Tag Archives: engineering

How does a Baby Nappy (Disposable Diaper) Work? Science, Technology & Curiosity 26 JUN 2016

A disposable baby nappy is actually quite a cleverly designed product, the current iterations consisting of five different layers, each with its own specialized role to play. Furthermore, the superabsorbent polymer in the diaper’s core is unbelievable in terms of its ability to soak up massive amounts of liquid!

hand changing a baby nappy

EngineerGuy, otherwise known as engineering professor Bill Hammack, is a well known science and technology documentarian who has gone ahead and put together this very informative video on what is quite an… absorbing topic:

As much as I moan about the cost of nappies, these brilliant little things really do make life with a baby/toddler so much easier!

Related Link: EngineerGuy | YouTube

Things to See in Netherlands: Rozenburg Wind Wall Travel Attractions 15 MAY 2015

Rozenburg is a town and former municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 13,173 in 2004, and covers an area of 6.50 km² (of which 1.99 km² water). It was the second-smallest municipality in the Netherlands in area (behind Bennebroek), but in 2008 the local council decided to disband the municipality and to form a submunicipality of Rotterdam.

netherlands rozenburg wind wall protecting the canal from wind 4

The town is located on the former island by the same name: Rozenburg Island. Its current form was created out of three separate parts: Rozenburg proper (a former sand bar between Het Scheur and Brielse Maas – part of the Nieuwe Maas river – both branches of the Rhine-Meuse delta), the sand bar Welplaat, and the southernmost part of the Hook of Holland (which was cut off from mainland Holland by the construction of the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal in 1870 and subsequently was connected to Rozenburg when the remainder of Het Scheur was dammed off). The island is now connected to Voorne-Putten by a sea barrier and a dam.

(In other words, as with much of the Netherlands, the Dutch pretty much shaped this part of the world into exactly what they needed.)

After the second World War, the port of Rozenburg grew almost explosively along the Nieuwe Maas river towards the sea. To handle the burgeoning sea traffic, a canal was built in the late 1960s running parallel to the already present Nieuwe Waterweg canal.

netherlands rozenburg wind wall protecting the canal from wind 6

The Caland canal – named after a Dutch civil engineer who was responsible for building of the Nieuwe Waterweg – served as an access for deep draft vessels, in particular bulk carriers and tankers of increasing dimensions that called at the Europoort docks. The narrow waterway, however, became increasingly difficult to navigate in strong winds, particularly around the Calandbrug bridge, as the ships became larger.

In the mid-1980s architect Martin Strujis and artist Frans de Wit were called upon for the task of creating an effective yet aesthetically pleasing wind barrier. The Rozenburg Windwall was the result of their effort.

netherlands rozenburg wind wall protecting the canal from wind 1

The 1,600 meter long “wind wall”, which could be mistaken for a modern art installation is made of 125 individual concrete slabs shaped and grounded in a particular pattern, along a length of 1.75 km that reduces the wind onslaught by 75%. In the southern part of the Canal, the slabs are shaped in the form of semi-circles – 18 meters wide and 25 meters tall.

netherlands rozenburg wind wall protecting the canal from wind 2

As one progresses towards the Bridge of Calandbrug however, the semi-circle circumference of the wind wall is substantially reduced and each wall is also spaced more closely to each other. Around the bridge, the walls are only 4 meters wide. At its Northern end, the semi-circular slabs are replaced with square slabs 10 meters wide, which placed on top of a 15 meter embankment, attain the same 25m height as the other sections.

The barrier continues in this form until it ends in a stand of trees near a gas storage facility.

netherlands rozenburg wind wall protecting the canal from wind 3

netherlands rozenburg wind wall protecting the canal from wind 5

Related Link: Wikipedia | Atlas Obscura | Amusing Planet

Accelerometers: How Cell Phones Know Up from Down Science, Technology & Curiosity 19 APR 2015

Engineering professor Bill Hammack is a well known science and technology documentarian who has been the face of his engineerguy.com project for quite a number of years now.

In this video he explains how it is that a smartphone knows whether it is orientated in landscape or potrait mode – essentially whether it lying on its side or not.

(I’ll give you a hint: it’s because of the accelerometer).

Besides taking us through the concept of the accelerometer, Bill also gives us an idea of just how exactly one of such tiny size is actually created by engineers in the first place!

I think it is absolutely amazing (and mind boggling!) when one starts thinking at the tiny scale engineers need to think and reproduce these inventions at.

girl holding a cell phone on its side - LG GD900 transparent phone

Related Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZVgKu6v808

The Ingenious Design of the Aluminium Beverage Can Science, Technology & Curiosity 11 APR 2015

Engineering professor Bill Hammack is a well known science and technology documentarian who has been the face of his engineerguy.com project for quite a number of years now.

This time around he takes us through the engineering choices underlying the design of the worldwide icon that is the beverage can. He explains why it is cylindrical, outlines the manufacturing steps needed to created the can, notes why the can narrows near it lid, show close ups of the double-seam that hold the lid on, and details the complex operation of the tab that opens the can.

In other words, it turns out that quite a bit of thought has gone into the design of our modern day soda can.

indian girl holding a can of fanta orange

Related Link: http://www.engineerguy.com/ | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUhisi2FBuw