Building a Better World | UMBC Industry News

Through our Professional Engineering suite of programs, UMBC is dedicated to producing the next generation of researchers, innovators, and problem solvers.

In today’s Industry News, we’re recapping some of the most impressive breakthroughs in engineering, from 3D printing to car fire prevention.

3D Printing Heats Up

A new heat treatment developed by MIT transforms 3D printed metals, making them stronger and more heat resistant. While this could be useful for many different projects, the team is turning their focus towards creating 3D printed gas turbines, used primarily in power plants and jet engines. Enabled by the new strength of printed metals, this method of turbine production is more cost effective, environmentally friendly, and precise than current production strategies.

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Preventing Battery Melt-Downs

Lithium-ion batteries are used in many everyday objects, including cell phones and electric cars. However, they can be very dangerous when overheated, short-circuiting and potentially catching fire. Although the batteries come with fail-safes to prevent overheating, researchers are engineering ways to make these fail-safes even safer. This proposed method of flame prevention kicks in faster than before, decreasing temperatures without sacrificing the battery’s performance.

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Improving Urban Intersections

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, the road is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for cyclists. Cycling accidents are on the rise, and almost half of them take place at intersections. To fix this problem, a transportation engineering team from Oregon State University is testing the effectiveness of “bike boxes”, a reserved space at the front of an intersection for cyclists, in increasing road safety. By letting cyclists skip to the front of the line at red lights, researchers hope to give them a head start in beating potentially fatal traffic.

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Collecting Bridge Data from a Smartphone

It seems like smartphones can do everything these days, and recording data about bridge integrity is now one of them. Typically, this kind of data is recorded by stationary sensors attached to bridges themselves. According to a recent study, however, collecting structural integrity data with smartphones is not only possible, but can result in the same kind of information as their stationary counterparts at a very low cost. In the future, researchers hope to use this type of crowdsourcing – potentially via an app – to monitor bridge integrity in a collaborative way.

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