George A. Richards

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
All FacultyMechanical Engineering

Contact Information
Phone: 724-450-1535
Email: RichardsGA@gcc.edu

George A. Richards

Education 

  • Ph.D, Purdue University, Mechanical Engineering (1987)
    Dissertation topic: Hydrogen-enhanced spray combustion
  • M.S.M.E., Clarkson University (1984)
    Thesis topic: Analysis of diffusion flames and non-equilibrium states in chemical lasers
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering and Physics (Double Major), Clarkson College (1983)

Courses 
I’ve built numerous one-of-kind experiments so I’m excited to lead some of our mechanical engineering lab classes. In these courses, our students learn to design, build, and de-bug new hardware – exactly the kind of thing they will encounter in industry or graduate school.

Because of my background, I enjoy subjects related to energy, transportation, and aerospace propulsion. I teach advanced thermodynamics in which students learn how to improve (or invent!) machines that convert and store energy, propel vehicles, and power our nation. With this subject knowledge, engineers can address the big challenges of making energy clean and affordable – not just for the developed world but also for the developing world. That’s why I like the subject - it’s technically interesting and practically useful. 

Aside from energy, I’ve had a growing interest in applications of so-called “machine learning.”  Most people are familiar with image recognition as one example. Mechanical engineers are starting to use similar methods for other applications such as monitoring the condition of operating machinery. I plan to introduce some of these ideas into the Grove City College curricula so that our students are familiar with the latest machine learning approaches.   

What is the most important piece of advice you give students to help them succeed?
Work hard at your studies but trust God for the results. There is a great peace that comes from knowing God’s sovereignty over your grades and your life.

Selected Publications 

  • “50-kWth methane/air chemical looping combustion tests with commercially prepared CuO-Fe2O3-alumina oxygen carrier with two different techniques,” Applied Energy, March 2018. 
  • “Qualitative numerical study of simultaneous high-G-intensified gas–solids contact, separation and segregation in a bi-disperse rotating fluidized bed in a vortex chamber,” Advanced Powder Technology (2016).
  • “Chemical looping coal gasification with calcium ferrite and barium ferrite via solid–solid reactions,” Applied Energy (2016). 
  • “Investigation of Reactions in a Fluidized Bed Reactor during Chemical Looping combustion of Coal/Steam with Copper Oxide-Iron Oxide-Alumina Oxygen Carrier,” Applied Energy (2016). 
  • “Solid-state electrochemical heat engines,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (2015). 

Presentations 

  • “Direct Power Extraction with MHD: Status of numeric models and experimental validation,” AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum, Cincinnati, OH, July 2018. 
  • “A Preliminary Evaluation of Geothermal and Natural Gas Resource Options for Camp Dawson, Preston County, West Virginia,” Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 2017. Voted “Best Presentation” in the Direct Use Session, see also NETL-TRS-8-2017 for full report. 

Book Chapters

  • “Energy Resources, Section 24,” Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook, 9th Ed., McGraw-Hills, New York (contributed fuels section), 2018.
  • "Effects of Alternative Fuels and Engine Cycles on Turbine Cooling," Turbine Aerodynamics, Heat Transfer, Materials, and Mechanics, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. (2014).
  • “Novel Cycles: Oxy-Combustion Turbine Cycle Systems,” Combined Cycle Systems for Near-Zero Emission Power Generation, Woodhead Publishing, (2012). 
  • “Gasification Technology to Produce Syngas” and "Syngas Utilization," Synthesis Gas Combustion, CRC Press (2010).

Additional Experience
Before joining the faculty at Grove City College, I held various research positions with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). As a member of one of the nation’s National Laboratories, I had the opportunity to lead research on all types of energy technology, ranging from renewable geothermal energy to gas turbine power plants. I’m now especially interested in finding ways to efficiently store and release renewable energy on a large scale, and I plan to work with student investigators to evaluate various approaches. 

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