Friday, December 09, 2005

Father of Emergency Cooling

[Crossposted from "Unconsidered Trifles"] Submariners may not recognize the name Neal Amundson--but they should!

Amundson, often referred to as the "Father of Chemical Engineering" made a crucial contribution to nuclear submarine design: the emergency cooling system.
Among his important intellectual contributions, Amundson was the first person to apply the principles of non-linear mechanics to lumped constant chemical reactor systems, enabling him to explain chemical reactor instability, oscillatory behavior and parametric sensitivity. Amundson also established the field of chemical reactor engineering, being the first to couple reaction with diffusion. With the threat of the essential use of coal, Amundson initiated a systematic and exhaustive development of the gasification of coal char, the products of which would have been used in fuel synthesis. Through this, he realized that the physical geometry of convective natural circulation could be applied to the emergency cooling of nuclear submarines in case of power failure. He constructed a physical and mathematical model and participated in the design of that system in the first nuclear submarine – the Nautilus.
Amundson turns 90 this year and the University of Houston, where he is a professor, is honoring him with a lecture series.

From one grateful submariner who--no kidding--often marveled at the simplicity of this ingenious system: 'Thank You, Dr. Amundson!'


At 5:55 PM, Blogger Rob said...

I thought the XC system on S5W was pretty neat. Anyone who has been a nuke on a 688/S6G plant will tell you that our XC is nothing even close...and it's a royal pain in the tail to implement. The older system was quite ingenious.

At 4:26 PM, Blogger trr said...

As a chemical engineer and ex-submariner, I appreciated this post very much. Rob, what made the S6G XC system such a pain? (S5W experience here only)


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