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Rocket CATO at U of Idaho sends 4 to hospital


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#1 AzoMittle

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 12:31 AM

Just saw this, it is sad and my best wishes to the students and their families; it does sound like they had caught a case of the stupids though.
 
http://www.idahostat...e144582304.html
 

Four students were injured, at least one seriously, when a rocket engineering club’s experiment exploded in a campus parking lot Thursday night, University of Idaho officials say.
...
The student chapter of Northwest Organization of Rocket Engineers was conducting an experiment on rocket fuel and was not attempting to launch a rocket or other projectile, Ewart said.
The device used for the experiment was a galvanized metal pipe, 8 to 12 inches long and about 1.5 inches in diameter. It was placed on a wooden pallet that was destroyed in the explosion, he said.
The students reportedly wore protective gear, and Ewart said a faculty adviser was on hand for the experiment.
...
He said the student who lit the fuel was wearing a face shield, and club members watching wore eye protection, the Daily News reports. The other co-president who stood near the explosion wore eye protection but not a face shield, he said.


I'm sorry but wearing a cheap face shield and some plastic lab glasses does not constitute safety gear when you are hand-lighting a 12 inch galvanized steel pipe full of experimental homemade rocket fuel.

The article also states that the student who lit it is in critical condition but expected to recover, the other 3 had minor surgery and are now stable. The FBI is investigating but is not considering it a criminal matter; meanwhile we make some sparklers and you would think it was the end of the world...


Terminat hora diem; Terminat author opus.
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Oh lente lente noctis equi!
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Perfection does not exist, but that does not mean you cannot work constantly to attain it.
 
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. . . . The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. . . . The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. -David Foster Wallace


#2 greenlight

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 12:40 AM

Metal pipe as the casing for an experimental test of propellant at that scale? That doesn't seem that smart.

I wonder what the propellant was and if it had been loaded/pressed correctly?


The FBI is investigating but is not considering it a criminal matter; meanwhile we make some sparklers and you would think it was the end of the world...


Haha, totally agree, they basically made a pipe bomb and its not a criminal matter. I wonder what would happen if we tried to explain that it was just a experimental rocket if that happened to any of us.

#3 AzoMittle

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 01:19 AM

Metal pipe as the casing for an experimental test of propellant at that scale? That doesn't seem that smart.

I wonder what the propellant was and if it had been loaded/pressed correctly?

 

Metal in and of itself isn't a problem, IF you do the correct research and design and testing and calculations and so on; heck you can buy pre-milled aluminum cases for HPR, which are properly designed to blowout the end cap before rupturing so that even if/when they do fail they are much more likely to fail safely.

 

Someone mentioned they were using cast sugar fuel, I have no hard evidence of that though.

 

What's even scarier is that the school signed off on this when they clearly didn't have a well researched project proposal document.


Terminat hora diem; Terminat author opus.
The hour ends the day; The author ends his work.
 
Oh lente lente noctis equi!
Slowly, slowly run oh horses of the night!
 
Perfection does not exist, but that does not mean you cannot work constantly to attain it.
 
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. . . . The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. . . . The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. -David Foster Wallace


#4 Arthur

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 02:06 AM

This certainly shows the closeness between a rocket and a devastating accident. Even NASA has incidents. Lets hope that someone is able and willing to work out what happened in detail so that rocketry remains a respectable hobby rather than a forbidden practise.



#5 dagabu

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 10:36 AM

Too bad they didn't at least try to seek out advice from some rocket engineers, galvanized pipe is wrong on so many levels and as engineering students, shame on them for not doing due diligence and researching ahead of time.

 

Gut feeling is that it's a boys acting like boys thing and they didn't do any math but after having a few adult beverages came up with the idea and all the engineering was by the seat of their pants. 


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#6 mikeee

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 01:56 PM

Hold my glass beaker of fermented sugars while I light this fuse.

That is how you do it while getting a degree.

Any kind of barrier would have helped in reducing the potential injuries from the galvanized pipe fragments. 



#7 Arthur

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 03:30 PM

For wisdom after the event, wouldn't a 100m wire and an igniter have been a sensible option, But they were boys and invincible -til it happened.



#8 DavidF

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 09:26 PM

Well, obviously they didn't wax the pipe.


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#9 OldMarine

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 10:46 PM

Well, obviously they didn't wax the pipe.

Possibly the most correct but hilarious post I've ever read. Dave you are in my personal Hall of Fame for that one!


Come on! Name one other hobby in which you cheer as your money and hard work go up in smoke!

#10 AzoMittle

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:40 AM

Well, obviously they didn't wax the pipe.

 

 

Alright, that was a coffee-out-the-nose moment, thanks Dave!


Terminat hora diem; Terminat author opus.
The hour ends the day; The author ends his work.
 
Oh lente lente noctis equi!
Slowly, slowly run oh horses of the night!
 
Perfection does not exist, but that does not mean you cannot work constantly to attain it.
 
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. . . . The only thing that's capital-T True is that you get to decide how you're going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. . . . The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. -David Foster Wallace


#11 Mouse

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 02:44 AM

+1 love your work dave!!!

#12 taiwanluthiers

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 08:27 AM

How well equipped is this university? Wouldn't they have been able to have custom casings made for them, either at the university (they do have machine shops) or on contract with other department or companies. My university drops 400,000 dollars on equipment like it's nothing so I refuse to believe that they used galvanized metal pipe to be cheap...

 

I would have used pre hardened 4140 to test... once that works move onto lighter but stronger materials. I said pre hard 4140 because they have a very high yield strength. They are used to make gun barrels.

 

Also they should NOT be hand lighting anything, especially something unproven.

 

I think the faculty who oversaw this experiment needs to be disciplined.


Edited by taiwanluthiers, 25 April 2017 - 08:29 AM.





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