Posts Tagged ‘Engineering’

How a Key Works

May 23, 2013

A key is an instrument that is used to operate a lock. A typical key is a small piece of metal consisting of two parts: the blade, which slides into the keyway of the lock and distinguishes between different keys, and the bow, which is left protruding so that torque can be applied by the user.

This animation makes everything so clear, in a way that would be so difficult to explain in words.

How a Key Works

Evolution of container ships

April 6, 2013

The computer, tablet, or smart phone you’re reading this post on comes from a factory in Asia on a cargo ship. In fact, most things you buy come on such ships – and because of rising global demand, cargo ships get bigger and bigger. How big?

Well, what is blue, a quarter of a mile long, and taller than London’s Olympic stadium?

The answer – this year’s new class of container ship, the Triple E. When it goes into service this June, it will be the largest vessel ploughing the sea.

Evolution of container Ships

Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU). Inside those containers, you could fit 36,000 cars or 863 million tins of baked beans. Learn more here.

World’s biggest wind turbine

March 29, 2013

Why do people say “don’t look down”? Just imagine what you would be missing if the photographer who took this picture had had similar qualms.

World's biggest wind turbine

The ants on the ground are working on a Siemens SWT-6.0-154 offshore wind turbine, a giant new machine that is being put through its paces at a wind turbine testing facility in Østerild, Denmark.

The turbine boasts the world’s largest rotor with blades 75 metres long, each as big as the wings of the world’s largest aircraft, the Airbus 380. The machine’s ground-to-tip height is 197 metres, more than twice that of the Big Ben clock tower in London.

The rationale for building bigger turbines is simple: longer blades harvest more energy from the wind. Siemens says the new turbine can generate 6 megawatts, enough to power 5500 households. That is 1000 times more energy per year than the firm’s first generation of wind turbines, which it built 30 years ago with rotor blades just 5 metres long. Learn more here.

How to build the Perfect Sandcastle

January 18, 2013

Everyone knows the secret to building sandcastles is a little water. But while too little leaves the sand useless, too much makes it heavy enough to cause disastrous landslides. Fortunately, scientists have unravelled the secrets behind sandcastle building for you.

While it might sound flippant, building the best structures out of sand is a tricky civil engineering problem. That’s why a team of scientists set to a complex series of experiments involving theoretical and practical modelling of sand castles.

By testing different levels of sand wetness, they studied how columns of sand buckled as they were built higher and higher. Eventually, they found that there’s an optimum sand wetness: you should be aiming to have a liquid volume fraction of 1 per cent. That means that, by volume, you need to combine 99 parts of perfectly dry sand with 1 part water to build the ultimate castle. Learn more here or here.

How rope is made

December 30, 2012

The process from start to finish, with some testing too …

Engineering Flowchart

October 3, 2012

Engineering is the science, skill, and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and also build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes.

It can be summarised as:

How to move an entire tree

September 17, 2012

It’s called a tree spade — a piece of heavy equipment previously unknown to me but apparently widely available. A truck mounted tree spade is used to dig out the root ball and tree, lifting and tilting each tree onto the back of the truck for safe transportation to its new location.


How Does Your Smartphone Know Up From Down?

August 29, 2012

You probably take for granted the fact that turning your phone on its side automatically puts the display into landscape mode. But do you really know how the tiny accelerometer inside your device can detect those changes in orientation? After watching this video you will.

Video of Curiosity’s landing on Mars

August 25, 2012

NASA’s new Mars rover, Curiosity, landed on Mars not long ago.

This video starts with Curiosity’s heat shield being jettisoned from its landing stage body — comprised of the rover tucked up beneath a UFO-like platform. The rover hovers for a while under its parachute, wobbling back and forth as it takes in the spectacular view of craters and the lower reaches of Mount Sharp, its eventual target. Vertigo kicks in as the rover dives lower and the engines kick in for Curiosity’s powered descent sequence.

The heat shield impacts in the lower left frame at 0:21, and is shown enlarged at the end of the video.

To see some incredible images of Curiosity’s tracks, which tells scientists that the soil is firm, great for mobility, and won’t cause the rover to sink much go here.

Gadgets will work under your skin

August 14, 2012

Left your phone at home again? A solution is at hand: make sure it is with you at all times by having it implanted in your arm.

But given the opportunity, would you want your gadget to be a permanent part of you? It would make the upgrade path rather difficult but the question may need answering sooner than you think.

Researchers checked to see whether the methods we currently use to interface with our gadgets work when the device is implanted in human tissue. The answer was a resounding “yes”.

A button, an LED and a touch sensor all functioned appropriately when embedded under the skin of a cadaver’s arm. The team was even able to communicate transcutaneously using a Bluetooth connection and charge the electronics wirelessly.

That’s the bottom line. Traditional user interfaces work through the skin. Learn more here.


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