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NA&ME Directed Studies
Philosophy of NA&ME Directed Studies

A Directed Study in the NA&ME major is an opportunity to conduct individual – or small team – engineering research under the close guidance of a faculty member. Students who choose this experience do so as a 3.0-credit “free elective” within the NA&ME curriculum. Topics, which are selected jointly by the student and faculty member, must be timely, pertinent and of benefit to USCG missions or the Coast Guard Academy. Research must be a combination of theoretical/academic content, analysis, and application.  In all cases, a strong technically-written formal report and a presentation before engineering faculty are required.

Recent Examples of Directed Studies 

Power Analysis, Proposed Propeller Re-Design for 47’ MLB – 1/c Jason Condon
A 2004-05 Directed Study assessed the power for USCG 47’ MLB and indicated that combined electric and propulsion loads require nearly all available engine brake horsepower (BHP). This 2006-07 project built on that but focused on revision of the electric loads using a new configuration and refinement of power transmission losses.  The current propeller was analyzed using analysis/design tools at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center at Carderock. Also examined were propeller thrust loading, clarifying CG intentions regarding engine loading, and plans for design of a propeller that will decrease the load on the engines.
Work completed in coordination with USCG Engineering Logistics Center and Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock.

Buoy-Deck De-Icing System for USCG 225’ Buoytender – 1/c Jon Benevenuto, 1/c Andrew Murphy
Due to extreme weather conditions in the Great Lakes and Alaska, WLB class buoy tenders have deck icing problems during winter months. After examining several types of de-icing systems, an electrical system and a waste heat system were analyzed in greater depth. The electrical de-icing system was determined to be the most effective. The capabilities of the proposed system prevent ice formation down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit with 15 knots of wind with a heat load of 250 kilowatts.
Done in coordination with USCG Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic and USCGC Hollyhock.

Western Rivers' Fast Water Buoys: Reducing Loss and Improving Performance – 1/c Josiah Toepfer, 1/c Kyle Carter
Approximately 4-6000 buoys are lost each year, almost entirely in the open water portions of rivers, due mainly to being run over by barges, but also due to high currents and debris. Research conducted with the District Eight Waterways Manager and Coast Guard Cutters Chippewa and Kanawha led to a focus on buoy mooring systems. When the buoy is hit by a barge, it is believed the counterweight swings up and acts as a scissor on the wire used to moor the buoys in the open water. To prevent the loss of these buoys, suggested system improvements included the use of the River Star mooring knot and a chain lead on the end of the wire rope.
Project completed in coordination with USCG Headquarters and Research and Development Center.

A Propulsion Plant Re-Design for the USCG 75’ WLR, WLIC – 1/c Brian Lied
Winner of the Undergraduate Paper Award 2003-2004, National Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
The USCG 75’ WLR, WLIC have been experiencing under-powering and vibration problems with their propulsion plants. Operational logbook data (shaft RPM for a variety of vessel speeds) were used to calculate tug-barge resistance, in the form of required propeller thrust. Propeller thrust at each vessel speed was calculated from Gawn-Burrill propeller series data. The thrust data was extrapolated to the new desired vessel speed of 12 knots in still water. New propellers, shafting, reduction gears, and engines were selected.  The proposed propulsion plant includes identical port and starboard propulsion plants, each with a 550 brake horsepower diesel engine at 2100 RPM, a 3.6:1 reduction gear, and a 5-blade 46-inch diameter propeller. The resulting very low open-water propeller efficiency (48%) was considered unavoidable in the context of the current project and is discussed.