What would you use to try and find an underground water leak, your ears or radar? Believe it or not the only way to find water leaks involves trying to hear the hiss of the leak through a device like a stethoscope. This antiquated system could soon be a thing of the past as a fast and full-proof method using radar is being developed thanks to an investment of £76,810 from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts), the organisation that invests in UK creativity and innovation.
The StesT Leak Radar is the brainchild of Dr Mark Harper, who has 30 years’ experience in applied physics and geophysics. Cambridge company STesT (Structural Testing Technology) Ltd also includes Dr Martin Thompson, an engineer who has worked in the mining and energy industries since 1975, and John Sheppard, a mechanical engineer with 20 years’ experience.
The present method of finding leaks in water mains involves looking at suspected damage areas at night and narrowing down an area through acoustic detection of the hiss produced by the leak. It is finally pinpointed using the listening sticks – lengths of rod that act as stethoscopes. This final step is time consuming and error prone, with other noises often hindering the discovery of any leaks. It can easily be misled by hissing noises arising from valves, ferrules, and other obstacles to water flow.
Joseph Meaney | alfa
New manufacturing process for SiC power devices opens market to more competition
14.09.2017 | North Carolina State University
Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
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25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy