Month: November 2016

Offshore windpower

Offshore windpower

Offshore windpower

11/30/16

“How can we use coastal winds to enhance wind power?”

One of the primary criticisms launched against sustainable energy advocates is the systems for extrapolating such energy forms are too limited in geography, time of day, and energy density. However, thanks to the strong willpower of renewable energy engineers, we could have a new technology that could fundamentally upset this paradigm. In the past, wind turbines were only built on solid terrain. Even though this was the simpler way of doing things, it had a major drawback due to the fact that wind is not omnipresent. However, thanks to the flat and low friction nature of water, winds currents are much stronger and consistent over the ocean. And since higher wind current means higher wind power, wouldn’t it be logical to have wind turbines placed in the ocean? This is the exact behind offshore wind power. Offshore wind turbines only have 2 percent of the energy payback time as regular onshore turbines, are less noticeable to the common public, and can be located near a high number of population centers. However, like with everything in engineering, there are always drawbacks with offshore windpower, such as the fact that it takes much more materials to construct such turbines, and the technology is only nascent, requiring further development. But even with this, the future of offshore windpower looks bright, and many countries have already begun investing in to it, such as the gargantuan 630MW London array in the United Kingdom, the 600 MW Viking wind farm in Scotland, and the 400 MW Anholt windfarm in Denmark.

How heat affects capillary action

How heat affects capillary action

How heat affects capillary action

11/29/16

“How does the temperature of a liquid affect it’s capillary action?”

 

Heat has an effect on a myriad of different properties of materials, but could it possibly have an effect on capillary action? Well, let’s use some of our scientific thinking to find out. We know that increasing the temperature of an object will weaken the intermolecular force of it, and we also know that the strength of capillary action is based upon the relative strength between the adhesive and cohesive forces of a liquid (Which we can symbolically summarize as cohesive force = adhesive – cohesive). So wouldn’t it be logical that if we could weaken the internal cohesive forces of a liquid through heating, that the adhesive forces would have more pull? According to scientific research, this hypothesis proves to be empirically valid!

How intermolecular forces affect the boiling of a substance

How intermolecular forces affect the boiling of a substance

How intermolecular forces affect the boiling of a substance

11/28/16

“How does the molecular bond type of a chemical affect the boiling point of a substance?”

 

In a Chemistry class, you will probably learn that a chemical’s intermolecular force type will have an effect on the boiling point of a substance. However, there is also a good chance that you will never be explained why such a phenomena occurs. And since we were just told a fact without an explanation, we must investigate. Well, first of all, we know that raising the temperature of a substance will increase the kinetic energy of molecules, and if the kinetic energy is raised high enough, then the molecules will be able to escape from their intermolecular constraints. consequently, if the molecules in a liquid are able to escape, then a the free molecules will form a gas, causing the liquid to boil. And since the different types of intermolecular forces have different strengths, then these more powerful bonds will have more force, and as a result the more powerful the type of bond, the higher the boiling point. To give an example, let’s examine two different chemicals with a similar molecular geometry but different types of bond, Water [H2O] and Hydrogen Sulfide [H2S]. Even though H2S has a higher electron count than H2O, since H2O exhibits hydrogen bonding, the boiling point of H2S (-60 C)  is far lower than the boiling point of H20 (100 C)

Ohm-meter

Ohm-meter

Ohm-meter

11/27/16

“How can we measure the resistance in an electronic component?”

 

Electronic structures such as resistors play a vital part in the workings of electrical devices through the use of resistance. However, how can we measure such a phenomena empirically? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to figure it out. Firstly, we should be aware that it is possible to experimentally measure both the voltage and current between two points, and that the resistors of a circuit is equal to the voltage divided by the resistance (R = V/I). Therefore, it would be most rational to combine these two facts, and synthesize a most useful device known as the ohm-meter.

Using the ideal gas law to calculate the molar mass

Using the ideal gas law to calculate the molar mass

Using the ideal gas law to calculate the molar mass

08/26/16

“How can we use the ideal gas law to calculate the molar mass of an object?”

During a student’s course in Chemistry, they will probably realize that the ideal gas equation is one of the most useful equations in the entire subject. However, is it possible to use this equation to do more, such as calculate the density of a gas? Well, let’s use our mathematical skills to find out. We know of course that the ideal gas equation is PV=nRT, with P being the Pressure in atm, V being the volume of the gas, n being the number of moles, and T being the temperature. Now, there seems to be no appearance of density anywhere in this equation, but let’s take a closer look at the value n. Since n is the number of moles in an object, we can use the molar mass equation to derive that n = mass/(M), with M being the molar mass. However, we still do not have density in our equation, but could we go any further? Well, it turns out that density is mass per volume, so mass can be represented as density times volume (rho*v). By substituting these value back into the ideal gas law, we can obtain PV=(rho*V/M)*RT, and after doing a bit of rearranging we will be obtain rho = M*P/(R*T).

The biot-savart law

The biot-savart law

The biot-savart law

11/25/16

“How can we symbolically describe the magnetic field generated by an electric current?”

 

As stated before, an electric current will generate a magnetic field. However, how can we put this into symbolic form for quantitative purposes? Well, thanks to the hard labor of prior scientists, we have a mathematical relationship known as the Biot-Savart law. The biot savart law defines the relationship between a magnetic field and an electric current as B(r)=o4CIdlr’r’3, with 0being the permittivity of free space, Ibeing the current, and r’being the displacement vector (the distance between the current and some location in the field).  

The scientifically optimal way to cook a Turkey

The scientifically optimal way to cook a Turkey

The scientifically optimal way to cook a Turkey

11/24/16

“What is the most efficient way to cook a Turkey?”

Thanksgiving is a most special holiday in the hearts of Americans. It represents a time when friends and family coming together to  participate in social activities and dine on delicious food. And the most important food of all of Thanksgiving is the Turkey, with it’s rich, savoring flavor. However, cooking a Turkey is not always an easy task. Specifically, the plump and rounded shape of a Turkey is most inefficient for heat conduction, forcing it to have a high cooking time (especially if one wants to cook the Turkey to an internal temperature 74 degrees celsius to prevent salmonella).  So how can we apply our scientific knowledge to solve this problem? Well, let’s think about it. We know that the temperature of objects raise based upon the amount of heat added, and that if an object has more surface area, then it has more heat it will receive. So how about we do just this? First, let’s take the Turkey out. Then, flip it over, and cut off the back bones. Subsequently, flip it over again, and apply pressure to break the breastbone. Once this has been completed, you can put the Turkey. Chefs have termed this process the spatch cocking method, and it can save the chef anywhere from 45 to 80 minutes of cooking time!.

Finally, in the Thanksgiving spirit, I would like to give a big thanks to Sarah Kaplan of the Washington Post for teaching the world about this most innovative method.