College of Engineering and Science faculty, father-son team pen textbook

Aug 15, 2011 | General News

Dr. Randall Barron, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Louisiana Tech, and Dr. Brian Barron, lecturer in mathematics and statistics at Louisiana Tech, have completed “Design for Thermal Stresses” – a college-level engineering textbook that provides design tools that allow engineers to understand and alleviate potential problems involving thermal stresses.
The book introduces various numerical and analytical design approaches for issues surrounding thermal stresses.  Practical application of the principles for practicing engineers and students are presented through sample problems and exercises.

Brian Barron (left) and Randall Barron with 'Design for Thermal Stresses'

According to the authors, thermal stress problems arise in many engineering situations, from liquid oxygen fluid storage vessels and piping systems in aerospace systems, to nuclear reactor fuel rods, to buckling of concrete slabs on a hot summer day.  The textbook presents accessible coverage for designers of equipment that focuses on the basics through advanced design techniques for thermal stresses.
“Almost every area in engineering is impacted in some way by thermal stress problems similar to those discussed in the textbook,” said Randall Barron.  “Often thermal stresses cause a significant problem that could result in failure of the device itself.  It is generally much better to solve the thermal stress problems ‘on the drawing board’ in the initial design stage, instead of trying to correct the problem after the device has been built.”
The Barrons say that thermal stresses can be present in any mechanical device where the temperature of the device changes.  This summer’s record heat wave has shown one such example as the buckling of concrete slabs on a highway during hot days is a result of thermal stresses which cause the failure of the roadway.
“One of the major contributions of our textbook in addressing thermal stress problems is that the book presents a mechanical design approach, involving both synthesis and analysis, instead of only showing ways that the problem may be analyzed,” Randall Baron said.
Randall Barron received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University, and taught at Ohio State for seven year before coming to Louisiana Tech in 1965 where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in cryogenics.  He is the author of three other engineering textbooks: Cryogenic Systems, Cryogenic Heat Transfer, and Industrial Noise Control and Acoustics.
Brian Barron earned his Ph.D. in computational analysis and modeling at Louisiana Tech, and has taught in the mathematics and statistics department at Louisiana Tech since 2003.  He was selected as the College of Engineering and Science’s “Best Lecturer” in 2011 as well as having twice been selected Teacher of the Year in mathematics.
“Mathematics is the language and tool of engineering and is therefore the language and tool used to describe and understand the role of thermal stress in the design process,” said Brian Barron.  “The language of mathematics, and in particular linear algebra and advanced calculus, enables the complex world of thermal stress to be described in simpler terms.  Utilizing the mathematical results of the text enables us to discuss the behavior of as-yet-created systems.”
Brian Barron says the book is targeted to both the upper level engineering student and the existing engineer.  Practicing engineers will find it helpful as an aide in their current design problems.  This text also makes for an excellent addition to any engineering curriculum as an advanced design or additional thermodynamic/materials course.