Top 10 Design Engineering stories of 2015
Material science, Canadian innovation and the world’s fastest man dominated headlines this year for Design Engineering magazine readers.
Since 2010, Design Engineering magazine has tallied up the most popular engineering news stories, based on website traffic, for the year. As in previous years, our audience voted with their click-throughs. The following are the top 10 stories detailing how engineers around the world changed the present and shaped the future in 2015.
10. Ultra strong metal alloy foam floats on water
In the ongoing quest to cut weight but retain structural integrity, this story about a new metal foam captured attention this year for being less dense than water but yet still able to withstand more than 25,000 psi.
9. F-35 test pilot says JSF can’t dogfight
Among its many other problems, the F-35 received a failing grade from a test pilot who flew the costly stealth fighter in mock Top Gun-style combat. The pilot’s report, leaked over summer, called the costly jet sluggish relative to the F-16, which it’s slated to replace.
Kitchener’s Clearpath Robotics joined Quebec-based Robotiq and Kinova Robotics on Robotics Business Review’s list of the world’s most promising robotics companies. Spanning 11 countries, RBR50 companies were judged based on their innovation, groundbreaking applications, commercial success and potential.
7. Thoth Technology’s patented space elevator design sparks global interest
It may never grace a skyline or lift people and cargo into space, but the ThothX Tower space elevator, patented by the Pembroke, Ontario aerospace and defense OEM, sparked it’s share of global speculation with its modular, pneumatically driven design.
6. Calgary’s Carbon Engineering unveils groundbreaking carbon capture project
Created by Harvard climate scientist David Keith, a pilot facility designed to suck carbon dioxide directly from the air broke ground this year. The Calgary-based company says the pilot will remove a tonne of the greenhouse gas a day, but is a step toward a full sized facility that will also turn the CO2 into fuel.
5. World’s fastest 3D printed drone lifts off at Dubai Airshow
If you thought all aerial drones were slow moving quad-copters, guess again. This jet-powered UAV, designed by Aurora Flight Sciences and 3D printed by Stratasys, reached upwards of 150 mph over the Dubai Air Show in November.
4. Canadian Mechanical Engineering Salary Guide 2015
Guessing what others in your field earn is a favorite past time for anyone. This 2015 Compensation Survey compiled by Randstad Engineering removes all guesswork by revealing the average salaries of engineers in more than 30 Canadian cities.
3. Laser-etched metal so water-repellent, liquid bounces off
In January, University of Rochester researchers announced a laser-etching technique that makes any metal surface so water-repellent it can no longer get wet. In fact, the super-hydrophobic inducing process makes water droplets bounce off like they’re on a trampoline.
2. Canada’s AeroVelo breaks human-powered land speed record
For the fourth time in five years, the engineering superheros at Toronto’s AeroVelo made the top 10 list in 2015, this time for creating the world’s fastest human-powered road vehicle, the Eta speedbike. At the world speed challenge inBattle Mountain, Nevada this year, team captain Todd Reichert became the world’s fastest human with a 85 mph run.
1. Engineers discover strongest natural material
Above all others, DE readers favored this story that described how limpet teeth were discovered to have a higher tensile strength than spider silk or any other natural material. On par with even some of the toughest man made materials, the composite the aquatic snail’s choppers are composed of is equally strong at any size…but don’t expect bridges to be made of it any time soon.