Global Engineering

5 Of The Biggest Engineering Projects Currently Underway

Human beings have a distinct love of taking what they’ve created on paper and making it a physical reality. This is especially true when it comes to the large, international engineering projects that we’re currently working on around the world.

Many of these are being built for the benefit of mankind as a whole, hoping to provide a number of advantages to the many millions that will prosper once these projects have been completed.

1. Gotthard Base Tunnel

The Gotthard Base Tunnel, which was technically completed in 2016 but is till being worked on, is a series of the biggest underground tunnels of all time that have been created to connect Switzerland and Italy.

Drilled underneath the Alps, the tunnel was created to reduce travel times between Zurich and Milan while also cutting down on the amount of commercial and passenger traffic that has been clogging up the mountain highways above ground. More than 2500 works spent a total of 14 years to connect the tunnels from end to end.

2. The Three Gorges Dam

China, having both a massive industry and a massive population, quickly found that their power consumption was too high for conventional means of power production.

Thus began the Three Gorges Dam project, which is the world’s largest hydro-power dam, reaching more than 1.3 miles wide, and consisting of 32 turbines that are able to generate as much electricity as 18 nuclear power stations.

It’s been built to resist a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and can allow 10000-ton ocean frigates to sail from the interior of China to the open sea.

3. The Marmary Project

As one of the largest transportation projects in the world, there are four main components that make up the Marmary Project.

It consists of a 13.6 kilometre tunnel that will be spanning underneath Istanbul and the Bosporus Straits to connect Asia to Europe that will feature a modern train system that will see passengers travelling beneath the ocean once the tunnel has been fully completed.

This will allow passengers to travel in luxury while they commute to work and enjoy online pokies Australia or the latest TV series in comfort..

4. Andasol Solar Plant

The Andasol Solar Plant is the world’s very biggest solar power station, and can be found in Andalusia, Southern Spain. The plant is made up of over 600,000 solar panels that are spread over 126 acres of open land.

They use massive tanks of molten sand to store the energy that the panels produce over the day, converting the solar radiation into heat energy.

The power station is currently providing power to over 450,000 residents of Spain, making it one of the most environmentally friendly power stations globally, and the blueprint for many in the future.

5. Masdar City

Masdar City is set to be the world’s first zero carbon city, and is being constructed in Abu Dhabi.

The city will ban all automobiles, and will instead rely on mass public transport running completely on renewable energy, with the biggest solar farm in the middle east supplying the city’s energy needs.

5 World Famous Civil Engineers

The work of today’s civil engineers would be a lot more challenging were it not for the forefathers of civil engineering whose innovations changed the world forever.

Through their discovery and clarification of even the most fundamental principles of the practise, these now world famous civil engineers made incredible contributions to the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

John Smeaton

Known as the “Father of Civil Engineering”, John Smeaton was born in Leeds in 1724 and after a short career in law, became a maker of mathematical tools.

Through his pioneering work on the mechanics of watermills and windmills, Smeaton applied both his theoretical and practical knowledge in order to greatly increase the efficiency of watermills, thereby accelerating the early Industrial Revolution.

Responsible for an array projects including canals, bridges, mills, and harbours Smeaton’s work is still studied by engineering students today.

John A. Roebling

Born in 1806 in Prussia, John August Roebling attended the Royal Building Academy in Berlin where he studied engineering and architecture and where he first became interested in the challenges of the suspension bridge.

His requests to build a suspension bridge were declined for many years and he moved to America in 1837 where he became the one of the founding fathers of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. Beginning his career with the Pennsylvania Canal System, Roebling’s dream finally became a reality in 1844 when he built a suspension bridge in Pittsburgh and became America’s leading expert on suspension bridges.

Gustave Eiffel

Born in 1832 in Dijon approximately 200 years after bets for horse racing became popular, Frenchman Alexander Gustave Eiffel is certainly most well-known for the 300m tower in Paris which bears his name.

While the now iconic Eiffel Tower was only ever meant to be a temporary structure, Gustave Eiffel was throughout his career more well-known for his innovative ironwork bridges, cast iron, and railway stations. Eiffel also travelled to far flung countries for projects and his most well-known work before the construction of the Eiffel Tower was the observatory at Nice which was completed in 1886.

Squire Whipple

Known as the “Father of Iron Bridge Building”, Squire Whipple was born in in Hardwick Massachusetts and graduated from the private Union College in New York. He quickly became known as a highly skilled bridge builder and he is particularly celebrated for the bowstring arch truss design which he patented in 1841.

Several of Squire’s bridges are still in existence today, many of which are still in use, and a particularly beautiful example can be found in Albany, New York.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Considered to be one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in the history of engineering, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in 1806 in Portsmouth, England and became one of the greatest contributors to the Industrial Revolution.

Brunel is best known for his work on the Great Western Railway which was completed in 1838 and connected London with the Midlands and most of Wales and his bridges and tunnels could be found all over Great Britain.

The Worlds 6 Most Famous Engineering Projects

While modern engineering has certainly created some of the world’s most impressive structures, there have been many incredible feats of engineering throughout history which were once deemed impossible.

Not only impressive in terms of achievement, but these 6 structures also solved the riddle of some of modern day life’s most complex challenges. Fulfilling needs and implementing audacious measures, these famous engineering projects changed the world forever.

Transcontinental Railroad

Constructed between 1863 and 1869 and first known as the Pacific Railroad and later the Overland Route, the First Transcontinental Railroad was a 3,077km continuous railroad which connected the existing eastern U.S. rail network with the Pacific Coast on San Francisco Bay.

Revolutionising the settlement and economy of the American West, the Transcontinental Railroad made transporting good and passengers from coast to coast much faster and considerably less expensive.

Hoover Dam

In order to create the Hoover Dam, the Colorado River had to be diverted through an almost 5,000m series of tunnels, 17m in diameter, dug inside the canyon walls. Once the diversion had taken place, engineers had to create a structure strong enough to sustain future generations and keep the mighty Colorado River under control.

Upon its completion in 1935, the Hoover Dam – standing at 221m tall – was the world’s largest concrete structure and the foremost electricity producing facility.

Channel Tunnel

The longest tunnel with an undersea section in the world, the Channel Tunnel is a 50.45km rail tunnel beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover – an area populated with online blackjack lovers – which connects Kent, England to Pas-de-Calais, Northern France.

Bored through chalk marl stratum, the structure consists of three separate tunnels connected by cross-passage links and took 6 years to construct. The tunnel is used to transport passengers, vehicles, and goods and is one the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Millau Viaduct

Spanning the Tarn river valley near Millau in Southern France, the Millau Viaduct is currently the tallest vehicular cable-stayed road bridge in the world. Standing at 343m, the Millau Viaduct is almost 20m taller than the Eiffel Tower and was opened in December 2004.

Designed by Michel Virlogeux, a structural engineer, and Norman Foster, an architect, the viaduct took 3 years to construct at a cost of approximately €394 million.

Burj Khalifa

Owing to its height and location, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was created with the windy terrain and projected human demands on the building in mind.

Currently the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai stands at 829.8m tall and was built as the centrepiece of mixed-use development which includes homes, hotel, and parks.

Panama Canal

Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal in August 1914, a ship sailing from New York to San Francisco would have to sail around Cape Horn, at the tip of South America, which meant the journey took 67 days in total.

Upon the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, the 82km waterway provided a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans which significantly improved the conditions maritime trade.

Top 5 Mysterious Engineering Inventions

While much of today’s technology was impossible just 50 years ago, modern inventions have completely revolutionised life as we know it in the 21st century. From the first motorcar to today’s electric cars, grand ideas have shaped our world, but there are many inventions which never saw the light of day. Join us as we explore 5 engineering inventions shrouded in mystery.

Wirelessly Transmitting Electricity around the World

While many may be familiar with the name Nikola Tesla who is credited with creating many life-altering inventions, not all of his ideas came to fruition. One such idea was a low-cost global power and communication system which Tesla hoped would wirelessly power the world.

Tesla was outspoken about this idea from the mid-1890s and by the end of the 1900, he had secured an investment from banker J.P. Morgan to fund the project. However, J.P. Morgan for reasons unknown withdrew the funding and the project was subsequently abandoned in 1906.

A Machine to Peer into the Past

In 1972, some strange news arose from the Vatican in Rome of a machine invented by Father Pellegrino Maria Ernetti in the 1950s. Revealed in an Italian newspaper, the details of this secret machine known as Chronovision shocked the world entirely as it claimed to allow users to see into the past.

Ernetti was originally a physicist and he apparently took the Chronovision machine with him to the Vatican when he later became a priest and many believe that the machine is still kept in the vaults of the Vatican today – far more mysterious than NZ betting!

An Indestructible Material

Developed in the 1980s by hairdresser and amateur chemist Maurice Ward, this material was believed to withstand extreme heat and acted as both a protectant and insulator. Known as Starlite, Ward claimed that his invention could withstand everything from blowtorches to laser beams, but he took the secrets of the material to his grave when he passed in 2011.

Ward’s family are apparently privy to its composition, but this is as yet unconfirmed.

An Enigmatic Digital Coding System

In 1995, Romke Jan Bernhard Sloot, a Norwegian electronics engineer, claimed to have invented a digital coding system which could compress a video file to just 8kb of data. The computing world was taken by storm and Sloot soon had many offers to purchase the coding system.

However, shortly before the transaction took place, Sloot died of an unexpected heart attack and his claims could never be verified.

The Incredibly Efficient Carburettor

In April 1977, Tom Ogle revealed his invention to the world – a carburettor which massively increased the efficiency of fuel injected engines. Installed into a 1970 Ford Galaxie which typically only achieved 6km per litre, the modified Galaxie could suddenly get 53km per litre of fuel.

Shortly after the carburettor was unveiled, journalist Ron Laytner asked the inventor if was worried about oil companies coming after him and Ogle replied that he was not. Unfortunately, Ogle died under mysterious circumstances just 3 years later and the details of his incredible invention died with him.

4 International Aerodynamic Projects In The Works

NASA is currently the world’s leading authority when it comes to all things aerodynamic. They’ve sent men to the moon, they made valuable contributions to modern space flight, and they’ve had a big hand to place in the International Space Station.

But NASA is always working on its technology with the hope of making space travel cheaper, safer, and more widely available – which means researching and testing countless theories.

But their research isn’t limited to space, and much of NASA is devoted to making general aviation better for everyone; and these are some of their projects doing just that.

1. FUELEAP

FUELEAP, or Fostering Ultra-Efficient Low-Emitting Aviation Power, is one of the leading aviation projects currently underway at NASA, with the intention of creating an entirely new type of fuel cell that could be used to electrically power general aviation-sized aircraft.

Fuel cells use a combination of oxygen and hydrogen to generate electricity, and have been an important staple of much of their spacefaring programs, dating back to Project Gemini in the 1960s.

The latest project would see a fuel-cell many times more efficient than a standard piston engine, both reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

These may one day be miniaturized into portable devices, meaning that people could use their phones and laptops that much longer, making that game of online pokies NZ last for a few hours at a time.

2. LION

One of the biggest drawbacks of electrically powered aircraft is the high demand for storing the right amount of energy in batteries, even for planes that are only travelling short distances. The answer may come in the form of Lithium-Air batteries, which theoretically have the highest energy storage capacity of any battery.

These are known as ‘breathing batteries’, meaning that the battery pulls in oxygen as it expends energy, allowing the oxygen to react with the Lithium ions. It remains theoretical, but researchers hope to refine the technology and prevent it from naturally breaking down over time.

3. Spanwise Adaptive Wing

The vertical tail on modern aircraft exists for a reason, but they also increase drag and increase the amount of fuel consumed. The tail keeps the aircraft in line when landing and taking off, but once in the air it essentially becomes useless.

One concept in the works to circumvent this problem is by having the wings have adaptive rudders on either end that work much in the same way as the tail, but can be “put away” once the aircraft is in the air. This would allow the main vertical tail to be much smaller, and to cut down on the drag it creates by a substantial amount; meaning less fuel is lost per trip.

4. Additively Manufactured Electric Motor

Electrically powered aircraft are the main focus of NASA’s drive to provide cleaner forms of international transport. Creating long-lasting batteries is a challenge on its own, but they also hope to improve the motors that power the aircraft.

The most ambitious plan at the moment is to create smaller motors that generate the same thrust, and thanks to innovations in the 3D printing world, we may yet see these motors become more commercially viable.