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13
votes
5answers
5k views

Purpose of spheres and fins on submarine propeller

On a recently launched Russian diesel-electric submarine, the rear propeller has two distinct features. You can see spheres at the base of every propeller blade: Also, the trailing edge of the shaft ...
13
votes
1answer
8k views

Why is Mach 0.3 the threshold separating compressible and incompressible flow?

I've read that Mach 0.3 is pretty much the upper limit for treating air as an incompressible fluid. The sources I've read seem to treat this as a given, without proof or justification. Why is this ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

How to prevent deposition of dust on ceiling fan blades

It is well known that dust gets deposited on a rotating ceiling fan because formation of a boundary layer over fan blades. The air layer next to blade surface is stagnant due to no-slip condition and ...
13
votes
1answer
280 views

What is it about the cabin electrical supply on cruise ships that makes surge protectors dangerous?

Surge protectors are banned on cruise ships, and so are confiscated during boarding. Extension cords and cube taps etc. are discouraged, but not banned. I'm asking specifically about surge protector ...
13
votes
1answer
870 views

Why does prestressing in trees make them stronger?

In "Structures: or Why Things Don't Fall Down" James Gordon talks about trees being prestressed with the outside in tension and the inside in compression. Why does it make a tree stronger to have it ...
13
votes
2answers
79 views

How do you ensure physical network interfaces always get the same interface name across reboots on an embedded Linux system?

For an embedded Linux system, if I have two or more network interfaces, how do I ensure that they always get the same interface names every boot In other words, I want, for example, eth0 to always ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

Quantifying inertia on the electricity grid

A lot of discussion about the modernisation of electricity systems is about "inertia". This is usually a qualitative discussion about how turbines (in hydro, coal & gas plants) with lots of ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Derivation for bridge natural frequency estimate in Eurocodes

The Eurocodes gives the following equation for estimating a "simply supported bridge subject to bending only"*: $$n_0 = \frac{17.75}{\sqrt{\delta_0}}$$ Where $n_0$ is the natural frequency in hertz ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

In aluminum machining, what are the most common factors that might cause a machined component to have warping issues?

I am currently having an issue where features of my machined parts are warping. I am using Alloy 7050 Type I and Type III in this particular case. Using a feeler gauge and a certified, calibrated ...
13
votes
1answer
11k views

How does pressure treatment affect the mechanical properties of lumber?

Pressure treated lumber is specified for many exterior applications because of its resistance to insect damage and fungal rot. But how does it compare to untreated wood, mechanically? For example, ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Why are hyperboloid towers not popular anymore?

Hyperboloid towers were very popular in the end of 19th and the first half of 20th centuries - water towers, powerline anchor towers, sometimes tall radio towers were built using this design. The ...
13
votes
1answer
680 views

What causes rechargeable batteries to age? What can be done to extend life of these batteries?

These days most of modern electronics use rechargeable batteries as a power source. Also, these days most modern rechargeable batteries are Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer based. Like any other devices,...
13
votes
10answers
13k views

Affixing a thermocouple to a surface

I'm looking for advice on how to attach a thermocouple to a metal surface in a fashion that's relatively temperature resistant (more-so than) glue. I've got some very fine gauge wire on hand to make ...
13
votes
2answers
293 views

Modern method for teaching controls

Background When I took my first class in controls (2006-ish as taught by an aerospace professor for a mix of ME and EE students) it was basically all done in Laplace-transform, transfer functions etc....
13
votes
1answer
518 views

What are some cost-effective metal substances that can wet glass?

A highly desirable property of metals like gallium and indium is that they are able to wet glass. Normally, as metals, they wouldn't be able to form an airtight seal when in contact with glass. But ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Why are bird flight diverters shaped like a spiral?

I was out walking and saw these strange looking spirals on some power lines. When I got home I did some research and discovered that they are to prevent birds form hitting the power lines, mainly ...
13
votes
1answer
650 views

Can Zinc/Aluminum coated anchor rods be used in concrete?

Bolts and anchor rods that are very high strength ($F_u$ > 150ksi) are not supposed to be galvanized. This is because of concerns about hydrogen embrittlement. This includes ASTM A 490 bolts and ASTM ...
12
votes
7answers
4k views

What are the disadvantages of concentrated solar thermal power?

Concentrated solar power looks on the surface to be an excellent source of grid power. It's sustainable, has no obvious waste products to deal with either during construction or operation, and with ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

How thick is it reasonable for the walls of a steel gas pipeline to be?

The TurkStream project site claims the gas pipeline will use pipes made from 39 millimeters of high-quality carbon manganese steel with additional plastic coatings on both sides. Yes, they claim 39 ...
12
votes
4answers
694 views

Is interference between aircraft an issue for fly-by-wireless technology?

I was reading up on fly-by-wire development, and I saw a short section about fly-by-wireless technology. It seems like a great idea, with the potential to lower costs, weight and complexity. I can see ...
12
votes
2answers
924 views

Why are three way bridges rare?

It's true that most bridges are "two directional." But three way bridges are pretty rare, globally. I can understand why there wouldn't be many for rivers, but if bridges are designed based on the ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Will more electricity be generated by using a lens to focus sunlight onto solar cells?

I have been wondering about this question for quite some time. Assuming an ideal case, the energy from photons hitting solar cells is converted into electric energy as described by the equation: $RI^...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do earth cuts sometimes have steps on their walls

A neat image from Wikipedia: There're clearly visible steps on the cut wall. This makes the cut wider at the top and so requires more work so those steps have some serious reason behind them. What's ...
12
votes
6answers
348 views

In Engineering fields, how often do you find yourself being asked to be a “salesperson”, and what is your reaction? [closed]

I have recently been told that my "salesmanship" is lacking when it comes to getting my ideas implemented. I receive the feedback that my ideas are sound and the data to implement is compelling, and ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is using steam to rotate a turbine more efficient?

For example i have an exhaust pipe with very hot air from burning biofuel, and i have a turbine at the end of the exhaust that rotates and generates electricity. Why is it more efficient to use the ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How can large bridges be made resistant to earthquakes?

How can large bridges, with spans on the order of 1 km, be made resistant to earthquakes? I'm no expert on quakes, but there are at least two kinds of shaking: lateral and vertical. The vertical ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Why was Freon used in spray cans before it was declared a threat to ozone?

I've heard that in the past, spray cans (aerosol cans) contained Freon. I found that the Montreal Protocol made the usage of Freon illegal due to its effect on the ozone layer, but I can't find the ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

Can a magnetic lock be negated or overcome by a stronger electromagnet?

Magnetic locks seem to be fairly common on the doors of modern buildings, but I question their reliability when compared to a traditional, mechanical lock. I realize that the strength that it would ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Measuring longer distances with high accuracy

I am involved right now in the fabrication of steel structures on the order of 5-50 feet long. Presently, we measure these structures with garden variety commercial tape measures. Most of the time, we ...
12
votes
1answer
164 views

Why are typical UART baud rates not in multiples of 1000?

Why are typical baud rates not in multiples of 1000 instead of being in multiples of 300 i.e. 4800, 9600, 19200, 115200, etc...? Is there a mathematical or electrical reason behind this?
12
votes
3answers
392 views

Exploiting fluid dynamics for the optimal design for gas mixing in a furnace

Background This is the standard design for a thermal furnace used in the Clauss process, which converts H2S to SO2. The main problem with the furnace is that gas mixing is rather poor and results in ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

At what point does an I-beam becomes a H-beam?

According to BS5950, a beam section can be classified as plastic, semi-compact, compact or slender. For the same section area, a H-beam can take axial compression (without buckling) better than an I-...
12
votes
1answer
325 views

Additional jacking force to overcome stiction/dry friction

It is common to lift bridges to replace bearings, etc. In an ideal world the lifting capacity required of the jacks would be the self-weight of the bridge divided by the number of jacks (+ allowances ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the process of transferring an engineering license from the United States to Germany?

The United States have different rules about exactly how one obtains an engineering license, but the general process is the FE exam, a few years of work, and the PE exam. Suppose one then wishes to ...
12
votes
1answer
415 views

What causes the sound coming from electrical vehicles?

All the electrical vehicles I've ever ride make that humming sound (either cars or trains). What exactly causes that sound? Is it drag force in the gears? Is it a fan? Or is it because of the coils (...
12
votes
2answers
230 views

How to correctly size the blades for a small educational wind turbine?

I want to design a small wind turbine that can be easily carried out of the classroom into the sports field in relatively low-wind conditions (5-15km/h) that can power a small ultra-bright 5V LED - ...
12
votes
2answers
7k views

How long does it take for dust to settle out of the air?

In order to make this a manageable question, let's add a few simplifications. The dust particles can be well described as uniform spheres of radius $R$ and density $\rho$. The space is enclosed ...
12
votes
2answers
971 views

What is the difference between aeronautical and aerospace engineering?

Every time I search for "aeronautical engineering" on Google I see a few results about aerospace engineering. So they must be similar, but what is different about these careers?
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Below what Froude number can I neglect wave-making resistance on a vessel?

I want to do some very simplified drag calculations on a vessel. My hope was that calculating the skin-friction resistance would be enough to get a good estimate of the surge resistance. Because wave-...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Schematic Diagrams for Mechanical Systems

Is there some sort of equivalent standardized schematical (topological) diagram -such as Piping and Instrumentation Diagram, Electrical Schematics, Process Flow Diagrams, etc.- for the realm of ...
12
votes
1answer
243 views

Replace mercury with silicone oil in diffusion pump

We have obtained an old mercury-vapor diffusion pump for high vacuum. However, we do not want to operate it with mercury in our lab due to health concerns (which is presumably the reason it was ...
12
votes
1answer
361 views

Is steel relaxation plastic?

Hooke's Law defines a linear-elastic relationship between stress and strain. $$ \sigma = E\epsilon $$ Steel behaves very much like a linear-elastic material, following Hooke's Law closely. It does, ...
12
votes
1answer
490 views

What are the lightest springs?

I am wondering if there is a spring strong enough and light enough to inflate an airtight membrane so that it floats at Standard Temp & Pressure. As an example, a 10cm cylinder would displace ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Insufficiently constrained structural model in Ansys

I want to analyze this model that is stressed and deformed. I fixed the lowest of points in the x, y, and z directions, and I pulled top of points upward (y direction). When I run the model in Ansys I ...
12
votes
4answers
957 views

Easy nonlinear model for large deformation of a beam

I have a beam subject to twisting and/or bending forces as well as linear compression force along its main axis. It is modelled as an isotropic beam, but if anisotropic is not too far off then that's ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Why would a bearing plate that further concentrates load onto small surface be used?

Here's a photo of a bearing plate where a bridge reinforced concrete beam meets the earthfill The bridge span is about 20 meters long and consists of two reinforced concrete beams each resting on two ...
11
votes
7answers
13k views

Why do we use multiple reinforcing bars instead of one bar with a big diameter in reinforced concrete?

Why do we use multiple reinforcing bars instead of one with a big diameter in reinforced concrete? Does increasing the number of reinforcing bars means that the reinforced concrete will have a higher ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the difference between pressure and stress?

Since the units are the same ($\frac{N}{m^2}$), what's the difference between pressure and stress?
11
votes
3answers
11k views

Defining the heap and stack size for an ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller?

I have been working on and off on small embedded systems project on and off. Some of these projects used an ARM Cortex-M4 base processor. In the project folder there is a startup.s file. Inside that ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Practical setup to measure angular velocity

I have got a spinning top from a Canadian manufacturer, and I am deeply amazed by how neatly it spins. My interest in physics has led me to try to find out at what top speed I can spin the top and ...

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