Welcome win for resin wing
Bombardier won the Royal Academy of Engineering's prestigious MacRobert Award last night for its resin-infused advanced composite aircraft wing. Developed and built by the multinational's Belfast team, the wing uses dry fabric that is "impregnated" with resin before being set under heat and pressure, resulting in something about 10% lighter than conventional structures and therefore more efficient. The win was some good news for workers at the Belfast site, which Bombardier recently announced it would be selling.
The world’s largest tidal-stream array has “eclipsed” the previous record for electricity exported to the national grid, its developer and operator has said, supplying the annual energy requirement for over 2,200 homes since the start of the year. The MeyGen array, between the northern coast of mainland Scotland and the island of Stroma, has exported 17.5GWh – much higher than the previous record of approximately 11GWh.
Let the sun shine
The world's largest 'single site' solar plant has officially opened this week, harvesting sunlight in the parched Abu Dhabi desert. The Noor Abu Dhabi project has a reported capacity of 1.177GW from its 3.2m panels, although New Atlas reports it could be surpassed by the 5GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park by 2030.
Mini Electric charges in
BMW has unveiled the Mini Electric, a potentially mainstream electric car that will be built in the UK. It will reportedly cost £24,400 and have a range of roughly 210km with a 32.6kWh battery.
With a slightly more radical proposition than the Mini Electric, Israeli company Ree has unveiled its modular automotive platform – a 'skateboard' style creation that could be transformed into a huge range of vehicles with the right modular attachments. Others have previously unveiled similar concepts, such as the Mercedes-Benz Urbanetic.
Tracking the Bloodhound
Budding engineers will be able to track and analyse the performance of what could be the world’s fastest car as it “dices with physics” in the South African desert. The Bloodhound Land Speed Record (LSR) vehicle will share a live video stream and data from hundreds of sensors as it runs on the dry lake bed track of Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape. The project’s engineers will test the data distribution system when the car runs on its specially prepared track for the first time this October, ahead of planned record attempts in late 2020.
Wireless charging, solar-powered forecourts and 10 other cutting-edge infrastructure projects could “revolutionise the experience of owning an electric vehicle in the UK”, the government has claimed. Electric charging company Char.gy received £2.3m to deploy wireless charging technology on residential streets, without trailing cables or additional infrastructure.
Road to graphene
Another much-hyped technology could also transform our roads – graphene. The government is reportedly working with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre to introduce the 'wonder material' into road surfaces to make them more resistant to damage and prevent disruptive repairs.
A new technique has revealed the secrets of how materials degrade under immense loads and heat, potentially paving the way for the introduction of new materials in extreme conditions. The process, known as in-situ scanning electron microscopy (SEM) heating and loading, has already led to performance modelling of an alternative stainless steel alloy for nuclear reactors.
The glass AI
Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have devised a way to embed a form of artificial intelligence inside inert objects, and it could be used for low-powered facial recognition. The team envisions using pieces of glass with strategically placed bubbles and impurities that would bend light in specific ways to differentiate between different images.
Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.