EIT Latest News

  • The Italian bridge collapse

    Aug 16, 2018 | 00:13 am

    The Italian bridge collapse Another bridge has collapsed and it could have been avoided. Well, that is what at least one engineer thinks. This one came down near Genoa in Italy, just this week. Euronews reports that an engineering professor, back in 2016, had urged the authorities to ‘completely rebuild’ the Morandi Bridge because of deterioration.On the 14th of August 2018, the bridge came plummeting down causing at least 35 fatalities. And many more are feared missing. In total, 200 meters of the 1.1 kilometer bridge plunged 50 feet taking cars and trucks down with it.Source: ReutersAntonio Brencich, a professor of engineering at the University of Genoa told ingengneri.info:“The continuous costs for its maintenance suggest that in a few years, these costs will exceed the costs of reconstruction of the bridge; at that point it will be the time to demolish it and rebuild it.”The bridge, which was constructed in the 1960s, provided a[…]


  • Digital fabrication producing smart constructions

    Aug 13, 2018 | 04:20 am

    Digital fabrication producing smart constructions The casting of concrete is becoming smarter and smarter by the day.The digitization of concrete casting has revolutionized the way both architects and engineers do their jobs. It is now possible to 3D print concrete in novel geometric patterns that defy belief and produce artistic results. However, it’s not only for aesthetically pleasing results — the concrete slabs are more lightweight, too.At their thinnest point, these ‘smart slabs’ are only 20 millimeters thick, making them far lighter than a traditional slab of concrete.Source: NCCR Digital FabricationDigital fabrication technology can ensure that a casted slab of concrete holds the structural rigidity of concrete, while showcasing geometrical shaping only a 3D printer and the additive manufacturing process can produce.Currently, these slabs are being used to build a concrete roof. A three-storey home project, known as the DFAB House, is being built in Switzerland by science, engineering and mathematics scholars from ETH Zurich[…]


  • Plastic roads: paving the way to a plastic-free future?

    Aug 13, 2018 | 02:46 am

    Plastic roads: paving the way to a plastic-free future? The war against plastic is gathering force.Environmentalists have made it clear: the continuing use of plastics bodes badly for Planet Earth. It is gratifying to learn that the initiatives to eliminate or reduce the use of plastics are gathering speed and popularity. For example, Starbucks aim to remove plastic straws from their global stores by 2020. Some restaurants have taken the plunge and are offering customers stainless steel or cardboard straws.The world’s oceans are filling up with plastic and this can no longer be ignored. Consumers, for the most part, are woefully unaware. Others are indifferent to the knowledge that the array of plastics they use, and then discard, often end up in the ocean. If eradication isn’t on the table, perhaps a better use for the discarded plastic exists — a permanent home other than landfill or the ocean.Engineers have been busy devising a solution.Source: BBC, YouTube200,000 plastic bags[…]


  • Origami inspired mechanical engineering

    Aug 13, 2018 | 01:53 am

    Origami inspired mechanical engineering Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figure.Its use of geometrical shapes makes it a curious art form — one that could inspire mechanical engineering design.According to Northeastern University researcher Soroush Kamrava, the future solar panels and air bags will be informed by origami designs. The research includes utilizing metamaterials (plastics, metals and rubber) to create complex designs that could produce stronger and more functional products.Source: PixabayEngineers are figuring out how to 3D print origami-inspired structures and introduce new, novel products, but also updated prototypes of products with new structures; such as airbags or solar panels. The researchers are testing out various designs and experimenting with several different angles on everyday shapes.“Our work is a combination of science and art. So sometimes inspiration comes from a museum, old architecture, or just floor tiles,” says Kamrava.They are looking to redefine geometry on some of the most[…]


  • EIT to launch a campus in Melbourne

    Aug 9, 2018 | 07:58 am

    EIT to launch a campus in Melbourne Melbourne: word on the street is that it is the education and technology capital of Australia and the most popular Australian study destination for international students.And there is more: there are murmurings that tech giants are looking to develop a city within greater Melbourne, dubbed the ‘Australian Education City’ — it will mimic the success of that launch-pad of many business start-ups: Silicon Valley, in California. If they get the green light, the Melbourne version is set to cost AU$30 billion. Source: PixabayMelbourne is also becoming known as a city that never sleeps. And it is the fastest growing economy in Australia.Greville Pabst, the Managing Director of property valuations and advisory company WBP Group told News.com.au:“Melbourne is a global city. Like all global cities, there is a current trend towards everybody wanting to move to that 24/7 city. Close to amenities, close to transport, close to your favorite restaurant, and[…]


  • New quantum battery could recharge in seconds

    Aug 9, 2018 | 03:21 am

    New quantum battery could recharge in seconds A new ‘quantum battery’ could charge devices in less than a second, making your uncharged phone a thing of the past.The University of Adelaide’s newest Ramsay Fellow Dr James Quach is currently researching this new technology. His previous experience in quantum mechanics could help him turn this theory into reality.He said that while ordinary batteries take the same amount of time to charge no matter how many you have, quantum batteries should charge faster in larger quantities.“If one quantum battery takes one hour to charge, then two would take 30 minutes, three would take 20 minutes, and so on. If you had 10 thousand batteries, they would all charge in less than a second.”Source: PixabayWhile it may seem counterintuitive, this is possible due to a feature of quantum mechanics called entanglement.“Quantum mechanics deals with interactions at the very smallest of scales, at the levels of atoms and molecules – at[…]


  • Predictive maintenance trumps preventative maintenance

    Aug 9, 2018 | 03:10 am

    Predictive maintenance trumps preventative maintenance Manufacturing equipment requires maintenance; efficient machines to get a manufacturing job done. With the arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), modern sensors are able to observe every nook and cranny of a manufacturing plant. Traditionally, the responsibility of improving efficiencies and maintaining the operations in manufacturing was down to the technicians and engineers attached to the plant. Increasingly, however, they are being replaced by PdM (predictive maintenance) and IIoT. Previously, manufacturing relied on preventative maintenance: technicians would ensure that everything was well oiled and working as it should, until, of course, a fault was detected and maintenance was required. This school of thought is now giving way to predictive maintenance - where faults can be predicted before they cause the equipment to hiccough, allowing for preemptive corrections. In essence, predictive maintenance enables plants to forecast the failing of a piece of equipment and it therefore reduces down-time. Souce:[…]


  • China’s investments into the country’s clean energy marches on

    Aug 9, 2018 | 02:05 am

    China’s investments into the country’s clean energy marches on The head of states of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have met for the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Topics on the agenda were energy, manufacturing, technology, industrializations, and more. But most importantly, deals were being made.China will be giving US$14.7 billion in investments to South Africa for its advancement. The partnerships across the nations are all part of the BRICS Partnership for the New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR). On top of this, South Africa’s railway and energy utility will be given US$2.8 billion in Chinese loans to assist these state-owned entities overcome the short-comings they have faced in the last few years.The Summit is an important event for those countries involved as they look to improve the conditions in their countries through technological advancement. President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his official remarks at the BRICS Business Forum in Sandton on Wednesday[…]


  • Giving robots situational awareness...under water

    Aug 9, 2018 | 01:58 am

    Giving robots situational awareness...under water A lot of infrastructure lies underneath bodies of water. Take, for example, the SEACOM Subsea Cable system that provides Internet infrastructure to the African continent — any maintenance on it is done undersea. Presently, a fleet of ships remain ready to be sent out when a fault occurs, with repairs performed by divers.Underwater bridge and structure inspections are also vital activities conducted by engineering specialists. Oil rigs and wind turbines are no different — they too need to be studied and maintained underneath water.In future, underwater infrastructure monitoring, maintenance, and repair will — and probably should — be conducted by waterproof robots.However, what robots face underneath the ocean surface is often treacherous. There are many factors that they have to deal with when undersea, such as; waves, currents and eddies.Source: Stevens Institute of TechnologyProfessor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, Brendan Englot, said robots naturally struggle to get[…]


  • What to do when you are overworked and overwhelmed

    Aug 9, 2018 | 01:03 am

    What to do when you are overworked and overwhelmed Dear ColleaguesAs we all know – at various times one can be absolutely overwhelmed with work and ‘issues’ to deal with. Nothing unusual in the engineering workforce especially with project type work and harsh deadlines to meet. Examples of stress include: you may feel that you can’t cope with yet another email as you have this seemingly unlimited list of tasks to do; the phone is ringing with urgent requests; people are shouting at you for your decision on a crucial project; you have to prepare for an awkward presentation next week… and there are snide comments about possible cost overruns with a project you are managing. And to add insult to injury, you may feel that in your leisure time at home that you should be working to catch up.It is important to deal with these times effectively so that you can pop out the other side with the[…]


  • Engineers do battle in the Solar Car Challenge

    Aug 9, 2018 | 01:01 am

    Engineers do battle in the Solar Car Challenge The world will be descending on South Africa to compete in a car race, the Sasol Solar Challenge. It is a race that brings a host of engineering disciplines together; a competition which nurtures innovation.To win, teams ensure their solar cars are running at peak efficiency. They race over 2,500 kilometers (1553 miles), traversing a large swathe of the South African landscape.2018’s competition will be the biggest Solar Car Challenge yet, with 15 international teams taking part. An encouraging sign for South Africa is that the number of local teams entering is steadily growing. The four South African teams participating in this competition are the Tshwane University of Technology, the North West University, the Central University of Technology and a team named Sonke.The competition will start in Pretoria on 22 September and finish in Stellenbosch on the 29th of September 2018. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the challenge.Source:[…]


  • Renewably powering road infrastructure a job for wind?

    Aug 7, 2018 | 02:26 am

    Renewably powering road infrastructure a job for wind? As the world moves to more renewable methods of generating electricity and cities become smarter, smart solutions to creating energy through innovation are going to be necessary.A video featured on Interesting Engineering’s Telegram page featured a new vertical axis wind turbine that promises to capture wind specifically generated near inner cities and coastlines around the world. The turbine in question is the ENLIL vertical axis wind turbine, also known as a VAWT.The engineering company behind the design of the VAWT is Devecitech. The turbine can be placed onshore ocean-side and capture some of the winds blowing from the sea landward, but there is another area of untapped potential these turbines could fit into: roads.The movement of vehicles creates air that could power the turbine. Fast and continuous flow of traffic on roads can create a perfect environment for the turbine. Wind generated from moving vehicles and natural winds on highways[…]


  • A Brazilian millennial startup: fighting floods

    Aug 7, 2018 | 02:06 am

    A Brazilian millennial startup: fighting floods Those kids with their laptops could just change the world!Millennials are the first generation to have the best of technology at their fingertips. Some are using it to tackle projects in a world of aging and often inadequate infrastructure.With climate change overwhelming drainage systems all over the world, for instance, a downpour can lead to flooding. South Africa, Japan, and the United States have recently seen flooding in areas with infrastructure that was designed for more moderate weather patterns. Storm water drains simply can’t keep up with the volume of water in a climate worsened by fossil fuel emissions and general climate change.The Department of Civil Engineering at McMaster University in Canada in 2015 released a report in the Journal of Hydrology. Author James D. Miller wrote:“A number of future climate projections indicate a likelihood of increased magnitude and frequency of hydrological extremes for many regions around the world. The[…]


  • How to Beat YourMidLife (Engineering) Career Crisis Blues

    Aug 6, 2018 | 07:04 am

    How to Beat YourMidLife (Engineering) Career Crisis Blues Dear ColleaguesI believe most of us get to some stage in our lives where you start asking the inevitable questions such as: am I doing the right thing; am I in the right company or career; am I progressing somewhere; am I going to be financially secure when I am older; isn’t this work somewhat predictable and boring; should I be doing something more exciting and rewarding…. ?This is where you are seeking more meaning, fulfilment and satisfaction in your career (and indeed, life) against the backdrop of the usual financial pressures of  paying off a home, car and putting the kids through (private) school and trying to afford an upcoming entertaining vacation. A veritable vice grip of constraints. And naturally, in keeping your family relationships on an even happy keel.This questioning period happens especially in mid life. You have realized that you aren’t immortal – time is moving on,[…]


  • Oil refinery created industrial growth in Western Australia

    Aug 3, 2018 | 08:20 am

    Oil refinery created industrial growth in Western Australia BP’s Kwinana Oil Refinery in Western Australia is the largest refinery in the country, producing 8300 megalitres of oil per year.  Crude oil is shipped in from the Middle East, West Africa, New Zealand, Indonesia and north-west Australia. This refinery provides all the fuel to transportation vehicles in Perth and the South West — including petrol, diesel and jet fuel. Fuel is also shipped to South Australia and Tasmania.The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was looking for another location for a refinery after their Abadan refinery was closed in 1951. After a restructuring of the company, they decided to move away from being dependent on a single refinery and instead decided to construct a spread of refineries internationally. One of the places they decided to build a refinery was in Australia.Source: BP AustraliaThe site of the refinery was chosen after the company became dejected when they couldn’t find a suitable site on[…]