Lightening the Load with Composites and Digital Prototyping

Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are doing everything they can to lower their costs, including lightweighting every component possible, which can improve fuel efficiency. The industry spends more than a hundred billion dollars on fuel every year. While the price of oil is relatively low today, manufacturers and airlines must look ahead to the more than 25-year life span of the average airplane, assuming someday prices will rise again. Cost is a major driver, but the industry is also committed to reducing emissions during flight, and reducing fuel burn from the engine helps achieve this goal. Lightweighting, then, is one of the most important trends in the aerospace industry, and using composites, that can offer the required strength but at lower weight than metals, in manufacturing is a key strategy.

aircraft cargo area

Continue reading

Taking Laminar-Turbulent Transition Modeling to the Next Level

Flows around aerodynamic bodies, like aircraft wings, helicopter blades, wind turbines and turbomachinery components develop boundary layers that, to a large extent, define their performance. The boundary layers can either be laminar or turbulent depending on numerous factors, like Reynolds number, freestream turbulence levels and surface roughness, to name a few. Understanding which type of boundary layer is present, and the location of the laminar-to-turbulent transition point under varying operating conditions, is essential for accurate predictions of the performance of aerodynamic devices. Continue reading

The Convergence of Drones and 3D Printing

images of dronesDrones have been in the news a lot recently. The near miss between a commercial flight and an unidentified drone in Florida has been broadcast around the world and has opened lots of questions about how the issue of drones in civilian airspace will be handled as the number of drones increases exponentially. This has spawned discussion regarding the safety of aircraft in the event of a collision with a drone. What is for certain is that the FAA have got their work cut out to ensure the safe management of the exponential growth of the drone phenomenon. Continue reading

Software Tools for the Development of Embedded Code

In today’s ultra-competitive environment, product differentiation increasingly depends on embedded software. From automobiles to airplanes to medical devices, systems architecture and embedded software are important parts of product development cycles. Being able to manage these processes effectively so that you get the desired results is becoming a differentiator.

Today, the cars that we drive have more that 10 million lines of code! Can you imagine the hours it takes to come up with the definitions of what the car should do and how it should do it — let alone implement all this correctly through software code? It’s a time-consuming process, and getting it right the first time is challenging. We’ve all seen examples of what happens when the code isn’t correct. Incorrect code can cost companies millions of dollars, and more importantly, it erodes customers’ trust in that brand.

By using model-based, production-proven software tools for the development of embedded code, products can be developed in a faster and safer manner. And, when coupled with a certified automatic code generator, compliance for standards like DO-178B/C in aerospace, ISO 26262 in automotive and EN 50128 in rail is more rapidly achieved. Continue reading

This Week’s Top 5 Engineering Technology News Articles

Happy Friday, folks!  I’m back for this week’s roundup of interesting engineering technology news articles. Some of the highlights include how simulation is helping create more efficient and budget-friendly defense technology, a camera that functions similar to our retinas and the auto industry going up against the Silicon Valley for the best and brightest engineering talent!

Running short on time today?  No problem:

Continue reading