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Alumnus-Owned Firm Receives Award for Innovation

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Krista Kuhl
UH Alumnus Manmohan Kalsi is pictured along with Kalsi Engineering associates Aaron Richie (2002 BS ME), Alex Beliaevski, Jeff Gobeli (1996 MS PE), and Tia Baker.
UH Alumnus Manmohan Kalsi is pictured along with Kalsi Engineering associates Aaron Richie (2002 BS ME), Alex Beliaevski, Jeff Gobeli (1996 MS PE), and Tia Baker.

A company owned by a University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering alumnus recently received an innovation award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ International Petroleum Technology Institute (ASME-IPTI).

Alumnus Manmohan Kalsi (1970 MS ME, 1975 PhD ME) founded and runs Kalsi Engineering, which received the Woelfel Distinguished Innovation Award for its Kalsi Hydrodynamic Thrust Bearing™.

This honor, which was presented during the ASME-IPTI’s 2006 Offshore Technology Conference, recognizes a “significant contribution in the field of petroleum and mechanical engineering”.

The Kalsi Hydrodynamic Thrust Bearing™ was developed in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research Program and its design completed in 1999. It extends the performance envelope of drill bits and down-hole motors and other down-hole tools to operate under higher loads and speeds.

“The bearing is a one-piece construction,” Kalsi said. “Under load, the bearing’s dynamic surface, which is initially flat, elastically deflects to a desirable shape that can create hydroplaning. We developed analytical models for the bearing, which showed a remarkably good agreement with the actual test results.”

In addition, said Kalsi, the bearing’s one-piece design is significantly more compact than other bearings, making it cheaper and more efficient than more complicated multi-piece designs, such as tilting pad bearings.

Kalsi said he was “surprised and very happy” that his company received the Woelfel Distinguished Innovation Award.

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