Heat Transfer

Valerio Marra | September 4, 2013

As a nuclear engineer, I’ve attended many thermal engineering classes. Whereas I’ve enjoyed learning techniques to enhance heat transfer, I’ve also found fascinating those applications where it is important to reduce heat transfer using the right choice and combination of materials and shapes. The design of this is vital for many industries, including the building and aerospace industries. Lately, I came across an interesting example of thermal insulation in the most mundane of these things: clothing design. I had to […]

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Alexandra Foley | September 3, 2013

It’s probably something we have all experienced. We get home, stick last night’s leftovers in the microwave, and sit down to have a nice meal — only to realize that the food is scalding hot one bite and freezing cold the next. This experience has prompted me on more than one occasion to wonder: Why does a microwave heat food so unevenly?

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Fanny Littmarck | August 12, 2013

It seems everyone and their kid brother has a cell phone these days — and we are constantly using them. We don’t just rely on them to make calls anymore, either; they serve as our maps, calendars, to-do lists, channel for social interaction, and so forth. This continuous use begs the question: “What about the radiation our phones emit, and how much of it is absorbed by our brains?” When considering this, scientists use the specific absorption rate (SAR) to […]

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Stephan Savarese | August 7, 2013

Technology and mechanics enthusiasts might agree that engines are very cool — and they also know how fussy they get when running into cooling problems. When it comes to aircraft propulsion, overheating is not an option. Most planes can’t fly safely without an engine, so why run the risk of overheating? While current engine designs limit that risk using clever cooling systems, another path to solve this problem would be to design more energy-efficient engines, exempt from excessive heat release. […]

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Alexandra Foley | August 1, 2013

When thinking about freeze-drying processes, I am reminded of astronaut food like the freeze-dried ice cream I tried as a kid. While this application of freeze-drying is important for preserving food being launched into space, there is also an incredible number of noteworthy applications that are used a little closer to home. Let’s take a look at the freeze-drying process, how it can be simulated, and some of the products and designs that rely on it to function.

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Alexandra Foley | July 29, 2013

A contact switch is used to regulate whether or not an electrical current is passing from a power source and into an electrical device. These switches are found in many types of equipment and they are used to control, for example, the power output from a wall socket into a device when it is plugged in; the currents passing across the circuit board of a computer; or the electricity powering a light bulb when the switch is flipped on. Because of their […]

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Alexandra Foley | July 10, 2013

The flow of fluid through a porous medium is usually described by Darcy’s Law. However, what if you wanted to look at a combination of fluid flow, heat transfer, and mass transport in a porous medium? Instead of using Darcy’s Law, which calculates an average linear velocity for fluid flow in porous media, the Navier-Stokes equations would be necessary in order to obtain accurate results. In addition, heat convection and conduction, as well as mass transport would need to be […]

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Laura Bowen | June 26, 2013

It’s not always obvious what a major role temperature control plays in modern technology, as the interchange happens in the background. Plate heat exchangers, made up of successions of metal plates and various coiled pipes, regulate and manipulate temperature, and they get the job done quickly — thanks to an active surface that is large with respect to their volume.

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Andrew Griesmer | June 24, 2013

Sharp is a powerhouse in the electronics industry, involved in televisions, liquid crystal displays, LED lighting systems, solar cells, multi-function business machines, and many other electronics-based products. One of a global network of Sharp R&D laboratories, Sharp Laboratories of Europe (located in Oxford, England), has been busy researching and developing LED lighting, display technology, microfluidic lab-on-a-chip, and energy systems for incorporation into Sharp’s products.

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Laura Bowen | June 18, 2013

If you roast a turkey for dinner and you need to check the temperature, the technology exists to find it. But what happens if the temperature is so hot that a consumer-grade thermometer, or any man-made device, really, would instantly melt and be destroyed? This might not be a common occurrence in your kitchen, but it is a real concern in blast furnaces, where temperatures can reach close to 1,500°C. Simply guessing is far from safe. Luckily, by simulating with […]

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Alexandra Foley | June 10, 2013

When I was little, I used to love spending the night at my grandparents’ house, where I was allowed to watch TV, stay up late, and in the morning, help my grandmother make pancakes. The hardest part was always waiting for her old, slow electric burner to heat up — to my six-year-old self, it seemed to take hours for the burner to become hot enough after we’d finished mixing the batter. Luckily for me, and for other impatient chefs […]

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