Time Travelers

Many thanks to guest blogger Joe Horvath, museum educator at the Pennsylvania Military Museum, for the text and photos.

Penn State mechanical engineering students recently completed the design, construction and testing of 21st-century technology that will be used to understand the manufacturing principles of the distant past. The Radial Measuring Device (RMD) is designed to image the inside surface of artillery tubes, providing researchers with data on the construction of those Renaissance weapons of war. The RMD successfully scanned a naval artillery tube on its inaugural test run with a real artifact at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Centre County.

Under a summer 2011 grant from the British Academy, part of the PSU team will travel to museums in Paris, Copenhagen, and Berlin in an attempt to unlock the secrets of design from the fifteenth century, when artillery was just becoming a potent force on the battlefield.

The Radial Measuring Device (RMD)

Luke Gustasfon, Senior/Mechanical Engineering, prepares the RMD for its mission.

PSU Mechanical Engineering students Luke Gustasfon and Keith Martin
receive final instructions from Assistant Professor of
Science, Technology and Society Steve Walton.

PSU Mechanical Engineering majors Keith Martin and Luke Gustasfon
prepare to deploy the RMD into the bore of an 18th century British iron cannon
at the Pennsylvania Military Museum while Professor of
Mechanical Engineering H.J. Sommer looks on.

The RMD, inserted into the muzzle of a British 18 pounder cannon,
sends telemetry to a laptop computer for analysis.


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