Posts about university business collaboration

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Challenge Again

photo of UMichigan's Solar Car

U-M wins North American Solar Challenge for the fifth time

The University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team won the North American Solar Challenge, crossing the finish line in Alberta, Canada on Tuesday after more than 50 hours of racing over nine days.

The car averaged around 45 mph and led from the first day, besting 15 university teams that raced the 2,400-mile course from Plano, Texas to Calgary. Continuum finished about 10 hours before the second place team.

The North American Solar Challenge normally takes place every other year in the same year as the world race, but in 2007 its previous sponsor backed out. The race’s future was in question until Toyota took over the sponsorship.

Related: Eco-Vehicle Student CompetitionTeam blogHonda EngineeringMiddle School Students in Solar Car CompetitionUW- Madison Wins 4th Concrete Canoe Competition

A Whale of a Turbine

A whale of a turbine

a flipperlike prototype is generating energy on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, with twin, bumpy-edged blades knifing through the air. And this summer, an industrial fan company plans to roll out its own whale-inspired model – moving the same amount of air with half the usual number of blades and thus a smaller, energy-saving motor.

Some scientists were sceptical at first, but the concept now has gotten support from independent researchers, most recently some Harvard engineers who wrote up their findings in the respected journal Physical Review Letters.

when models of the bumpy flippers were tested in a wind tunnel, Fish and his colleagues found something interesting. The flippers could be tilted at a higher angle before stall occurred.

The scientific literature had scant reference to the flipper bumps, called tubercles. Fish reasoned that because the whale’s flippers remained effective at a high angle, the mammal was therefore able to manoeuvre in tight circles. In fact, this is how it traps its prey, surrounding smaller fish in a “net” of bubbles that they are unwilling to cross.

In 2004, along with engineers from the US Naval Academy and Duke University, Fish published hard data: Whereas a smooth-edged flipper stalled at less than 12 degrees, the bumpy, “scalloped” version did not stall until it was tilted more than 16 degrees – an increase of nearly 40 percent.

Fish then partnered with Canadian entrepreneur Stephen Dewar to start WhalePower, a Toronto-based company that licenses the technology to manufacturers.

It has all been a bit of a culture shock for Fish, who is more at home in the open world of academia than the more secretive realm of inventions and patents. Two decades ago, his only motivation was to figure out what the bumps were for.

“I sort of found something that’s in plain sight,” he says. “You can look at something again and again, and then you’re seeing it differently.”

Related: Finspiration, Whale-Inspired Wind TurbinesDeep-Sea Denizen Inspires New PolymersWind Power Technology BreakthroughEngineer Revolutionizing Icemakers

Nearly Waterless Washing Machine

Professor Stephen Burkinshaw, Chair of Textile Chemistry at the University of Leeds, has created a nearly waterless washing machine. Xeros ltd. has been created to commercialize products based on this system (both for home use and for solvent-based commercial garment cleaning). Given the predicted trouble for supplies of freshwater technology that can reduce water use will be very useful.

Virtually waterless washing machine heralds cleaning revolution

Researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a new way of cleaning clothes using less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine.

A range of tests, carried out according to worldwide industry protocols to prove the technology performs to the high standards expected in the cleaning industry, show the process can remove virtually all types of everyday stains as effectively as existing processes whilst leaving clothes as fresh as normal washing. In addition, the clothes emerge from the process almost dry, reducing the need for tumble-dryers.

Related: Clean Clothes Without SoapVentless Clothes Dryersenvironment related posts