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NEWS | April 4, 2023

Carderock’s Dr. John Miesner Receives ASNE Solberg Award

By Todd Hurley, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs

Dr. John Miesner, a structural acoustics senior research engineer in Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s Structural Acoustics Branch is the recipient of the 2022 American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Solberg Award for research. He will officially receive the award during the 2023 Technology Systems and Ships and Combat Systems Symposium, which will be held in Baltimore from Nov. 6-7, 2023.

The Solberg Award has been presented annually since 1967 and is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to naval engineering through personal research during the past three years. The award is named after Rear Adm. Thorvald A. Solberg, who, aside from being the ASNE president in 1949, while concurrently being the third Chief of Naval Research, was known for pursuing basic and applied research, which led to solutions on shipboard problems.

Miesner is the third consecutive Carderock employee to receive the award, following in the footsteps of Jon Stergiou in 2020 and Dr. Jason Anderson in 2021.

“Whenever I look at the list of previous recipients, there are some extraordinary Carderock engineers there, and I am greatly honored to be included in their listing,” he said.

Miesner received the award for his work in revolutionizing the design of inertial actuators for the U.S. Navy — something he has been working toward for the past seven years. Inertial actuators allow Navy researchers the opportunity to predict how a ship will respond to vibration sources such as motors, pumps and other rotating equipment.

“Inertial actuators are used on Navy ships for testing, characterization and troubleshooting — we do tests to characterize the ship and to compare to digital models that predict structural acoustic response and acoustic radiation,” Miesner said. “We excite the structure in order to measure the response both onboard with accelerometers and off board with acoustic arrays, and then compare that to the digital models for validation and improvement.”

Throughout the past seven years, Miesner has received eight patents and has seven pending patent applications, and has designed and built prototypes of several actuators for different application.

“The Acoustic Vibration Lab designs and builds a number of different actuators from very large ones that operate at low-frequency, mid ones that operate at mid-frequency and small ones that operate at high-frequency. The frequency response of an actuator depends greatly on size,” he said. “If you want to generate force at low frequency, you need a large amount of mass moving in order to generate the inertial response. The Acoustic Vibration Lab is working to broaden the bandwidth of the actuators in order to have one actuator that performs the function of several. I work mostly in the area of linearization. A linear actuator has a response that is proportional to current or voltage input. Most of my research and design work has been producing linear output with something that is inherently non-linear, such as magnetostrictive material or an electromagnet.”

Due to his expertise, Miesner is regularly consulted for various Navy applications. Recently, a problem arose with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) actuators used for large-scale model testing; the units were producing high levels of distortion in vibration measurements. In a matter of a couple of weeks, Miesner designed a unique low-cost flexure retrofit for the COTS units that reduced distortion resulting in a successful test campaign.

His mentorship of new and young engineers has helped facilitate the Navy’s growth and continued success, which has been his favorite part about this entire process.

“We have some extraordinary junior engineers at Carderock,” Miesner said. “When I explain a concept to them and see that light that comes on, seeing that they understand how this can be utilized, why it works the way it does and how it can be used in future designs is a great feeling.”