Engineering news

Testing go-ahead for Mach 25 engine and battery 'torture': 10 top stories of the week

Professional Engineering

How the Sabre engine could look (Credit: Reaction Engines)
How the Sabre engine could look (Credit: Reaction Engines)

Testing time for Reaction's Sabre engine

The Register

Reaction Engine's Sabre air-breathing rocket engine has taken a step closer to propelling space planes up to a phenomenal Mach 25, with both the UK and European space agencies giving approval to go ahead with testing. The engine will use a cooling system that chills air from 1,000ºC to -150ºC in one-twentieth of a second

Second 737 Max crash raises difficult questions for Boeing and industry

MIT Technology Review

Countries around the world have grounded the new Boeing 737 Max after the second crash in a matter of months. Experts say the crashes have raised questions over the level of automation in modern aeroplanes.

ESA 'tortures' satellite batteries to prevent debris

New Atlas

The European Space Agency has destroyed satellite lithium-ion batteries in an underground bunker, using methods including short circuiting and hitting them with simulated space debris. The research was carried out to better understand battery failures, and to prevent derelict satellites exploding and adding to the worsening 'space junk' problem. 

Very Light Rail project reveals on-road, eventually-autonomous vehicle

Professional Engineering

The project behind an electric light rail vehicle that could one day run autonomously on the roads of Coventry has unveiled a 3D simulation of the vehicle. Built from aluminium, steel and composites, the vehicle will hold 50 people. It will be battery-powered to negate the need for costly and unsightly overhead power, and to provide future flexibility for new routes.

An electrifying deal

Rail Technology Magazine

The cost of rail electrification could be reduced by as much as two-thirds, the Railway Industry Association has told the government. The industry body urged politicians to rethink electrification, claiming a 10-year rolling programme could lead to lower costs.

Drones catch other drones in mid-air

New Atlas

Multicopters are the most recognisable drones to the public, but professionals often use fixed-wing models for better speed and efficiency. These can need runways to land, however, so a team at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology came up with an ingenious solution – two multicopters with a cable strung between them, flying ahead and catching the fixed wing. 

Out of sight, not out of mind: partners boost 'beyond-line-of-sight’ drone testing

Professional Engineering

You might be able to catch your drone, but can you let it out of your sight? The National Beyond visual-line-of-sight Experimentation Corridor aims to let operators confidently fly over the horizon thanks to accurate tracking. The project was boosted by Thales and Vodafone.

Not-so-smart cities? Tech-focused development 'could lead to divided communities'

Professional Engineering

People-focused transport must come first in the development of ‘smart cities’, a new report has said, or else projects could lead to “divided and socially exclusive communities across the UK”. The report outlines a vision for smart cities that are “socially inclusive and focused on people, enabled by transport and powered by technology and data”.

Lufthansa swoops on Rolls-Royce engines

Product Engineering Solutions

Lufthansa Group has selected Rolls-Royce engines to power 40 new aircraft. Trent 1000 engines will power 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, while the others will be used for 20 Airbus A350 XWBs.

'I'll be back': Movie-inspired liquid metal converts human movement into electricity

Professional Engineering

Robotics, wearable sensors, augmented reality headsets and more could be powered by wearers’ movements thanks to new energy-harvesting liquid metal technology. Inspired by robotic liquid metal technology in films, such as the relentless T-1000 in Terminator 2, the LMI-TENG can harvest and sense the biomechanical signals from the body and use those to help power and direct technological devices.

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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