The Priest Within
The skull and body of Nesperennub


Great Wall of Problems

Freelance Writer

China’s Great Wall has largely deteriorated and is in need of a comprehensive survey for use in future restoration projects, the Chinese Academy of the Great Wall recently reported. According to Civil Engineering (Reston, Va.), only 2,500 kilometres remains of the 6,300-km-long wall — the world’s largest cultural relic.

Deterioration has been caused by many factors, including removal of bricks by residents, local governments and businesses.

Europe Makes for Mars
Although still in the initial study phase, the European Space Agency’s Aurora program could help put humans on Mars, Aerospace America (Reston, Va.) reports. The three-year-old program should be viewed as a coordinated “space exploration framework” that focuses engineers’ efforts on specific technical questions, says coordinator Piero Messina.

ESA’s basic scientific and technical goals in the first Aurora missions include defining the winds, radiation doses “and other natural hazards humans would endure on Mars.” A formal go-ahead for the next phase is expected to be announced by the end of the year.

Better Ways to Get Hip
Many of the hip replacements done each year are composed of titanium, a strong, light, anti-corrosive metal. The problem with titanium, however, is that the body’s immune system frequently rejects it.

Now bio-medical engineers and other researchers have discovered a promising technique to coat the exposed titanium and reduce problems, Mechanical Engineering (New York) reports. If they sheathe the metal parts in a jacket of nanotubes, the researchers have learned, the implants irritate the body less.

The work is underway at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Sweeping Changes for Mopping Up
When you’re mopping up in a pharmaceutical factory or a food processing plant, you’d better be sure that the mop you’re using isn’t simply spreading germs. That’s why engineers at a Danish cleaning tools manufacturing company have come up with a broom that may be a sweeping sensation, according to Mechanical Engineering (New York). The device from HP-Industrial A/S is one-piece and has no seams or joints that would allow microbes to hide. It’s made of polypropylene reinforced with long glass fibres, which is said to evenly distribute energy.

Mineral Site Valuation Addressed
Property valuation on industrial mineral sites remains a perplexing challenge. To address that situation, an international committee has been formed to develop a standard code that companies can use anywhere in the world. Representatives on the committee are from Australia, South Africa, Canada and the United States, the Engineering & Mining Journal (Jacksonville, Fla.) reports.

Technology ‘Unwraps’ Egyptian Mummies
The ancient mysteries of Egyptian mummies are being unwrapped — in virtual-speak — at London’s British Museum, Mechanical Engineering (New York) reports.

The presentation, which continues until January 2005, allows visitors to see how the 3,000-year-old body of an Egyptian priest, Nesperennub, is wrapped and what stories he has to tell. Visitors also learn about ancient preservation methods. The images were obtained by a computer tomography scanner.

Segmental Bridge Widened
The Engineering News-Record (New York) reports that the widening of a precast segmental fly-over bridge has been completed in Florida. The job is the first of its kind in the mainland United States.

Astaldi Construction Corp. of Davie, Fla., built the $6.4-million project in Miami-Dade County, adding a lane and shoulders. Corven Engineering of Tallahassee did the design and engineering.

Although segmental bridges aren’t unique, widening them is, reports the American Segmental Bridge Institute. The task involved simulating the radius curves by computer to measure the impact on stability and curvature torsion.

One challenge was to deal with the bearings between the deck and columns, which were so close together that they could become unstable in unusual situations. Corven addressed this issue by ensuring that the bridge was widened symmetrically, so the bearing issue solved itself.

Three’s Not a Crowd
When building a wastewater treatment plant, why not think big? That’s what Sydney Water did in 1997 when it began planning to meet the needs of Illawarra, a coastal region serving about 300,000 people in New South Wales, Australia.

Civil Engineering (Reston, Va.) says planners decided to consolidate three facilities to improve wastewater treatment and allow industrial reuse of treated effluent.

The task, to be completed in 2005, involves transferring flows from two facilities to one in Wollongong.

Instead of decommissioning the other facilities, officials are converting them for the treatment of storm-water flows.


Mechanical Engineering Magazine

Engineering News-Record Magazine

Civil Engineering Magazine

European Space Agency

Purdue University

The British Museum

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