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Gary Ray R

• Engineering  - 
Largest Gas Turbine in The World Has Been Tested

My last engineering post was about slightly weird technology to produce electricity; this one is closer to reality, big gas turbines.  Disclosure: I was a Field Engineer for GE for years and got to work on gas turbines like this one, only smaller. I worked on the GE LM-2500 gas turbines.  They are used for ship propulsion and to generate electricity, a LM-2500 can produce about 33,600 shp (25,060 kW). ⓐ 

This new GE gas turbine is a monster, it is the GE 9HA Harriet gas turbine.  This gas turbine can produce over 500,000 bhp and has the ability to generate 600 megawatts of electricity when coupled with a steam generator. When used in a combined cycle the efficiency is over 61 percent.  It is designed to run on natural gas.  

The latest of GE’s H-class turbines, when partnered with a steam generator Harriet can run a 600 megawatt steam power plant capable of supplying 600,000 homes, burns a variety of natural gases from shale gas to liquid natural gas, and instead of generating electricity, blasts out hot air at speeds of a Category 5 hurricane that could fill a Goodyear blimp in about 10 seconds.  ⓑ

To achieve this, Harriet has superalloy monocrystal turbine blades with thermal barrier coatings capable of withstanding 2,900° F (1,600° C). It has variable stator vanes originally developed for supersonic jet engines that direct the airflow, and a modular design with blades that can be replaced individually. In addition, it's designed for automated operation, has a combined cycle efficiency of over 61 percent, and low emissions.  ⓑ

“This is industry leading technology,” says Mike Gradoia, product marketing manager for Harriet. “Fifteen years ago you would need twice as many units to deliver the same amount of power. But they would have been less efficient, burning more fuel and therefore generating more emissions.”  ⓒ 

Advanced materials allow the turbines to operate at temperatures as high as 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit, while also giving parts longer lifespans. “When you can fire the machines higher, you can extract more energy,” Gradoia says. “But it also means that some components are operating in an environment hotter than their melting temperature. We make it work, but there is a lot of science behind it.”  ⓒ

This particular turbine, the 9HA is manufactured in France for use in Europe at 50 Hz, a slightly different version, the 7HA will be sold in the US to generate at 60 Hz.

The problem with such a large gas turbine is how do you test it.  
One of the problems with building the world's largest and most powerful gas turbine is that you need to build a test bed to match. Having invested US$1 billion in its 500,000 bhp 9HA Harriet gas turbine, GE had to fork over another US$185 million to build a full-load test bed at GE Power & Water in Greenville, South Carolina that can handle the grid-busting output of Harriet.  ⓑ

In just 3 months, they ran the turbine through operations that would normally take years to encounter in the field. They tested it at the maximum power output and simulated extreme events like severe grid instability caused by the oversupply of power, and observed the turbine respond and bring the grid back to normal. “You can’t do his in the field without wrecking the grid,” King says. “This hasn’t been done before. More than 50 customers flew in to see the test, including representatives from France’s Électricité de France.”  ⓓ

How a Combined-Cycle Power Plant Produces Electricity

This is how a combined-cycle plant works to produce electricity and captures waste heat from the gas turbine to increase efficiency and electrical output.

Gas turbine burns fuel.
The gas turbine compresses air and mixes it with fuel that is heated to a very high temperature. The hot air-fuel mixture moves through the gas turbine blades, making them spin.
The fast-spinning turbine drives a generator that converts a portion of the spinning energy into electricity.

Heat recovery system captures exhaust.
A Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) captures exhaust heat from the gas turbine that would otherwise escape through the exhaust stack.

The HRSG creates steam from the gas turbine exhaust heat and delivers it to the steam turbine.
Steam turbine delivers additional electricity. 
The steam turbine sends its energy to the generator drive shaft, where it is converted into additional electricity.

- See more at:

ⓐ  GE LM-2500 Gas Turbine

ⓑ  Gizmag
Putting the world's largest and most powerful gas turbine to the test 

ⓒ  GE Reports

 ⓓ  GE Reports
This Gas Turbine Could Pump Up the Goodyear Blimp in About 10 Seconds. But How Do You Test It?

Image GE Power and Water
Samuel Yeboah's profile photoDRB's profile photoMehmet TAŞPINAR's profile photoBilly Petton's profile photo
Now could you please tell me more on water injection in GT ? Once I came across a Siemens life extension policy mentioning this method and I believe some (Russian ?) aircraft used this method for lift boost.
An insider point of view appreciated. Have a great day ;)
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Ciro Villa

• Engineering  - 
Japanese Researchers Create the Most Accurate Clock Ever!

Introducing: the Cryogenic optical lattice clock.  The clock is so accurate that it loses a second every 16 billions years (more than the estimated age of the Universe since the Big Bang)

"Japanese researchers have built a pair of clocks which they say are so accurate they will lose a second only every 16 billion years—longer than the Earth has been around.

"Cryogenic optical lattice clocks" are not pretty—they look more like giant stripped-down desktop computers than ordinary wall clocks—but they are so precise that current technology cannot even measure them.

The research team led by Hidetoshi Katori, a professor at the University of Tokyo, believes it has taken the technology way beyond the atomic clocks that are currently used to define the "second".

The new clock uses special lasers to trap strontium atoms in tiny grid-like structures, according to the team, which published the study this month in the journal Nature Photonics."

Read more at:

Image: 'Cryogenic optical lattice clocks' are not pretty—they look more like giant stripped-down desktop computers than ordinary wall clocks—but they are so precise that current technology cannot even measure them.
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Alex Berezow

• Engineering  - 
A new bioelectrochemical device converts sunlight into alcohol using genetically engineered bacteria. The proof-of-principle device splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The genetically engineered bacteria use the hydrogen to reduce carbon dioxide to isopropanol. It's a neat idea, but terribly inefficient. 

Original paper:

Popular science article:
Solar power is billed as the energy of the future. However, today, solar power constitutes less than 1% of the global energy market. Though some cynics point their finger at a
Ragesh Kurman's profile photosamps okholm's profile photoTed Welles's profile photoPeter Carson's profile photo
The phrase "Converting Sunlight to Alcohol" is inaccurate as it implies energy-to-matter conversion; a better term would be "Creating Alcohol using Sunlight" as it more adequately reflects the anabolic process involved.
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The Engineering of the Playing Field of the Super Bowl

I had to find some science or engineering for the big game today. The entire grass field moves out into the sun to get nice and green.
Super Bowl Field Engineering

I am on the road and using my iPad so my normal format will be a little lax.

The Super Bowl will be played in the University of Phoenix Stadium. One of the unique features of this stadium is that it has a movable field. That's right, the entire field is rolled out so the special grass that they get from Alabama will be nice and fresh and green.

Built as the first retractable field in North America in 2006, the nearly 19 million pound tray holds 92,000 square feet of turf, drainage and even its own irrigation system. Due to the configuration of the stadium, which was designed to resemble a barrel cactus wrapped by a snake, a natural grass field wouldn’t have received enough sunshine to survive surrounded by the seating bowl, even with the stadium's retractable roof. Sports Illustrated

So architects Peter Eisenman and a team from Populous created a tray 40 inches deep that rests on 13 railroad-like tracks and moves through an opening four and a half feet tall beyond the end zone to the southeast. A total of 546 steel wheels -- 76 of those powered by a one-horsepower motor for a top speed of one-eighth of a mile per hour -- help expose the grass to the waiting desert sunshine. Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated on the moveable field.

Alabama sod grower that supplied the special grass

The stadium

Image Sports Illustrated

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Zak Cat
Come in the spring and see our tarantulas all over that grass :)
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“Historically, outside of combat, most injuries and fatalities in the Army result from transportation,” said Reed, who heads the U-M Transportation Research Institute’s Biosciences Group. “And in recent combat operations, the No. 1 cause of death and disability is underbody blast caused by improvised explosive devices.”

His latest research focuses on the safety and comfort of seating aboard military vehicles.

Reed and his U-M colleagues collected data from more than 300 soldiers stationed at Army bases in Kentucky, Texas and Washington, measuring dozens of variables as the soldiers sat in vehicle mockups.

A powerful laser scanner used to measure posture captured more than 500,000 data points on soldiers’ bodies within 12 seconds, which provided researchers further insight on the their body dimensions.

“The soldiers who participate in these studies understand very well what we’re trying to achieve,” he said. “They’ve been in these vehicles, worn the body armor and understand how hard it is get in and out. They know that there’s room for improvement in these vehicles.”

That’s why the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) agreed to fund the research project through the U-M Automotive Research Center.
Gary Ray R's profile photoKerem İnceçayır's profile photoJason Dodge's profile photo
The study is available for download (open access)
“The Seated Soldier Study: Posture and Body Shape in Vehicle Seats”
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• Engineering  - 
Quiet cuttlefish robot dives through underwater forest

“A four-finned robot ripples through the water, taking inspiration from the movement of cuttlefish.

Although the animal is better known for its powers of disguise and stunning communication skills, its undulating swimming motion is also noteworthy, allowing for efficient and agile motion.

Created by Pascal Buholzer and fellow students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, the copycat robot, named Sepios, demonstrates that its finned design can be an environmentally friendly alternative to propellers.”

See the full video at New Scientist:
Learn more about the project at their website:
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From simple attached prostheses to the bionic arms that are now controlled by the human brain, the trend of merging humans with their technology is accelerating.

Since technology advances at an exponential rate, the capabilities of bionic arms, as they merge with the human body, are building off of the previous generation in ever more impressive examples of ingenuity.

The current evolutionary level of bionic arms is an early stage of transhuman development. Starting as medical procedures, the limbs will soon enhance us.

The current evolutionary level of bionic arms is an early stage of transhuman development. Starting as medical procedures, the limbs will soon enhance us.
Government Fishbowl's profile photoDona Dolina's profile photoPedro luis castillo carrillo's profile photoPeter Strencsev's profile photo
And you, as well. =)
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The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Michigan Engineering Professor Stephen Forrest’s group a $1.35 million Next Generation Photovoltaics grant earlier this fall, aimed at advancing the practical viability of organic photovoltaics, a carbon-based version of solar technology that promises to radically change the way the sun’s energy is collected.

Organic photovoltaics excite researchers because they are potentially capable of converting the sun’s energy to electricity with very inexpensive materials. Multijunction organic cells, which are one of the areas that the Forrest group has pioneered and will be exploited in the current program, are built by stacking different semi-transparent semiconducting materials on top of each other, maximizing electricity production by absorbing different wavelengths of light.

Organic photovoltaic research hints at a future where the heavy, breakable, expensive-to-mount solar panels used today are replaced with printable rolls of adhesive solar tape. They could be semi-transparent and used as window screens. They’d be easy to ship, and users could place them on rooftops, vehicles, spacecraft, and in remote villages. 
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Hummingbird is a search algorithm used by Google, but it is of course also the name for the famous hovering bird with the fast flapping wings. They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings which flap at high frequencies audible to humans, over 50 times per second.

To uncover how the hummingbird hovers, you would need a super-computer to analyze all the fluids those wings are flinging. A new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface did just that, and has found that hummingbirds fly much more like insects than their avian kin.

Published 9 July 2014 in J. R. Soc. Interface 6 September 2014 vol. 11 no. 98

Via +Michael Wei
"Hummingbirds flit and dart in a way that no other birds can. You hear the buzz of wings beating 50 to 200 times a second and see the iridescent plumage, but the tiny dinosaurs simply live life too fast for us to really figure out how they fly. To uncover how the hummingbird hovers, you would need a super-computer to analyze all the fluids those wings are flinging."
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• Engineering  - 
Innovation: Harness Could Allow Dogs, Humans To Communicate

"The relationship between man and dog is unlike any other.

Many people dream of understanding what their dogs are thinking and feeling. Technology even lets us strap a camera on a dog's head to see what it sees.

Soon, we may even be able to talk to our dogs — but not exactly with our voices."

Link to press release and abstract:
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a dog harness, equipped with speakers and vibrating motors, that could be used in search and rescue or to improve dog training.
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Eton (where 'all' the UK Gov was educated) has an annual intake of around 240 boys of which ~8% show some interest in STEM type careers. But when it comes to career choice Engineering rarely features. With its long history not single engineer of renown has emerged from its hallowed doors.

Only two of the 42 permanent secretaries that lead the UK's Civil Service have science or engineering degrees. Two more have degree level numeracy. And the nearest the UK Treasury's policy-making Executive Management Group has to a scientist is one person with a maths degree. (Source: Cabinet Office and Treasury FOI answers)

"I want you to teach me to be an engineer. And I don't care if it takes all day!" (Dilbert)

... Read and weep for our futures.
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While generalisation is never completely true, I have noticed in the UK an "anti-engineering" culture with perhaps a "pro-management/bureaucratic" culture as well (as compared to the US).  To now, I've tended to attribute this to cultural inertia from those aspects of social organisation that enabled the UK to very effectively control a vast empire with limited resource.  Wonder whether the Eton effect described in the article is a consequence of the same that now ensures that the unnatural disdain for the one doesn't lift, and the unhealthy adoration of the other sits privileged?
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Gary Ray R

• Engineering  - 
A Rather Unique New Design for a Power Generating Building

I have posted about some cutting edge power generating and energy storage devices before, but this one caught my eye because of its architecture  and different types of power generating capabilities.  

It is called The Dutch Windwheel and is proposed to be built in the city of Rotterdam.  As described in Gizmag:

The Dutch Windwheel is a huge circular wind energy converter that houses apartments, a hotel and a giant coaster ride.  ⓐ

The concept is designed to be part energy icon, part tourist attraction and part residential building. It is a 174-m (571-ft) structure comprising two huge rings that appear to lean against each other. "We wanted to combine a big attraction for Rotterdam with a state-of-the-art sustainable concept," explains Lennart Graaff of the Dutch Windwheel Corporation, to Gizmag.  ⓐ

The larger outer ring houses 40 pods on rails that move around the ring and provide those who visit with views of Rotterdam and its port. The smaller inner ring, meanwhile, houses 72 apartments, a 160-room hotel across seven floors and a panoramic restaurant and viewing gallery. Perhaps most remarkable feature of of all, however, is a huge "bladeless turbine" that spans the center smaller ring.  ⓐ

The question that stands out for me is, “What is a bladeless wind turbine?”  It is what is called an electrostatic wind energy convertor (EWICON) and it was developed at Delft Technical University.  

Where most wind turbines generate electricity through mechanical energy, the EWICON (short for Electrostatic WInd energy CONvertor) creates potential energy with charged particles – in this case, water droplets. The current design consists of a steel frame holding a series of insulated tubes arranged horizontally. Each tube contains several electrodes and nozzles, which continually release positively-charged water particles into the air. As the particles are blown away, the voltage of the device changes and creates an electric field, which can be transferred to the grid for everyday use.  ⓑ

Some big issues I see are that it is not as efficient as a regular bladed wind turbine, uses a lot of water, and needs ethanol in the water for efficient spraying.  From a research paper from Delft:

The experiments show that the EWICON system in the current configuration is capable of generating electrical energy from wind energy with an efficiency of at least 7%.  The efficiency of conventional wind turbines, like e.g. a Siemens 1.3 MW wind turbine, is roughly 45% which still is six to seven times higher compared to the efficiency of the current EWICON. The flow rate per nozzle needs to be above 5.0 ml/hr, preferably 10 ml/hr, before EHDA can be used as an effective method for producing charged particles, which puts a lower limit on the water consumption. Also, concerning EHDA, it was found that the concentration of ethanol in water should at least be 25% or higher for controlled spraying to occur.  ⓒ

The Dutch Windwheel has a number of innovative features:

The Dutch Windwheel concept has other sustainable aspects, too. Photovoltaic thermal hybrid panels would be used to contribute to the generation of electricity, and rainwater would be collected for use in the building. The Dutch Windwheel Corporation says the building itself is designed to be built with locally-sourced materials, and in such a way as it could ultimately be disassembled and re-used elsewhere.  ⓐ

Among the other features of the design are space for commercial functions in the structure's plinth, and foundations that are underwater, making it it look as though the structure is floating. We're told that the amount of power the Dutch Windwheel will require to run – and be able to generate – is not yet clear. Likewise, the final technologies and additional sustainability features that would be present in the building have yet to be finalized.  ⓐ

I must say it is a striking building and I wish them luck with this far out design. 

For a complete description of the project here is the link to The Dutch Windwheel project:

ⓐ Gizmag
Windwheel concept combines tourist attraction with "silent turbine”

ⓑ Gizmag
EWICON bladeless wind turbine generates electricity using charged water droplets

ⓒ Delft Research paper
The development of an Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter (EWICON)

Image:  Dutch Windwheel Corporation
Palmiro Zavorka's profile photoEMRYS LEE's profile photodawit desta's profile photoKaspar de Geus's profile photo
It is a rather odd design.  It also needs big pumps to pump that water and the rate required for efficient use. 
But still, interesting, I hope they can get it to work. 
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Gary Ray R

• Engineering  - 
How to Use Thermal Integrity Profiling to Assess Soil Nail Integrity

I am finally at a point where I can write a science/engineering post again.  If you are like me when you saw that headline, you probably wonder what the heck is he posting about?  Let me give you a little background on how I stumbled upon this subject.  As a long time member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, I get a lot of offers for free trade magazines from a variety of different industries.  I recently signed up to receive a trade magazine from National Driller, the trade magazine for oil, gas, and water well drilling engineers, the group that knows the engineering about soils. I wanted to learn something about a field of engineering that I am not familiar with: the strength of soil.

The article in this issue that first caught my interest is the one with the title How to Use Thermal Integrity Profiling to Assess Soil Nail Integrity.  I had no idea what any of that meant and thought it would be an interesting post, and I might learn something new.  

First I looked up [what is soil nailing] and Wiki filled me in; soil nailing is a method of anchoring a pipe or a long piece of rebar into soil so it stabilizes the soil or, in the case of drilling, so it stabilizes the drill casing. For this study they were trying to learn how well the soil nails would stabilize steep slopes alongside roads and highways.

Soil nailing is a construction technique that can be used as a remedial measure to treat unstable natural soil slopes or as a construction technique that allows the safe over-steepening of new or existing soil slopes. The technique involves the insertion of relatively slender reinforcing elements into the slope – often general purpose reinforcing bars (rebar) although proprietary solid or hollow-system bars are also available. Solid bars are usually installed into pre-drilled holes and then grouted into place using a separate grout line, whereas hollow bars may be drilled and grouted simultaneously by the use of a sacrificial drill bit and by pumping grout down the hollow bar as drilling progresses.   ⓐ

One of the things that soil engineers worry about is how well that soil nail is going to hold. This is especially important for retaining walls, or steep embankments next to highways, or when drilling a tunnel into soil.  So the engineers study the integrity of the holding power of the soil nail. 

Four main points to be considered in determining if soil nailing would be an effective retention technique are as follows. First, the existing ground conditions should be examined. Next, the advantages and disadvantages for a soil nail wall should be assessed for the particular application being considered. Then other systems should be considered for the particular application. Finally, cost of the soil nail wall should be considered. Soil nail walls can be used for a variety of soil types and conditions. The most favorable conditions for soil nailing are as follows: The soil should be able to stand unsupported one to two meters high for a minimum of two days when cut vertical or nearly vertical. Also all soil nails within a cross section should be located above the groundwater table. If the soil nails are not located above the groundwater table, the groundwater should not negatively affect the face of the excavation, the bond between the ground and the soil nail itself. Based upon these favorable conditions for soil nailing stiff to hard fine-grained soils which include stiff to hard clays, clayey silts, silty clays, sandy clays, and sandy silts are preferred soils. Sand and gravels which are dense to very dense soils with some apparent cohesion also work well for soil nailing. Weathered rock is also acceptable as long as the rock is weathered evenly throughout(meaning no weakness planes). Finally, glacial soils work well for soil nailing.  ⓐ

So how do they tell how strong the soil nail that has been grouted into place will be, will it pull out?  One could do a destructive test where you just pull out the soil nail and see how much effort it took to pull it out.  But that is expensive and, in places, impossible.   That is where Thermal Integrity Profiling (TIP) comes in to play.  When grout hardens, it undergoes a exothermic reaction; that means that the grout gets hot as it hardens.  They measured the temperature of the grout as it hardened.

A demonstration project in Huntsville, Texas, evaluated the effectiveness of using Thermal Integrity Profiling (TIP) to assess the integrity of soil nails. The demonstration was performed by GRL Engineers Inc. and Pile Dynamics Inc. (PDI) in coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation.
Thermal Integrity Profiling is a relatively new nondestructive method that uses the temperature generated by curing cement (hydration energy) to access the integrity of the elements. Initially developed at the University of South Florida to evaluate the homogeneity and integrity of the concrete mass within drilled shafts, as well as the alignment of the reinforcement cage, the method was eventually incorporated in instrumentation developed for commercial use by PDI, from Cleveland, and FGE from Plant City, Florida.  ⓑ

Thermal Integrity Profiling is most frequently performed by affixing Thermal Wire cables to the longitudinal bars of the reinforcing cage of a shaft or, in the case of ACIP piles, to the reinforcing center bar (it may also be performed by lowering thermal probes in access tubes pre-installed in the foundation element). The soil nails tested during this demonstration were instrumented along the tensioned center bar, by attachment of a Thermal Wire cable with digital temperature sensors spaced every 6 inches. Once the instrumented tension bar was set and grout was injected, a Thermal Acquisition Port  was attached to each cable and data collection began. Every 15 minutes, the TAPs recorded and stored measured temperature at each sensor location, making it possible to generate profiles of temperature versus depth. After a sufficient amount of time had elapsed, each TAP was connected to the main unit of the Thermal Integrity Profiler, so data could be downloaded for further analysis.   ⓑ

Then by analyzing the Thermal Integrity Profile they could determine the integrity of the soil nail. 

The TIP results allowed for the evaluation of soil nail shape, integrity and grout quality, and of the location of the center bar. The overall average temperature for all Thermal Wire readings over the embedded depths can be directly related to the overall volume of grout installed. Soil nail integrity may be assessed by averaging the temperature measurements from each cable at each depth increment. If the measured average temperature versus depth is approximately constant, the soil nail is considered to be of uniform shape and quality. Bulges can be identified as localized increases in average temperature, while insufficient grout quality or section reductions can be identified as localized decreases in average temperature. Because soil and slurry pockets produce no heat, areas of soil intrusion or inclusion are indicated by lower local temperatures.  ⓑ

The demonstration project was successful in demonstrating the use of Thermal Integrity Profiling for assessing the integrity of soil nails.

ⓐ  Wiki Soil Nailing

ⓑ  National Driller 
How to Use Thermal Integrity Profiling to Assess Soil Nail Integrity

ⓒ  Deep Foundations Institute  Research paper, 2014
Using Thermal Integrity Profiling To Evaluate The Structural Integrity of Soil Nails

Texas Tech University
Other methods of Non-Destructive Evaluation of Installed Soil Nails

Image: Deep Excavation, Soil nail wall construction sequence
Gesie N's profile photoJorge Palma's profile photoMoosa Waheed's profile photoColin Andrews's profile photo
wait wait... hold the phone.  Here I was trying to learn something completely unrelated to any of my interest for funsies and tree root stability comes up?!  {pumps fist} yusss!
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A new process that can sprout microscopic spikes on nearly any type of particle may lead to more environmentally friendly paints and a variety of other innovations.

Made by a team of University of Michigan engineers, the “hedgehog particles” are named for their bushy appearance under the microscope. Their development is detailed in a paper published in the Jan. 29 issue of Nature.

The new process modifies oily, or “hydrophobic” particles, enabling them to disperse easily in water. It can also modify water-soluble, or “hydrophilic” particles, enabling them to dissolve in oil or other oily chemicals.

One of the first applications for the particles is likely to be in paints and coatings, where toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like toluene are now used to dissolve pigment. Pigments made from hedgehog particles could potentially be dissolved in non-toxic carriers like water, the researchers say.

This would result in fewer VOC emissions from paints and coatings, which the EPA estimates at over eight million tons per year in the United States alone. VOCs can cause a variety of respiratory and other ailments and also contribute to smog and climate change. Reducing their use has become a priority for the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory bodies worldwide.
Gary Ray R's profile photoKim L Johnson's profile photo
Paints, Coatings, Catalysts whose Particles are rather Spiky, Sticky and therefore  
Better-behaved should become a Big Boon for All of Mankind on the Planet +Gary Ray R !! 
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Vaporized metals as nanometer coatings 

Researchers from the +Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have recently demonstrated that vaporized metals can be used as color coatings. The manufactured item is placed in a high-vacuum chamber and an electron beam is aimed at a metal surface. The impact of the electrons vaporizes the metal which in turn settles down on the item. Depending on the used metals, like germanium, gold or aluminum, the color of the resulting coating can be changed. The resulting thickness of the coating is only in the range of nanometers whereas conventional coatings are 1000 times thicker. 
The colors result from the optical interference and can be tuned by changing the coating composition and thickness.
Such thin coatings can reduce weight of the manufactured item significantly. Within their publication, the scientists used paper as a surface to deposit the metals on. This led to very flexible items, which could be bent by hand. Together with their ability to absorb light, they might be applied in flexible optoelectronic devices .

Project page:


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Thanks +ebeam Technologies​!
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Béla Lőrincz

• Engineering  - 
I am glad to be joining the community and I hope that is a lot of interesting and valuable new topic do I now.  
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Welcome +Béla Lőrincz, there is something of interest to almost everyone in this community.

I always ask new members to please read our guidelines and the 'How to' post, please.

I hope you enjoy it here.
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American Scientist

• Engineering  - 
A growing number of researchers believe empirical software engineering is now at a turning point comparable to the dawn of evidence-based medicine. It has begun to borrow and adapt research techniques from fields such as anthropology, psychology, industrial engineering and data mining. 

With software landing our planes, diagnosing our illnesses and keeping track of the wealth of nations, discovering how to make programs more reliable is hardly an academic question.

Read more:

#Engineering   #Technology   #Science   #Software  
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First line in that article is incorrect.
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The TerraMar Project

• Engineering  - 
Looking to move soon? You might not have to wait very long to live beneath the seas. Shimuzu Corporation, a Japanese construction firm, says they can make this futuristic concept, dubbed the Ocean Spiral, a reality in 15 years... what do you think? 

Check out the article in The Daily Catch:

Photo: AFP/Shimizu Corporation
srinivas pemmasani's profile photojeff belli slack's profile photoHal Sienkiewicz's profile photoSanthya Suresh's profile photo
what about the other animals and species living on earth ?
are they supposed to drown due to ocean rise ?
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Gary Ray R

• Engineering  - 
Background on Science and Engineering of Orion Spacecraft

This morning NASA successfully sent the Orion spacecraft on a two orbit trip around the Earth to test the systems and the ability to land (splash down) safely.   The trip was a success. 

The test flight was aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket, the first orbit was low and the second orbit took it to almost 3,600 miles above Earth. 

The spacecraft entered Earth’s atmosphere at close to 20,000 mph and the heat shield worked to protect against almost 4,000 degrees F. Orion splashed downed  in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California where it was recovered by NASA and U.S. Navy teams.

Orion Spacecraft
Dimensions From Wiki.  ⓐ

Height: Approximately 3.3 m (10.83 ft)
Diameter: 5 m (16.5 ft)
Pressurized volume: 19.56 m3 (691 cu ft) [7]
Habitable volume: 8.95 m3 (316 cu ft) [7]
Capsule mass: 8,913 kg (19,650 lb)
Service Module mass: 12,337 kg (27,198 lb)
Total mass: 21,250 kg (46,848 lb)
Service module propellant mass: 7,907 kg (17,433 lb)
Total delta-v: ~1340 m/s (4,390 ft/s) 
Endurance: 21.1 days    

Crew Module
The Orion crew module (CM) is the transportation capsule that provides a habitat for the crew, provides storage for consumables and research instruments, and serves as the docking port for crew transfers. The crew module is the only part of the MPCV that returns to Earth after each mission and is a 57.5° frustum shape, similar to that of the Apollo command module.  ⓐ 

It will have more than 50% more volume than the Apollo capsule, which had an interior volume of 5.9 m3 (210 cu ft), and will carry four to six astronauts.[31] After extensive study, NASA has selected the Avcoat ablator system for the Orion crew module. Avcoat, which is composed of silica fibers with a resin in a honeycomb made of fiberglass and phenolic resin, was previously used on the Apollo missions and on select areas of the space shuttle for early flights.  ⓐ

Orion's CM will use advanced technologies, including:  ⓐ

"Glass cockpit" digital control systems derived from those of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  ⓐ

An "autodock" feature, like those of Russian Progress spacecraft and the European Automated Transfer Vehicle, with provision for the flight crew to take over in an emergency. Previous American spacecraft (Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle) have all required manual piloting for docking.  ⓐ

Improved waste-management facilities, with a miniature camping-style toilet and the unisex "relief tube" used on the space shuttle (whose system was based on that used on Skylab) and the International Space Station (based on the Soyuz, Salyut, and Mir systems). This eliminates the use of the much-hated plastic "Apollo bags" used by the Apollo crews.  ⓐ

A nitrogen/oxygen (N2/O2) mixed atmosphere at either sea level (101.3 kPa or 14.69 psi) or slightly reduced (55.2 to 70.3 kPa or 8.01 to 10.20 psi) pressure.  ⓐ

Much more advanced computers than on previous manned spacecraft.  ⓐ

The CM will be constructed of the aluminum lithium (Al/Li) alloy used on the shuttle's external tank, and on the Delta IV and Atlas V rockets. The CM itself will be covered in the same Nomex felt-like thermal protection blankets used on parts on the shuttle not subject to critical heating, such as the payload bay doors. The reusable recovery parachutes will be based on the parachutes used on both the Apollo spacecraft and the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters, and will also use the same Nomex cloth for construction. Water landings will be the exclusive means of recovery for the Orion CM.  ⓐ 

EDIT:  Not sure all the above was on this flight.
The only crew module systems that will not fly on this vehicle are the environmental control and life support system; and the crew support systems such as displays, seats and crew operable hatches.‬

Launch Vehicle

For this test launch NASA used the Delta IV Heavy rocket.  This rocket is one of the largest capacity rockets now being used.  

The Delta IV Heavy uses two hydrogen-fueled Common Booster Cores as boosters instead of the GEM-60 solid rocket motors used by the Delta IV Medium+ versions. At lift off, all three cores operate at full thrust, and 44 seconds later the center core throttles down to 55% to conserve fuel while the boosters continue to operate at full thrust. The boosters burn out at 242 seconds after launch, and are separated as the core booster throttles back up to full thrust. The core burns out 86 seconds later, and the second stage completes the ascent to orbit.   ⓑ

The Delta IV Heavy is configured to have one central RS-68A engine, and two strap on RS-68A boosters for a first stage. Each RS-68A engine develops 3,140 kN (710,000 lbf) of thrust for a total thrust of the first stage of 2,120,000 lbf

The second stage rocket engine is a RL10-B-2 engine that develops 110 Kn (25,000 lbf) of thrust

A complete description of the Delta IV system of rockets is available at:

NASA Orion



Image: Screen Grab from NASA TV
Russell Gould's profile photoSteve Leggio's profile photoGiuseppe Zummo's profile photoFranky Coronado's profile photo
While this program is fraught with political shenanigans, lets try to keep the discussion to the science and engineering, please.   
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Gary Ray R

• Engineering  - 
Rebar Science

This post discusses the latest research in high strength reinforcing bar or rebar.  Also a  discussion of building codes and the funding of industrial research. Plus you will learn about rebar congestion.  
Research on New Guidelines For Rebar Using High Strength Steel

I wanted to post about a product that is not as fancy or exciting as graphene or nano-particles. This one is about rebar and a little about building codes. 

Building codes are set up to make sure our buildings are safe and strong.  One of the codes or 'rules' is about how to build concrete structures and concerns the amount of reinforcing bar or rebar that is needed for a structure to be safe.  Safe, as in holding up the load of the structure and any additional load from its use. And safe in the event of an earthquake or other disaster. 

Concrete is a material that is strong when you squeeze it and weak when you pull it.   
Concrete is a material that is very strong in compression, but relatively weak in tension. To compensate for this imbalance in concrete's behavior, rebar is cast into it to carry the tensile loads.  (Wiki)

Rebar comes in different sizes, shapes, and grades.  
Rebar is available in grades and specifications that vary in yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, chemical composition, and percentage of elongation.
The grade designation is equal to the minimum yield strength of the bar in ksi (1000 psi) for example grade 60 rebar has a minimum yield strength of 60 ski.  (Wiki)

What grade rebar one can use depends on many factors, and there is new research in high-strength reinforcing steel that is being funded by the Charles Pankow Foundation to be done by the Applied Technology Council and for use in the American Concrete Institute guidelines for building concrete buildings.  ⓐ ⓑ ⓒ

The Charles Pankow Foundation is about to begin a nearly $27- million fund-raising campaign to support unprecedented research in high-strength reinforcing steel. The goal of the five-year research program is to simplify and speed reinforced-concrete construction by easing rebar congestion. The program would provide the scientific basis for the first major overhaul of the concrete building standard in 50 years.  ⓓ

You see an example of rebar congestion in the image below. 

"High-strength reinforcing steel also provides the opportunity to improve construction efficiencies," thanks in large part to reduced material needs, rebar congestion, labor and cycle time per floor, says Heintz. "The long-term benefits come on the construction side, where all the big dollars are spent."  ⓓ  (Jon A. Heintz, director of projects for the Applied Technology Council)

This new research on high strength steel comes at a time when demand has increased.  From Engineering News Record, 2009. High-Strength Rebar Market Is Heating Up
Gains made using 90-ksi and 100-ksi rebar for seismic confinement of high-strength concrete. 

The advantage of using the material on both projects is reduced rebar congestion resulting from a reduction in horizontal rebar in columns and shear-wall boundary elements by 40% for 100 ksi and 30% for 90 ksi, compared to standard 60-ksi steel. That means less field labor, less material that is lighter in weight, less hoisting, fewer problems threading things through the rebar and easier concrete casting. There also are fewer connections to 60-ksi rebar in beams and vertical rebar in columns and shear walls.

And price has gone down, from Engineering News Record 2011,
High-Strength Steel Cheaper Overall Than Conventional Rebar

High-strength rebar reduces overall building costs compared to traditional steel reinforcement, according to a new study from the Construction Industry Institute.

Compared to traditional rebar, typically rated at 60 kips per sq in., the high-strength variety, rated at 100 ksi, costs twice as much to buy up front. However, it reduces overall reinforcing steel by 14% to 49%, translating into a net cost reduction of 12% to 33%.

The complete research roadmap is available below; it has an excellent section on the production of high strength rebar for the metallurgy inclined.  Also, it is not often one gets to see a complete roadmap of research spelled out ahead of time.
Roadmap for the use of high-strength reinforcement in reinforced concrete design

Wiki: Rebar

ⓐ  Charles Pankow Foundation.

ⓑ  Applied Technology Council

ⓒ  American Concrete Institute ACI 318-14: Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary   ($250.00)

Open Access on line version of the ACI 1995 Build Code Requirements For Structural Concrete.

ⓓ Engineering News Record, Pankow Foundation Charts Ambitious Research Goals For High-Strength Rebar

Photo by Courtesy Cary Kopczynski Co., From Engineering News Record
8 comments on original post
Conocimiento Global (Global Knowledge)'s profile photoCyrus Patel's profile photovyshnavi raj's profile photoEmili Martines Zeballos's profile photo
A couple of G+ friends mentioned that one form of high strength steel, a three phase high strength steel has been patented and the patent is below.
(complete explanation of the heat treating and hot forming process):

And the company that sells the above type high strength rebar is here.

The military uses high strength rebar when building armories.    
The nuclear power industry also uses high strength rebar.
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