Month: June 2018

# Isovolumetric Processes

Isovolumetric Processes

06/30/18

“What happens when a thermodynamic system does not change its shape?”

When a thermodynamic process does not change the system’s volume, it is known as an Isovolumetric Process. Since the volume is held constant, the total work done ( W = PdV) by the system will be equal to zero.

# Battery Recycling

Battery Recycling

06/29/18

“Can we recycle batteries?”

Once used up, batteries are thought to be gone for good. This idea especially compounded since their hazardous composition makes them banned from normal municipal waste. However, if we use our engineering mindsets, then we can know that some of the parts can actually be reused, especially the plastic and chemicals used.

# Isenthalpic Processes

Isenthalpic Processes

06/28/18

“Are there thermodynamic processes that take place without any change in enthalpy?”

Isothermal, isobaric, and isovolumetric (constant volume) thermodynamic processes are very well known. But there are also Isenthalpic Processes which occur when there is no change in Enthalpy for the system. The throttling process is a common example of an Isenthalpic Process.

# Genetic Algorithm

Genetic Algorithm

06/27/18

“How can we find an absolute maximum or minimum using an algorithm?”

Finding the absolute maximum and minimum of the function is one of the most important applications of mathematics. However, sometimes this may not be a straightforward task. So how can we use our mathematical mindsets to figure this out? Well, we could start with a few local points. We can then find how good these points are by applying a local function, and then iterate to find new points. We can repeat this process again and again until we arrive at the absolute maximum or minimum. This procedure is known as a Genetic Algorithm and can be applied to all forms of engineering problems, whether it be in energy control systems or aerospace maneuvering.

# Extremum Seeking Control

Extremum Seeking Control

06/26/18

“Is there a control method that tries to sets a function at its extreme value?”

Control Theory is a deep subject. There seems to be a control method for every situation. And one of those situations might happen to be one where people are trying to keep a function at its extremum (the maximum or minimum absolute value). This Extremum Seeking Control allows for this to happen, and also gives it the privilege of heightened sensitivity reduction and disturbance rejection.

# How much energy does a person use in a year?

How much energy does a person use in a year?

06/25/18

“So how much energy does the average person use in a year?”

Humans use energy around the world every day, whether it be in powering their house or driving the car. However, have you ever wondered how much energy is used in one year? Well, it all depends on where you live. Around the world, the average is around 77 gigajoules per capita, with the highest being Iceland at 786 gigajoules to Bangladesh at 9.05 gigajoules. The US sits at 290.47 gigajoules per capita, and California at 122.6 gigajoules per capita because of The Rosenfeld Effect.

# Ramp Rates

Ramp Rates

06/24/18

“How can we measure how long it takes for an energy generator to come online?”

Things in the physical world tend to have inertia. Electricity generating sources are no different. As a result, they will have a ramp rate in kW/minute that measures how long they take to come online.

# LIDAR

LIDAR Scanning

06/23/18

“What makes autonomous vehicles work?”

Autonomous vehicles, archeological scanning, soil imaging, and automated agriculture all rely on knowing real-time distance to work. However, how exactly can we accomplish this? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to find out. We know that if we send a beam of light from a laser somewhere, then it can be reflected back. And since the speed of light is constant in a uniform medium, if we measure the time it took to return, we can obtain a measurement for distance. This system is known as LIDAR Scanning,  which stands for Light Detection and Ranging. LIDAR has caused a revolution in multiple fields of science and is moving every day closer and closer to mainstream adoption.

# Electrical Reactance

Electrical Reactance

06/22/18

“What opposes electric current flow?”

Resistors are commonly known to oppose electricity. However, how can other components such as capacitors and transducers oppose it as well? Well, it turns out that each of these components contribute to something called the Electrical Reactance of the system. Due to the time-varying nature of the components, reactance is typically used when dealing with AC signals.