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Introduction

1. In the 1st Career Episode I would like to describe my term project of Development of a calibration stand for
calibration of strain-gauge balance used for aircraft models testing in supersonic wind tunnel that I accomplished
while was employed in the post of an engineer of experimental aerodynamics by the FGUP TSNIImash (Federal
State Unitary Enterprise Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering) located in the city of Korolev,
Moscow region, Russia, and while I was studying at the Chair of aerodynamics and ballistics of the Bauman
Moscow State Technical university located in Moscow, Russia. I was working on the project from January to June,
2011 and my efforts led to implementation of the project results in the Supersonic laboratory of the University.
Background
2. In the beginning of 2011 I was a 5 th year student and had already been working for 1 year as an engineer of
laboratory No21053 in TSNIImash. The laboratory was involved in development and implementation of
aerodynamic tests of modern complex measuring instruments allowing ground-based optimization of aerospace
vehicles using aerodynamic facilities of the Center of heat exchange and air and gas dynamics. Experimental
facilities of the University had been actively upgraded during that period. It was the final stage of re-equipment
and the objective was to automate the process of aerodynamic testing. Measurement instruments, amplifying and
auxiliary equipment had been already procured, the supersonic wind tunnel had been serviced and tested to meet
the operating modes requirements. Finally, automation of mechanical systems such as alpha-mechanism and
flappers was accomplished.
3. An issue the laboratory encountered was a testing stand for preparation of measurement instruments to be
operated in wind tunnel. The point was that the Chair direction had been preparing to take part in scientific
researches and those researches results had to be based on experimentally-acquired data. To allow acquisition
of such data the Laboratory procured from TSNIImash several pieces of special measuring instruments called
strain-gauge balance. But before being used these instruments had to be prepared and tested on a special stand
that was missing.
4. It should be mentioned that it is common practice of aerodynamic experiments all around the world to determine
aerodynamic parameters using so-called aerodynamic strain-gauge balance. Strain-gauge balance is a precise
six-component measuring instrument used for measuring of gas dynamics force and moment in orthogonal
coordinates: axial (X), normal (Y) and cornering (Z) forces, roll moment (Mx), yaw moment (My) and pitch
moment (Mz) impacting a model being tested in a gas dynamics facility. To meet the modern accuracy
requirements (aerodynamic parameters measurement error should be within 0,5-1%) a special strain-gauge
balance featuring form, dimensions, sizes of measurement components and dynamic parameters suitable for
application with an aircraft model to be tested at particular test modes is required.
5. Once in 2 years specialists from all over the world share their ideas and achievements in the field of such
measuring instruments development at the International Symposium on Strain-Gauge Balances that results in
new publications. These publications had become the major source of information for me allowing me to learn the
most up-to-date technologies, approaches and inventions in this area of knowledge. The laboratory No21053 I
was employed by was specializing on such measuring instruments embracing all stages of their life cycle from
development and design up to interpretation of measurement results for further use in researches.
6. After a year of employment by the TSNIImash where I was dealing with similar tasks, equipment and measuring
instruments, I accepted the offer made by the Chair head to design a stand that would allow the University
laboratory to prepare strain-gauge balance for experiments, so as to carry out metrological examination
(certification) of strain-gauge balance to ensure compliance with accuracy requirements. Thus, I had become in
charge for the project, the Chair direction represented by the Chair head and the Chief researcher acted as the
Sanctioning party and my direct superior department head acted as the Supervising party. I had to meet the
interests of both TSNIImash and of the Laboratory but at the same time to apply publicly available information
and technologies in order to observe copyrights as was required by the state policy.
7. It was an important point that the project should have been resulted in a ready-for-use stand suitable for inlaboratory application. Thus I had to summarize and align all the data on methodology of experiments preparation
and running at TSNIImash and to adapt it to conditions of the University laboratory. That task comprised the
following components: stand design and development of design documentation, development of documentation
and specifications for particular parts and units to allow their manufacturing in a shop, coordination of costs with
the Chair and the University direction, implementation and adjustment of the final product (stand) and auxiliary
equipment including hardware and software, development and provision of training aids to allow the facility
commissioning into full-time operation.

Personal Engineering Activity


8. Practice of aerodynamic experiments comprises a number of specific features including approaches determined
by preparation and application of strain-gauge balance. Application of these features to a particular facility
allowed to determine requirements to the stand: work area dimensions and wind tunnel modes (reaching Mach
number and Reynolds number) determined the allowed geometric limits of objects to be tested and the loads to
be imposed during experiments. A particular set of parts and units was required to allow testing of each
measuring component of gas dynamics force and moment of strain-gauge balance. That was why I took into
account the requirements mentioned above and figured out the most suitable configuration of the facility and built
its 3D model. It also allowed me to use the finite elements method to calculate the required strength of the stand
components in order to prove the configuration had been figured out correctly and to make up a bundle of the
stand assembly drawings.
9. After getting the Chair direction approval I made up a specification and detail drawings for the stand parts and
units to be manufactured in a shop. Then I encountered the first issue the materials with the required strength
characteristics to be applied were missing in the shop and I also was facing strict deadlines at the same time.
Thus I made a decision to apply only materials available in the shop and this decision in its turn required
modification of some parts to keep the strength of the final product unchanged and to ensure experiments safety
and measurements data accuracy.
10. When stand parts and units manufacturing was over there came time of the final facility assembly, adjustment
and testing using the available strain-gauge balance. Regardless of complete compatibility of all mechanical
components the project faced another issue electric signals routing and conversion. The source of that issue
was in the amplifying equipment procured by the Laboratory. The problem was that all the TSNIImash
experimental facilities, involving strain-gauge balance, were using unified amplifying equipment from one
particular vendor featuring one common carrier frequency. That was a historically developed tradition that later
transformed into a TSNIImash standard that determined the approaches to strain-gauge balance design taking
into account features of this type of equipment and its software. But the University laboratory made procurements
from another vendor the purchased amplifying equipment used DC power and software that required
customization by the manufacturer programmers for each particular customer. There was an aggravating factor
that the vendor specialists had no experience of handling such sophisticated measuring instruments
requiring conversion of electric signals through matrix equation where each model of strain-gauge
balance had unique sensitivity parameters described by matrix of up to 96x220 elements.
11. In order to solve that issue I contacted the developers and provided them with a detailed description of
mathematical apparatus used for strain-gauge balance electric signals conversion in the target units of
measurement of physical quantities so that they were able to implement the algorithm in their code. To keep the
strain-gauge balance sensitivity parameters independent of the equipment the balance is used with I converted
each value of parameters matrix element into a value of relative strain occurring at sensitive elements upon load
application. Thus I made up an additional certificate for this measuring tool that provided an operator with more
flexible and versatile data for adaptation and adjustment. My work resulted in a document that was used by the
developers to make up code providing the required functionality. Later that document was included in the design
documentation package to be handed to the Chair employees and used for documentation of the implemented
solution.

12. Then I approached the stage of strain-gauge balance preparation for tests. To reach maximal accuracy of
measurements and to meet the industry and the state standards it was necessary to run tests determining the
metrological parameters of the strain-gauge balance and aligning these parameters with the applied power supply
and signaling circuits parameters. I made a decision to combine this stage with the first step of operators training
as it embraced the whole range of operations to be taught. The Laboratory head and its assistant were the
trainees. The process of training was aided by the fact the aforementioned trainees had been spectators of the
previous stages of the stand development and thus they already got the context of the subject matter. Thus the
training process started and went on smoothly and I acquired improved metrological parameters actual for the
laboratory conditions. It was the final stage of preparation to running tests at that facility. I finished the project by
handing the final packet of design and operating documentation that allowed to completely replicate the project
and to gain the operating skills by a laboratory staff on their own. The documentation pack also allowed
autonomous restoration of the facility in case of complete crash. The documentation was agreed with direction of
TSNIImash department No2105 and approved by direction of the University chair.
Summary
13. Accomplishment of that project was a great honor for me as it gave me the unique opportunity to try myself in
solution of a real task, to experience the whole life cycle of a project that, in case a project is more massive, is

projected on a large group of people with different roles, tasks and authorities. Reaching the project finish I
managed to adjust the professional knowledge and experience I gained from the 1 st year, I used it to acquire new
experience and to improve my expertise in technical matters of my occupation. I also upgraded my skills of
communication with various bodies at some stages of the project implementation.
14. But the most important thing was that the applied value of the project was high as it was determined by the urge
to finish the University laboratory upgrade. The implemented stand allowed to ensure metrological support of
measurements in experiments and that in its turn improved the Laboratory technical equipment level.