Friday, June 08, 2007
Hurricane on Wheels
Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have developed a portable wind and rain simulator that can create a hurricane environment in a laboratory setting for scientific study. The unique device, reaching wind speeds equivalent to those of Hurricane Katrina, is equipped with eight industrial fans powered by four marine diesel engines. The simulator is mounted on a trailer and will be used on vacant homes to test building products, urban landscapes, and anything else that might be affected during a storm.
The simulator is outfitted with eight five-foot-tall industrial fans, each weighing approximately 1,200 pounds and stacked in two rows. The fans will be powered by four 700-horsepower marine diesel engines, a type of boat engine. The transfer of power from the engines to the fans is controlled by an innovative hydraulic drive system designed by Linde Hydraulics Corporation and Cunningham Fluid Power. Once the engines are redlined, they turn a set of hydraulic pumps that drive fluid through the motors housed in the fans, which spins the fans, explains Masters.
The wind from the fans will pass through a custom-built duct that enables it to accelerate to the desired speed. At the end of the duct are rudders that allow the researchers to direct the wind. Inside the rudders is a water-injection system to simulate wind-driven rain.
Wow, What a Political Move!
Russian President Vladimir Putin turned the tables on Washington today by suggesting the United States use a Russian-controlled radar instead of US anti-missile hardware in central Europe.
At a meeting with US President George W. Bush during a Group of Eight summit, Putin proposed that the United States and Russia jointly use a radar in Azerbaijan as part of an anti-missile shield that would protect all of Europe.
"We can do this automatically, and hence the whole system which is being built as a result will cover not only part of Europe but the entire Europe without an exception," Putin said.
"This would also ... allow us not to redirect our rockets (to targets in Europe) and, on the contrary, allow us to create conditions for joint work," he said.