India's Mangalyaan Probe Reaches Mars
Blog 9/30/2014 13 comments Three days after NASA's MAVEN probe reached Mars, India's Mangalyaan probe went into orbit around the red planet. India's first interplanetary mission, and the first successful Mars probe launched by an Asian nation, has a total project cost of nearly $600 million less than MAVEN's.
MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Engineering Materials 9/25/2014 17 comments NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has entered Mars' atmosphere, carrying instruments to help Earthlings figure out what happened to it. Launched last November, the spacecraft arrived at the red planet right on time after a journey of 442 million miles.
16 Great Engineering Schools You Never Hear About
Electronics News 9/22/2014 13 comments Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
Airbus' 3D-Printed Metal Spacecraft Hinge
Engineering Materials 9/22/2014 10 comments Airbus Defence and Space has 3D printed titanium brackets for communications satellites. The redesigned, one-piece 3D-printed brackets have better thermal resistance than conventionally manufactured parts, can be produced faster, cost 20% less, and save about 1 kg of weight per satellite.
15 Great Hacker Movies
Blog 9/19/2014 35 comments Hacking has a long history in the movies, beginning with Tron and War Games and continuing through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
'Space Kid's' Design to be 3D-Printed on ISS
STEM Connection 9/16/2014 18 comments The “Space Kid,” 11, will be one of the first civilians to have his design manufactured in space, thanks to the City X Project, which inspires kids to think about new 3D-printed inventions that could be useful for humans living in space.
20 Top Employers for Engineers
Blog 9/15/2014 16 comments We searched far and wide for the top employers for engineers. These companies were ranked by engineering professionals, engineering students, and engineering instructors and professors. Does your employer make the grade?
How to Harpoon a Comet
Guest Blogs 9/12/2014 10 comments In November, a European space probe will try to land on the surface of a comet moving at about 84,000 mph and rotating with a period of 12.7 hours. Many factors make positioning the probe for the landing an engineering challenge.
Video: These Robots Have X-ray Vision
Blog 9/9/2014 10 comments Two small, wheeled robots can "see" through a concrete wall using nothing but WiFi wireless communication. They can detect and measure everything on the other side: people and objects, their positions and geometry, whether they're moving, and what materials they're made of.
NASA Invents Multi-Metals 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 9/3/2014 20 comments NASA's JPL and Caltech have achieved the mind-boggling feat of 3D printing multiple metals in a single end-part, grading from one alloy to another. They've also developed a method for combining metals with carbon fiber composites in end-production parts.
Video: Autonomous Military Robots Complete Mission
Engineering Materials 9/2/2014 3 comments More and more robots are becoming more autonomous all the time. Now Lockheed Martin has completed a demo mission with two completely autonomous robotic vehicles performing resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition.
ASTM Proposes New Standards for Metal 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 8/29/2014 6 comments Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Video: 1,000 Swarming Robots Self-Assemble
Engineering Materials 8/28/2014 13 comments The biggest robot swarm to date is made of 1,000 Kilobots, which can follow simple rules to autonomously assemble into predetermined shapes. Hardware and software are open-source.
Update: Converting Plastics to Energy Could Boost US Reserves
Engineering Materials 8/27/2014 25 comments Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
Report: Metamaterials Will Partly Depend on Additive Manufacturing
Engineering Materials 8/20/2014 8 comments Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX Reveals 3D-Printed Rocket Engine Parts
Engineering Materials 8/19/2014 9 comments SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
How to Machine Aerospace-Grade Composites
News 8/18/2014 21 comments UK researchers have come up with a method for machining aerospace-grade, carbon fiber-reinforced composites, along with high-strength aerospace alloys, using an ultrasonically assisted machining device. It also works on high-strength aerospace alloys.
Can Plastic Bearings Outperform Metal Ones?
Blog 8/6/2014 7 comments Plastic bearings are replacing metal in some pretty tough jobs. Sometimes they're equally effective and reliable, and sometimes they actually outperform those parts. We'll tell you all about how this is possible in an upcoming Design News Focus on Fundamentals course.
Update: Intelligent Composites for Structural Monitoring
Engineering Materials 8/5/2014 5 comments Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
Video: Sciaky to Sell Its Huge Metals 3D Printers
News 7/31/2014 6 comments Sciaky, provider of electron-beam additive manufacturing (EBAM) services, will start selling these machines commercially in September. The company has used its EBAM 3D printing technology for making very large, high-value, metal prototypes and production parts for aerospace and defense OEMs.
Robot Can Detect Gas Pipe Leaks
Engineering Materials 7/18/2014 21 comments A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
3D-Printed Rocket Engine Fires Up
Engineering Materials 7/14/2014 19 comments Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
Video: Wear Your Own Pair of Robot Arms
Engineering Materials 7/10/2014 53 comments Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
DARPA Brings Mobile Hotspots to Soldiers
Blog 7/9/2014 5 comments In an effort to bring a mobile hotspot to soldiers serving in remote locations, DARPA is looking to outfit UAVs with a "millimeter-wave communications backhaul network" capable of providing 1 Gbps.
3D-Printed Steel Building Structures
Engineering Materials 7/2/2014 22 comments Structural engineers have developed a design method for 3D printing structural steel elements to be used in construction projects. Complex, individually designed pieces can be created far more efficiently, and costs and waste will be reduced.
10 Nautical Robots Brave the High Seas
Engineering Materials 7/1/2014 13 comments Some of the latest nautical robots take a variety of forms. They can look like small boats, tiny four-wheeled vehicles, or realistic fish. One design from Sandia Labs will be able to transform itself from a swimming robot to one that flies through the air or uses wheels on land.
15 Engineering Disciplines by Salary & Job Prospects
Blog 6/30/2014 33 comments Here’s a snapshot of the salaries and job prospects for engineering careers by discipline. These numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that some professions such as biomedical engineering will see growth as high as 62% through 2020. Other disciplines do not look as promising.
10 Uses for Drones That Could Change Your Opinion of Them
Blog 6/12/2014 52 comments Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are still largely tied in public image to their use to deliver deadly missiles during military engagements. This has tarnished their reputation for many people, but that is currently changing as drones move beyond their military use and more and more into the commercial sector.
Climb Glass Walls Like a Gecko With DARPA Tech
Engineering Materials 6/12/2014 8 comments For the first time ever, a human has scaled a glass wall using an adhesive inspired by gecko feet. The DARPA-funded research that developed the polymer microstructure technology on handheld paddles is part of the agency's Z-Man program to help soldiers in urban environments.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.