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Hyundai made the world's biggest container ship

SEOUL—South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries said Monday it had won a $700 million deal to build the world’s largest container ships for China Shipping Container Lines. 

Under the deal signed with China’s No. 2 shipper, the world’s largest shipbuilder will build five vessels, each capable of carrying 18,400 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) container boxes, Hyundai said in a statement. 

The ships will be the world’s largest, breaking the previous record of another South Korean firm, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine, which won an order in 2011 to build 20 18,000 TEU container ships for Denmark’s A.P. Moeller-Maersk. 

Delivery of the mega-vessels will begin in the latter half of 2014, Hyundai said. Each ship will boast a 400-meter-long deck, and stand 58.6 meters wide and 30.5 meters high. 

They will feature electronically controlled main engines that automatically adjust fuel consumption in line with sailing speed and sea conditions, helping to improve fuel efficiency, reduce noise and cut emissions. 

The deal takes the value of Hyundai Heavy’s order book so far this year to $9.7 billion, about 40 percent of its annual target of $23.8 billion.

Twizy Renault Sport F1 Concept car Preview

Renault showcases its expertise in electric technology with a supercharged Renault Twizy called the Twizy Renault F1 concept car. Sitting on a single seater race car frame, this muscular yet fun concept car is equipped with a front splitter, side pods, rear wing and a diffuser. It even has an F1-style rain light to keep its ties with the popular motorsport discipline.

 "We always said we wanted to create F1-derived technology that was road relevant! Hopefully, this Twizy will make a few people smile while also making a serious point. KERS is a very complex system and integrating it into another electric vehicle was a very serious endeavour, but they managed to make it work, delivering a huge boost of power safely and efficiently. I'm not sure we'll be seeing many of these on our roads, but it does show that the same principles we see on the race track can be filtered down to the road legal range – this is just the evil elder brother!" said Jean-Michel Jalinier (President and Managing Director, Renault Sport F1)

The Twizy Renault Sport F1 is much more than just a concept, it is a high performance car with an amazing power to weight ratio of 5.8:1. Much of its performance can be attributed to F1-derived technologies like the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) which is now enclosed in a transparent housing replacing the Twizy's rear seats. The KERS can instantly boost the power output of its electric motor to six-fold.
Steering Wheel
It is also equipped with an F1-type steering wheel in place of the traditional steering wheel. A wide range of parameters can be displayed on it in real time, including the main battery's level of charge, the KERS battery's level of charge, oil pressure, water temperature, etc.
Twizy Renault Sport F1 will be shown at major events throughout the year, beginning with its first public appearances at the World Series by Renault meeting at Aragon, Spain on April 27 and 28, followed by the Barcelona Motor Show.

Cheaper and more effective concrete Building Materials

University of Granada researchers have successfully manufactured self-compacting concrete using ash from the combustion of olive pruning residue pellets. Due to its plasticity and cohesion, this type of concrete needs no compaction when used in construction and has many advantages over conventional concrete, resulting in considerable savings of time and money.

In an article published in Construction and Building Materials, the researchers present preliminary results on the use of fly ash, produced in domestic boiler combustion of biomass olive residue pellets, as a substitute for filler in the manufacture of self-compacting concrete. The concrete produced has a compression strength slightly higher than that of conventional concrete and over the minimum required by Spanish Structural Concrete Code EHE-08 (Real Decreto 1247/2008, de 18 de julio).

Traditionally, self-compacting concrete is made by mixing standard aggregates, water and cement, with of a fine-grained inert material known as filler and a superplasticizer additive, which improves flowability when the concrete is in its fresh state.

Montserrat Zamorano, of the University of Granada Department of Civil Engineering and corresponding author of the paper explains that since the approval of European and Spanish policies to promote the use of renewable energy, biomass energy has been utilized in an ever-increasing range of contexts, bringing with it considerable environmental advantages.

More information: Cuenca, J. et al. Effects of olive residue biomass fly ash as filler in self-compacting concrete, Construction and Building Materials, Volume 40, March 2013, Pages 702–709.

By: University of Granada

Wireless Cyber-Physical Simulator helps detect damage structure

Structural control systems have the potential to help our civil infrastructure, such as bridges, roads and buildings, withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes or storms. However, traditional control systems based on sensors connected by wired networks are costly, labor-intensive and tend to break during disasters, when they are needed most.

Recently, engineers have begun to use wireless networks that are easier, cheaper and more resilient to structural damage, such as that wrought by earthquakes or hurricanes, as they are able to reroute data to still provide it at critical times. 

Chenyang Lu, PhD, professor of computer science and engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, teamed with colleagues at Purdue University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop a unique system they call a Wireless Cyber-Physical Simulator, a state-of-the-art, integrated environment that combines realistic simulations of both wireless sensor networks and structures. 

They say it is a promising technology to control the structures based on real-time measurements from wireless sensors attached to the structures so they withstand natural disasters.
“The wireless sensor network community has sophisticated mathematical models to simulate these complicated dynamic behaviors of wireless, which have been tested in many environments,” Lu said. “The civil engineering community has developed structural models for studying structural dynamics. In our novel approach, we put these two together and integrated the simulation environment into one. We can simulate the physical aspects, or structure dynamics, and cyber aspects, or the dynamics of the wireless communication, in an integrated, holistic fashion.”

To demonstrate the simulator, the team set up realistic case studies of the integrated wireless control system on a bridge and a building. The case studies are the first high-fidelity, cyber-physical simulations of wireless structural control for large civil structures.
For the bridge case study, they looked at the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge in Cape Girardeau. The cable-stayed bridge has a main span of 1,150 feet and carries up to 14,000 cars a day over the Mississippi River. 

Cape Girardeau is in the heart of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, the most active seismic area in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, encompassing southeastern Missouri, northeastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, western Kentucky and southern Illinois.
Because the Cape Girardeau bridge does not have wireless sensors, the researchers used wireless traces collected from a solar-powered, wireless sensor network, deployed by Gul Agha, PhD, professor of computer science, and Bill Spencer, PhD, professor of civil engineering, both at the University of Illinois, on the Jindo Bridge in South Korea, which has similar design and dimensions as the Cape Girardeau bridge. 

“We took the wireless properties from Jindo and added them to the physical properties of the Cape Girardeau bridge with integrated simulation,” Lu said. “The benefit of the cyber-physical simulator is that we can do it virtually.” 

For the building case study, they used a benchmark three-story building model built by Shirley Dyke, PhD, professor of mechanical engineering and civil engineering at Purdue, as well as data from wireless traces from Charles W. Bryan Hall at WUSTL, to create the virtual integration.
Lu said the case studies shed light on the challenges of wireless structural control and the limitations of a traditional structural control approach, as well as the promise of a holistic cyber-physical co-design approach to design the wireless control system. 

“We have built this integrated simulator that captures both the physical and network dynamics that really enable this research for large-scale wireless control systems that could not have been done in high-fidelity in the past,” Lu said. “In building this simulator, we hope that it has a long-lasting impact to encourage other researchers to do research in wireless cyber-physical systems.”
The team expects the research to result in a reduction in the life cycle costs and risks related to U.S. civil infrastructure. The team also plans to disseminate results throughout the international research community through open-source software (

Li B, Sun Z, Mechitov K, Hackmann G, Lu C, Dyke S, Agha G, Spencer B. “Realistic Case Studies of Wireless Structural Control.” Presented April 11, 2013, at the ACM/IEEE 4th International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems.
Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation through the Cyber-Physical Systems Program.
More information about the project is available at

Increasing hydropower capacity without damaging the environment

With over 800 mini-hydroelectric plants awaiting approval in Switzerland, the biodiversity of Swiss river ecosystems could be at stake. More enlightened policies could help preserve the environment.

As nuclear power production is phased out in several countries in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plants, renewable energy is expected pick up much of the slack. Switzerland expects a 10% increase in its hydropower capacity by 2050 by expanding its existing hydropower installations and authorizing the construction of hundreds of new mini-hydropower plants, leaving few river courses untouched. But what does this mean for the country's river ecosystems? Under current policy this could lead to a dramatic change of biodiversity, argues Paolo Perona, professor in applied hydro-economics and fluvial morphodynamics. In two recent publications, he outlines how a change in policy could help maintain the natural fluctuations in river flow that are fundamental in driving many ecological processes without hampering the economic productivity of existing hydropower installations. We met Paolo Perona for an interview.

How do you expect Swiss hydropower to evolve in the near future?

Because of Switzerland's recent decision to abandon nuclear power and expand hydropower, the population will begin to see exploitation touch almost all rivers. This could be a positive development, provided that we proceed with common sense. Mini-hydropower, using installations with a capacity of less than 10 MW, is one component that is expected to increase, especially given that it is faster and less expensive to implement. In fact, since the Federal Offices for the Environment and Energy, and the Federal Council have decided to invest into hydropower, around 800 new projects have been proposed, to be located in valleys all across the country. Many have already been approved and are now going into construction.

That must have quite an impact on the environment.
To limit the environmental impact, measures have been put in place to ensure that rivers never dry out. But the problem is that these measures kill the natural variability of the river. The challenge is the conciliation of river management from an ecological and an economic point of view. In 1992, the Swiss population voted in a law to protect the environment by imposing a minimum flow on all rivers that are impounded, for instance for the generation of hydropower. Today, this law sets a minimum standard. In many places, for instance, two or more minimum flow rates are imposed, depending on the season.

Why is it so important to preserve the natural variability of the river flow?

A lot of - perhaps even all - river processes are dictated by flow variability initiated by precipitation, and the melting snow and ice within the catchment. Consider sediment transport. Different sediment sizes are moved and deposited by different flow rates. In this way, habitats are moved and created. Through floods, variability also connects the river to its floodplain. This guarantees the renewal of soil moisture, the delivery of nutrients, and the removal of debris, benefitting both flora and fauna.

What happens when we remove this variability?
In the Maggia Valley, a strongly impounded system that is regulated using a two-threshold minimal flow release approach, we observed and modeled the effect of artificially altered flow regimes. One thing that became clear is that this regulation triggered a change in the vegetation and in its renewal dynamics. The problem with this is, once new trees or other vegetation have settled and grown deep roots, uprooting them is not just simply a matter of going back to the natural flow regime. The trees are too old. So you would need to wait a long time to bring back the system to its original state.

So how should we decide how much water to leave to the environment?
We decided to look at the problem using an approach borrowed from economics, called marginal analysis. As an example, say you have two people that are both thirsty, but you only have two liters of water to offer them. One person may need one liter of water to fully quench his thirst while another may need three liters. Marginal theory says that there is a point where these two liters of water are distributed optimally. That point is reached when both people would attribute the same value to the next sip of water they are offered.

How does this apply to river ecosystems?
Using this approach, we can allocate water among economic users and the environment in such a way that both benefit equally. When we do this using a method we recently published, the flow that is released downstream of a diversion point - water that is provided to the environment - is very similar to the flow in a natural river ecosystem, with similar variability, only with a lower magnitude.
What would be the financial impact of varying river flow rates to mimic the natural situation?
Of course we are removing water from the economic user. But if we are able to remove the water in the same amount as current law would have it, for example on a two threshold basis, but make it variable, we can preserve its value for business. At the same time, we greatly improve the ecological benefit thanks to the variability that we obtain. To qualify the ecological benefit more accurately, we are currently running field and lab experiments with Alexandre Buttler from the ECOS lab at EPFL.

Have you been able to test this on a real stream?
In the Canton of Graubünden, there are some mini-hydropower development projects where they plan to divert water from the river using a proportional distribution – a subset of the theoretical model we developed that has already been put into practice in some neighboring countries, such as Italy and Austria. Lorenzo Golra, a PhD student in my group, ran a case study on one of these projects and published his results in a second paper. He analyzed four different distribution scenarios, the natural scenario, and our optimal scenario. The results show that our approach based on a dynamic redistribution policy performs better than approaches based on minimum flow releases and proportional distribution approaches when we compare a number of economic and hydro-ecological indicators.

So will Switzerland be able to expand its hydropower capacity sustainably?
It depends on how we decide to manage water in these ecosystems. We can exploit a river for 40 or 50 years and then decide that we want to bring it back to its natural state, but we don't know how the ecosystem will respond. Does it make sense to invest a lot of money after 50 years for restoration if we could invest a little now, and perturb the environment less? In contrast, our research sends a message that we can move away from a restoration-based to a preservation-based approach. Let's exploit the river economically, but if we can do it with less impact, we will save a lot of money in the future. Ecosystems are only resilient to a certain point. But beyond that point, they are unlikely to bounce back promptly by simply restoring the river.

Source: PhysOrg

Fighter jets armed with laser weapons for 2014

Very soon the U.S. Military will be fitting some of their fighter jets with real laser weapons. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) says that the new laser system will be fitted onto jet aircraft in 2014 as a defensive weapon capable of knocking out missiles and other projectiles while in flight.

 It was recently announced that the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) would be retrofitting some U.S. military jets with actual 150KW lasers that will be able to knock missiles out of the sky.
  The new laser weapons are part of DARPA’s High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System and are purportedly being fitted as a defensive measure specifically for knocking projectiles out of the sky such as surface-to-air missiles or any type of larger projectile.  The exact specifics of the system’s capability are still classified.

According to DARPA the new laser weapon system will begin operations in 2014 with their first major round of extreme tests before actual use.  The lasers will be tested for all types of projectiles that can be taken out of the sky, which would include other jet aircraft.

MS Project Video Tutorials easy to learn Step by Step

This is a collection of youtube video MS Project tutorials for MS Project 2007 and 2010. The videos are arranged for step by step learning.

Microsoft Project (MSP, MSOP or WinProj) is a project management software program, developed and sold by Microsoft, which is designed to assist a project manager in developing a plan, assigning resources to tasks, tracking progress, managing the budget, and analyzing workloads.
Scroll down the video scroll bar at the bottom to choose the MS Project tutorial you want to learn.

Indiana using new concrete to increase bridge life span

From left, Purdue University graduate students Paul Imbrock, Kambiz Raoufi and John Schlitter pour concrete for a test specimen in research to improve Indiana bridges. The state is using a new type of "internally cured" concrete researched at Purdue that promises to reduce maintenance costs and allow bridge decks to last longer. Raoufi and Schlitter recently graduated. Credit: Purdue University photo/Andy Hancock

(—Purdue University research is enabling Indiana to improve bridges in the state with a new "internally cured" high-performance concrete.

"This material will reduce maintenance costs and allow bridge decks to last longer," said Jason Weiss, a professor of civil engineering and director of Purdue's Pankow Materials Laboratory. "Our testing indicates that internally cured high-performance concrete experiences substantially less cracking and concrete damage caused by deicing salt and, when properly designed, the service life of bridge decks can be greatly extended." The Joint Transportation Research Program, a partnership between the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Purdue, worked with Weiss and INDOT to create specifications for implementing the internally cured high-performance concrete. It will be used on four bridges this year, the first of which will be on State Road 933 in St. Joseph County. "We anticipate these relatively minor changes to our concrete specifications to substantially extend the life of our bridges," said Troy Woodruff, INDOT's chief of staff. "That means fewer traffic delays due to bridge maintenance and repair, and much lower expense."

Jay Wasson, INDOT deputy commissioner for engineering and asset management, said, "This collaboration between Purdue and INDOT to implement the research findings not only benefits Indiana taxpayers, but also provides valuable full-scale living laboratories for study by Purdue students and faculty. As further field data are collected by professor Weiss, we anticipate even broader deployment of this concrete specification." Concrete is normally made by mixing portland cement with water, sand and stone. In the curing or hardening process, water helps the concrete mixture gain strength by reacting with the cement. Traditionally, curing is promoted by adding water on top of the bridge deck surface. The new technology for internal curing provides additional water pockets inside the concrete, enhancing the reaction between the cement and water, which adds to strength and durability. The water pockets are formed by using small porous stones - or lightweight fine aggregate, as it is known in the industry - to replace some of the sand in the mixture.

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