Engineering news

Rain obscures driverless car vision and heating emissions underestimated: 10 top stories of the week

Professional Engineering

Researchers at Warwick University found that heavy rain decreases the effectiveness of Lidar sensors used on driverless cars (Credit: WMG, University of Warwick)
Researchers at Warwick University found that heavy rain decreases the effectiveness of Lidar sensors used on driverless cars (Credit: WMG, University of Warwick)

Printing entire rocket engines in one go

Professional Engineering

The ‘largest industrial 3D printer in Europe’ will build more than 35 large-scale rocket engines per year for a Scottish rocket company. Orbex has commissioned AMCM to build the printer, which will print engines and other components as single pieces, eliminating weaknesses which can arise from joining and welding.

Dozens of Boeing 777s grounded after engine fire


Dozens of Boeing 777s were grounded for inspection this week after an engine fire aboard a United Airlines flight last weekend. Boeing recommended operators suspend models using the same Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines after the incident, which showered residential areas with debris.

Public underestimates heating emissions, IMechE report finds


The British public underestimates the contribution of heating homes to UK greenhouse gas emissions, but overestimates the relative importance of emissions from aviation, according to a new poll by the IMechE. Only 15% of people cited home heating as a top source of emissions, despite it contributing nearly 13% of emissions – a similar amount to cars.

Cable ties holding the $2.7bn Perseverance rover together

Professional Engineering

The NASA Perseverance Rover is the most advanced craft to ever land on another planet. It might come as a surprise, then, that parts of the $2.7bn vehicle are held together with humble cable ties.

Steel manufacturing method could reduce emissions

The Engineer

A new steel manufacturing method developed by researchers at Sheffield University could reduce carbon emissions from the automotive industry, the team said. The engineers used copper during processing to create steel with high strength and ductility, potentially allowing manufacturers to use less material.

Heavy rain makes Lidar less effective

The Engineer

Heavy rain decreases the effectiveness of Lidar systems used on autonomous vehicles, according to researchers at Warwick University. The systems were less able to detect objects at distance as rain droplets reflected or absorbed emitted beams.

‘Microvehicles’ travelling against the flow could unblock blood vessels

Professional Engineering

‘Microvehicles’ inserted in the body for the treatment of blocked blood vessels or cancer could travel against the direction of blood flow thanks to a new technique. Researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland developed and tested the method, which combines ultrasound and a rotating magnetic field to move particles close to the side of a tube before propelling them forward.

Drax cancels gas-fired power plant plans


Drax in Yorkshire has cancelled plans to build a new gas-fired power plant after opposition from environmental campaigners. The plant was planned to replace coal-fired generators, which will be turned off next month.

Swarming metamaterial robots could build bridges

Professional Engineering

Researchers at MIT have demonstrated how they can link together metamaterials with certain mechanical properties to create strong bridges and other structures. We looked at how ‘swarms’ of robotic metamaterials could be used to efficiently build dynamic structures in future.

Bacteria help create strong and light new material

Professional Engineering

Aerospace panels, vehicle frames and body armour could become stronger and lighter in future thanks to a new material with an unexpected ingredient – bacteria. The living, self-growing materials are in development at the University of Southern California, where researchers added S. pasteurii to 3D-printed lattices.

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