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.