The great thing about our senior project is that beside our principle goal of improving ISR capabilities, our vehicle can be used in many other applications. One potential area of use is in the exploration and discovery of deep ocean life. Seeing what other explorers are finding under water nowadays definitely motivates me to drive this project to completion.
Too Creepy! Photo Credit: Ventutter.com
I recently came across an article about Idiacanthus Atlanticus or, in other words, Black Dragonfish. These terrifying yet mesmerizing creatures can be found as deep as 6,500 ft below the subtropical and temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere. As with many creatures on this planet, male and female Black Dragonfish look very different from each other. The females have barbels on their chin and fang-like teeth while the males lack these features and are much smaller. Because resources are in limited quantities deep below the ocean surface, males don’t have a functional digestive system. Since males don’t consume valuable resources, they only live long enough to mate.
Dragonfish Larvae. Photo Credit: thefeaturedcreature.com
Dragonfish larvae are also very strange. They have long stalks with eyes at the very end which protrude out from their small bodies. As they mature, these stalks retract back into their bodies where their eyes find their final position.
Although Black Dragonfish and similar species live most of their lives in the deep end of the ocean, they sometime swim up to the surface at night. This means that there is a possibility we can see this species within our vehicle’s operating range!
Until next time!
To support the completion of our project please check out our GoFundMe site and pass it along to your friends. We have already raised $500 and we couldn’t be more excited! Thanks everyone!
U.S. space shuttle Atlantis. Photo Credit: Science.NationalGeographic.com
Space travel has fascinated so many of us since Kennedy promised we’d get a man on the moon. Scientists and engineers worked tirelessly to introduce humans to the rest of the universe and society has benefited greatly from their work. Space travel investment created many things from freeze dried ice cream and Tang to new, more accurate methods for heat transfer calculations. One of the huge improvements was the study of supersonic flow and the convergent-divergent nozzle. This nozzle has made space flight, supersonic jets and all kinds high speed transportation possible. It operates using some pretty interesting ideas.
Most of us are only familiar with nozzles as they apply to garden hoses or shower heads, but some of the same basic principles apply to these new supersonic devices. A converging nozzle increases the speed of the flow, like when you cover part of the head of the hose to spray the water farther. A diverging nozzle is a little less common but it reduces the speed of the flow, like when you adjust your shower head so it’s not blasting you. A convergent-divergent nozzle combines those two back to back and produces velocities greater than the speed of sound. If you’re thinking, “Wait, if a converging nozzle speeds up the flow and a diverging nozzle slows down the flow wouldn’t they just cancel each other out?” you’re pretty on top of your game. This is where compressibility effects come into play. Most of the nozzles we’re familiar with use water, an incompressible fluid, while these nozzles use gasses which are compressible. Imagine you’re coming back from a trip up in the mountains and you have a totally full water bottle and an empty one. The change in altitude will compress the air in the empty bottle, leaving it crumpled while the full water bottle will remain essentially the same.
Air can usually be assumed to act like an incompressible fluid for low speed, like figuring out how strong of winds will take down a billboard or how fast a fan can move air. When air speeds start to reach the speed of sound pretty neat things start happening but first we need to look a bit at what sound is. Sound waves are pressure waves that pass through air very fast, the important thing here is that they’re waves of high pressure. Now lets get back to the nozzle, our first section is a converging nozzle, this speeds up the flow. Lets say that the air is coming in really fast, like almost speed of sound fast, then as it passes through the nozzle it reaches the speed of sound. This means that any of those sound pressure waves trying to move back through the air will be caught in the throat of the nozzle. Kind of like when a person is walking towards the back of a subway train just as it’s leaving the station. They are moving back, but the train is moving forward, so a person standing in the station would see the person in the train as stationary. Also the air is moving so fast that not all of it can get through the throat as fast as it would like so it starts pushing and shoving like a bunch of college kids trying to get free food. This makes the throat of the nozzle a very high pressure region, so high pressure that the flow keeps accelerating through the diverging portion of the nozzle, where incompressible flows would start slowing down. The pressure of the air forces it out like gas out of a shaken soda bottle.
This simple design requires a deep understanding of the world we live in, and it provides the foundation for almost everything that moves at or faster than the speed of sound.
Video Credit: YouTube.com
What happens to your heart when you dive? Some scientists in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, had that same question. Naturally diving animals like seals or dolphins have a mammalian diving reflex; this causes their heart rate to significantly decrease allowing them to use up less oxygen and stay underwater for longer. What about humans though?
P.G. Landsbug and the University of Pretoria did a study and found that the human heart rate can drop down to around 20 beats per minute, that’s just one time every three seconds! This means that we have a natural ability to explore the underwater world for extended periods of time!
Isopod as captured by a Micro Phone Lens. Photo Credit: MicroPhoneLens.com
In today’s world where smart phones can help us communicate, discover, and share information in faster and more innovative ways, there are still people who think we can do more with our mobile devices. Thomas Larson is one these people who thinks a phone’s functionality can extend from simply “insta-chatting” and “snap-gramming” pictures of your dog and dinner entrées.
15x Micro Phone Lens Photo Credit: MicroPhoneLens.com
Back in 2012, University of Washington mechanical engineering undergraduate student Thomas Larson began developing stick-on lenses for mobile phones which turns a smart phone into a field microscope. In 2013, with an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, he funded the manufacture of Micro Phone Lenses which allow a smart phone to capture images magnified by a factor of 15! Again this year he has made another successful Kickstarter campaign for the development of stick-on lenses that can magnify images by a factor of 150! Having a microscope in your pocket has incredible benefits as an educational tool, field research aid, and even a potential water quality tester. These 15x and 150x Micro Phone Lenses are currently available for both purchase and pre-order on his website. For more information please visit, www.microphonelens.com.