Have Magnets Will
A magnetic levitation train, commonly called maglev,
glides along a test rail in Shanghai, China. It can
reach speeds of 250 m.p.h. while hovering a fraction
of an inch above the track.
BY GAIL HELGASON
The first commercial application of a magnetically levitated,
high-speed guide way for rapid transit is being hailed a
success, Engineering News-Record (New York) reports.
The Shanghai Express Train between Shanghai and the new Pudong Airport transports
passengers at speeds of up to 431 km/h. Trains are propelled by magnets in
electromagnetic cables, which are attached to the brackets in the guide way.
The Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co. Ltd. built the system for
an estimated $1.2 billion US, using technology developed by the German firm
There’s dough to be made in helping the food processing
industry engineer better quality control for baked buns,
Mechanical Engineering (New York) reports.
The food technology processing division of the Georgia Technology Research
Institute and its School of Electrical and Computer Engineering are working
with commercial bakeries on a new digital imaging food inspection system. The
system’s two digital cameras take pictures of the buns as they pass on
the production line, while proprietary software records their condition.
In the project’s second phase, feedback controls will correct upstream
processes that lead to poor or inconsistent products, says research engineer
The potential of glass microspheres to help trace terrorists
is under investigation by ceramic engineer Delbert Day and
mining engineer Paul Worsey of the University of Missouri-Rolla.
The two are examining the chemical composition of the glass
microspheres in explosives to see if they could become a “signature” that
would provide the name of the manufacturing company, the
plant location and the date of manufacture.
This information could assist law enforcement officials in
tracing terrorists, reports Engineering & Mining Journal
Bionic Bones Help Cancer Patients
Mechanical engineers are achieving success with an expandable,
third-generation prosthesis that helps victims of a rare
bone cancer disease, reports Mechanical Engineering (New
The new device, dubbed “the bionic bone,” adds
four millimetres of painless growth to the legs of children
affected by osteosarcoma. The bionic bone device lengthens
legs without surgery by propelling a tiny implanted rotor
in the bone at 3,000 revolutions per minute. The procedure
is painless and can be repeated often to maintain growth.
In the past, victims had to undergo surgery several times
to have prosthetic implants adjusted so that the affected
legs would grow at the same rate as the healthy one.
The device, which took 11 years to develop, was a joint project
between bioengineers at England’s University College
London and orthopedic surgeons at the Royal National Orthopaedic
Renewable energy is finally getting some respect, according
to Power Engineering (Tulsa, Okla.). Navigant Consulting
says that renewable energy’s share of the world’s
cumulative power capacity (excluding large hydroelectric
generation) will grow at a compounded rate of 9.2 per cent
between 2004 and 2013.
The rise represents an increase from three to six per cent
worldwide, with installations in the United States expected
to grow by 17 per cent by 2013.
Bridge Beautifies Scottish Skyline
A new pedestrian bridge over one of Edinburgh’s busiest
thoroughfares is being hailed for its graceful and innovative
design, reports Civil Engineering (Reston, Va.) reports.
The project owners, Coal Pension Properties, wanted a design
that was expressive without obscuring views of Edinburgh’s
historic Old Town. The freestanding 50-metre Greenside Place
Link Bridge over Leith Street accomplishes this by being
constructed of interlocking circular hollow tubes of steel,
which evoke the “helical” structure of DNA.
The project engineers, Buro Happold Engineers of London,
had to allow for unique ground conditions at both ends because
the bridge was built over an inactive geological fault.
A Robot Could Do It
The first robots to be employed at a main wastewater treatment
plant in the United States are hard at work in Los Angeles
County, according to Engineering News-Record (New York).
The robots are being used to apply highly pressurized water
to tunnel walls at the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant
in Carson, Calif.
The robotic approach has increased quality and efficiency,
says Jeff Jellick, project manager for the general contractor,
J. F. Shea Construction Co.