Kaiaka Kepa-Alama was born in Halawa, Oahu and graduated from Saint Louis School. He is currently a senior at the University of Hawaii at Manoa majoring in Mechanical Engineering. His career goal is to hold a decision making position that benefits both the innovations in science as well as the advancement of the Hawaiian people. Kaiaka enjoys fishing, going to the beach, and playing slack key guitar.
Home Island: Oahu
High School: Saint Louis School
Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Akamai Project: Mitigating Ice Collection on Dome Vent Door to Increase Operational Efficiency
Project Site: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope – Waimea, Hawai’i Island HI
Mentors: Ivan Look & Grant Matsushige
Temperature variations within the earth’s atmosphere cause visible light waves to scatter due to the change in its refractive index. Monochromatic light from space scatters when it enters earth atmosphere. This interaction distorts the incoming wavefronts of light causing an image to appear blurry. Isothermal conditions within the Canada-France-Hawaii observing dome is essential to improving image quality. Vents implemented on the exterior skin of the rotating dome allow for ambient air to flow inward, cooling the observatory and decreasing the existing temperature gradient to within a degree centigrade. The dome vent door, serves as the protection barrier from adverse weather conditions; however, it has an issue with ice forming within the door slats. Ice formation in the door slats prevent the door from closing properly; causing it to unravel from the drum. There is a need to mitigate the amount of ice collected to increase proper door function. Several features have been evaluated and shall be designed to decrease ice collection without ruining the integrity of the operation of the dome vent. A proposed solution would entail implementing a heating element to mitigate ice through convectional heat transfer. Validation process includes the integration of sensors to calculate the rate of heat transfer, energy usage and control system optimization. Testing would occur in an environment with conditions similar to the summit. It is crucial that various factors such as power, radiating temperature, operational maintenance, and fabrication be taken into consideration during the design process as they have a profound effect on the budget, size, and location of the design feature. A working prototype was designed, fabricated, and tested to help understand and correct proper operation of the dome vent.