Climate Change Adaptation for Infrastructure
“How will infrastructure need to adapt for climate change?”
Climate change is already having drastic effects all over the world. From rising sea levels to increased flood frequencies to omnipresent droughts, things are changing for sure. As a result, we will have to change the way we use our infrastructure to meet the needs of the future. To illustrate, let’s take buildings as an example. Because of the effects of climate change, newer buildings must now use less water as well as be able to withstand all forms of drastic weather conditions. By undergoing climate change adaptation for infrastructure, we can prevent losses from further environmental catastrophes.
“How can we build products so that they work as a general function?”
In the past, most products were built to a user’s specifications. However, many are now built with general guidelines and then sold to a company. These are known as turnkey projects and are prominent in the solar industry.
“What is the measure of energy in a strained material?”
When springs are stretched, potential energy is added into their bodies. A similar phenomenon happens when one stretches a solid object. Inside their body will be a value known as distortion energy and is the basis for evaluating the von Mises yield criterion.
Von Mises Stress
“How can we more accurately predict an object’s failure?”
One of the most important duties of a design engineer is to ensure that objects do not fail. However, classical failure theory does not always suffice. Instead, we must use more advanced concepts. One example of this is the Von Mises Stress, which is characterized by a superposition of all of the stresses on the object. If the Von Mises Stress is greater than the yield stress, then failure will occur. The formula for Von-Mises Stress is given by sigma_v = sqrt (sigma_1^2+sigma_2^2+sigma_3^2-sigma_1*sigma_2-sigma_2*sigma_3-sigma_1*sigma_3), where sigma_v is the Von Mises Stress and sigma_1,sigma_2, and sigma_3 are all stress superposition values. The Von Mises Stress can be visualized as an ellipse in 2 and 3 dimensions.
Design for the Environment
“How can we design items so that they are not harmful to human health and the environment?”
Traditionally, human-made items and products have been designed without regard for the environment. However, how can we use our engineering mindset differently? Well, through one method known as Design for the Environment, items will be designed such that processing, manufacturing, packaging, and energy efficiency of their life-cycle will use as little resources as possible.
How Microgrids Can Help Communities Recover From Disasters
“How can we use microgrids to help communities recover from natural disasters?”
Communities all over the world are in danger of natural disasters. Whether it be the fires in California or the hurricane that recently Puerto Rico. However, how can we use our engineering mindset to help people endure these mishaps? Well, one of the most common problems with natural disasters is electricity generation or lack thereof. But with the advent of distributed resources and microgrids, communities can create their own energy and even sell it to one another! Therefore, distributed resources and microgrids to help communities recover from natural disasters.
How California Might Share its Renewable Resources
“Why and how might California share its renewable energy resources?”
For decades, the vast majority of energy in California has been controlled on it’s regional grid called CALISO. Because only California appointees can sit on its board, other U.S states have been reluctant to join. However, with the exponential rise of its solar energy resources, too much energy is being generated during the daytime. So much so, that California is thinking about working with its close neighbors Oregon, Washington, and Nevada to set up a regional energy grid. This way, overflowing energy from California can be sent to these states, and other forms of renewable energy can be traced back to California to manage its own demand!