New method can pinpoint cracks in metal long before they cause catastrophes — ScienceDaily

When metallic components in airplanes, bridges and other structures crack, the results are often catastrophic. But Johns Hopkins University researchers have found a way to reliably predict the vulnerabilities earlier than current tests.

In a paper published today in Science, Johns Hopkins University researchers detail a new method for testing metals at a microscopic scale that allows them to rapidly inflict repetitive loads on materials while recording how ensuing damage evolves into cracks.

“We’re able now to have a more fundamental understanding about what leads up to cracks,” El-Awady said. “The practical implication is that it will allow us to understand and predict when or how the material is going to fail.”

Whether it is the pounding of vehicles on bridges or shifts in air pressure on airplanes, such continuous change called “cyclic loading” gradually induces slips in the internal molecular structure of the most durable metals until cracks

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New Skoda smartphone app listens to your engine to pinpoint faults



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Skoda has completed trials of a new smartphone app that it believes could make life much easier for technicians at Skoda dealerships and service centres across Europe. 

Called the Skoda Sound Analyser, the app has been developed in-house by Skoda and is a simple diagnostics tool that warns of potential faults in Skoda cars by simply listening to the engine running. 

Skoda says the system is so sensitive it can hear even the slightest irregularity in the idling of the engine, and can suggest a range of services and fixes on the spot. 

The app records the sound of the engine and compares it with a set of control recordings of healthy Skodas. It can spot discrepancies in the sound signals, and uses an algorithm to suggest the best course of action to a technician. It converts the audio file into a spectrogram – a

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Can ripples on the sun help predict solar flares? Scientists analyze sunquakes to pinpoint flare energy source, perhaps predict flare severity — ScienceDaily

Solar flares are violent explosions on the sun that fling out high-energy charged particles, sometimes toward Earth, where they disrupt communications and endanger satellites and astronauts.

But as scientists discovered in 1996, flares can also create seismic activity — sunquakes — releasing impulsive acoustic waves that penetrate deep into the sun’s interior.

While the relationship between solar flares and sunquakes is still a mystery, new findings suggest that these “acoustic transients” — and the surface ripples they generate — can tell us a lot about flares and may someday help us forecast their size and severity.

A team of physicists from the United States, Colombia and Australia has found that part of the acoustic energy released from a flare in 2011 emanated from about 1,000 kilometers beneath the solar surface — the photosphere — and, thus, far beneath the solar flare that triggered the quake.

The results, published Sept. 21

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