Engineering in Sports: Cycling 1 Hour World Record

The current debate as to whether a specially engineered Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit provides an unfair advantage to its wearer is analogous to the debate concerning the 1 hour cycling world record back in 1993. Starting in 1993, cycling faced an arms race of sorts with the prospect of continuous aerodynamic innovation significantly improving the 1 hour world record. This caused people inside and outside cycling to question whether human performance really mattered.

Engineering in Sports: LZR Racer Swimsuit

Engineering plays an important role in most sports. Whether it's a seemingly simple sport, such as running (take a look at the latest running shoes to see advanced engineering in action), or an obviously engineering-dominated sport, such as Formula 1 motor racing, it is difficult to find a sport untouched by engineering innovation. Over the next few weeks I'll explore to what extent engineering influences sports and how sports influence engineering.


X-plane is the legendary designation of an experimental US aircraft, such as the North American X-15. An X-plane is typically designed to explore the boundaries of technology in pursuit of higher speed, altitude and maneuverability.

Formula Hybrid v2.0

The second Formula Hybrid International Competition (May 5-7, 2008) just wrapped up at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Originally conceived and again hosted by Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, the event attracted 15 teams, up from the 9 teams who entered in 2007.

Electric Airplanes

Electricity was an early player in the race to power aircraft, and achieved initial success in 1884 powering a dirigible. Electric powered vehicles fell out of favor with the introduction of the internal combustion engine and the turbojet engine. With recent concerns about emissions from burning fossil fuels, electric power is back, and not only for cars but for airplanes too.

Lego Engineering

Having entertained children and adults alike for 50 years, Lego has recently made a successful leap into the future of technology and engineering. You'll find video games, programmable robotics kits and even Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools to support limitless virtual construction.

Fluid Dynamics and Perfect Espresso

A perfect espresso is more a function of science than art - contrary to many people's experience. The majority of the processes required to turn green coffee beans into a delicious espresso is dominated by fluid dynamics.

Stirling Engine Cools Chips

Using a Stirling engine (which converts heat into useful work) for electronics cooling seems like a perfect fit - at least according to Micro-Star International (MSI). In retrospect you wonder why no one thought of the concept sooner.

FanWing: A Flying Lawn Mower

What do you get if you cross a reel lawn mower with an airplane? The answer is FanWing - a low-speed airplane concept. Unlike a traditional fixed-wing airplane, the FanWing can generate lift independent of its forward airspeed. The source of its lift is a cross flow fan resembling the cylindrical blade on a reel lawn mower.

Wind Funnel to Replace CFD

Anyone well versed in aerodynamics knows that Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is an indispensable analysis tool - just ask the automotive industry. However, CFD, like all analysis methods, has limitations. For example, try calculating the unsteady air flow around an entire Formula One (F1) car in less than a week. Fear not though; help may be at hand in the form of a new experimental analysis method using a Wind Funnel.

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