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Mechanical Blog Posts

Fatigue — When Cyclic Stress Produces Fractures

September 26, 2012

Many of the products that engineers design experience cyclic stresses during use that are below the material’s yield stress; unfortunately, these stresses can still be the primary reason for failure. Thus, engineers and designers must find ways of including the effects of cyclic stresses when designing products for long-term use.

The Stresses Subsea Cables are subjected to

September 5, 2012

In these days of globalization, keeping the world connected is imperative. Information needs to pass as freely and quickly as possible in order to keep markets up-to-date with the latest news and to ensure that commerce can be conducted without hindrance (at least of the technical kind). So what do you do – look to the sky? The answer is no; in fact, 99% of this information is carried by undersea cables. These unsung heroes sit at the bottom of […]

Solar Radiation: How Engineers Can Stay Cool on the Beach (Maybe)

August 29, 2012

The end of August marks the end of summer here in New England. Already nostalgic and unwilling to let the season go, I decided to look into some “beach physics”. In May we released a new solar radiation feature in our Heat Transfer Module that will be helpful in many solar applications — including how to avoid overheating on the beach, apparently. Here’s how engineers can stay cool on the beach.

Modeling a Light Bulb, All Forms of Heat Transfer

August 21, 2012

When it gets dark, you flick on the lights. If you were to model this simple example, you would need to take all forms of heat transfer within consideration; convection, conduction, and radiation are all at play when a light bulb is flicked on.

Piezoelectric Energy Harvester Helps Increase a Car’s Efficiency

July 26, 2012

Much has been written lately about increasing the energy efficiency of cars. Batteries and fuel cells are very hot topics, and not so long ago I blogged about the University of Michigan’s use of solar cells to fully power a car. Yet, even on the smallest of scales, such as the sensors in your car, improvements are being made. Utilizing a MEMS (Micro Electromechanical System) piezoelectric energy harvester, Alexander Frej and Ingo Kuehne at Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich are […]

Investigating the Fundamentals of an “Old” Technology

July 13, 2012

Transformers were first commercially used in the late 1800’s, but they are still being investigated at their fundamental levels. One of the stories from our latest COMSOL News concerns ABB (who themselves have been around since the late 1800’s) and their research into these apparatuses.

A Cooling Story for These Sweltering Days

July 6, 2012

I have just come back from a bit of a vacation and boy was it hot! Here, a large part of the US has been going through record high temperatures and most of my time was spent trying to keep cool. How nice then to mention a story about cooling.

Space Fuel: Oak Ridge National Laboratory to Produce Plutonium-238

July 4, 2012

The end of July marks the beginning of a $20 million R&D project led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to produce and process plutonium-238. The U.S. space program will be using the Pu-238 that is to be produced by ORNL as fuel for future deep-space missions.


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