Ryan Sheffield (Mechanical Engineering)

Ryan Sheffield (Mechanical Engineering)

About DOE Fellow

Ryan Sheffield is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a professional certificate in robotics at Florida International University (FIU), with his expected graduation date being fall 2016. After completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering, Ryan plans on pursuing a Master’s degree.  Ryan’s professional interests include energy efficiency, thermal systems and mechanical design.

DOE Related Projects

Ryan is currently working on the continued development of an inspection tool to travel through the refractory cooling channels to provide video feedback to site engineers of the tank conditions under the mentorship of Dr. Dwayne McDaniel. Tank waste has recently been found in the annulus (located between the inner shell tank and the outer shell tank) of tank AY-102 and it is believed the waste came from the tank bottom and flowed through the cooling channels of the refractory pad. The refractory pad has cooling channels paved from 72 entry points to the center of the pad. The minimum channel size is 1.5-in by 1.5-in. In order to reach the center of the tank, the device will have to navigate through the channels, encountering four 90° turns. In addition to these challenges, the device will need to be radiation hardened, be able to operate in relatively high temperatures and not subject the channel walls to pressures greater than 200 psi, the compression strength of the refractory material.

The goal is to design a device that can travel through the cooling channels providing video feedback of the tank surface and to determine potential locations of leaks. The body of the proposed design will consist of a housing frame encasing a camera and motors that give power to the wheels. To avoid potentially damaging the refractory pad and building up debris, the proposed design has a magnetic plate attached to the top frame to allow the tool to travel upside down along the bottom of the carbon steel tank.