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Storage system developed by UAH students could see Navy use

A senior engineering design team at the university developed a unique storage system for the U.S. Navy Submersible. This storage system could see actual Navy use.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Working on this project gave a whole team of UAH students real-world engineering experience while working with the wants and needs of a high-profile customer like the Navy.

We spoke with a member of the design team, Tegan Ruffalo, about the teamwork it took to create this system.

"This is no one individual's contribution to the Navy or to UAH, this is a group of students here at UAH who, we are from all sorts of different walks of life and we came together to work on a problem because that's what we as engineers do," said the UAH student and 3-D Lead and Prototype Co-lead of the storage system project.

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More information about the project from UAH:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (April 20, 2021) – A unique storage system for a U.S. Navy Submersible developed by a senior design class team in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will be in the running for actual Navy use.

The team was given a list of objects that need to be stored on the submersible and some pictures of what the interior looked like.

Students meet with the customer every few weeks to present the various stages of the project and ensure that the team is still on the right track and within the requirements.

The goal is to deliver a final, usable product to the customer. It’s been a fluid process and the storage solution design the team is currently manufacturing bears very little resemblance to its initial design. “We determined spaces that needed to remain clear, objects that needed priority access, and we designed for comfort as well as practically,” she says.

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Throughout the life cycle of the project there have been technical analyses done of the parts through finite element analysis, Alexander says, as well as calculations as to how the added weight may affect the balance of the craft and how to account for that.

After a product readiness review, the product will be shipped to the Navy for testing in the operational environment of a submersible. The students’ semester concludes with a product certification review that will convey final testing and cost results.

Team members include Team Lead Nadia Alexander, a mechanical engineering major from Rochester, Minn., Jay Hayman, a mechanical engineering major from Memphis, Tenn.; Tegan Ruffalo, a mechanical engineering major from Boise, Idaho; Christopher Smith, an aerospace engineering major from Charlotte, N.C.; Kayli Wood, a mechanical engineering major from Austin, Texas; and Nic Shelton, a mechanical engineering major from Meridianville, Ala.

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