February 12, 2013
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News for Engineering Professionals

  Innovation 
  • New engine gets up to 90 mpg on nearly any fuel
    A new internal combustion engine can get 70 to 90 miles per gallon and run on a wide variety of fuels, including vegetable oil, says its inventor, Mark Holtzapple, Texas A&M professor and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering. The engine is being developed by Holtzapple's independent company, StarRotor. "We probably will go after stationary applications and maybe military applications first. Eventually we are hoping to see it in cars," Holtzapple said. The Battalion (Texas A&M University) (2/7)
  • Curiosity completes minidrill test
    Curiosity has proven it can drill holes on the surface of Mars, having completed its first minidrill test of the equipment designed to pulverize rock into sample-size particles. The rover created a hole 0.8 inches deep into a rock scientists call "John Klein" and which was chosen because it appears to have once been subjected to water. Space.com (2/7)
  • Engineers, scientists collaborate on design of underwater hotel
    The planned Water Discus Underwater Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has been designed by Deep Ocean Technology with the help of a team of engineers and scientists from the Faculty of Ocean Engineering and Ship Technology in Poland with a background in designing underwater vehicles and equipment for seabed exploration. The hotel, which will be made up of two discs, one above the water and one below the surface, has a modular-based design that enables it to be expanded or even moved to a new location. DesignBuildSource.com.au (Australia) (2/8)
  • Bioengineering tackles erosion
    Biotechnical engineering is beginning to take the place of merely laying down concrete in some communities as they go about controlling erosion and addressing other environmental challenges. It's part of a change in strategy in flood control toward the idea that working with nature can prove more effective than working against it. Earth Island Journal online (2/5)
  News Affecting Your Business 
  • Economy to be focus of Obama's agenda-setting speech
    The U.S. economy will come to the fore in President Barack Obama's State of the Union address tonight as the president lays out plans for a wide range of investments, including infrastructure, an administration official said. On the pressing subject of the need to raise the U.S. debt ceiling by March, Obama says he is willing to accommodate Republicans on cutting entitlement benefits if they will agree to eliminate some tax breaks on businesses and the wealthy. Reuters (2/9)
  • Report: Equipment suppliers to benefit from offshore drilling
    Offshore equipment suppliers this year stand to benefit from recent deepwater finds mixed with a drilling vessel shortage, according to a report from Barclay's. "We anticipate roughly 80 jackups and 50 floaters (drillships) will be delivered into the offshore market over the next two years and expect that relatively few of these units will displace rigs currently working," the report stated. FuelFix.com (2/4)
  Technology and Trends 
  • Soldiers get hand-held drones to scout out danger
    Some British soldiers have been issued Black Hornet Nanos -- small, unmanned aerial vehicles with a camera -- that they can use while on the ground in Afghanistan. The UAVs can fly for up to 30 minutes and around corners, providing helpful reconnaissance so soldiers can be alerted to dangers. Gizmag (2/6) , BBC (2/3)
  • "Artificial muscles" could be used in lightweight prostheses
    Researchers are working on coupling graphene with acrylic elastomer in an arrangement that resembles muscle tissue because it contracts when an electric current is used. The idea is to create artificial muscles that could be used in a range of technologies including robotics and artificial limbs. "In particular, they promise to greatly improve the quality of life for millions of disabled people by providing affordable devices such as lightweight prostheses," said Xuanhe Zhao, assistant professor in Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. PlasticsToday.com (2/4)
  • Nanoparticles expand horizons for thermoelectric devices
    Using computer modeling to tune nanoscale materials for thermoelectric devices may soon lead to wider and possibly commercial usages, such as harnessing waste heat from power plants and engines. The concept used by MIT and Rutgers researchers is called anti-resonance, which causes electrons of most energy levels to be blocked by embedded particles while those in a narrow range of energies pass with little resistance. Nanowerk (2/6)
  • Moth-guided robot may point way to hazard containment
    A moth walking on the surface of a polystyrene ball that acts like a computer mouse has successfully guided a two-wheeled robot. The Japanese researchers who carried out the experiment hope it could lead to the creation of autonomous robots that can be used to find the source of chemical leaks and spills. The New Zealand Herald (2/7)
  SmartQuote 
The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. ... The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them."
--George Bernard Shaw,
Irish playwright



 
 
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