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Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(08):24-28. doi:10.1115/1.2008-AUG-1.
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This paper analyzes the first commercialization report card to reflect the changes in the MEMS industry, which affect its performance. As MEMS has learned a great deal from the semiconductor industry, nanotechnology should learn from MEMS. Nanotechnology still will need venture capital money, which may prove especially challenging in raising the current financial market conditions. As an industry, it will need to create standards and road maps to help guide the participants. The MEMS report card has demonstrated a few significant advances in addressing the 14 critical success factors that are important in achieving successful commercialization. It is suggested that individuals interested in the commercialization of nanotechnology to become students of the evolution of both the semiconductor and MEMS industries.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(08):30-33. doi:10.1115/1.2008-AUG-2.
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This article elaborates the recent advancement of nanoscale engineering. With the developments in mechanical engineering labs, researchers have begun to fabricate high-efficiency thermoelectric materials with features as small as a few dozen nanometers. These nanoscale materials behave differently from bulk solids with the same chemistry, and in some cases are easier to produce. It is observed that the cooler made with nanomaterials brought the temperature down some 30° more than one made with two commercially available alloys could. The breakthroughs seen of late in nanoengineered materials suggest that thermoelectricity's day in the sun is closer than ever before. It is found that if nanostructure materials are used, then one can develop a thermoelectric generator that was 8 to 9 percent efficient; intercepting a fraction of the heat from a car's exhaust steam and converting it to electricity could recover 1 to 2 percent of the fuel's original energy.

Topics: Heat , Generators , Electrons
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(08):34-38. doi:10.1115/1.2008-AUG-3.
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This article discusses changes in the digital product development. Advances in computing power are multiplying the capabilities of design engineers. Information technology has advanced at a tremendous pace. Developers of design systems have exploited this capability with sophisticated mathematics, and today's systems are capable of producing very complex designs in much higher definition than ever before. Advances in geometric modeling have made it possible to represent 3-D solids in minute detail. Process modeling, which began with the study of a single manufacturing process, eventually gave way to complete factory flow simulations. The recent advances in IT enabled crossing the boundaries among technology, geometry, and process modeling with integrated computer-aided engineering, computer-aided design, and process planning. Current trends have now extended process modeling throughout the integrated supply chain and the extended enterprise.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(08):39-41. doi:10.1115/1.2008-AUG-4.
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This article reviews application of science and technology in predicting and control of disasters. Science and technology can also help to control the severity of a disaster, but here the achievements to date are much less spectacular than those in the prediction arena. The prediction of weather-related disasters has had spectacular successes within the last few decades. For disasters that involve fluid transport phenomena, such as severe weather, fire, or release of a toxic substance, the governing equations can be formulated subject to some assumptions—the fewer, the better. The pains-taking advances made in fluid mechanics in general and turbulence research in particular, together with the exponential growth of computer memory and speed, no doubt contributed immeasurably to those successes.

Topics: Disasters , Earthquakes , Fire
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(08):42-45. doi:10.1115/1.2008-AUG-5.
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This paper reviews contributions of John Montgomery toward controlled glider flight. It was recognized that a glider descending in still air is converting potential energy into motive power equal to the product of its weight and rate of sink. John Montgomery concluded that more basic research was needed. During the next few years, he designed an ingenious test apparatus in which water with suspended particles would flow around surfaces that represented various wing shapes. He also took photographs of the flow patterns. He was able to combine measurements, observations, and analysis. Montgomery had devised a technique to control pitch with a linkage to a pivoting tail section. The California Institute of Technology and other universities established advanced programs to support the increasingly challenging needs of the aircraft industry.

Topics: Flight , Aircraft , Wings
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(08):46-48. doi:10.1115/1.2008-AUG-6.
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This article discusses developments in powered sailplane. Jet propulsion clearly demonstrates the future direction of powered sailplanes. Powered glider applies to a new class of aircraft that takes off under their own power, and then, with the power plant stopped and streamlined, behave as true sailplanes. The advent of radio control has allowed model aviation to progress to an almost unbelievable degree. There are now small turbojet engines commercially available that weigh a little over 5 pounds and deliver 40 pounds force of thrust. Jet propulsion clearly demonstrates the future direction of powered sailplanes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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