29 September 2014

The Best Quote About Innovation?

Could this be the best quote about innovation? I can't help but snapped it from the newspaper...

27 September 2014

Wearable Technology: Can They Design It?

Last week I proposed a topic for the engineering design team for the upcoming project that could possibly do for this final quarter of the year. Ever since becoming a product developer myself (where I've been into numerous design exhibitions/competition through all these years) and now that I'm also part of the 'thinker' to revamp the current design course here in the campus, innovation has been bread and butter of my daily life. Especially when it comes to infusing the engineering and technology with fashion and style; coz mixing both art and science is not that easy, but extremely essential as they need each other like you never know!

One of the topic I'm proposing was for them to design wearable technology as it became such a big business as of recent due to the booming requirement to infuse smart technology and daily commuting life. The highly sought-after product these days is definitely battery or power source, without a doubt; coz people need them to charge up their mobile phones while being outdoor. But what I'm expecting for my future innopreneurs to do (that's innovative entrepreneur, fyi!) is for them to focus more on the namesake itself - wearable. It has to be worn on the body like a jacket or clothing item instead, not as a accessories like the QBracelet (CLICK). I know I've seen all ugly solar-powered jackets out there in the market, but I want something that look different. Something that is chic. Something that people don't know it's a gadget-charging clothing item, but does the work very well. As I used to say to my audience "your design must give an element of surprise" by which people should not see the real technology that goes behind it, yet merely take it like it's not what they expected - therefore the design must look seamless.

Can my future innopreneurs do it? I dunno. In the previous years some of my design team kinda fail to bring out my idea to life, coz most of them is too far advanced for their level. For this time, I'm quite anxious to see the result too. But whatever it is, one of the closest contender on what I want my idea would be is something that's done by Pauline van Dongen - the wearable solar. It'll be genius!

*I have 30+ more design projects to bring out to life. I welcome anybody to invest on my idea - which will benefit various sort of demographic. :)

14 June 2014

Bend It Like Beckham: Analyzing Beckham's Kick from Fluid Dynamics POV

Let the game begins. From now on till up to a month, sleep pattern for some people may change due to the hooking up to the tele to watch the World Cup Brazil 2014. Who wouldn't, as it's one of the most celebrated sports tournament around the globe apart from the Olympic Games. And it happens every 4 years, that's how you can use all the 'reserved energy' you've been saving after the previous one at South Africa!

Anyway, let's go back a little bit into the history. Way back, to more than a decade ago into one of the recorded event in the world of football (or soccer, for you lot in the States). Probably the most-studied kick in football history was David Beckham’s free-kick goal in the England-Greece World Cup qualifiers in 2001. The kick left his foot, it was high enough to pass over the screen of defenders, and spinning enough on a vertical axis to curve toward the corner of the goal. It appeared to be aimed above the goal, but suddenly slowed down dramatically in flight and fell into the upper corner of the goal. How do you explain this through fluid dynamics point of view?

Well, let's begin with what the concept truly lies. The keywords here : the ball, the flow, the air. Those who took Fluid Mechanics would've known this as the flow of solid particles through fluid medium. 

How can we analyze it? First, we need some of the important data, coz without it we can't deduce the observation quantitatively.
  • The speed of the ball = 36 m/s (as reported by literatures) 
  • The distance of the kick from the goal = 27 m. 
  • Surrounding pressure = 1 atm (a typical atmospheric level as I presumed it's not on top of the mountain!)
  • Surrounding temperature = unknown, but let's assume it was 25oC (or 298K).

Why do we need the pressure and temperature? Coz we wanna know the density and viscosity of air, which gives us:
  • Density = 1.20 kg/m3
  • Viscosity = 0.000018 kg/ms. 

What else do we need? Oh, the 'properties' of the ball itself. As FIFA-approved standard, let's take the ball as having:
  • Mass = 425 g (or 0.425 kg) 
  • Diameter  = 22 cm (or 0.22 m)

So, do we have enough information? What else we can assume to make our analysis easier (as what engineers would do!)? Well, let's assume that the stitching on the ball, spin, gravity and wind that influence the speed and curvature of the ball's flight path are initially disregarded. Otherwise, this preliminary analysis will be neverending!

Now, we have almost all the information ready. What's next? Let's sketch how the situation would possibly look schematically. One word of precaution here: in actual situation, the ball would move in a curved projectile mode, hence the effect of gravity must be considered (as the initial statement was 'fell into the upper corner of the goal'). But in this preliminary analysis, I assumed it moved in a straight line horizontally. 

Taking the 'control' area is surrounding the ball, as it moves very fast from Beck's foot towards the goal post, we can assume the buoyancy effect subjected onto the ball is very minimal (~ 0) in the vertical z direction. The affect of the gravity (i.e. weight, W) is also assumed to be negligible, as it was also in the vertical axis. Hence, the forces that involved during the kick is the force by Beck's (F) and the drag force due to the air that acted on the opposite direction (FD).

So, the equation would be: Force = Weight - Drag force - Bouyancy Force.

And eliminating the terms of W and FB:

Notice that the left hand side of the equation could be expanded to indicate the change in term of velocity. Why do we need to find the change in velocity? Coz that's what causes it to slow down and entered the goal.

Further expanding the equation, and integrate with respect to the boundaries involved, we will get this expression...

Now, before we solved to find the respective velocities, we gotta calculate the Reynolds number as we need to determine what would be the value of the drag coefficient (as you can see the term CD in the equation). At the beginning of the ball’s flight, the particle's Reynolds number is:

At this particular point, the Reynolds number is close to where there's a sudden change in the drag coefficient, as indicated by the diagram below. As the value is way below the limit of 0.1, for the purpose of evaluation we can assume CD ~ 0.1 for easy calculation.

Now, how to determine the change of velocity? If the ball slowed down, Re is lesser, therefore CD should be higher (based on the graph). Assume that this transition occur at halfway through the goal, therefore we need to find what would be the reduction in velocities. 

For the first half,

Which means, the ball lost about 5% of its initial velocity.

For the second half, the ball is slowing down. But as Re ~ 501,000, therefore it doesn't follow our initial guess (of CD would be higher); thus we can still use CD ~ 0.1 at this point. Therefore,

Which means, the ball lost another ~7% of its velocity.

In total the velocity of the ball decreases ~12% from the initial, which is considered appreciably a lot when it comes to velocity reduction! But of course, the actual speed of the ball once it reached the goal was much lesser than what we calculate here as the stitching on the ball, spin, gravity and wind effect all contribute towards the slowing down of the ball (which we initially assumed to be disregarded) - which could probably reach 20% reduction. Massive? of course.

The outcome? GOAL!

Anyway. The footballs used in the matches must qualify the approved criteria set by FIFA. Ever wonder what are the testing procedures that the manufacturers must abide in order for the ball to pass before it can enter the field? These are the typical quality they must follow:

26 May 2014

PROMO: A Chance to Become A CFD Expert (Graduate Assistantship)

This is a promotional material and a chance of a lifetime for those who would like to pursue their MSc study in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). I am looking for a candidate who's interested in the area of Fluid Mechanics, material design and process development to undertake a minimum of 1.5-years period of a research project. 

Brief details are in the followings:
  1. Period of study: 1.5 - 2 years (depending on the depth of research).
  2. Scope of project: computer simulation/modelling, to design and develop channels for a gas system via computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach.
  3. Funding mechanism: A fully-funded project under the Long-term Research Grant Scheme (LRGS) by the Ministry of Education. 
  4. Requirement: a Chem Eng graduate, with a minimum CGPA of 3.00. Preferably someone who has passion in the fluid mechanics, numerical methods and mathematics.
  5. Tuition fee: Conditionally waived.

What are the benefits?
  1. Opportunity to attend conferences/seminars - fully funded, local and overseas.
  2.  Since this project involved a multi-universities effort, you'll have a chance to be attend the Annual Colloquium organized by this research group (fully funded expenses).
  3. Prospect to become an expert in CFD, as it has recently become the most sought-after, go-to technology especially in Chemical / Mechanical/ Civil/ Petroleum Engineering.
Why CFD is now the most sought-after technology? What are the job prospects for you after the graduation that's related to CFD? 

For that matter, PM me if you're interested. 'Serious' candidate only.

~ ~

16 May 2014

How Much Salt in Your Water?

Salinity is the measure of the salt content in water or soil. How much salt it contains depends largely on the source or origin of the water or soil itself. When it comes to salinity in water, various part of the water resources contributed to the various degree of salinity - which, in a typical research terms they are classified as either brine, saline, brackish or freshwater. The common unit for expressing the degree of salinity or concentration of salt is parts per thousands or ppt (not to be confuse with ppt of parts per trillion). 

The unit conversion: 1 ppt = 1 g/L. A typical seawater has a salinity of 35 g/L or 35 ppt.

Diagram below illustrates the variation of concentrations of salt (or degree of salinity) for various water resources.

[pix via wikipedia]