CONTINUING NU FACULTY DUTIES

I taught kinematics (analysis of machine motion), laboratories, thermodynamics and later heat transfer both undergraduate and graduate. I supeviised two masters theses one by Charles McCullom who later became a research civil servant at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio and the other Seaborn Thomas who returned to his native Louisiana to work for Exxon Oil Company. I became interested in the flow and heat transfer induced by a cylinder oscillating about its axis. Charles found a fractional Bessel Function which solved the laminar flow boundaty layer problem. Seaborn designed equipment to measure the heat transfer from an oscillating cylinder. I had thought that the oscillatory motion would tear up the boundaty layer and thus much enhance the heat transfer. For the range of oscillation frequency and angle we investigated, the heat transfer only increased moderately and it appeared that the boundaty layer followed the oscillating motion that is stuck to the oscillating surface initially in phase and later at higher oscillation speeds with a phase shift. After I came to UTSI, Charles called me about publishing that data and it should have been done but I was busy and also did not feel that the story was complete. Now I see that the two theses could have providedva good paper but I was still young and naieve.

Professor Jennings properly recognized that a young faculty member needed to be engageed in sponsored research to really prosper in the academic community. So he steered me toward some military sponsored research like aircraft windshield icing. I did not feel competent to attack that problem which was stupid because military contract money was very plentiful and I was as well trained as most for it.

Professor Jennings had heard a theory that the friction factor for pipe flow was a function of temperature as well as Reynolds Number. I did not subscribe to this idea pointing out that the Reynolds Number properties viscosity and density werre themselves functions of temperaturre. But he felt very strongly about the temperature idea so he funded me and a young Chinese graduate student to experimentally imvestigate the idea in the M E lab. We had a ten feet diameter, forty feet high metal tank which had an electric heater in it. We designed and had built piping sections with provisions for pressure and temperature measurement with a pump in the basement to circulate the water at ambient to about 200 degree temperature. As the water in the tank was heated, the tank would snap and pop as it expanded. Both the China boy amd I were quite fearful that the tank would burst spraying hot water everywhere. Worse yet we had to hold the high temperature for sometime to assure that the system was at or near equilibrium. As I had anticipated the single phase flow data showed that the friction factor was a function of Reynolds Number and no temperature effect was observed other than that inherent in the Reynolds Number. However as the temperatire of the water entering the pipe became higher, two phase flow was encountered as the liquid flashed to steam as the pressure decreased in the flow direction. This phase change had a great effect on the friction factor as was to be expected. A short length of clear plastic pipe was inserted in the flow stream and a bubble formation and subsequently gas phase was observed. But we had no means to evaluate the properties of the two phase fluid and there was a question as to whether the flow was in equilibrium or not. Hence although we could observe the flow and measure the pressure drop, we could not calculate the Friction Factor or the Reynolds Number because we could not determine the properties of the two phase fluid. Hence the data was never published although Professor Jennings urged me to join him in doing so after I had been in Tullahoma about two years. I did not agree to do so for we did not know the properties of the teo-phase fluid. I still believe that we did not have enough for a paper.

In 1956, Dean Eshbach retired and was suceeded by Dr. Lockridge who had been an official with the atomic energy group in Washington, DC. He was a physicist and started off badly by replacing Dean Esbach's secretary with his own secretary from DC. At annuual faculty meetings Dean Esbach would proudly point out that the Tech Institute had not spent all of the income from the Murphy endowment durng the past year which was good but could mean that the Institiute was not fulfilling its role.

Dean Lockridge recognized this lack and pushed for more activity. He was doing what was needed but in an undiplomatic way so about 6 months after his arrival all of the engineering department heads resigned their headships, They all had tenure so they stayed around as professors. Dean Lockridge held a series of meetings with individual faculty including even me. I had a nice conversation with him noting that what he was doing was needed but his methods were too crude. President Miller and Provost Payson Wild met with the engineering faculty to get opinions. The sat grimly near the door and acted like they were fearful and wished that the meeting would end. A very poor scene.

Soon Dean Lockridge announced. that he was going to General Motors to head their resesarch division. I saw him just shortly before he left and he said "Bob a Dean is to a faculty as a tree is to a dog." Later he wrote to ask me if I would be interested in interviewing for a job at GM. I told him no not at that time. One of my fine students wrote me from GM to tell me how much he valued a heat transfer course I had taught. He said that he used it in his development work and noted that many of the young engineers from other schools had not had such a course.

Tom Anderson's father was principal of a fine highschool in Chicago. Tom was an engineering student having a hard time keeping his grades up. .I was Tom's advisor and encouraged him to continue even as he talked about quitting but he knew his parents would be very disappointed. He persisted and graduated. Later he wrote me to thank me for my encouragement and help. Then he finally became President of Southern illinois University at Edwardsville near Saint Louis. It was always a great pleasure to hear from successful graduates

In 1955, the ME department hired Dr. Ali B. Cambel, a Turk with unbridled optimism. Ali had a high reputation as a researcher in the combustion and fluid mechanics field. He saw that the engineering faculty should be doing much more sponsored research and he set about to show them how. He was known as a gas dynamicicst and we did not even know the meanijg of that word. A tin metal building was built for his laboratol)' right outside of the window of Professor Will Rogers office. The combustion experiments were quite noisy and all of the faculty in that area complained but to no avail. He taught combustion, gas dymnnamics and latermagnetohydrodynamics and had many graduate students. He had a company classified project with GE to develop a reverse jet tlameholder for aircraft jet engines.He had a tremendous ability to talk futiuristically and attracted much federal research suppprt. Despite this success I thought he was a bit shallow and lacked a solid fundametals foundation.

One day in a faculty meeting he pointed out that Cornell University had designated one million dollars for MHD research and asked what our ME department was going to do about MHD. Most of us knew nothing of MHD(magnetohydrodynamics) which is the study of the interaction between an electricly conducting flowing fluid and magnetic and electric fields. Prof Jennings mumbled that he saw little future in MHD and pointed out other department needs which were more important than MHD.

Ali suggested that I go to Dean Lockridge and request funds for a heat transfer laboratory for Lockridge was very anxious for the faculty to get involved in research and he probably would have provided funds for a fine heat transfer laboratory. I was not sure I had the competency to develop such a thing and further I was not certain I wanted to spend the time such a project would require. Another opportunity I should have grasped but did not.

As is obvious, I failed to respond properly to several opportunities at NU that would have been good for my career and good for NU. I was a very good teacher, an adequate administrator and a poor researcher. I was a hard worker but I lacked the patience and the self confidence to be a good researcher or consultant. I consistentally under estimed my technical abilities and over estimated the abilities of my peers. As a consultant how could I be of help to those who were working 5 days a week or more on a project I was asked to assist. And my older colleagues at NU gave me good but unheeded advice on these matters. For example Prof. Obert early on would say, "Bob, if you are going to stay in this academic businss and prosper, you must play the research game" and Professor Jennings correctly urged me on to research and publication. At AEDC and UT, I did little better in taking advantage of the many opportunities available to me. I did learn that in research and consulting, careful defining of the problen is essential to obtaining a solution and frequently leads to a solution. In literature searches get as close to the original research article as possible.


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