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Researching Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic Acoustic Guitars

January 8, 2013

There are traditional acoustic guitars made of wood, and now there are also those made entirely out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Do these plastic guitars sound like their wooden forbearers? Guess what, you can use computer modeling to find out.

Wind Turbines in Urban Settings a Reasonable Idea

January 7, 2013

If I asked you to envision a wind turbine, odds are you’d picture a wind farm in some remote location. With good reason; that’s commonly where they are found. If you’re a student or faculty of Case Western Reserve University, on the other hand, you might think of the wind turbine you have on campus. Does it make sense to set up wind turbines in urban settings? These two researchers suggest that it does.

Efficient Heat Exchanger, it’s all in the Pipes

January 3, 2013

Nature is full of counter-intuitive phenomena; I’m fascinated by everyday examples like the one we talked about this summer, sinking bubbles in a pint of Guinness, but I have to say that engineering has its fair share of such examples too. The concept of heat exchange in coaxial pipes struck me as a student, as it showed me the relentless tinkering attitude typical of engineers wanting to optimize their design. In this kind of heat exchanger both streams, hot and […]

Power Transistors and Heat Transfer

January 2, 2013

Transistors are building blocks of electronic appliances, and can be found in radios, computers, and calculators, to name a few. When working with electrical systems you typically have to deal with heat transfer; electric heating is often an unwanted result of current conduction. Is a heat sink mounting necessary to keep the transistor cool, or can it manage without? Let’s have a look at power transistors from a heat transfer perspective.

Is Fracking Safe? Scientists Turn to Simulation to Investigate

December 31, 2012

Hydraulic fracturing (popularly referred to as “fracking”) is a method to increase production of oil and gas from certain types of geological formations. It has been used for decades, but recently, as the practice has increased, fracking has become a controversial topic. I will avoid taking sides in this debate, but the fact that there is a conflict implies there needs to be a deeper understanding of the process and its effects.

Modeling a Pratt Truss Bridge

December 28, 2012

The simple design of a Pratt truss bridge makes it useful to hold everything from pedestrians to trains. While this type of bridge is easy to construct, engineers must make sure that it lasts and is safe to use. A bridge needs to hold its own weight, support the load placed upon it, and withstand frequencies generated by wind and earthquakes. To determine whether a Pratt truss bridge design can handle these factors, we turn to simulation.

Keynote Video: Multiphysics Solutions for Advanced Vehicle R&D

December 27, 2012

Hybrid vehicles are no longer a new concept, but that does not mean research and development (R&D) has ceased. If anything, it is ramping up as demand for hybrid design optimization continues to grow. Ercan Dede from Toyota Research Institute of North America held a keynote talk at the COMSOL Conference Boston 2012 on how they are using multiphysics modeling for advanced vehicle systems R&D. If you weren’t there, you can now watch his keynote in a video format instead.

Modeling a Burning Candle, How Would You Do It?

December 25, 2012

This holiday season most of us will have burned our fair share of candles. The flickering light of candles can really enhance the ambiance and put you in festive spirits. This reminds me of an analysis of a burning candle developed by AltaSim Technologies back in 2010. So, in tune with the holiday cheer, here are some candle physics.


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