Richard Smith's blog

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.

NASA is 50

It's fast approaching 50 years since US President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the US Congress created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA to its friends). October 1, 1958 marks the moment when the US started taking space seriously and the rest, as they say, is history - a glorious history.

Greenbird: World Land Yacht Speed Record Contender

Wind power, with its green credentials, is a primary force in our attempt to reduce our reliance on fossils fuels in order to reduce global warming. The majority of effort to exploit wind power is focused on converting its energy into electricity. However, if you are willing to live on the edge you'll find examples of wind energy used directly to power land-based vehicles, and very quickly in Greenbird's case - a world land yacht speed record contender.

Green Power in the City

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a bold green-power vision for New York. As a first step his administration has issued a formal request for proposals to exploit natural energy sources (wind, solar and water) to power the city.

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