The skull and body of Nesperennub
Great Wall of Problems
BY GAIL HELGASON
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,
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
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.)
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
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
The British Museum