Richard Smith's blog

Cape Wind: Engineering is the Easy Part

You'd think that siting and constructing an offshore wind farm would be all about engineering and financial challenges, but you'd be wrong, at least in the case of the proposed Cape Wind wind farm in the waters off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Cape Wind is a US$900 million project that aims to construct and run 130 horizontal-axis wind turbines to generate 468 (at peak) megawatts on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.

Creative Destruction

The economist Joseph Schmumpter popularized the idea of Creative Destruction, which states that the rise and fall of companies is an integral part of long-term economic growth. You'll find a similar theme in The Innovator's Dilemma. Given the current economic crisis we've seen a lot of companies in near freefall. There's the fall, where's the rise?

The End of Clusters?

Are we approaching the end of cluster computing for Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis tools such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)? Or is it simply the end of the beginning of an era to be further dominated by clusters?

Product Design and Computer-Aided Engineering Analysis Tools

Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis tools, such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), have become an integral part of product design for many industries. The early adopters (and initial developers) of such tools were the aerospace and automotive industries. These industries were quick to notice the promise of CAE analysis tools to reduce the need for expensive physical modeling and prototypes. And where the aerospace and automotive industries led, many others have followed.

Engineering the Bloodhound SSC

The British speed team, led by Richard Noble, that brought us the Thrust SSC (SuperSonic Car) and captured the world land speed record of 763 mph (1,228 km/h or Mach 1) in 1997 is out to go even faster with their new car, called Bloodhound SSC. Their objective is to raise the record to 1,000 mph (1,609 km/h or Mach 1.31), a 31% improvement over their previous mark.

The Complexity and Beauty of Fluid Dynamics

Do you ever take a moment to marvel at the inherent complexity and beauty of fluid flow? You don't have to go far, just look around. From the drip of a tap to the contrails left in the sky chasing a jetliner - it's easy to take for granted.

Lessons in Computational Fluid Dynamics

After a string of success stories (e.g., "Car Design and CFD"), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) recently came in for some implied (if not direct) criticism in two widely reported articles. Peering behind the headlines reveals important lessons in benchmarking and the use of CFD.

Eco Racing

The idea of environmentally friendly motor racing at first glance seems like an oxymoron. Yet there are numerous examples of eco racing where speed isn't the only measure of success. And it's not just driving skills that are tested; most events require the manufacture of a vehicle - stretching engineering skills too.

Wind Turbine Powered Tricycle

What do you get if you combine a wind turbine with a tricycle? The Ventomobile - a vehicle that can drive directly into the wind, but is also powered by the wind.

Whales Inspire New Turbine Blades

Turbine blades inspired by whales (that's the mammals and not a misspelling of the country Wales) show promise in delivering improved efficiency and operational range. This example of reverse engineering of a naturally evolved design (referred to as biomimicry) demonstrates that nature is still a rich resource of inspiration for traditional engineering disciplines.

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