Liquid crystal display (LCD) screens are omnipresent in our technologically saturated lives. Having largely displaced the older CRT screens, LCDs make up a large portion of the digital imaging we see all around us. They are present in everything from our ubiquitous smartphones and computer screens to digital billboards, wristwatches and vehicle and aircraft instrumentation. How do flat panel LCD screens work? One can often find videos and articles documenting eager teardowns of new devices, but few delve beyond the hardware and into the materials and design behind the screen itself. For this series of blog posts, we will be review some aspects of display technology , why they work, and how they are assembled. To illustrate my points, I’ve disassembled a legacy Sony Ericsson® S500i phone [...]
A Mechanical Engineer Designs Ways to Give Your Canine Friend a Lift Up A Mechanical Engineer designs ways to give your "Best Friend" easy access to your vehicle and different higher surfaces. Read more to find out what kind of options are available for your dog. A properly sized and installed dog ramp eases a dog's boarding dilemmas. Ramps are divided into several categories: folding, telescoping, fixed, moveable and those that are stored under the back bumper of a car. This article describes the different types of dog ramps available and the engineering required to properly design them. Fig. 1 Mechanical Engineers Design Easy Car Access for Dogs Mechanical Design, Materials Science, Weight, and Ease [...]
Figure 1: Unpowered Sony Ericsson S500i LCD screen at 200x magnification In our last blog post, I wrote about some of the physics and materials science principles that go into the design and manufacture of liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens. The eponymous liquid crystals (LCs) in such a display have to be quite small in order to create a seamless image; as I mentioned in the last entry, the subpixels (the red, green and blue elements comprising a pixel, visible in Figure 1) can be smaller than a red blood cell. Each of these subpixels needs its own control system that interacts with the data drivers along the periphery of the screen. These power and control circuit components [...]
Figure 1: Composite layered heater from patent US 9,224,626 B2 Alexander Glew, Ph.D., P.E. recently contributed to a new patent on an advanced thin-film electric heaters, layered composite heaters, for CVD semiconductor processing and related technologies titled “Composite substrate for layered heaters”. Watlow Electric, based in St. Louis, hired Glew Engineering and Dr. Glew to help develop this heater technology due to his experience in the Silicon Valley’s semiconductor industry. As a semiconductor equipment expert and materials engineering consultant, Dr. Glew’s familiarity with semiconductor manufacturing meant he understood both the limitations of common semiconductor chuck heating methods and the techniques that could be used to construct a better heater. In this post, we review how this composite heater capitalizes on semiconductor [...]
Portrait of Galileo Galilei Justus Sustermans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons I’d like to return to our previous series on the Italian Masters, focused not on the usual masters or painting and sculpture but on the masters or science, mathematics, and engineering. So far in the series I’ve written about the accomplishments of Volta, Cassini, Venturi and Torricelli. Today, I’d like to look at one of the greats: Galileo Galilei. Galileo is most famous today for standing up for heliocentrism against the Catholic Church and spending the last years of his life under house arrest as punishment. However, Galileo didn’t let controversies or confinement stop him, and accomplished a great amount of research in not only [...]
Figure 1: Allesandro Volta We’ve been taking a break from hard-hitting mechanical engineering and materials science blogs with some pieces on the Italian masters of science, mathematics and engineering in the 16-19th centuries. I’ve previously explored the lives and contributions of Evangelista Torricelli, Giovanni Venturi and Giovanni Cassini. For this blog, I’m focusing on Alessandro Volta, who helped revolutionize our understanding of electricity and electrochemstry it in the late 18th century. […]
Figure 1: Mars Exploration Rover mobility testing By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons I’ve been writing a short blog series celebrating Mars Exploration Rover B (MER-B) Opportunity’s 12th anniversary of its landing on Mars. Opportunity has exceeded its original three-month design lifetime by 48 times, and is still operating every day. In previously entries I’ve covered the hazardsOpportunity faces on hostile surface of the red planet as well as some of the advanced materials science technologies that it uses to survive. In this entry, I’ll look at some of themechanical engineer design choices that have allowed the rover to run its own incredibly slow Martian marathon. Flexible Drive System The strange-looking 6-wheeled drive system [...]
Fig. 1 Tall Fire from Chemical We have written about pyrophoric materials in a number of Glew Engineering’s previous blogs on safety in semiconductor fabrication, but have yet to cover how to define it or its danger. At its simplest, a pyrophoric substance is any substance that spontaneously ignites in room temperature air. As one might imagine, spontaneous combustion on contact with the regular atmosphere we live in can be quite dangerous. Last year, Glew Engineering assisted a research lab in designing a safe gas distribution system for their plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition chamber. During the initial work, the building administrators and safety managers were concerned about the lab’s proposed use of silane and germane, two pyrophoric and toxic materials. To them, [...]
Figure 1: Diagram of the scientific equipment on MER-B Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover Launches Press Kit, June 2003, p. 41 [i] I mentioned in a blog last week that Mars Exploration Rover B (FIgure 1), more affectionately called Opportunity, recently celebrated the 12th anniversary (in Earth years) of its landing on Mars. 12 years without maintenance on the hostile surface of another planet is incredible, considering the original operational time was planned for only 3 months. Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity currently gets the most press, with its larger tool library and fancier cameras, but there are still scientists and engineers at JPL piloting Opportunity from one scientific site to the next. In the last blog, I mentioned [...]
- 12 Years a Martian: Engineering Challenges on the Red Planet GalleryCAD, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Consulting, Expert Witness, Licensed Mechanical Engineer, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Consulting, Thermal Management
Figure 1: Mars Exploration Rover By NASA/JPL/Cornell University, Maas Digital LLC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Depending on which Facebook pages or Twitter feeds you follow, some of you may have caught wind that Opportunity (Mars Exploration Rover B, Figure 1) recently passed its twelfth anniversary of its landing on the red planet. Opportunity’s ongoing trek across Mars represents a fantastic accomplishment in engineering. At the time I’m writing this, the rover has been in continual operation for over 4,300 Earth days (that’s about 4,185 Sols, or Martian days). Considering its original planned mission time of 92 Earth days, Opportunity has exceeded its design lifetime by 4,700%. Imagine having a car that, instead of a [...]
A close look at how 2-D phosphorus is being used in 2-Dimensional drumhead resonators, and what this means for future electronic devices.
A discussion of utilizing CFD and FEA to perform stress analysis and thermal analysis on turbines that acquire geothermal energy.
Engineering improved materials through biomimicry and the study of human skin
Glew Engineering has experts in material science. Rare earth elements or rare earth metals are essential in the production of many hi-tech products