Bronson Libed is currently finishing his sophomore year at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa as he pursues a degree in Civil Engineering.  He is a native to the island of O’ahu and now resides in the town of Mililani.  He is the eldest of three and enjoys swimming, boogie boarding, and making everyone laugh.

Institution when accepted:University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Akamai Project: Tribological Analysis & Maintenance of Telescopes

Project Site:  W.M. Keck Observatory

MentorsAllen Agliam and Craig Nance

Project Abstract:

The world’s two largest telescopes at W. M. Keck Observatory are ingenious tools that astronomers use to produce scientific discoveries of the Universe, yet merely powerful, industrial machines. The study of the friction, wear, and lubrication of surfaces that rub against each other, or in this case oil, is known as tribology. My primary objective is the tribological analysis and maintenance of both Keck telescopes by their machinery. In past years, oil samples were performed on various systems of the telescope to ascertain the health of the equipment.   The samples were sent to Analysts Inc., an oil testing company, which sent results that often showed elevated signs of silicon, which were often neglected since the summit was mainly comprised of dirt. To improve this process, Analysts Inc. was contacted in order to obtain electronic notification of abnormal indications. The results were used to diagnose several problems. The high silicon is due to an unknown silicon-containing sealant. In addition, there have also been high signs of iron, which will be researched into more detail to reveal the power of tribology in the maintenance of important industrial equipment.