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Engineering

— Inventors and Remarkable People Feature

Dambusters 70 years on: Barnes Wallis – an engineer ahead of his time

It's seventy years to the day since No. 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force returned from Operation Chastise, in which specially designed bouncing bombs were dropped in an attack on the Möhne, Sorpe and Eder Dams in Germany during World War II. Though the bouncing bomb is without doubt the invention for which Barnes Wallis is most renowned (thanks in no small part to its depiction in the film Dambusters) Wallis' other work before, during, and after World War II was of great importance, and in some cases, far ahead of its time. Gizmag spoke to Dr. Andrew Nahum, Principal Curator of Technology at the Science Museum where many of Wallis' papers are archived, about swing-wing aircraft, earthquake bombs, improbable mathematics lessons, and the geodetic Wellington Bomber. Read More
— Good Thinking

Puerto Rico dominates the 2013 NASA Great Moonbuggy Race

By - April 30, 2013 6 Pictures
It was Puerto Rico's day at the 20th NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. Teams from that country won first place in both the high school and college division races. More than 90 teams competed in the race, in which lightweight human-powered buggies race over a simulated lunar surface built at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The winning times for this grueling three-quarter mile course were 3:24 for the high school division and 3:32 for the college division. Read More

White House officially responds to "build a Death Star" petition

The White House has officially responded to a petition calling on the US government to "begin a construction of a Death Star by 2016." Though the news for proponents of space fascism wasn't good, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, did respond in the spirit of the original petition… Read More
— Science

Cell-powered "bio-bots" get a wriggle on

By - November 17, 2012 1 Picture
Using a 3D printer, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed synthetic "bio-bots" about seven millimeters long that are powered by embedded cardiac cells that give them the ability to "walk" on their own. The researchers say they are just scratching the surface of what is possible, with their work potentially leading to millimeter-scale medical or environmental sensors that that can seek out and neutralize harmful toxins. Read More
— Science

Fraunhofer develops new technology to make titanium cost effective

By - October 18, 2012 4 Pictures
Titanium is a tremendously useful metal and very abundant, yet only 186,000 tonnes (205,030 tons) of it are produced a year and it’s not used very much outside of the aerospace field because it’s so expensive and difficult to forge. To correct this, a team led by André Albert at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering in partnership with Thin Films (IST) in Braunschweig, Germany have developed a new process for hydroforming titanium at high temperatures in a single step that promises to make titanium more of an everyday material. Read More
— Good Thinking

How to build a miniature Norwegian whitewater river

By - August 29, 2012 19 Pictures
When an architect is designing a building, they build a scale model to check how their design will work as an actual physical structure. What happens, however, when engineers are designing things that will have to be compatible with the currents in rivers ... things like dams, bridges, or pump stations? Well, that’s where water resources engineering firms like Northwest Hydraulic Consultants (NHC) come into the picture. Their work often includes building exact miniature recreations of waterways, complete with flowing water. We recently caught up with NHC principal Darren Shepherd, who guided us through the production process of one of his more exciting models – a one-twelfth scale Norwegian whitewater kayaking park. Read More
— Good Thinking

Bringing Teflon and silicone together shows promise for medical applications

By - August 26, 2012 5 Pictures
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is best known by the DuPont brand name Teflon. Whatever it is called, PTFE is the third slipperiest solid known – the poster child for non-stick, non-reactive, non-friction, non-conducting, high-temperature, and generally high-performing polymers. Silicone also has a nearly non-bondable surface – if you try to paint a silicone sealant, it simply pops off as the paint dries. In particular, creating a strong bond between PTFE and silicone has never been accomplished, even in the chemical laboratory. Until now. Read More
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