Preliminary Design Review (PDR)
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Preliminary Design Review (PDR) Lunar Wormbot (LW) Team 1. MAE 490-02: Introduction to Engineering Design- Product Realization Instructor: Dr. Christina L. Carmen, Ph.D. Technical Advisors: Mr. Ben DiMiero Dr. Jessica Gaskin Mr. Michael Kuhlman Mr. Blaze Sanders Dr. Michael Tinker

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Preliminary Design Review (PDR)Lunar Wormbot (LW)Team 1

MAE 490-02: Introduction to Engineering Design- Product Realization

Instructor: Dr. Christina L. Carmen, Ph.D.

Technical Advisors:

Mr. Ben DiMiero

Dr. Jessica Gaskin

Mr. Michael Kuhlman

Mr. Blaze Sanders

Dr. Michael Tinker

Mr. LafeZabowski




Team Members:

Charles Boyles

Ben Gasser

Josh Johnson

Ben Long

Nathan Toy


  • Purpose of the PDR

  • Mission Statement

  • Top Level Requirements

  • Selected Design

  • Design Drawings

  • Technical Analysis


  • Safety Considerations

  • Material Selection

  • Cost Analysis

  • Manufacturing Processes

  • Problems and Solutions

  • Activity Plan

  • Summary


  • Establish that the preliminary design meets the technical requirements

  • Demonstrate that the design can be produced with acceptable risks

  • Establish the operability and producibility of the selected design

  • Refine cost and scheduling to ensure that planning, production and testing are feasible

Mission Statement

Ultimately it is the hope of this team to lead to knowledge enabling a burrowing robot to operate on the lunar surface to gather soil samples. Leading to that goal, and staying within the scope of the time period of this project, a single, prototype LW will be produced for earth based testing. This robot will be considered successful in its mission if it offers the ability to burrow through a fine particulate soil simulant, return testing data leading to improvements in design, and exhibits the robustness necessary for space based soil sampling.

Top Level Requirements

  • Top-level Requirements

    • Burrowing through fine particulate matterutilizing peristaltic motion

    • Prototype built for Earth-based testing

    • Ability to acquire 50 one gram samples at various depths

    • Segment power consumption of 4 Watt maximum

Top Level Requirements

  • Skin material capable of insulating internal electrical and mechanical systems from fine particulate matter

  • Space to integrate a sensing and navigation package

  • Production of at least 66 N of force directed perpendicular to the segment’s longitudinal axis

Designs considered
Designs Considered

NASA/NSSTC Initial Concept

Utilizes AX-12 servo motors as well as hinged plates

Designs considered1
Designs Considered

Modified NASA/NSSTC design utilizing linear actuators and hinged plates

Designs considered2
Designs Considered

Linear actuators with pressurized flexible sidewall

Selected Design

Linear actuators with unpressurized springy sidewall

Selected Design

  • Advantages of Selected Design

    • Smaller cross section

    • Less mass

    • Relatively low complexity

    • Allows 3-D motion

Design Drawings

Firgelli L16 Linear Actuators

Design Drawings

Aluminum bulkhead with 3-bolt pattern

Design Drawings

Wiring bus conduit

Thermal Analysis

Thermal Analysis Basic Equations*




(1) From table 4.1, pg. 209, shape factor for a vertical cylinder in a semi-infinite medium.

(2) From table 4.1, pg. 209, heat transfer by conduction using a shape factor.

From equation 3.27, pg. 117, heat transfer by radial conduction through a cylindrical wall.

*Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer, 6th Edition, Incropera, DeWitt, Bergman, Lavine

Thermal Analysis

Heat Transfer and Internal Temperature Analysis:

Earth Based Testing – Using Dry Concrete Mix and Three Skin Materials:

Fiberglass: 77.4 F

Kevlar: 79.0 F

Carbon Fiber: 77.4 F

Summary: The internal temperature will be approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the skin materials evaluated show no clear benefits or problems in this testing environment.

Thermal Analysis

Heat Transfer and Internal Temperature Analysis:

Lunar Regolith– Using Lunar Regolith and Three Skin Materials:

Fiberglass: 259.9 F

Kevlar: 261.5 F

Carbon Fiber: 259.8 F

Summary: All skin materials and internal components will be able to withstand such calculated temperatures.

Force Analysis

  • Column Buckling

  • Superposition

    • Point Load

  • Total force required from actuators

  • Power Required

Force Analysis

Simplified Analysis Method

FE = 0.513 lbfPcritical=0.673 lbf

NetForce = (FE + Pcritical)NS= 29.8 lbf ≈ 133N

Technical Analysis

Power Consumption of Actuators:

Voltage – 12 V

Current – 136 mA @ 133 N Output Force

Power Consumption – 4.88Watts > 4 Watts

Life Cycle/Durability of Actuator Analysis:

Max Rated Cycles– Firgelli L16 = 20,000 cycles

Estimated Stroke Length – 2 cm

Burrow Depth – 15 m

Life of Lunar Wormbot – 13 missions

Summary: Based on the rated life of the actuators, the wormbot will be able to accomplish 13 missions of 15 meter depth (includes return to surface).

Technical Analysis

Bulkhead Stress (Von Mises) Finite Element Analysis

Technical Analysis

Bulkhead Deflection Finite Element Analysis

Safety Considerations

  • Manufacturing

    • Standard Risks

  • Materials

    • Minimal

  • Storage

    • Lifting

    • Dropping

    • Mishandling

  • Testing

    • Shock threat

    • Pinch points

    • Auger Blades

  • Maintenance

    • Shock threat

    • Sudden movement

Hazard Assessment

Military Risk-Hazard Assessment Standard 882B

Failure Modes

Material Selection

  • Actuators

    • Firgelli L16

  • Bulk heads

    • Aluminum 7075

    • Titanium

    • Steel

  • Skin

    • Fiberglass

    • Kevlar

    • Carbon Fiber

Manufacturing Processes

  • Facility Requirements

  • Locations

    • W100 Technology hall

      • $0 /hr labor

    • NSSTC Machine Shop

      • $60/hr Labor

  • Duration

    • 2-3 months

  • Auger

    • Rapid Prototyping

    • 5-axis Machining

  • Segments

    • Standard Machine Shop

    • CNC Capabilities

Cost Analysis

Segment Parts and Hardware

Cost Analysis


Cost Analysis

Manufacturing Cost

Cost Analysis

Testing Cost

Cost Analysis

Summary of Cost Analysis

Problems and Solutions

  • Resurfacing

    • Aft end equipped with auger

  • Power Consumption

    • Batteries or capacitors

  • Actuator limitation

    • Custom design

  • Parts Procurement

    • Local suppliers

Future Work

Analysis of sidewall members

Actuator efficiency

Collaboration with LA Tech concerning system integration

Manufacturing prototype

Testing sub-systems


  • Selected Design

    • Size

    • Aesthetics

    • Functionality

    • Performance

    • Reliability


  • Technical Analysis

    • Thermal properties

    • Stress analysis

    • Force analysis

    • Life-cycle analysis

  • Cost Analysis

    • Materials utilized

    • Manufacturing

    • Overhead

  • Future Work


  • Software Packages

    • Solid Edge ST and v20

    • SolidWorks

    • X-TOOLSS and MS Visual Studio

    • Mathcad v14

    • MS Excel

    • MS Project


  • Books

    • Incropera, DeWitt, Bergman, Lavine, “Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer 6th Edition”

    • Juvinall, Marshek, “Fundamentals of Machine Component Design 4th Edition ”


  • Adam Burt

  • Kirk Biszick

  • Dr. Christina Carmen

  • Steve Collins

  • Ben DiMiero

  • Dr. Jessica Gaskin

  • Michael Kuhlman

  • Blaze Sanders

  • Dr. Michael Tinker

  • LafeZabowski

  • Dr. Francis Wessling

Hail mary plan


Hail Mary Plan