Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Amazing Engineering Facts to Ponder

What is Technological Literacy? *

Browse to http://www.nae.edu/nae/naehome.nsf and you will find some interesting information at this site for National Academy of Engineering (NAE). In particular I was intrigued in reading more information about technology at the "Technically Speaking" link. While I was reading about technological literacy it occurred to me that this would be an excellent resource to share with the Tech I students. For example there is a listing of resource links of some very informative and fascinating web sites which provide a blend of facts about science, engineering and technology. One link in particular was a link to A Sightseers Guide to Engineering - which spotlights how engineers improve our lives. This site is a great collection of engineering related facts and figures as well as links for more information.

For example, did you know that "The largest building by volume in the world is Boeing's 747/767/777 Assembly Plant, and that it covers 98.3 acres"? or that "The first 767 entered service in 1982 and the wide body jetliner contains 3.1 million parts"? or that "The Boeing 777 is the first jetliner to be 100% digitally designed using three-dimensional solids technology"?

My challenge now to the Tech I students is to read and research further in completing the following:

1. Collect an Engineering Fact about Big Brutus and post your findings (in order to avoid a lot of redundant posts on here, make your fact significantly different from any prior posts).

2. Include with your Big Brutus post, further discussion about engineering marvels. Include 6 additional engineering facts (from at least 3 different sources). Again to avoid a lot of duplicate or redundant posts, make sure your facts are significantly different from any other posts on here.

3. Be sure to site your source and provide links as applicable.

*We can refine our technological literacy skills by sharing little insights while learning :)


Adam Miya said...

1. "Big Brutus put the oooohs and aaahs in the backyard of the Heartlands!!! Miles before you reach this retired giant — you can see it on the horizon south of West Mineral, Kansas. Standing beside it makes one aware of how fragile he or she is.

The statistics give the hard cold picture —

Bucyrus Erie model 1850B
second largest electric shovel in the world
16 stories tall (160 feet)
weight 11 million pounds
boom 150 feet long
dipper capacity 90 cu. yds (by heaping, 150 tons
— enough to fill three railroad cars.)
maximum speed .22 MPH
cost $6.5 million (in 1962)
There is more to Big Brutus than cold steel and long shadows falling across the Mined Land Wildlife Area. Big Brutus is not just a symbol of the past, but an eternal tribute to the mining heritage of Southeast Kansas and to miners all across this nation who toiled to support their families.

On July 13, 1985, Big Brutus was dedicated as "a Museum and Memorial Dedicated to the Rich Coal Mining History in Southeast Kansas."

In September 1987 The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) designated Big Brutus a Regional Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, the 10th since 1971 to be so designated.

Big Brutus is a museum open year round. Hours vary with the season. Call (620)827-6177 for more information."

Source: http://www.bigbrutus.org/about.html

apprentice said...

Way to be Adam, good post. Unfortunately maybe too good :) As now this makes it harder for the rest to dig out more facts about Brutus. But that okay, again good work. For the rest of the class, post "one" fact about Brutus, I counted about 20 facts that were posted in two paragraphs about Brutus from the Sightseer site I mentioned. Once those facts are gone, please pull a fact from another page at that site.


Klint-Toe said...

Engineering fact: Protect from corrosion

Big Brutus is in need of painting. The last time Big Brutus was painted was in 1984 when the Pittsburg & Midway Coal Mining Company donated the 16-story shovel to Big Brutus, Inc.

1. Starting this Friday, disabled and elderly people in Japan will be able to rent a robotic suit to help them become more mobile. Available in a two-leg (for a $2200-per-month rental fee) or one-leg version ($1500/month), the suit -- called HAL, for Hybrid Assistive Limb -- reads brain signals and directs leg movement.
a. http://www.popsci.com/

2. William "Big Bill" Henry Getty France, NASCAR's first president, is credited for the construction of the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway, an engineering marvel with 40-foot-wide, 31-degree banked turns and a unique trioval track design. In addition to a photographic record of the superspeedway's construction, Daytona USA offers visitors an inside view of stock car technology and an opportunity to try their hand at designing their own race car. Other attractions include a 16-second Pit Stop challenge, an exciting large-screen movie depicting race day at the Daytona 500, and a 30-minute tram tour of the speedway.
a. http://www.engineeringsights.org/SightDetail.asp?Sightid=31&id=FL&view=s&name=Florida&page=1&image=0

3. The Kennedy Space Center Complex provides an exhilarating experience of the U.S. space program and the engineering that makes it happen. See the Mercury Mission Control Room from which the U.S.'s first 8 manned missions were monitored. Walk through full-scale mock-ups of space station modules and visit the viewing gallery, where you can see engineers readying actual space station components. A 2-hour bus tour includes the launch complex where a 60-foot observation gantry tower provides views of the space shuttle launch pads. Let "Starquester 2000," a cousin of the Mars Pathfinder, lead you through an exhibit of NASA's robotic space explorers.
a. http://www.engineeringsights.org/SightDetail.asp?Sightid=33&id=FL&view=s&name=Florida&page=1&image=0
4. If it weren't for engineers, we might still be drinking a form of that cold and bitter beverage introduced in 1519 to Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes by the Aztecs. In light of that brew's nasty taste, it's perhaps not so remarkable that the Spanish succeeded in keeping the cacao-bean industry a secret for nearly 100 years. Once the secret was out, however, it didn't take long for engineers to start improving upon it. In addition to devising ways to mechanize various manual steps, engineers invented all of the machines that give today's chocolates their velvety, flavorful, melt-in-the-mouth characteristics we know and love so well.
a. http://www.engineeringsights.org/SightDetail.asp?Sightid=35&id=FL&view=s&name=Florida&page=1&image=0
5. Last time you went on an amusement park ride, did you realize it took engineers to design such thrill-producing rides and keep them safe? The Skycoaster is another example of such creativity and know-how. It consists of three, 300 foot-tall iron pylons embedded in concrete footings. Wearing a harness, flyers are held aloft on two independent steel cables, rated at 9,000 pounds apiece. Flyers free-fall 120 feet, with accelerating speeds up to 80 miles per hour. Now that’s engineering!
a. http://www.engineeringsights.org/SightDetail.asp?Sightid=534&id=FL&view=s&name=Florida&page=1&image=0
6. Although the U.S. was the birthplace of aviation, it was Europe that nurtured the fledgling industry. Consequently, the U.S. Navy had no ready source of American-made airplanes at the start of WW I, other than Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co. However, major federal government investments in aeronautic research and engineering restored U.S. supremacy in aviation technology while giving rise to such aerospace giants as Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas, Lockheed, Martin, and Northrop. The many innovations achieved by U.S. aerospace engineering firms are exemplified in the museum's displays of more than 140 naval aircraft from 1911 to the present.
a. http://www.engineeringsights.org/SightDetail.asp?Sightid=34&id=FL&view=s&name=Florida&page=1&image=0

Troy said...

Big Brutus (second largest electic shovel in the world)
* Paint needed to repaint - 900 gallons of orange, 300 gallons of black, and some white and green for the inside. (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2104) Thanks a lot Adam!

Rotational Boat Transporter (http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_mar2008/ScottishCanalEngineering.pps)
* Closing of the gate, regulation of level of water, and “tubs” rotation takes only 15 minutes
* The “tubs” are filled according the Archimedes’ Law, so the weight of the “tubs” are balanced

Bagger 288 (largest bucket excavator in the world)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagger_288)
* largest tracked vehicle in the world at 13,500 tons
* The coal produced in one day fills 2400 coal wagons
Cloud Gate (http://www.millenniumpark.org/artandarchitecture/cloud_gate.html)
* 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates
* The sculpture is among the largest of its kind in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33-feet high


Summers said...

I found it interesting that this Mechanical Engineering marvel (“Big Brutus”) has been made into a Landmark with a visitor center and all. This visitor Center features comfort facilities, including hot showers to meet the needs of visitors and campers alike. Along with primitive camping and space for self-contained RV's, there are ten water/electrical hook-ups and a dump station. Picnic tables dot the grounds and a shelter is there for gatherings of all kinds. Wow they have thought of everything!
1. This may not be the most interesting Engineering news, but I hope it will help all of the DGET3100 students out there. I found a great site for fixture design CAD models. (www.fixtureworks.net)
Fixtureworks manufactures and supplies a wide assortment of unique industrial products that range from modular fixturing components and workholding devices to standard machine elements. Products include rest pads, grippers, quick-release ball lock pins and Swivots® from Fairlane Products®; handles, knobs and spring-ball plungers from Kipp®; clamps, modular fixturing and set-up accessories from Imao®; fixturing clamps from OK Vise®; and low profile edge clamps from Mitee Bite®.
The handles, knobs and spring plungers come in a variety of sizes and the manual, quick acting clamps come in a variety of configurations including pull, swing, side, push, hook, wedge and cam. The stops include both hex and block shape as well as adjustable and swivel-type versions. The work supports cover cylindrical, eccentric cylindrical, block, flat and non-marring rest pads.
Fixtureworks also provides a host of components for modular fixturing systems, including bases (both blank and grid), plates, locators, and risers.
2. The Channel Tunnel (aka The Chunnel) is a relatively recent work of engineering genius. Completed in 1994, the Chunnel was (amazingly) first envisioned nearly 200 years prior as a means for horse-drawn carriages to cross between France and England. Even though it was built with modern safety standards the tunnel still cost the lives of 10 workers - only one fewer than the Golden Gate Bridge generations prior. The tunnel was bored with a dozen drilling machines and sits on average nearly 150 feet below the water above. A ‘pilot’ service hole was drilled to test soil conditions before secondary drills could completely carved out spaces.(www. weburbanist.com)
3.The Empire State Building
Photo Credit: Lou Bopp
350 Fifth Avenue (5th Ave at 34th St)
New York City, NY 10118
212/736-3100 Web Site

Construction of the 102-story Empire State Building began in 1930 and was completed in one year and 45 days, rising at a rate of four-and-a-half stories a week; a rate of ascent unsurpassed today. Everything was engineered to be duplicated in tremendous quantity with almost perfect accuracy. The steel posts and beams arrived at the site marked with their place in the framework and with the number of the derrick that would hoist them. Workers could swing the steel into place and have it riveted as soon as 80 hours after it had come out of the furnace. The building is considered one of the seven greatest American engineering achievements.

Who Made It: Structural engineer: H.G. Balcom of H.G. Balcom and Associates. Chief engineer: Andrew J. Eken of Starrett Bros. & Eken Inc.
Source>(www. ww.sinc.stonybrook.edu)
Fun Fact:

One of the challenges in designing the Empire State Building was making sure it could withstand the wind loads. The building is supported by 210 steel and concrete columns, 12 of which run from the foundation to the very top. It is said it would take a wind blowing at 4,500,000 pounds pressure to knock the building over.

4. International Space Station (ISS):
It is one thing making wonders of engineering on earth and a whole different ballgame when you need to do it outside the planet in outer space. The International Space Station (ISS) is a research facility that is a joint project among the space agencies of the United States (NASA), Russia (RKA), Japan (JAXA), Canada (CSA) and eleven European countries. When completed in 2010, it will be the largest and grandest human endeavor away from home, and to build such a massive structure in such dangerous conditions is one magnificent tribute to both human will and skill.
5. High-performance Materials, "All hail, King Steel," wrote Andrew Carnegie in a 1901 paean to the monarch of metals, praising it for working "wonders upon the earth." A few decades earlier a British inventor named Henry Bessemer had figured out how to make steel in large quantities, and Carnegie and other industry titans were now producing millions of tons of it each year, to be used for the structural framing of bridges and skyscrapers, the tracks of sprawling railway networks, the ribs and plates of steamship hulls, and a multitude of other applications extending from food cans to road signs.
Source->> (www.greatachievements.org/)
6. Imaging To see with a keener eye has been a human obsession since the times of Leeuwenhoek and Galileo, considered fathers of the microscope and telescope, respectively. For centuries keener vision meant to see more clearly what was far away or what was very small—to magnify and sharpen. But in the 20th century it also came to signify all sorts of vision that once would have been deemed "magic"—the penetration of veils both around us and within us as well as the registering of forms of "light" to which human sight is utterly blind.
Jeff Summers, first time blogger!

RedLion said...

Just so you know, I needed to change my user name etc. So I, Beth Anderson will hereafter be known as RedLion. Thanks.

1. Big Muskie is the only shovel bigger than Big Brutus as it once scooped earth 325 tons at a time, with the power that only a twenty-seven million pound shovel can wield.
2. 6 additional engineering facts.
2a. The engineering of the steam locomotive revolutionized transportation and transport, and the completion of the U.S. transcontinental railroad opened up the American West. The civil engineering feat of laying two cross-country railroad tracks, one from the east and one from the West, and having them meet, symbolized the economic transformation of the American West. That connection occurred on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Point with the driving in of a golden spike.

2b."Higher than the nation's Capitol and nearly as long as a football field" describes Rainbow Bridge, one of the seven natural wonders of the world--and a natural structural engineering feat. It is the largest known natural bridge in the world and is considered a sacred place by the Navajo Indians, who avoid passing under the 290-foot-high arch.

2c.The really big dams are the largest structures ever built by man, engineering marvels as awe-inspiring as the great pyramids of Egypt. And they rival the pyramids for the sheer magnitude of construction: It took 5,000 workers on 24-hour shifts for five years to build the colossal Hoover Dam.

2d.I have the original "The Way Things Work". It is a fascinating book about simple machines as well as how simple machines are put together to make complex machines through engineering strategies. I highly recommend it, plus it has neat cartoons to help illustrate the processes.

2e. The renovation of the Salt Lake City LDS Tabernacle was a unique engineering feat because it had been standing for the past 140 years and the scope of the project because of the tight spaces and immense amount of features to be revamped. "While the renovations were part of a larger earthquake-proofing of the Tabernacle, the main goal of this project was to make the systems safer while also making it easier for staff to maintain and repair chandeliers and lighting in the 3,500-seat building, along with a complete upgrade of the lighting and sound systems, making it a world-class performance space. Yet each improvement presented its own unique set of challenges."

2f. The renovation of the Utah State Capitol building was also a huge engineering endevour. The project goal was to update the structure to meet modern- day building codes including significant seismic upgrades. The capitol needed a new foundation as well as a base isolation system to protect the building and its occupants from earthquake damage -- requiring millions of pounds of concrete.

apprentice said...

For some of you as first time bloggers, good job! Also, please note for those wishing some anonymity... if you wish to chose a pen name of something different, I am okay with that. Just let me know by email or some other means who you are for Tech I participation credit. Thanks

Misha & Tucker Rees said...

1. In May 1963, Big Brutus came alive. After taking more than 150 railroad cars and over a year to build, Big Brutus was in operation

2. The Kennecott Copper Mine is one of only two engineering landmarks visible from space (the other is the Great Wall of China). The open-pit copper mine is the largest manmade excavation on Earth, with more than 5.3 billion tons of material removed from the area, including two former towns. The mine is two miles wide and a half-mile deep. From the overlook, visitors can watch 240- and 320-ton capacity trucks deliver copper ore to the in-pit crusher, where the material is reduced to the size of soccer balls. It is then loaded onto a 5-mi.-long conveyor that carries the ore to the Copperton Concentrator, where processing begins.

3. Since colonial times, firearms have played an important role in American history, and the men who designed and manufactured firearms in the U.S. include such famous names as Remington, Colt, Browning, and Gatling. The more than 6,000 artifacts in the Cody Firearms Museum's collection provide a unique perspective of firearms manufacturing and utilization in the U.S. over the centuries. See, for example, a muzzleloading Hawken rifle of the type favored by such famous mountain men as Jim Bridger and John "Liver Eating" Johnson and a Winchester sporting rifle like the one made famous by President Teddy Roosevelt on his 1909 African safari.

4. Wind River Canyon is a magnificent channel carved more than 2,000 feet deep by the rushing waters of the Wind River. Engineers designed US 20 to be constructed by literally blasting it from the rock and tunneling through solid granite in three places. Unusual rock formations highlight the canyon walls, which are identified in terms of geological era and formation by strategically placed highway signs.

5.By the early 1900s, virtually all of the land in this area had been divided into farms and ranches. Recognizing that the farmers and ranchers in this arid climate would need a reliable source of water, engineers in the Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation began studying the feasibility of a dam that would store water for irrigation. Ultimately, construction of the Yellowtail Dam began in 1961, as part of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program. The dramatic 525-foot-high concrete thick-arch dam was completed in 1966. The Yellowtail Power Plant, at the foot of the dam, produces an average of 950,000 kilowatts of electricity each year.

6.On Dec. 20, 1951, the Experimental Breeder Reactor #1 (EBR-1) produced the first usable electricity generated by atomic energy. The next day, and in ensuing years, EBR-1 generated enough electricity to supply all the power for its own building. Connected to another reactor, the nearby city of Arco became the first city in the world to be lit by nuclear power. Additional power and core experiments were conducted in EBR-1 until its decommissioning in Dec. 1963. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson dedicated the facility as a registered National Historic Landmark.

7.Some of the world's most beautiful places are also hard to reach. But engineers welcome such challenges, and the 3.1-mile-long, 3,400-vertical-foot Silver Mountain Gondola is a case in point. Foundations for eight towers had to be dug with a superhoe, capable of working on slopes as steep as 45 degrees. Three helicopters were used to place steel, concrete, and towers in roadless areas. In other places, the concrete was taken by truck as close to the site as possible and then pumped to the foundation holes. The result is one for the Guinness Book of World Records: the world's longest single-stage passenger gondola.

Adam Miya said...

2.1 For those of you that have been to Vegas, here is a little info regarding the huge electronic sign on fremont street. "The space frame towers 90 feet above a four-block section of Fremont Street and serves as a display system for the shows. The canopy houses 2.1 million lights, capable of producing millions of color combinations and 540,000 watts of concert-quality sound. The shows are run by 36 computers and are accompanied by 218 speakers. In addition, the canopy houses 180 computer-programmed high-intensity strobe lights, 64 variable color lighting fixtures, and eight robotics mirrors per block that pan and tilt to reflect light, all of which aid in the miraculous display of each six minute Light and Sound show presentation."

Source: http://www.we-r-here.com/artdept/flash/html/fse.htm

2.2 So how does NASA get the space shuttle to the launch pad? "Crawler - Transporter

The two tracked Crawler-Transporters previously used to move the assembled Apollo/Saturn from the VAB to the launch pad are now used for transporting Shuttle vehicles.
Transporter Statistics

Weight: 2,721 metric tons (6 million pounds)
Length: 40 meters (131 ft) wide, 35 meters (114ft) long
Miles: 2,526 miles (1,243 miles since 1977)
KSC has 2 crawler-transporters. Each vehicle consists of four double-tracked crawlers, each 3 meters (10 ft) high and 12 meters (41 ft) long. Each of the 8 tracks on a vehicle contains 57 shoes per track and each tread shoe weighs about .9 metric tons (one ton). Click here to see the crawler moving a shuttle .

The Crawler/Transporter is powered by 16 traction motors powered by four 1,000 kw generators, driven by two 2,750hp diesel engines. Two 750 kw generators, drived by two 1,065 hp diesel engines are used for jacking, steering, lighting, and ventilating. Two 150 kw generators are also used for MLP power.

When they were built, the KSC crawlers were the largest tracked vehicles ever made. (Surpassed by the Bagger 288 German excavator). They move the Mobile Launcher Platform into the Vehicle Assembly Building and then to the Launch Pad with an assembled space vehicle. Maximum speed is 1.6km (one mile) per hour loaded, about 3.2 km (2 miles) per hour unloaded. Launch Pad to VAB trip time with the Mobile Launch Platform is about 5 hours. The crawler burns 568 liters (150 gallons) of diesel oil per mile.

The top of the orbiter is kept vertical within plus or minus 10 minutes of arc, about the diameter of a basketball during the journey. Leveling systems within the crawler keeps the platform level while negotiating the 5% ramp leading up to the pad surface.

The height of the crawler is 6 meters (20ft) to 8 meters (26 feet) adjustable. The top deck is flat and square, about the size of a baseball infield, 27 meters (90 feet) on a side. Two operator control cabs, one at each end of the chassis, are used to control all crawler systems.

KSC's two crawler-transporters have accumulated 1,243 miles since 1977. Including the Apollo years, the transporters have racked up 2,526 miles, about the same distance as a one-way trip from KSC to Los Angeles by interstate highway or a round trip between KSC and New York City.""

Source: http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/facilities/crawler.html

2.3 One of my Heros Howard Hughes, his largest aircraft that he designed is the Hercules but was later nicknamed the "Spruce Goose".

"Largest wingspan: 319 feet, 11 inches with a wing area that covers 11,430 square feet
Features full cantilever wing and tail surfaces
Tallest aircraft: 79 feet, 3 3/8 inches
Length: 218 fee 6 ¼ inches
Largest seaplane
Largest wooden aircraft: the entire airframe is composed of laminated wood
Primary control surfaces, except the flaps, are fabric-covered
Power: Eight Pratt & Whitney R-4360, 3,000 horsepower engines
Propellers: Eight, 17 feet, 2 inch diameter
Weight, Empty: 300,000 pounds
Weight, Loaded: 400,000 pounds (maximum take-off weight)

Capacity: 750 troops or two Sherman tanks
Normal Crew: 18
First And Only Flight: November 2, 1947
The most reciprocating horsepower ever installed in an aircraft

Estimated Performance:

Cruise Speed: 141 to 150 miles per hour at 5,000 feet
Top Speed: 227 to 231 miles per hour at 5,000 feet
Range: 2,975 miles with 12,500 gallons of fuel"

Source: http://www.sprucegoose.org/aircraft_artifacts/exhibits_cont1.html#desc

2.4 Here is the fastest man-made object: "In the mid 1970's Federal Republic of Germany and NASA launched two probe that were to orbit the Sun, Helios 1 and Helios 2.
Helios 1 was launched in December 1974 and Helios 2 in January 1976, both reaching an orbit of 45 million kilometers from the Sun, that's within the orbit of Mercury.

Due to their elliptical orbit the probes reached speeds of about 250,000 KM/H with Helios 2 reaching 252,792 KM/H or 157,078 MPH, making it the world's fastest manmade object to date"

Source: http://thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast.com/fastest6.html

2.5 World's largest Ship: "The Nock Nevis, formally known as the ' Jahre Viking ', is the worlds largest ship at 1504 feet long (over 1/4 of a mile) and 226 feet wide. The Nock Nevis, a ship so huge that when fully laden she can not pass through the 32 mile wide English channel because it cannot maneuver, as traveling in a straight line is its best forte. Also when fully laden, she sits 24.5 meters deep in the sea, a depth great enough to stop her from accessing most of the world’s major ports.

When fully laden with the capacity of 4,240,865 barrels of oil the Nock Nevis has a displacement of 825,614 GLW (Gross Laden Weight) metric tons. It has an unladen weight is 564,763 tons. The holds could swallow St Pauls cathedral four times over. It has a crew of 35 to 40, which means it only needs two lifeboats. Taking 5.5 miles to stop with a turning circle of over 2 miles. When this ship docks into its port it is done so very very slowly as mistakes cannot easily be rectified when there is so much weight on the move.

The cargo of oil she normally carries is worth $122 million ! separated from the sea by just 3.5cm's of steel plate !"

Source: http://www.vincelewis.net/viking.html

2.6 If you thought Gore-Tex is cool check out the possibilities of Aerogel:

" What is Aerogel?

Aerogel is made from Silicon Dioxide, the same material as ordinary Glass,
only 1,000 times less dense.

Aerogel (also called 'frozen smoke' because of its hazy blue appearance), is a truly remarkable material.
It is the lightest and lowest-density solid known to exist, and holds an unbelievable 15 entries in the Guinness Book of World Records, including best insulator and lowest density solid.
Aerogel is composed of 99.8% air and is chemically similar to ordinary glass.

Being the world's lightest known solid, it weighs only three times that of air.

When handled, Aerogel feels like a very light, hard foam. Being chemically similar to glass, it also happens to shatter like glass, yet is incredibly strong structurally, and can support thousands of times its own weight. Theoretically, a block weighing less than a pound could support a weight of half a ton.
Due to its microstructure, Aerogel is a powerful desiccant, rapidly absorbing any moisture in your fingertips when held. This usually leaves some dry spots on the skin that disappear in a short time.
Aerogel's true strength is its incredible insulating properties. It negates just about any kind of
energy transfer - thermal, electrical or acoustic.
A one-inch thick Aerogel window has the same insulation value as 15 panes of glass and trapped air - which means a conventional window would have to be ten-inches thick to equal a one-inch thick Aerogel window.

Aerogel's density is just 3 milligrams per cubic centimeter.
Its melting point is 2,200 degrees F (1,200 degrees C)."

Source: http://www.unitednuclear.com/aerogel.htm

Darrell said...

Agricultural Mechanization - History part 1

I have always been impressed with the continuous improvement process of farming equipment and I liked this short story. Wanted to share it.

When viewed across the span of the 20th century, the effect that mechanization has had on farm productivity—and on society itself—is profound. At the end of the 19th century it took, for example, 35 to 40 hours of planting and harvesting labor to produce 100 bushels of corn. A hundred years later producing the same amount of corn took only 2 hours and 45 minutes—and the farmers could ride in air-conditioned comfort, listening to music while they worked. And as fewer and fewer workers were needed on farms, much of the developed world has experienced a sea-change shift from rural to metropolitan living.
Throughout most of its long history, agriculture—particularly the growing of crops—was a matter of human sweat and draft animal labor. Oxen, horses, and mules pulled plows to prepare the soil for seed and hauled wagons filled with the harvest—up to 20 percent of which went to feed the animals themselves. The rest of the chores required backbreaking manual labor: planting the seed; tilling, or cultivating, to keep down weeds; and ultimately reaping the harvest, itself a complex and arduous task of cutting, collecting, bundling, threshing, and loading. From early on people with an inventive flair—perhaps deserving the title of the first engineers—developed tools to ease farming burdens. Still, even as late as the 19th century, farming and hard labor remained virtually synonymous, and productivity hadn't shifted much across the centuries.
At the turn of the 20th century the introduction of the internal combustion engine set the stage for dramatic changes. Right at the center of that stage was the tractor. It's not just a figure of speech to say that tractors drove the mechanization revolution. Tractors pulled plows. They hauled loads and livestock. Perhaps most importantly, tractors towed and powered the new planters, cultivators, reapers, pickers, threshers, combine harvesters, mowers, and balers that farm equipment companies kept coming out with every season. These vehicles ultimately became so useful and resourceful that farmers took to calling them simply GPs, for general purpose. But they weren't always so highly regarded. Early versions, powered by bulky steam engines, were behemoths, some weighing nearly 20 tons. Lumbering along on steel wheels, they were often mired in wet and muddy fields—practically worthless. Then in 1902 a pair of engineers named Charles Hart and Charles Parr introduced a tractor powered by an internal combustion engine that ran on gasoline. It was smaller and lighter than its steam-driven predecessors, could pull plows and operate threshing machines, and ran all day on a single tank of fuel. Hart and Parr's company was the first devoted exclusively to making tractors, a term they are also credited with introducing. Previously, tractors had been known as "traction engines."

Anonymous said...

candy miller

Big Brutus used to work around the clock. To put into perspective how big the bucket really is… the claw is able to dig out a house-size chunk of ground. Big Brutus has a little brother, Little Giant. Little Giant is constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot.

There have been weddings at Big Brutus as well as receptions, private parties, group tours, school field trips, picnics and family reunions.
Christmas time at Big Brutus is a spectacular sight with lights that can be seen for miles.
Opportunities for fishing, hunting, horseback riding and other wildlife activities like photography abound in this scenic gateway to Branson in the Northwest Ozarks. Excellent fishing for bass and other game fish in the well stocked strip pits. And don't forget hunting for quail, turkey, small game and deer. The Mined Land Wildlife Areas (15,000 acres) offer grasslands, woodlots and waterways that will stir the senses and bring a tingling rush with each splash of water or flurry and flutter in the shadows and nodding grasses.
This is the schedule for Big Brutus for the year 2008. They have more holidays than I have ever heard of.
• March 15 — Annual Meeting (Members) 6:00 pm
• March 21 — Easter Egg Hunt 3:30 pm
• March 23— Easter Sunday Sunrise Service 6:30 am
• June 7 — Miner's Day Reunion
• August 23 — Polka Fest 7:00-11:00 pm
• September 13 — Hunting & Fishing Expo 9:00 am-5:00 pm
o There will be exhibitors, concessions, exhibitions on various things connected to hunting & fishing. For more information or to become an exhibitor write to Big Brutus, PO Box 25, West Mineral KS 66782 or call 620-827-6177.
• December 6 — Christmas Lights on Big Brutus Grounds

Anonymous said...

I forgot to put my site information on my Big Brutus information blog, so I am including it here with my engineering information blog.
Big Brutus…. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2104

a. When our natural resources seemed limitless, recycling had a very low priority. But by the 1980s, landfill shortages began to occur, leading to solid waste being transported long distances. In the past decade, communities' growing resistance to accepting out-of-state waste, along with an increased environmental awareness, led to a shift in focus toward reusing, rather than burying, solid waste. The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority's 6,500-square-foot facility teaches about the modern technological improvements that engineers have made not only in solid waste management but also in manufacturing and processing recyclable materials.

b. When he was visiting a plantation, Eli Whitney (1765-1825) saw that the only cotton that would grow was the almost useless green seed variety. Ten hours of hand work was needed to separate one point of lint from three pounds of the small tough seeds. After studying the workers’ hand movements, Whitney put on his engineering hat and designed a machine that duplicated these efforts. The rest is history. The Eli Whitney Museum tells the story of this remarkable American engineer who invented the Cotton Gin and the modern manufacturing process of making identical, interchangeable pieces. His work helped usher in the Industrial Revolution.


c. Built on the site of the original Eagle Lock Company, which began making locks in 1854, the Lock Museum of America chronicles lock-making history--a chapter in mechanical engineering lore. The eight display rooms house more than 23,000 kinds of locks, including vault locks, door locks, and padlocks. One room is devoted to the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company and features the original patent model of the mortise cylinder pin-tumbler lock designed by mechanical engineer Linus Yale, Jr. in 1865. Considered the greatest invention in lockmaking history, this type of lock is still widely used today in car doors and the outside doors of buildings.


d. Although the early horse railways were preferable to walking, they were expensive to run and could be brought to a halt by equine flu or bad weather. So virtually from the beginning of urban public transportation, engineers were called on to search for cheaper and more reliable modes of transport. In 1884, electrical engineer Frank Sprague formed a company to develop a practical electric streetcar system. His successful electric streetcar installation in Richmond, Virginia, in 1888 marked the beginning of a new era in mass transit. The history and technology of this era can be seen and experienced at the Shore Line Trolley Museum.http://www.engineeringsights.org/SightDetail.asp?Sightid=29&id=CT&view=s&name=Connecticut&page=1&image=0

e. The USS Nautilus, constructed in 1952-54, was the world's first nuclear-powered submarine and, in 1959, the first vessel to cross under the North Pole. Construction of the Nautilus was made possible by the successful development of a nuclear propulsion plant by a group of engineers and scientists at the Naval Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission, under the leadership of Captain Hyman Rickover. The sub was involved in various developmental testing programs and broke many records for depth and endurance during her 26 years of service. Named a National Historic Landmark, the ship serves as a permanent floating exhibit at the museum.
f. Textile making relies on the creativity of engineering design, and the Windham Textile and History Museum, occupying two 1877 former linen company buildings, tells the story. Dugan Mill depicts a late 19th-century factory setting, complete with an overseer's office and a fully equipped shop floor. Thread Mill Square II replicates a mill owner's mansion and a worker's house. The Dunham Hall Library contains a collection of architectural and engineering drawings. The former company was one of the first to appreciate the use of electricity for industrial lighting and installed a six-lamp arc-light system in one of the mill buildings in 1878.

M said...

Big Brutus, while not the largest electric shovel ever built, is the largest electric shovel still in existence. The Captain, at 28 million pounds, was the largest shovel and one of the two largest land-based mobile machines ever built. It was scrapped in 1992. (See Colossal Earthmovers by Keith Haddock, page 67, and http://www.stripmine.org/captain.htm)
1. American Museum of Science and Energy, Tennessee
The American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE), one of the world's largest energy museums, was initially created to tell the story of the WW II Manhattan Project and its engineers and scientists. The museum opened in 1949 in a refurbished wartime cafeteria as the American Museum of Atomic Energy. Its mission was expanded in 1975, with the creation of the U.S. Department of Energy and the museum's relocation to its present facility. Renamed in 1978, AMSE offers live demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and audiovisual presentations.
2. Ayres Natural Bridge, Wyoming
Nature also can illustrate engineering principles, creating natural stone arches as impressive as what the Romans built. And as engineers well know, water can erode some of the hardest substances. The Ayres Natural Bridge, said to be one of only three natural bridges in the world with a stream still flowing beneath it., was created over millions of years. A bend in LaPrele Creek kept gnawing away at a wall of solid rock, eventually shifting course through the newly created opening and forming an arch 30 ft. high and 50 ft. wide. As with man-made arches, the force exerted by the great weight of the stone is transferred to the two sides.
3. The Stanley Steamer, Maine
In 1899, a horseless carriage climbed a bumpy road to the top of the 6,288-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire, one of New England's highest peaks. The automobile had been invented by twin brothers, Francis Edgar and Freelan Oscar Stanley. Their unusual machine was called the "Stanley Steamer."

4. Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
When General U.S. Grant visited Lookout Mountain in 1863, it took close to four hours for him to negotiate the rough wagon road to the top by horse and carriage. Today, visitors can ride up the mountain in about 45 minutes and take just a short walk farther to reach the same bluff where Grant stood and admired the view.

5. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia
Engineers always like to answer society's call to get somewhere faster and easier. This bridge-tunnel complex does the trick and is the world's largest--17.6 miles long with two 1-mile tunnels, 2 bridges, 4 man-made islands, and 12 miles of trestle.
This bridge cuts 95 miles from the trip between Virginia Beach and Wilmington, Delaware.
6. Galveston Seawall, Texas
In 1900, Galveston was the state's premier city, with 36,000 residents. But it was precariously built on a narrow island of sand just a few feet above sea level. On September 8, 1900, a hurricane sent an 8-foot-high wave crashing into the city. Six thousand died in the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Soon after, the city put retired Army engineer Henry Robert to work designing a sea wall, 7 miles long and 17 feet high, to protect the island. He also raised the entire city, by pumping sand underneath the buildings. The project took 7 years to complete and was tested by another hurricane in 1915. That time, all but 8 people survived.
All information for 1-6 found at http://www.engineeringsights.org/

Jay G. said...

1. “Unfortunately, by 1974, the cost to operate Big Brutus was more than twice the value of the coal it recovered, and it was shut down.”

2. Quincy Mine Steam Hoist - “Weighing more than 880 tons, it lifted 10 tons of ore at 36.4 miles per hour, thus saving $16,080 in fuel bills in its first year of operation.”

When Quincy ceased underground mining in 1931, its shafts reached 5,000 feet below sea level, making it the deepest mine in the U.S. Quincy invested heavily in engineering improvements, including modern shaft houses, hoisting machinery, and rock-breaking machinery.

3. Lowe's Motor Speedway -
The largest sports facility in the Southeast, Lowe's Motor Speedway has 167,000 seats and capacity for nearly 50,000 more spectators in the infield area.

It was the first superspeedway to install a lighting system for night racing, and was the first sports facility in the U.S. to offer year-round living accommodations. (http://www.lowesmotorspeedway.com/)

4. Pensacola Dam - Was Oklahoma's first hydroelectric facility, built 1937-40. It is the world's longest multiple-arch dam, with 51 arches and 21 spillways spanning about one mile across the Grand River.

Engineers chose the multiple-arch design because materials were scarce and, therefore, expensive. Labor, on the other hand, was abundant and cheap. Some 3,000 men worked on the project, earning about $16 per week.

Abby Jayne said...

WOW, you guys got just about everything! Well I guess this is what I get for posting last :p
Bucyrus-Erie the company that made Big Brutus is still around but is now called Bucyrus International, Inc. The largest shovels they make now are the 795 Series and have up to a 135 ton payload capacity

Abby Jayne said...

I forgot to leave my source