of their difficult
design problems. They were having a reall problem with a new combustor
and some of the design tools we worked with helped to solve the problem.
The low point is when a promising new concept such a hypersonic propulsion
system lost the National driver (funding) to bring the project to completion.
[ Russ - 37 - 10:16:45
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] What do you think will be the
power source for space flights in the future?
The key problem is to get to low Earth orbit. From there, a small engine
can get you almost anywhere. Someday, I think hypersonic propulsion will
routinely rocket people into Low Earth Orbit. From there, perhaps Ion
propulsion, nuclear or who knowns warp drive?
[ Russ - 44 - 10:27:33
RE: [DebandDane] Since it is almost time to close,
we would like to thank you. Can you please tell us what you see the future
of your field looking like by the time you retire?
I see a future where we (everyone) is free from mundane and boring tasks
(for example, transfering design data from one person or analysis to another).
We will then be free to explore wilder ideas and concepts. How many new
ideas for a quatum warp drive are not generated because someone has to
do a more mundane task? I think and hope that computer technology will
move us closer to that ideal. By the time I retire, new engines will be
detail-designed by the computer, freeing designers to be more creative
and invent new concepts.
[ Russ - 45 - 10:31:39
RE: [Dane] How would you advise someone who is now
in middle school to prepare to get a job with NASA in the future?
Most new employees at NASA are engineers. Engineering requires a focus
on science and math. If you enjoy those fields, look at colleges where
NASA traditionally hires people. I was an engineering Co-op at the University
of Cincinnati. If you are not interested in engineering, you can still
find a job at NASA, but there are fewer opportunities.
- 46 - 10:34:27 ]
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[ Russ - 48 - 10:35:35
RE: [Martin] Why do you use gas turbine engines in
Gas turbine engines provide a good compromise between fuel consumption,
propulsion system size, and speed. For example, you could use a gas IC
engine with a propellor, but you would travel very slowly. You could use
a rocket to travel rapidly, but it consumes too much fuel. You could use
a nuclear reactor, but they are too heavy.
- 49 - 10:36:16 ]
RE: [Adam] Thank you from all of us
for answering our questions from M.S.O.C.!!!!!!!
Thank you for the good questions coming from the Montessori School of
Corona! See you next time.
[ Russ - 51 - 10:36:57
RE: [Adam] Thank you from all of us for answering
our questions from M.S.O.C.!!!!!!!
- 52 - 10:37:23 ]
RE: [DebandDane] Thank you. Good luck
with your project! Bye.
Goodbye and thanks for your questions!
- 53 - 10:39:04 ]
It looks like this just about wraps up this chat. A special thanks to
Russ Claus for sharing his time and expertise with us online today!
- 54 - 10:39:22 ]
Please join us for our next ADTO chat on October 28 with Roxana Greenman
from NASA Ames Research Center. Check the ADTO chat schedule page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats
for more information.