Tag: Mechanical Engineering

LEED certification

LEED certification

LEED certification

10/15/17

“How can we quantify the sustainability of buildings?”
Buildings are amongst the most important facets of our civilization. Because of them, we can live, work, and play freely. But like most things created by humans, they take up environmental resources. And since we want to be as sustainable as possible, we need some way to measure the environmental impact of each building. That’s why the United States Green Building Council has developed a certification system called LEED. LEED works by giving “points” for each sustainable activity the building does, whether it be brownfield redevelopment energy optimization, or using regional materials. Based upon these points, the building may be awarded a LEED certification (with levels specified by the figure) and become eligible for incentives such as tax credits. Because of the system’s success, numerous countries around the world have expressed interest in the system, including the rapidly developing India and China.

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Robot Welding

Robot Welding

Robot Welding

10/14/17

“How can we use robots to do welding?”

 

Welding is one of the most important industrial processes. Because of it, we are able to construct machines with intricate metal designs. However, if it is performed by human hands, then things can become prone to error and harm the welder. So how can we use our engineering mindset to solve this problem? Well, what if we were to simply use industrial robots to weld? Well, engineers have already thought of this a long time ago, and now robot welding has become a mainstay of factories around the world.

Lathes

Lathes

Lathes

10/13/17

“How can we shape metal with rotation?”

 

Metals are some of the most useful materials in the world. Their strength and endurance can be used for a great variety of applications, whether it be in building structures of everyday tools like spatulas. However, how exactly can we shape metal? Well, let’s use our engineering mindsets to think of a solution. We know that if we use one cylindrical bar of metal to scrape the edge of a surface, it can be deformed to our liking. And if we were to rotate our bar with this metal, then the entire profile will be shaped to its specification. So what if we were to put our metal bar onto a machine that would rotate at very high speeds and push it against a sharp razor? Well, this is the idea behind a machine called a lathe and was one of the most important machines during the start of the industrial revolution.

Bypass Dampers

Bypass Dampers

Bypass Dampers

10/12/17

“How can we relieve excess pressure on HVAC systems?”

 

Dampers are commonly used in HVAC zoning systems to create multi-zone systems. However, with continued use, a pressure imbalance can grow between the zones, creating numerous issues. So how can we use our engineering mindset to solve this problem? Well, what if we were to implement an extra duct that would connect the zones to one another, and have a damper control air flow between them to equalize the pressure. This system is known as a bypass damper, as has been implemented in homes around the world. However, One of the drawbacks of these systems is that these systems will introduce non-conditioned air into the system, increasing the energy needed for operation and vastly decreasing the efficiency. In fact, these systems are so bad that the U.S state of California has actually banned them!

Why Lithium-ion Batteries are Better for Renewable Energy Integration

Why Lithium-ion Batteries are Better for Renewable Energy Integration

Why Lithium-ion Batteries are Better for Renewable Energy Integration

10/11/17

“What is one possibility to solve renewable energy storage?”

 

Subject Solar Energy / Storage Innovations

Date: October 11, 2017

Purpose

I am writing to you to inform you about recent difficulties in solar energy integration. As it stands, solar energy is generated in an active form, meaning that once created it must be used immediately. To solve this, we can deploy Lithium-ion batteries to act as reservoirs.

Summary

Lithium-Ion Batteries have properties that make them a strong option for renewable energy integration. Lithium-ion batteries are composed of lithium and carbon, giving them special characteristics. However, these same properties also give Lithium-Ion Batteries special problems, such as being prone to spontaneous explosions. (Brain, 2006)

 

Background

One of the major bottlenecks to renewable energy integration is a lack of viable storage mechanisms. One of the most viable solutions, battery systems, has numerous drawbacks. They can take up large amounts of space, and provide a low energy to space ratio. Consequentially, the current battery technology paradigm needs to be overhauled.

 

Discussion

Introduction

Lithium-Ion Battery Technologies are a new battery technology. Because of their unique properties, they hold much potential for Renewable Energy Storage. However, this same composition that makes it special also makes it potent for mishap.

Advantages

Lithium-ion Batteries include numerous advantages. Their much more energy dense, meaning that a small volume can hold a lot of charge, bypassing the previous space issue. They also tend to keep this charge, losing only 5%/month compared to the average 20%/month, allowing renewable energy to be stored for a longer time. They also can also be charged before they run out of power and can handle hundreds of charge/discharge cycles, making them quite viable for being used as battery storage with the dynamic character of renewable energy. (Brain, 2006)

Drawbacks

These batteries also come with numerous drawbacks. They start degrading once manufactured, decay faster in the presence of high temperatures, are ruined upon complete discharge, require an onboard control system, and most importantly, may burst into flame spontaneously if it overheats. (Brain, 2006)

How we can overcome this

Keep these batteries in low-temperature facilities. This will keep their charge more stable, have it degrade slower, and most importantly prevent spontaneous explosions.

 

Conclusion

Even with their flaws, Lithium-ion technology holds much potential for use in renewable energy integration. Their high energy density combined with their ability to handle dynamics charging and discharging gives them an unparalleled capacity to work with renewable energy. If we can store them in colder locations, then we can also greatly reduce their drawbacks.

 

References

Brain, Marshall. “How Lithium-Ion Batteries Work.” How Lithium-Ion Batteries Work | HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 14 Nov. 2006, electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/lithium-ion-battery.htm.

 

Damp Proofing

Damp Proofing

Damp Proofing

10/08/17

“How can we prevent moisture from seeping into a building?”

 

Many people around the world live in very damp places. In such locations, moisture often seeps into interior spaces, causing great discomfort and sanitary issues to the people who love inside. So how can we use our engineering mindset to solve this problem? Well, what if we were to insulate our buildings with materials that could resist the passage of water? Well, this is the idea behind damp proofing and is a very vital service for many people in this world.

Superinsulation

Superinsulation

Superinsulation

10/07/17

“How can we use insulation to maximize a building’s temperature inertness?”

 

If you live in an environment where the daily temperature can change very rapidly such as the Midwestern United States, you might want your home and office to be as thermally inert as possible. So how can we use our engineering mindset to solve this problem? Well, we know that if we use insulation then a building’s temperature will be more stable. So what if we were to just maximize our insulation to the limits? This is the idea behind superinsulation and is a new approach and radical approach to building design.