Tag: Mechanical Engineering

Utility Wildfire Upgrade Costs

Utility Wildfire Upgrade Costs

Utility Wildfire Upgrade Costs

08/10/20

“What are the costs of upgrading the grid to build resilience to wildfires?”

 

With the advent of climate change, wildfires are becoming a much more common threat in Mediterranean climates. Much of these wildfires are sprung from defective utility activity, such as the one that engulfed Paradise California. To build resilience to this, utilities will need to invest in upgrading their infrastructure to prevent further sparking. However, these Utility Wildfire Upgrade Costs can be very steep and need to be weighed against other possible mechanisms.

Zombie Appliances

Zombie Appliances

Zombie Appliances

07/31/20

“What happens when used appliances are resold on the black market in The Global South?”

 

Electric appliances have a limited shelf-life. But their discarding may not be the end of their use. Often times, these appliances are loaded up and shipped out from the global north to The Global South. Here, they are sold on the black market, use 2 – 3 times more energy than their more updated counterparts, stress the electric grids, are mechanically volatile, and contribute to climate change by releasing now banned chemicals into the atmosphere. These Zombie Appliances are a major threat to the world and nations all over the world are teaming up to fight this exploitive system.

Image credit nationalpostcom.files.wordpress.com

Gray Infrastructure

Gray Infrastructure

Gray Infrastructure

07/18/20

“What is the classification for built physical infrastructure?”

 

When the word infrastructure comes up in conversation, most people will imagine large human-built physical manifestations such as buildings, bridges, and roads. This is actually only a subset of all infrastructure types, this in particular being Gray Infrastructure. Gray infrastructure is the fundamental driver behind the civil engineering profession and is responsible for the massive cities that many of us reside in today.

How Pipeline Failures Harm Local Water Supplies

How Pipeline Failures Harm Local Water Supplies

How Pipeline Failures Harm Local Water Supplies

07/16/20

“How do pipeline failures threaten local water supplies?”

 

Pipelines are used to transport heavy, often-toxic fluids long distances. Although sturdy, these pieces of infrastructure are not invulnerable. In fact, if damaged, these toxic substances can spill out into localized water sources, contaminating them. This was one of the reasons for the blocking of the Keystone pipeline. This is How Pipeline Failures Harm Local Water Supplies.

Salt Water Electricity Batteries

Salt Water Electricity Batteries

Salt Water Electricity Batteries

07/10/20

“How can we make batteries that use salt-water as a catalyst?”

 

Traditional lithium-based batteries are too corrosive to operate in salt-water. However, a start-up built out of MIT may have made a new type of battery that this won’t be a problem for. Using alloyed aluminum, a primarily nickel-based alloyed cathode alloy, and an alkaline electrolyte that’s positioned between the electrodes that can split ocean water at the cathode into hydroxide anions and hydrogen gas. These hydroxide anions interact with the aluminum anode, creating aluminum hydroxide and releasing electrons. These Salt Water Electricity Batteries have a very promising design that can revolutionize the submarine industry. 

Image credit http://news.mit.edu/

Energy Source Placement and Racial Equity

Energy Source Placement and Racial Equity

Energy Source Placement and Racial Equity

06/21/20

“Why does energy source placement have to take into account racial equity?”

 

Energy is the lifeblood of modern society. From the servers that power our internet to the refrigerators that keep our food fresh, so much of our critical infrastructure relies on energy. However, historically most of this energy has come from pollutive sources, which were frequently sited in or near systematically disempowered racial minority communities. This only exacerbates racialized oppression, and as a result, Energy Source Placement and Racial Equity must be thought of together.

And don’t forget, #BlackLivesMatter

How Increasing Diverse Representation in Infrastructure Engineering Would Improve the Profession

How Increasing Diverse Representation in Infrastructure Engineering Would Improve the Profession

How Increasing Diverse Representation in Infrastructure Engineering Would Improve the Profession

06/16/20

“How would increasing the amount of diversity in infrastructure engineering improve the profession?”

 

Due to discriminatory power structures, the field of infrastructure engineering is quite uniform in terms of its demographics. This means that individuals coming from communities that are not well-represented will have fewer opportunities to make their voices heard during critical matters. This can be seen in events such as highway construction in the United States, where entire neighborhoods of black and brown communities were bulldozed to make room for these structures. These actions have left us with rotting and inequitable infrastructure that hurt all communities. To change this, increasing diverse representation in infrastructure engineering would allow such individuals to be in charge of high-level decisions and ensure that community safety is not violated. This is How Increasing Diverse Representation in Infrastructure Engineering Would Improve the Profession.

 

And don’t forget, #BlackLivesMatter

Why Infrastructure in Marginalized Communities Will Fail Disproportionately During Climate Change

Why Infrastructure in Marginalized Communities Will Fail Disproportionately During Climate Change

Why Infrastructure in Marginalized Communities Will Fail Disproportionately During Climate Change

06/15/20

“Why will infrastructure in marginalized communities be destroyed more during climate change?”

 

Infrastructure in marginalized communities is disproportionately in a worse state due to negligence from higher echelons of power. With the advent of climate change, this infrastructure is going to become even more damaged since not only are these same communities typically on the frontlines but the money reserved for climate impacts will mostly go towards wealthier communities. This is Why Infrastructure in Marginalized Communities Will Fail Disproportionately During Climate Change.

And don’t forget, #BlackLivesMatter

Why Hovering a Helicopter at Low Altitudes for Crowd Control Is Dangerous

Why Hovering a Helicopter at Low Altitudes for Crowd Control Is Dangerous

Why Hovering a Helicopter at Low Altitudes for Crowd Control Is Dangerous

06/06/20

“Why is hovering a helicopter at low altitudes incredibly dangerous?”

 

Helicopters are commonly used by law enforcement agencies for tactical missions. However, flying them at low-altitudes for crowd control can be incredibly dangerous. The dust and gravel that they kick out can hurt protesters and even cause long-term damage. Furthermore, in case of an engine failure, the helicopter will have no room to maneuver and will likely crash. This is Why Hovering a Helicopter at Low Altitudes for Crowd Control Is Dangerous.

 

Image credit i2.wp.com/images.onwardstate.com