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USC Researchers Use Analysis, Simulation Software to Model Tsunami Behavior

Researchers from the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering have developed simulations of potential tsunami activity in the Indian Ocean using their own simulation and analysis software.

“We have been developing since the late 80’s a fairly sophisticated numerical code that takes information about the earthquake and makes projections about how far the tsunami is going to travel inland — what we call inundation,” says Costas Synolakis, director of the USC Tsunami Research Center.

The code Synolakis and his team have been developing is called MOST (Method of Splitting Tsunami), a finite-difference algorithm that is capable of simulating three stages of a tsunami: the earthquake, transoceanic propagation and inundation. “In engineering and this kind of analysis in wave hydrodynamics we still do our own programming; there are no packaged products out there that will do simulation for tsunamis,” says Synolakis.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is also using MOST to create real-time projections for tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean. “NOAA is actually right now considering licensing the technology out; they’ve done an incredible amount of development work,” says Synolakis.

Synolakis and his team at the Research Center also use 3D Studio Max to produce animation models of the simulations by inputing grid information from their analysis. “We have a set of mathematical equations that we have to solve in time and space, so these models typically can have up to 50,000 x 50,000 points in a grid and we have to upgrade this grid continuously as the tsunami proceeds,” he says.

One of Synolakis’s goals with his work is to help policy makers and civil defense workers around the world visualize the possibility of a tsunami so there won’t be a repeat of the killer tsunami faced in 2004. “This is where the surface renderers and the modern animation tools are fantastic because people can really see and to a certain extent feel what may happen,” says Synolakis. “They’re excellent, excellent tools for public education.”

Other current applications for the software and technology include calculating storm surges during hurricanes and predicting what happens in lakes and reservoirs during a moving weather front.

Synolakis just published a paper titled "Far-field tsunami hazard from mega-thrust earthquakes in the Indian Ocean" about his most recent work mapping the Indian Ocean.

USC Researchers Use Analysis, Simulation Software to Model Tsunami Behavior

Researchers are using modeling techniques, simulation software to visualize possible tsunami activity in the Indian Ocean

Mechatronics Zone: Visit the New Mechatronics Zone!

January 29, 2008
Dear Reader, Welcome to our new and improved Mechatronics Zone! Mechatronics has become critical in all types of engineering. Engineers must learn about disciplines outside their core training as design projects get more demanding. Our new and improved Mechatronics Zone promises to help engineers learn and apply mechatronics in their everyday jobs. With our re-launch, you’ll find blogs from professionals working in the industry and aspiring engineers still in school, videos of mechatronic applications and podcasts on an array of multidisciplinary topics. As mechatronics continues to evolve, we’ll keep you up to date with something new in the Mechatronics Zone every day. -- Mechatronics Web Editor Michelle Hopey
  LATEST ARTICLES  
Mechatronics Showstopper: Metal Hybrid Eliminates Soldering Oechsler AG is developing a unique process in which an LED light strip is produced in one fully automated sequence. A key technology is a plastics/metal hybrid material that eliminates soldering for electronics and creates shielded housings. Read More

LIN Links Automotive Networks Mechatronics systems are heavily used in autos, where motors, actuators and microprocessors replacing mechanical systems. LIN networks are being deployed to reduce wiring harness size and add more functionality. Read More

Mechatronics: Ticket to Integrated Design Increasingly, system integrators are being challenged to provide design solutions that feature a blend of engineering technologies. Read More
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Design and Deploy your Machines Faster

The new National Instruments CompactRIO integrated systems are advanced programmable automation controllers (PACs) that combine an industrial real-time processor and a reconfigurable FPGA within a single chassis, lowering the cost of CompactRIO for high-volume machine control and monitoring applications. Engineers and machine builders can quickly program and customize the FPGA within the CompactRIO using NI LabVIEW 8.5 software. Click Here
  LATEST BLOG POSTS  
Mechatronics: Brushing up on the Concept Let’s Talk Mechatronics How do you define mechatronic design? Is it an electric toothbrush or something with more intelligence — and what does intelligence actually mean? Longtime mechatronic guru Razvan Panaitescu gives us his take. Read More

ENGR 2210: Principles of Engineering Mechatronics on Campus Olin College engineering student Stefan Wolpert explores the value of hands-on applications in the classroom and takes you through his class, ENGR 2210: Principles of Engineering. Read More
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  MECHATRONICS MEDIA  
Computer Hard Drive with Voice Coil - VIDEO Colorado State Professor of Mechatronics David Alciatore explains how a basic computer hard drive syncs with a voice coil and how it is run by microcontrollers. Watch Now

A Mechatronic Marvel: The Computer Hard Disk Drive - WEBCAST Magnetic hard disk drives provide lessons of successful synergistic integration of physical systems, electronics, controls and computers. This webcast covers the hard disk’s evolution, issues facing engineers now and keys to consider for mechatronic design. Watch Now
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Mechatronics Showstopper: Metal Hybrid Eliminates Soldering
LIN Links Automotive Networks
Mechatronics: Ticket to Integrated Design
Mechatronics: Brushing up on the Concept
ENGR 2210: Principles of Engineering
Mechatronics Media
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Mechatronics Editor Michelle Hopey

Welcome to our new and improved Mechatronics Zone! I want to know what you think about mechatronics, and I am always looking for cool mechatronics stories. Drop me a line with your ideas
or call me at 781-734-8542.


Mechatronics Fundamentals:
Microcontroller Programming & InterfacingThis free chapter from Introduction to Mechatronics and Measurement describes how to program and interface a microcontroller. Vari­ous input and output devices are also presented. Read More

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OSD Displays Offers Solution for Discontinued OSRAM PLED Models

Last week, OSD Displays announced a solution for users of PLED models from OSRAM, which were discontinued in August 2007. The new OSD-2864ASYCG01 is a drop-in replacement for these PLEDs with the same IC and the same pin configuration.

“There are some existing customers that have designs based on the OSRAM part they can no longer get and this would be a solution for them so they don’t have to redesign their system,” says Mehmet Tugrul, field applications engineer for OSD Displays. “It’s basically a drop-in mechanically and electrically, so if you’ve got a design already, it’s a perfect fit; you don’t have to do any mechanical redesigns or any software redesign.”

The OSD-2864ASYCG01 is a 128- x 64-pixel, monochrome yellow OLED display with a 1.54-inch screen measuring 45.24 x 29.14 x 2.2mm. The display uses a 24-conductor ZIF-type 0.5mm pitch flex interface and is compatible with I2C and SPI interfaces.

The OSD-2864ASYCG01 is used in automotive, consumer, industrial and medical applications and has a minimum contrast of 160:1 and a high-end contrast of 1000:1 (in ideal conditions).

There were a couple of reasons for OSRAM to discontinue its PLED models, according to Tugrul. OSRAM was not getting the return on investment it originally thought it would and the company wanted to focus on the lighting business rather than the display business. “They’re going to use their organic technology in indoor lighting or other lighting applications or signage,” says Tugrul.

Other current advancements from OSD Displays include its new Active Matrix OLED displays, which feature a thin film transistor (TFT) at each pixel to drive the display. “It holds a charge on the individual pixel so you don’t have to drive it as hard,” says Tugrul. “That increases life and brightness of the display without degrading the display as much.”

The OSD-2864ASYCG01 drops into existing systems to replace PLED displays from OSRAM.

Will Global Consolidation Untrack Technology?

Will Global Consolidation Untrack Technology?

The rapid unwinding and consolidation in the global plastics industry is happening so fast that it seems major technology innovations are in danger of getting caught in the shuffle. Example: three to four years ago LPKF Laser and Electronics signed licensing agreements with BASF, Ticona, Degussa, and Bayer to develop materials that could be used in laser direct sintering. Most importantly, the materials need to incorporate laser-sensitive additives that contain metal. The plastics are then treated with lasers that engrave conducting tracks on the molded component. The parts are then metallized. The process is booming despite the fact that previous efforts at molded interconnect devices stalled, primarily due to high cost of tooling and equipment for two-shot processes. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Bayer spun out its polyester business to a new company called Lanxess, and Degussa last fall became part of a company called Evonik Industries, a major specialty chemical company. Lanxess didn’t seem to lose a beat, and even introduced a new application last year. It’s less clear what’s happening with the Degussa project.

Materials and Fastening: Want to Develop Products in China? Think Again

Materials and Fastening: Want to Develop Products in China? Think Again

January 28, 2008
Spotlight Story:

Want to Develop Products in China? Think Again
China's indigenous mold industry is behind in almost every possible respect: capacity, sophistication and skilled labor. If you go to China, take your toolmaker with you.

Read More

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Stainless Steel Rings From Stock

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In a new concept, Nissan-built electric cars will be offered on contracts, while batteries will be owned by a California company that will swap them out instead of recharging. Read More
Hewlett-Packard Picks High-Tech Molded Ceramics
A highly durable, molded ceramic was chosen to make a new Hewlett-Packard printhead that is the foundation for its successful new scalable printing platform approach. Full Story
Chevy Volt Designers Remain Confident
Despite questions about the cost of battery packs, GM engineers say the plug-in, thermoplastic composite-clad Chevy Volt is still on schedule fro a roll-out in two years. Full Story
Darkest Manmade Material Created with Carbon Nanotubes
Researchers at RPI and Rice University have created the darkest manmade material out of carbon nanotubes. The material boasts the lowest known reflective index at 0.045 percent. Full Story
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- PODCAST Hear clothing expert Mitch Driggers describe new materials combinations that will protect American combat soldiers in Iraq from fires caused by improvised explosive devices.

Dive into Direct Digital Manufacturing - WEBCAST
In partnership with Stratasys
Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) is taking place today. Knowing what DDM is and how to implement within your company is a competitive advantage in today's manufacturing environment. Watch Now
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KEYHOLE(R) SELF-CLINCHING SHEET JOINING FASTENERS ENABLE QUICK 'PANEL-ON-PANEL' ATTACHMENT AND DETACHMENT

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Design Tips for Engineers: Adhesives for Stronger Aluminum Extrusion Joints In partnership with Hydro Aluminum
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Industrial Design: The Competitive Edge In partnership with Phillips Plastics
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Tips and Tricks for Extending The Life of Your Cylinders In partnership with Bimba Manufacturing
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Want to Develop Products in China? Think Again
Israel Tries New Business Model to Push Electric Cars
Hewlett-Packard Picks High-Tech Molded Ceramics
Chevy Volt Designers Remain Confident
Darkest Manmade Material Created with Carbon Nanotubes
Congress to Approve National Tunnel Inspection Program in Wake of Big Dig Collapse
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Doug Smock,
Contributing Editor

Would you be willing to pay extra for an all-electric car? Let me know: E-mail me.



Engineering Plastics Blog

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Cool Software Tricks Wanted

Cool Software Tricks Wanted

Despite what the vendors tell us, we all know it takes an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise to navigate your way around a 3D CAD tool—or any other design or software tool, for that matter. If you’ve spent the time and put in the effort to master a tool, all of that knowledge is invaluable, not to just to you or your engineering organization, but to the design community in general.

We’d like to facilitate an exchange of these kinds of tips and tricks between engineers. We invite you to use Design News as your vehicle to share some what you’ve come up with and get some well-deserved recognition for your moment of genius. If you’ve come up with a particularly clever workaround or short cut to some problem that continues to plague engineers, share it with us and the Design News audience. Email the details (no longer than 600 words, please), plus documentation, artwork and supporting code to bstack@stackpolepartners.com. We’ll publish the details and give you the credit.

EIA updates JIG, free REACH guidance

EIA updates JIG, free REACH guidance

We received some interesting updates from N. Nagaraj, president of Papros, a company that helps manufacturers with environmental compliance.

 

First off, the Electronic Industries Alliance has released a new version of its Joint Industry Guide (JIG) for materials declaration. According to Nagaraj, the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC) is working on a new version of its own materials declaration. The good news is that the IPC and JIG will be very similar. So the days of conflicting standards in materials declaration may be over.

 

Nagaraj also pointed us to an online link for REACH guidance.

Polymer Vision's Readius Combines Electronic Reader, Cell Phone

A new mobile device from Polymer Vision has the functionality of a cell phone, an e-reader, and a portable audio player.

The Readius features a foldable 5-inch screen display. “With the display and the form factor we merged two worlds together, the world of e-reading and combined it with a mobile phone,” says Thomas Vander Zijden, vice president of marketing and sales for Polymer Vision.

The Readius’ 5-inch screen compares to a more common 2-inch diagonal screen on a cell phone and a 3.5-inch screen on an iPhone. The entire body is comparable to the size of a cell phone at 115 x 57 x 21mm and weighs 115g.

The foldable screen uses electronic paper from E Ink and has 16 shades of grayscale. Since the device uses electronic paper rather than a backlit screen, it uses less battery power and boasts 30 hours of battery life for continuous reading.

The device can be connected to a computer through a USB connection and uses a microSD card as an expandable storage medium or can connect over a 3G cellular network. The Readius can store and access electronic books, audio books, podcasts and various audio file types including MP3, AAC and WMA.

“Polymer Vision is ready for market launch by the middle of 2008,” says Vander Zijden. “We have announced a cooperation with Telecom Italia, who will launch the product in Italy.” Polymer Vision is also working with various publishers and content providers to establish a base of content formatted for the device — what they are calling a content portal.

In 2006 Polymer Vision spun off from Philips, who started the original development of the Readius. “Of course the first steps toward this product have been made while we were still part of Philips,” says Vander Zijden. “In terms of, let’s say, business direction but also operations we are completely independent from Philips, but definitely in technology development of the display and first steps of concept development of the Readius, that has been done in very close cooperation with Philips.”

Motion Control & Fluid Power: In Direct Digital Manufacturing, Better Motion Control Means Better Parts

January 25, 2008
 
Spotlight Story:
In Direct Digital Manufacturing,
Better Motion Control Means Better Parts

To close the performance gap between traditional machine tools and additive fabrication systems, Stratasys Corp. has been upgrading the motion control systems on its fused deposition modeling machines. Full Story
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Linear Motion Components 3D Data

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Gibson’s Robot Guitar Tunes Itself
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Simple, Accurate Motor Testing
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- PODCAST Ten teams in the 2007 Urban Challenge made use of a positioning and orientation system from Applanix Corp. Louis Nastro, Applanix's director of land products, explains how these systems have evolved to give positioning accuracies down to a few centimeters.

Vision Sensor Know-How Now - WEBCAST
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Magnetic hard disk drives provide lessons of successful synergistic integration of physical systems, electronics, controls and computers. This webcast covers the hard disk's evolution, issues facing engineers now and keys to consider for mechatronic design. View Webcast
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Rexroth Hydraulic Cylinders tie rod design Vendor:Bosch Rexroth | Type: Training Guide Bosch Rexroth's NFPA tie rod cylinders offer reliable, long-lasting performance for the widest range of industrial hydraulic applications and are designed for operating pressures up to 3000 psi.


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In Direct Digital Manufacturing, Better Motion Control Means Better Parts Gibson’s Robot Guitar Tunes Itself
Green Grant for Machine Builders
Development Aid for the Tiniest Motors
Simple, Accurate Motor Testing
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Joseph Ogando,
Senior Editor

Our technology newsletters usually focus on what's going on right now, but sometimes it's worth taking a look back at how-to articles whose relevance hasn't just evaporated after a few months. Case in point is "Three Ways to Control a Single-Phase Induction Motor." It has consistently been generating interest since it first appeared way back in 2004, which may seem like a lifetime from a technology standpoint. Please let me know if you'd like to see more how-to pieces like this in upcoming editions of this newsletter.


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