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Mechanical Engineering
dudleybenton

Monte Carlo simulation of piston clearance

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A car manufacturer (which will remain unnamed) once made a decision to close a factory and put a whole lot of people out of work. The problem was piston clearance. The newly designed engine was deemed essential to continued sales, but the existing facility could not meet the clearance requirements due to outdated equipment. The analysis, performed by a professor I had in college, indicated that perhaps 7% of the engines wouldn't make it off the lot before seizing up. As many as 27% were likely to fail within the first year. Given the dimensions and clearances and assuming these to be normally-distributed (a bell-shaped curve), we can perform an analysis with Monte Carlo. The attached spreadsheet contains just such an analysis for the shaft on an electric motor. The lines in the figure show the allowable and unacceptable combinations of shaft and sleeve diameters.

MonteCarloShaft.gif

sleeve_shaft_clearance.xls

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