Tag: computer programs

 

The collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge will undoubtedly result in some serious soul searching by the engineering community. In looking at it from the outside, my first gut instinct tells me that there was an error in the structural analysis of this rather pretty, but really quite complex structure, while it was only partially installed. I suspect this structure was designed with the use of a finite element (FEM) program, and since it is a non-conventional reinforced concrete structure, the analysis is far from straight forward. I could very well be wrong, but, at this stage, I suspect that the program misinterpreted, or did not recognize, a failure mode in the erection stage that eventually resulted in the collapse.

 

I am tending towards such a conclusion, because in the last few weeks I have been struggling with a weird result in a fancy hydrostatics program. We were analyzing the sinking of a small sportfishermen and trying to determine what happened in the last few seconds before sinking. 

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This is a Guest Blog by our U. Mich summer intern Sam Edwards.

 

I was handed off progress on Project 114 by a previous intern in the office. He had added in a feature to plot the sections of files that were input to the “Hydro2A” calc engine as well as started the design of a “Marine High School Research Vessel”, or MHSRV. My goal was to continue tinkering with Project 114 as well as to continue design on the MHSRV.

 

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Project 114 is an innovative approach to engineering computations that is being developed for SNAME by Steve Hollister. In essence, it will be a suit of basic NAME computer programs that run on an Excel input/output backbone. This approach is quite powerful and runs a careful middle ground between large, canned, NAME program suites and home grown NAME computer programming. This effort is not meant to displace large powerful computational packages, but rather is meant to provide tools for occasional users and to allow a useful and standardized entry point for NAME amateurs, students and occasional users.

 

The project is further described at the SNAME website and at present a hydrostatics, a Savitsky and a basic powering module are available for experimentation. (beta testing?)  

 

In March we were contacted by Monmouth County's High Technology High School and asked if we could place a student for the Spring. High Tech High School is one of the Monmouth County Vocational High Schools with which M&O has a steady interation and is one of the best technical high schools in the country.

 

High Tech wanted Brady Donahue to attend at our office for 3 months of Fridays since he had expressed an interest in vehicle design. Fortunately we had the perfect job for him; to be the first true student guinea pig for Project 114. read more »

As a naval architect and marine engineer I have slowly drifted into a bizarre conundrum that actually may be an industry wide problem that is ripe for an industry wide solution.

 

What I am talking about is a loss of all those really great NAME engineering computer programs that were developed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Yes, today we have much fancier NAME computer packages that are heavily integrated, but, in actual fact, they only serve a small market and have completely left out those engineers and designers (and hobbyists, and university students and even high schoolers) who do not sit in front of a particular computer design package all day, but who do want to get a relatively fast answer to a particular problem. read more »