India (Fulbright S&T awardee 2011)
Lionel Prinsloo is pursuing doctoral studies in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. His 2011 Fulbright Science & Technology Award will allow him to research the reliability and performance of turbomachinery. Machines falling into this category have a critical role to play in modern industry, since they are responsible for producing more than 90 % of the world’s electricity, drive the vast majority of commercial aircraft, and are used extensively as compressors and pumps in many applications. Lionel’s research is rooted in the field of structural dynamics, and is aimed towards the development of advanced structural diagnostic, prognostic, and health management capabilities for implementation on machines of this type. The core focus is the optimal usage of the machinery, maintaining production whilst keeping maintenance and operating costs to a minimum.
A native of South Africa, Lionel graduated top of his class to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria. During his undergraduate studies he worked as a bursar student at a large petrochemical company on numerous occasions, and completed his final year project, which supported research into a solar-powered turbine system, while working part-time at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Subsequently, he also completed an Honour’s and a Master’s degree within the dynamic systems group at the same university. For his Master’s, he made use of finite element analysis to investigate the design of a rectangular pressure vessel found in many air-cooled heat exchanger systems. Importantly, the design of such vessels is not fully addressed by formal design codes.