News & Publications
Centers of Excellence

Mechanical Design and Modeling

The EERC designs and creates all machinery in-house for demonstrating and testing technologies. The EERC routinely has requirements for the design and construction of the highly specialized equipment. These requirements often involve using materials and equipment at or beyond normal design limits. In order to ensure the safety of researchers and the integrity of the research equipment, the EERC has a mechanical design group to address these needs.


The members of the mechanical design group represent a broad range of engineering design backgrounds. The current design staff has experience in the following areas:

  • Pressure vessel design
  • Mercurial manometers and barometers
  • Pressure piping design
  • Avionics test equipment
  • Piping flexibility analysis
  • Ring laser gyro calibration tables
  • Stress analysis
  • Robotic test equipment
  • High-temperature process equipment
  • High-vacuum systems
  • High-pressure process equipment
  • Municipal water-pumping systems
  • Cryogenic equipment
  • Heat exchangers
  • Laser optics apparatus
  • Structural steel
  • Mercurial primary pressure standards
  • Rapid prototyping

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

The mechanical design group has incorporated a number of software programs in order to meet the demanding design requirements of EERC researchers. In-house programs have also been developed to support the pressure vessel and pressure piping design activities.


In addition to the design of equipment for in-house use, the design group has been asked by a number of manufacturing firms to provide specific design expertise in the areas of stress analysis, design optimization of mechanical components, and CFD.

Facilities and Equipment

The design group uses Intel-based PCs as well as Sun workstations.

Engineering design packages currently being used by the mechanical design group include:

  • AutoCAD – Drafting and solid modeling
  • CAEPipe – Piping flexibility analysis using finite element analysis (FEA) method
  • AutoSTAAD/MAX – Model preprocessor for structural analysis using FEA method
  • STAADIII/ISDS – Structural analysis using FEA method
  • ABAQUS – General stress and heat-transfer analysis (linear and nonlinear) using FEA method
  • Cosmos/M – General stress and heat-transfer analysis using FEA method
  • Cosmos/M Designer – General stress and heat-transfer analysis using FEA method
  • Fluent CFD applications using FEA method
  • HyperMesh – Model preprocessor and postprocessor for FEA method
  • MathCad – General purpose math package
  • Code26 software package developed in-house to design equipment in accordance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes Section VIII Div. 1 and Div. 2 and ASME Pressure Piping Code B31.3
  • ZPrint rapid prototyping – 3-D color printing of prototype models using ZCorp 3-D printer hardware