The Problem with Battery-Powered Planes
“What do we need to overcome before we make battery-powered planes?”
Although promising, battery-powered planes have a major hurdle to overcome before they make any major traction. As it stands, electrochemical batteries have only 1/60th the energy density of conventional plane fuels. This is further compounded by the fact that such batteries are heavier to equip, meaning more weight on the aircraft and a reduced ability to fly. However, if we can overcome these problems, whether it be through a new type of battery or improved electrical motors, then battery-powered planes are poised to disrupt the entire aviation industry!
“How do metals waste away with time?”
Metals are some of the most widely used materials in the world. However, nothing within the realm of physics lasts forever. If a metal is immersed in an atmosphere, then it will be surrounded by chemicals alien to its own. Chemical reactions are bound to occur, and over time this metal will decay and waste away in a process known as corrosion. Corrosion is a very important engineering factor, especially for public infrastructure. So much so that in 1998 alone the total annual direct cost of corrosion in the U.S. was around. $276 billion!
“Why do tongues work?”
One of the most fascinating facets of the human body is the tongue. Its ability to move food around in one’s mouth without any bone structure is quite marvelous. However, how exactly can it do this? Well, let’s use our scientific mindsets to find out. If we analyze our tongues further, we should see that these appendages are in fact in fact constructed of muscular material. Because of this, they have an inherent flexibility where any region of the tongue can lengthen, shorten, twist, or bend at any time, allowing for a wide arrange of movement. These Muscular Hydrostats can be found in many other animals, such as the tentacles of octopi and the Trunks of elephants. Because of their diverse applications in the animal world, engineers are researching how to implement similar materials into robotics systems
How cement is made
“How is cement made?”
Cement is one of the most versatile materials on the planet. However, how exactly is it made? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. First, we must gather up its primal ingredients: limestone, clay, and others. Then, we must crush these rocks. Then we must combine this crushed material with other ingredients such as iron ore and feed it into a cement kiln. The kiln will then heat all of these ingredients, burning away some, and producing a red-hot compound known as clinker. This clinker must then be ejected into a cooling plant, and be mixed with gypsum and limestone to eventually form the cement that we know and love.
How materials in a composite bond
“How do materials in a composite bond with one another?”
In all composites, there are two bonding materials. However, have you ever wondered how exactly do they bond with another without merging? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. If we look closely, then we will notice that one material (known as the “matrix” or “continuous” material will serve as a medium that surrounds the other material (known as the “discontinuous” or “fiber” material), therefore creating the composites that we know and love!
“Are there materials that retain their strength at exceedingly high temperatures?”
For processes such as nuclear power generation or incinerators, materials must be able to withstand heavy loads. However, the high temperatures that they operate at often destroy the useful properties of most materials. So are there materials that can withstand high temperatures? Well, after many years of hard work spent in research, Materials Engineers and Scientists have been able to classify such materials as refractory materials. Refractory materials can be divided into two types, acidic refractories with SiO2 content more than 93% used for their erosion resistance, and basic refractories for higher thermal resistance
“How can we determine the fracture strength and resistance of a material using simple devices?”
Determining the fracture strength and resistance of a material is of the utmost practical use to the engineering profession. However, how exactly can figure them out experimentally in a cost-wise fashion? Well, let’s think about this using our engineering mindset. We already know the strength of many other materials. And we also know that if one material is able to scratch another, then it is the stronger of the two. So what if we were to take this method and use it to organize all of the different materials we know? Well, this is the fundamental idea behind the scratch test, and it is used for economically conscious projects around the world.