Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Materials and manufacturing boost for hydrogen storage

16 Apr 2014

Engineers have created new ceramic materials that could be used to store hydrogen safely and efficiently.

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Kongsberg's Hugin is one of the most popular deep water AUVs

Robotic submarines make waves in the oil and gas sector

15 Apr 2014| By Jon Excell

The changing demands of the offshore energy sector are driving the uptake of unmanned submarines.

The first of Farringdon's tunnels was completed in November 2013

Farringdon: the birth of a station

15 Apr 2014| By Jon Excell

Awkard geology and an ambitious scope make Farringdon station one of Crossrail’s most significant challenges. Jon Excell reports


Why are engineering firms struggling to recruit graduates?

15 Apr 2014| By Stephen Harris

Reports of a graduate engineer shortage are common yet competition for jobs remains fierce. Our roundtable panel proposed some potential solutions to the industry’s graduate problem.

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The Engineer - most recent commented stories The Engineer Why are engineering firms struggling to recruit graduates? A problem with taking on graduates is quality. Many degrees just do not deserve the title. Even a good MEng in terms of technical depth is not as strong as the level of achievement we used to get at the end of the second year in a BSc. Ask a mech grad about some simple gear geometry. I have come across people with good MEngs that have done no complex numbers, yet have A level maths (complex numbers started at O level for us). This goes back all the way to primary school where true comparisons are hard- but consider that we have had in recent years some primary schools starting once again to teach times tables up to 12. Furthermore, there's been serious talk of taking calculus out of A level physics, thereby unquestionably relegating it to O level standard. Also, thirty yeas ago, for a degree to be accredited by the IMechE, a period of Craft Training was required. Oh, and it's not the graduates' fault- the failure of our education system and the Institutes is the problem. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:01 GMT 15 Apr 2014 4:01 pm 0 This week's poll: Graduate employment Graduate salaries aren't bad, they are reasonable. There is an issue with pay after graduation which is likely not to increase. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:32 GMT 15 Apr 2014 3:32 pm 0 Engineering an alternative to a fossil carbon overdose I was surprised that there was no mention of Biochar in your piece. Waste farm and woodland materals are pyrolysed to make char which is then incorporated into soils to improve crop yields and store carbon.See Biochar International website. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:58 GMT 15 Apr 2014 2:58 pm 0 Energy storage needed in UK to offset cost of turning off wind turbines The problem with energy storage for renewable energy is that in many cases, the peak electrical demand occurs in a different season from the peak output from renewables. For instance, in December in Germany solar and wind power produced a tiny amount of power during a week of high demand. Solar output is highest in the middle of summer so several months of energy storage would be needed. Everybody talks about electric car batteries and hydro pumped storage both of which can last for only a few hours. Hydro pumped storage is quite expensive and, as soon as you start considering the cycling cost on the car batteries, using them to provide storage is very expensive. But none of this alters the fact that there is no technology available – or even on the horizon – that will provide low-cost efficient long term storage. Until this problem is solved there is absolutely no point in recommending that we impose large quantities of extremely expensive wind and solar power on our power systems. And do not forget that the world has not warmed for the last 17 years. This proves that man-made carbon dioxide does not cause dangerous global warming. So there is no need for heavily subsidised wind and solar power anyway. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 23:36 GMT 14 Apr 2014 11:36 pm Bryan Leyland 4593 0 Toyota rolls out copper recycling process 1000 tonnes of copper per annum is such a relatively small amount that it would seem far better to recycle copper salvaged from old wiring looms for applications where purity is less important, such as for making ornamental brass, rather than for new wiring looms for cars and other vehicles. The latter should be made of the highest purity electrolytic grade copper to avoid conductivity and breakage problems leading to reliability problems and worse. Some 12 years ago my daughter had a particular model of a well known car which after a few years suffered intermittent electrical faults which were traced to wire breakages due to inferior grade copper wire. It transpired this was a well known problem with this particular model. Luckily the fault did not result in an accident but losing engine power and lights when travelling in the outside lane of a motor way is a very scary experience. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:33 GMT 14 Apr 2014 10:33 pm 0 The hunt for flight MH370 pushes technology to the limit Why is it possible to turn off transponders? Perhaps in the event of a commercial aeroplane straying over a hostile country, it might prove advantageous.....thin, but a possibility. Stereolocation? How deep is the Indian Ocean? I daresay they have thought of that but there are, amongst many other more problems deep underwater, the issue of underwater currents, dramatic changes in water temperature etc. which all conspire to distort and carry signals many miles from their transmission point. Real time data uplinks can be sabotaged or overcome by a determined and knowledgeable individual. And my questions are, if whoever took control of the aircraft had the fairly intimate knowledge to turn off a transponder, surely he/she would be able to fly and navigate the thing. And if the objective were to proceed, undetected to a suitable landing site, even the crew would have helped with both flying and navigation, if for nothing more than self preservation. If the intention were just to crash the plane into the sea, why bother turning off the transponder, and why fly several hundred miles to do it? Why not just take control of the plane and crash it immediately? Indeed, what is the point of turning off the transponder at all, once a hijacker has control over an aircraft, the worst that can happen is it would get shot down if it approached a city, no one's going to shoot it down over the ocean. And seriously, if you hijacked a plane, you wouldn't fly it to a Westernised country (Australia) to land it, you're only going to get nicked. I smell a big rat. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:37 GMT 14 Apr 2014 6:37 pm 0 The heat is on @john davies Well said that man! @Silvia Leahu-Aluas I'm neither an engineer nor a scientist however that doesn't mean I can't grasp two sides of an argument. In fact one could argue that it provides me with an objective perspective engineers and scientists may not have. I find your sniffy dismissal of anyone who is not an engineer offensive. The purpose of any engineer, scientist, or indeed any intelligent individual is to question every 'accepted' theory. Your blind acceptance of IPCC conclusions in the face of considerable doubt makes a mockery of any qualifications you may have. And there is no such thing as an invalid argument, if there is any quantitative substance to an argument, it is valid. It seems you believe everything you are told. As I said before, it is important to separate GW from AGW and reiterate that it is virtually impossible to determine whether what we are going through in terms of GW is man made or entirely natural. As for predicting what's going to happen in terms of climate change in 5 or 50 years time, when the Met office admit that predicting what the weather's going to be like beyond a 7 day period is impossible, suggests that someone is trying to be altogether to clever. Particularly when IPCC predictions are almost entirely computer based - there is simply not a computer built yet that can include every eventuality, fact based or otherwise (mostly otherwise in the case of the IPCC) likely over the next year far less the next 50. The fact is that, as john davies pointed out, the IPCC is a political machine and for that reason alone, consigned to junk science. The human race will have to adapt, as we have for hundreds of thousands of years and by our very nature, we are inclined to leave that adaptation until there is something to adapt to, which we are doing. The IPCC is our modern day equivalent of a medicine man, one who terrorises his clan with outrageous predictions for no other reason than to maintain his position in the clan. The more threatened he feels, the more outrageous his predictions become. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:40 GMT 14 Apr 2014 5:40 pm 0 Researchers create floating mist computer screens Invented and patended by a Finnish company long time ago: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:47 GMT 14 Apr 2014 3:47 pm 1 Changing minds and breaking records I'm very pleased to see the attitude to engineering has improved. I agree with the observation and think it will do the profession the world of good in the long run if the momentum can be maintained. I hope it spurs some fundamental change in engineering as it clearly ranks up there with careers in accountancy, medicine etc. It just has a shortfall in salary where it doesn't compete with the many alternative professions or abroad. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:02 GMT 14 Apr 2014 3:02 pm 0 To infinity and beyond Well said David. I second your belief that the best is yet to come for this country. Engineering and Manufacturing are in our DNA. There has been a period where some did their best to ignore it, but it is back and the prospects are looking really good to me. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:00 GMT 14 Apr 2014 12:00 pm 1

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Editor's Comment

Mars Yard

To infinity and beyond

9 Apr 2014| By Stuart Nathan

A lack of vision in the 1970s and 1980s shouldn’t obscure the great strides the UK has taken in the space sector, and we shouldn’t be sniffy about its ability in inspire, or to contribute to the economy

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Engineering an alternative to a fossil carbon overdose

14 Apr 2014| By Jason Ford

The latest IPCC report makes it very clear that its down to engineers to help avert catastrophes that may occur if the increase in global mean temperature is not limited to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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Engineering firms need to rethink the graduate problem

15 Apr 2014

Young engineers know their skills are in high demand so companies must be smarter when trying to engage them, says Alex Parkes, future talent strategist at AIA Worldwide.

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McLaren’s hyper hybrid

14 Apr 2014| By Stuart Nathan

McLaren’s executive director of Special Operations unveils the thinking behind the company’s hybrid P1 supercar. Stuart Nathan reports

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Digital Edition

The Engineer March Digital Issue


The roundtable feature in our current issue looks at issues surrounding graduate recruitment into engineering. Which of the solutions proposed in the feature would make the biggest contribution to boosting the number of graduates finding jobs in engineering and remaining there?

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Europe's largest tidal array in the Pentand Firth off Orkney will eventually generate up to 86MW of power. What will it take for tidal energy to make an appreciable contribution to the UK's energy needs?

Read and comment on the results here

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