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Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(02):24-27. doi:10.1115/1.2012-FEB-1.
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This article discusses how some people are using wood pellets, corn, grass, and other biomass to power their homes and cars with near zero percent emissions. The process that has inspired these people to do it themselves is not burning, per se, but gasification: the decomposition of biomass into gases that can then be burned cleanly. Moreover, these gases can be sent directly into conventional engines much the way natural gas can. When a carbon-y chunk is heated to a high enough temperature, it begins to break down into methane, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and other gases, which will readily combust with oxygen to produce a flame. If the oxygen supply is choked off, one can collect the gas to be burned. The synthesized gas, or syngas, can be burned efficiently and with extremely low emissions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(02):30-31. doi:10.1115/1.2012-FEB-2.
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This article discusses implementation of a new product lifecycle management (PLM) system at Parker Hannifin Corp.’s aerospace group. This group employs 6100 across its 18 design centers located around the world, where engineers create parts for commercial aircraft, including helicopters, and many military aircrafts. Managers within the Parker Hannifin aerospace group had been tracking digital documents with a document-management system since the early 1990s. The group recently upgraded its PLM system and is working on supplier access to design documents stored within the system. The new PLM system was rolled out in 2008. The Enovia MatrixOne system is from the same vendor that supplies the company’s main computer-aided design system, which is Catia from Dassault Systèmes of Paris. Regardless of how that project plays out, Parker Hannifin is now miles ahead of where it was only a few years ago when it comes to managing design documents and related data. The smoothing of any chinks among suppliers and in maintaining legacy information has all been worth the upgrade.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(02):32-33. doi:10.1115/1.2012-FEB-3.
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This article highlights the significance of being first in a patent system. In a first-to-file patent system, the inventor who files the first patent application wins the patent. All countries except the United States, until now, have first-to-file systems. The United States has been a first-to-invent country. That means, if two or more inventors apply to patent a similar idea, the inventor who can establish that he worked out the idea first will win the patent even if another inventor has filed a patent application first. Who was first to invent the idea can be decided by using a quasi-judicial procedure convened at the Patent Office called an “interference.” During an interference, first to invent means looking at both inventors’ invention conception dates and how and when they each reduced their inventions to practice. Lawyers are hired, invention notebooks are reviewed, and after a lot of time and money are spent, a winner is declared by a patent examiner.

Topics: Patents , Inventions
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(02):34-37. doi:10.1115/1.2012-FEB-4.
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This article discusses how one can make a successful résumé. Creating a successful résumé requires that you know yourself and document that knowledge effectively. A good résumé is needed to make your case to someone who has the authority to hire you. To improve your chances of getting ahead, you want more than a good résumé. Start and maintain a daily diary or record of events and what you have decided and done. Analyze and assess, correct, execute, and then identify the critical few activities and events of significance to your career and work history. Your log will provide you with a permanent record of what you were doing and thinking each day, along with your notes and observations on what happened of interest, along with who was involved. For construction work and projects, it is good to note the weather conditions, along with working conditions, crew deployments, and accomplishments. Compile your significant achievements at least monthly in a summary document. You will benefit by reviewing your daily record and making a concise summation.

Topics: Résumés
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(02):38-41. doi:10.1115/1.2012-FEB-5.
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This article outlines the history of wire drawing technology. The origin of wire drawing tools has been traced to well before 2000 BC era. The earliest examples are found in Egypt where gold wire was drawn to make jewelry. Anywhere in the spectrum between making jewelry and building bridges, the work starts with an elongated metal billet, which has been shaped by hand working or machine rolling. One end is reduced to a diameter that will pass through a funnel-shaped die, which is typically circular although it is possible to extrude other cross-sections. The small end of the billet is pulled (“drawn”), forcing the metal to be elongated and reduced in diameter. Drawing usually takes place in several steps, and the product can be variously treated between stages. This might involve softening or plating. Lubricants are applied in almost every case although very ductile metals such as gold were drawn without lubrication, sometimes through holes in gemstones.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2012;134(02):49. doi:10.1115/1.2012-FEB-6.
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This article presents an overview of the history of International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI). The IGTI gas turbine conference has been ASME's leading international technical meeting from its very beginning. The annual meeting is held in North America and in Europe on alternate years. Currently, more than half of the papers presented are from non-North American parts of the gas turbine community, most coming from Europe and Asia. The IGTI First Annual Gas Turbine Conference and Exhibit was held on April 16–18, 1956 at the Hotel Statler in Washington, DC. This very fist ASME all-gas turbine meeting had 25 exhibitors, six technical sessions, a total of 17 papers, and an attendance of about 750. In recent years, IGTI has been able to fund about $1M in gas turbine scholarships, as well as providing the world's leading forum for gas turbine technology.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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