Could Innovation and Engineering Cause Dropping Oil Prices?

The recent drop in oil prices naturally has produced economic winners and losers, and price speculators and pundits are lining up conventional producers against those behind American-drilled Shale oil. Yet, questions remain about how the world is over-supplied with oil only a few years after we supposedly passed peek oil and survived oil prices topping $140 per barrel. Discounting the anticipated demand softness due to economic activities in Europe and Asia, technology is playing a strong role in finding, producing and using energy across the full range of industrial activities. Continue reading

This Week’s Top 5 Engineering Technology Articles

Hello all! My top engineering technology picks of the week include what to do with vacant World Cup stadiums, a jetpack that helps soldiers run faster and a system that could help cut down city traffic. Have a great weekend!

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Using CHEMKIN Simulation Software for Complex Chemical Processes

As a new member of the ANSYS family, via the Reaction Design acquisition, I thought I would take the opportunity to give you a little background on the product line I represent — CHEMKIN.

The software had its beginnings at Sandia National Laboratories, as part of the U.S. Government’s response to the oil crisis of the 1970s. Scientists at Sandia began studying how to make more efficient, cleaner-burning engines, and they created software to simulate the complex molecular-level chemical reactions that take place during fuel combustion. In 1997, Reaction Design licensed that software from Sandia and evolved the technology into a commercial-quality software suite that enables engineers and scientists in microelectronics, combustion and chemical processing industries to develop a comprehensive understanding of chemical processes and kinetics. Continue reading

Designing the Body of the Car for Maximum Fuel Efficiency

As we continue our 54.5 by 2025 blog series, we turn our attention to designing the body of the car for maximum fuel efficiency.

infographic section fuel efficiency and the bod of the car

Click Image to See Full Infographic

The body of the car provides two major opportunities for improving fuel efficiency:

  1. Reducing overall weight
  2. Improving aerodynamics to reduce drag

Much design work and ingenuity is required to reduce a car’s overall weight, and many interesting advances have been made in the field, such as the use of composites materials. Considering that car manufacturers have been working on streamlining and designing aerodynamics since the time of the Model T, we now need fresh ways to approach the issue.

The question is: What will be the most effective innovation, or combination of innovations, for the future?

Reduce weight by designing composites effectively

Replacing steel with light, strong and durable composites materials is one possible way of reducing weight in new automobiles. But the process has its challenges. Continue reading

Designing to Meet 54.5 mpg by 2025 – Fuel Efficiency Infographic

While the auto engineering industry is undergoing a large breadth of innovation (autonomous vehicles, dashboard apps to help the driver use less fuel and drive more safely), the ambitious goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025 will require car manufacturers to focus on the fundamentals of existing technologies, such as engines, transmissions and aerodynamics.

Surely, 54.5 mpg is entirely achievable, but it is a daunting goal that will require auto makers to drastically ramp up their engineering efforts. And while 2025 seems far away, it will be difficult to finish all the necessary engineering by that time if engineers progress at today’s rate. Accelerating engineering is the burning need of the day — and of the next decade — and it can only be accomplished by taking full advantage of advanced engineering tools such as simulation. Continue reading