Kyra was born and raised in Kihei, Maui.  In 2012, she graduated from Maui HS, where she was very active with her high school’s FIRST and VEX robotics teams, and with the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women In Technology Program.  Kyra is currently attending Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), where she studies Industrial and Systems Engineering.  In her spare time, Kyra enjoys spending time with family and friends, catching up on TV shows, and learning to play the ukulele.

Home Island: Maui.
High School:  Maui HS
Institute when accepted: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Magnetically Actuated Valves: Investigating Use of Halbach Arrays for Enhanced Torque and Fabrication of High Temperature Ball Valves for Sanitary Applications
Project Site: Trex Enterprises
Mentor: Gwen Rivera

Project Abstract:

On a government contract, Trex Enterprises has designed a magnetically coupled valve for the United States Navy.  A magnetic coupling was designed by arranging neodymium magnets in a Halbach Array, resulting in a 73% increase in overall magnetic strength over the current arrangement.  Typical neodymium rare-earth magnets have a maximum working temperature of 80°C.  In order to withstand standard sterilization temperatures, a high-temperature ball valve was designed and fabricated.  A stainless-steel ball valve was disassembled and redesigned to be retrofitted to withstand sanitary and high-temperature applications.  The final valve will have a set of neodymium rare-earth magnets attached to the valve stem.  The seal of the valve will be removed and a valve bonnet will be fabricated out of impact-resistant polycarbonate to hold a magnet puck sealed with food grade epoxy.  A matching magnet puck will be used outside the sealed bonnet to open and close the valve.  This magnetic coupling is expected to produce 5.6 ft-lb of torque, well exceeding the necessary 2 ft-lb of torque needed to open a standard stainless steel ball valve.  Once the valve is fully fabricated, final tests will be administered, and its overall performance recorded.