Tag: Civil Engineering

Resonance

Resonance

Resonance

08/22/17

“What is the maximum amplitude of an oscillating system?”

 

In the physical world, systems can vibrate at different frequencies with different outputs. But when the system achieves maximum vibration at a certain frequency, it is called a resonance. Resonance has large impacts on the design of systems, from constructing electrical circuits to achieve certain characteristics to analyzing vibrational characteristics of bridges

Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning

08/17/17

“How can we make a location history using past velocities?”

 

Making a location history can be very difficult. Having to make active GPS measurements for a cycle of intervals is very taxing on resources. However, is there a way that we could circumvent this and make a new less resource intense system? Well, let’s start off by thinking back to basic physics. We know that velocity multiplied by time equals a change in distance. So what if were to start off with an initial GPS location and then build an array of all of the measured velocities after that? Well, this is the fundamental ideas behind a technique known as Dead Reckoning and is commonly implemented in control systems and machines that are equipped to go into no-GPS locations.

Integral Control

Integral Control

Integral Control

08/17/17

“How can control systems be based on the summation of error levels over time?”

 

Control systems respond to an error between feedback and setpoints by making changes to the next output. However, sometimes the error does not change fast enough or it changes too quickly. So how could we devise a mechanism to solve this issue? Well, let’s start with a simple idea. We know that if an error value were to persist over time it would show easily on a graph. So what if we were to just take the area of the error under this graph and modify our outputs accordingly? This is the fundamental idea behind integral control and is one of the prime factors in the ever so often used PID control system.

Derivative Control

Derivative Control

Derivative Control

08/16/17

“How can control the rate of change of our control system?”

 

Proportional control systems are great for correcting the error of simple applications. However, one major drawback is that this method does not control the rate of change of the control system. For example, let’s say that we have a self-driving car that needs to accelerate to the speed limit of a roadway. Proportional Control might accelerate so fast that it actually overshoots the speed limit and causes an accident! To solve this, we can introduce a factor called a derivative control which modulates the rate of change of the system. If we were to introduce it to the self-driving car, then its rate of change would be held in a sustainable manner and decrease to zero as it becomes closer to the setpoint.

 

Passive solar building design

Passive solar building design

Passive solar building design

08/03/17

“How can we make buildings use solar energy without using machines?”

 

One of the most commonly debated topics within the field of renewable energy is how to integrate solar power into everyday buildings. And most of the time this talk is on how we can put more solar power on buildings. However, what if we were to rethink this model? Instead of forcing more machines to be put into a building, let’s just reconfigure the building itself to use the sun more efficiently! For example, to use larger windows such that rooms receives more sunlight, or use green roofing to create more natural insulation.

District heating

District heating

District heating

07/29/17

“How can we carry waste heat to an end user?”
We have a problem. Residential communities often require heat for their everyday needs. But for each building to have their own heating unit would be very difficult, costly, and inefficient. So how could we use our engineering mindset to solve this problem? Well, what if we were to have a central energy generation location that would heat up fluids which would be transferred throughout a network using insulated pipes? Well, this is the idea behind district heating and is used to warm homes everywhere.

Space heating

Space heating

Space heating

07/10/17

“How can we keep spaces in buildings warm?”

 

Buildings are the most common form of shelter for humans. They can provide simple comfort, warmth, and protection from the exterior world. However, they are subject to variations which make them less habitable, such as unwanted changes in temperature. So how could we use our engineering mindset to solve this problem? Well, we know that most of the heat in buildings is caused by the gaseous atmosphere inside it. So what if we were to pump a gas with a higher temperature into the living space? Well, this is the fundamental idea behind space he ing, and is used everyday by people all over the world