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Picking up good vibrations!

Engineers at Lancaster University are working on a system that allows aircraft wings to generate and store electricity from vibrations.

The work is part of a wider 1 million project led by BAE Systems called En-come, which aims to develop aircraft that can stay in the air for longer periods of time without having to re-fuel. Principal investigator Professor Jianqiao Ye, of Lancaster University's Engineering Department, said: "Our role is to look at saving the power used to support the monitoring system. There needs to be frequent communication between the aircraft and Earth, and power is needed to send huge quantities of data as well as receiving instructions from a communications centre."

The research will look at how mechanical energy generated by the vibration of the wings can be transferred, stored and used to support the communications system.

Light inside the tunnel

Commuters and pedestrians using the new King's Cross foot tunnel are now being greeted by HALFLIFE--an immersive, durational light installation created by award-winning design practice Speirs + Major.

Delivered in association with the King's Cross Central Partnership developer Argent, HALFLIFE is a site-specific work using the medium of light to synthesise a digital journey through light and colour. Creating an experiential and dynamic adjunct to the moving traffic that inhabits the space on a daily basis--an evolutionary experience where no one moment is ever the same.

HALFLIFE is built upon a construct of digital, ordered cycles building from light to dark and beginning with bold, dramatic steps gradually becoming calmer until they dissolve ghost like --leaving just a trace of the light that has been--before the sequence resets itself to reveal an altogether new cycle.

Thermoplastic composites breakthrough

Researchers are on the verge of a breakthrough that will allow for the wide-scale use of thermoplastic composites in the automotive industry. The light yet strong materials are rigid, and also sustainable and recyclable.

Researchers at the Thermoplastic Composite Research Center (TPRC) in Enschede, the Netherlands, report that they have overcome the final hurdle of designing practically faultless components and to make the process for doing so predictable. This makes it possible to determine at an early stage of the design process whether a component can be manufactured at all, satisfying the two biggest requirements of the automotive industry, namely weight reduction and reduced costs.

Lockheed Martin adopts 3D visualisation

Defence giant Lockheed Martin has installed a virtual reality system in its UK facility to help the design and review of a major land vehicle being developed. The ActiveWall by virtual reality (VR) company Virtalis will enable engineers to view 3D CAD models in a more realistic physical environment and improve time to market. Ryan Neal, a research engineer at Lockheed Martin, explained: "Our customer, the UK's Ministry of Defence, as well as our engineers and business development people, was able to prove-out views of the 3D model through visualisation. This meant that, instead of producing detailed performance reports over several months, we were able to view a 3D mock-up of the model using Virtalis' Visionary Render. In effect, words were replaced with interactive 3D pictures."

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Title Annotation:What's happening; Lancaster University's aircraft wings prototype
Publication:Engineering Designer
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2015
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