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Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(04):32-37. doi:10.1115/1.2014-Apr-1.
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This article highlights the introduction of new programs that keep science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in focus for students between elementary and high school. The number of U.S. STEM middle school magnets grows every year thanks in part to a curriculum from Project Lead the Way. Magnet schools are public schools that tie curriculum to a certain theme; the schools offer choice to a diverse population by drawing interested students from surrounding districts. Middle school units focus on engineering design, sustainable energy solutions, aeronautics, astronautics, and green architecture. Schools that use the curriculum are required to implement the design and modeling and the automation and robotics units. Students in junior high already involved in STEM subjects need additional exposure to math, science, and engineering before high school. Students exposed early to a STEM curriculum often follow it through high school. The growth in middle school programs lets them do just that.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(04):38-43. doi:10.1115/1.2014-Apr-2.
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This article presents views of Todd Torrence on introduction of online learning programs that can open paths from technical to technological. The University of North Dakota, which offers the only accredited online BSME program in the United States, is in a state where hydraulic fracturing has sharply increased oil production. The university has applied for accreditation of an online program offering a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering. The UND online BSME program covers the same material as its on-campus counterpart. North Carolina State has a 2+2 program where a student can go to a partnering university at the east and west ends of the state for the first two years of their undergraduate work. The University of North Dakota online BSME program covers the same material as its on-campus counterpart. Part of the accreditation process is assuring that the online degree is equivalent to the face-to-face degree. The challenge with undergrad online engineering programs is their sheer size and the time it takes to complete them, as compared with graduate programs.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(04):44-49. doi:10.1115/1.2014-Apr-3.
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This article presents an overview of charging technology called Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR). It has been developed by a team of engineers and technologists at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology. An all-electric bus developed in Korea recharges its battery when it travels over electric coils buried at intervals along its route. The concept is called on-line electric vehicles, and the heart of OLEV technology is the transfer of enough electricity across gaps of up to 10 inches to power a fully loaded bus. Specifically, underground cables transfer power from the electrical grid to drive motors and on-board batteries via pickups beneath the OLEV bus bodies. The OLEV system wirelessly charges a bus, stopped or in motion, for continuous operation. SMFIR transfers rely on electromagnetic field resonance rather than inductive coupling. In SMFIR technology, the sending unit and the vehicle receiver resonate at 20,000 hertz.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(04):53-55. doi:10.1115/1.2014-Apr-4.
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This article discusses the developments taken place in the gas turbine global industry in nearly 75 years. Several significant events for both the industrial and aviation gas turbine industry occurred as the dark clouds of WWII gathered. The first utility gas turbine to generate electricity was developed by Brown Boveri and installed in the town of Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland 75 years ago. On 7th July 1939, it was full power tested at 4 MW in Baden, Switzerland. In terms of energy conversion, the gas turbine is relatively new from a historic perspective, being only 75 years young. The potential of the gas turbine was presented in a technical paper in February 1939, by Dr. Adolf Meyer, former Director of BBC Brown Boveri, at a meeting of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London. The modern Combined Cycle Plant achieves better than 60% efficiency and possibilities of 65% are foreseen as cycle improvements will improve incrementally.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(04):54-58. doi:10.1115/1.2014-Apr-5.
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This article explains various technical aspects of the boundary layer ingestion (BLI) concept. Using BLI, airliner designs featuring close-coupled, rear-mounted turbofans are being considered, with a fuselage sculpted to sweep a large part of the fuselage boundary layer into engine inlets for reduced fuel consumption. With an engine array fuselage-centered, rather than splayed out on wings, reduced rudder control is needed in the event of a single engine outage. This reduces the size of a BLI tail assembly, saving weight and reducing drag. A near-future goal of the BLI studies is to determine if modern engine front-mounted fans can be designed to operate efficiently and stably under BLI inlet conditions. The D8 design is aimed at the huge single-aisle, narrow-body market, now dominated by the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 families. Airframe and engine designers strive to achieve 'clean' inlet flow conditions for jet engines.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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