Tamarah Binek is currently a mechanical engineering student at Nothern Arizona University (NAU). She is originally from Volcano, Hawaii and graduated from Waiakea High School. Her hobbies include bodyboarding, photography, hiking, swimming, running, and reading the bible. Tamarah plans to continue her engineering degree at NAU this fall wnd will graduate in May of 2009.

Home Island: Big Island
High School: Waiakea High School
Institution when accepted: Northern Arizona University

Akamai Project: The Gemini M1 Cell Cooling System
Project Site: Gemini North Observatory
Mentor: Chas Cavedoni

Project Abstract:

The Gemini primary mirror (M1) cell cooling system is a complicated network of piping, pumps and a chiller that distributes glycol coolant to 177 node boxes beneath the mirror. These node boxes maintain precise mirror positioning while the telescope is in use. The heat they generate needs to be removed in order to insure that the temperature of the mirror remains at a cool 5° C to avoid image distortions. The flow rate of the glycol coolant directly affects the temperature of each node box, and in order to insure a uniform temperature gradient across the mirror, this cooling system must produce a uniform flow rate throughout the node boxes. A computer analysis, using the software program Pipeflo, was performed on a small-scale version of the M1 cell cooling system consisting of five node boxes. To validate that Pipeflo could accurately model our system, I made a physical model of the five node boxes using a water hose as the pressure source, a small pump, 1/2 inch PVC pipes, 3/8 inch copper tubing, pressure gauges, and flow meters. Flow rates were balanced with orifices, customized-size openings or holes through which the fluid may pass. Using the results from my five node box Pipeflo analysis and the physical model, we then performed a Pipeflo analysis of the entire 177 node M1 cell cooling system. This analysis gave the appropriate orifice sizing needed to regulate the flow for each node box in the system. Orifices with the appropriate diameter will be placed in each node box pipe to balance the flow and minimize temperature gradient across the mirror.