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Some Challenges of Deep Mining
Charles Fairhurst
Engineering    2017, 3 (4): 527-537.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (4649KB)

An increased global supply of minerals is essential to meet the needs and expectations of a rapidly rising world population. This implies extraction from greater depths. Autonomous mining systems, developed through sustained R&D by equipment suppliers, reduce miner exposure to hostile work environments and increase safety. This places increased focus on “ground control” and on rock mechanics to define the depth to which minerals may be extracted economically. Although significant efforts have been made since the end of World War II to apply mechanics to mine design, there have been both technological and organizational obstacles. Rock in situ is a more complex engineering material than is typically encountered in most other engineering disciplines. Mining engineering has relied heavily on empirical procedures in design for thousands of years. These are no longer adequate to address the challenges of the 21st century, as mines venture to increasingly greater depths. The development of the synthetic rock mass (SRM) in 2008 provides researchers with the ability to analyze the deformational behavior of rock masses that are anisotropic and discontinuous—attributes that were described as the defining characteristics of in situ rock by Leopold Müller, the president and founder of the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM), in 1966. Recent developments in the numerical modeling of large-scale mining operations (e.g., caving) using the SRM reveal unanticipated deformational behavior of the rock. The application of massive parallelization and cloud computational techniques offers major opportunities: for example, to assess uncertainties in numerical predictions; to establish the mechanics basis for the empirical rules now used in rock engineering and their validity for the prediction of rock mass behavior beyond current experience; and to use the discrete element method (DEM) in the optimization of deep mine design. For the first time, mining—and rock engineering—will have its own mechanics-based “laboratory.” This promises to be a major tool in future planning for effective mining at depth. The paper concludes with a discussion of an opportunity to demonstrate the application of DEM and SRM procedures as a laboratory, by back-analysis of mining methods used over the 80-year history of the Mount Lyell Copper Mine in Tasmania.

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The Status of the US High-Temperature Gas Reactors
Andrew C. Kadak
Engineering    2016, 2 (1): 119-123.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (895KB)

In 2005, the US passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandating the construction and operation of a high-temperature gas reactor (HTGR) by 2021. This law was passed after a multiyear study by national experts on what future nuclear technologies should be developed. As a result of the Act, the US Congress chose to develop the so-called Next-Generation Nuclear Plant, which was to be an HTGR designed to produce process heat for hydrogen production. Despite high hopes and expectations, the current status is that high temperature reactors have been relegated to completing research programs on advanced fuels, graphite and materials with no plans to build a demonstration plant as required by the US Congress in 2005. There are many reasons behind this diminution of HTGR development, including but not limited to insufficient government funding requirements for research, unrealistically high temperature requirements for the reactor, the delay in the need for a “hydrogen” economy, competition from light water small modular light water reactors, little utility interest in new technologies, very low natural gas prices in the US, and a challenging licensing process in the US for non-water reactors.

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Heading toward Artificial Intelligence 2.0
Yunhe Pan
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 409-413.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (452KB)

With the popularization of the Internet, permeation of sensor networks, emergence of big data, increase in size of the information community, and interlinking and fusion of data and information throughout human society, physical space, and cyberspace, the information environment related to the current development of artificial intelligence (AI) has profoundly changed. AI faces important adjustments, and scientific foundations are confronted with new breakthroughs, as AI enters a new stage: AI 2.0. This paper briefly reviews the 60-year developmental history of AI, analyzes the external environment promoting the formation of AI 2.0 along with changes in goals, and describes both the beginning of the technology and the core idea behind AI 2.0 development. Furthermore, based on combined social demands and the information environment that exists in relation to Chinese development, suggestions on the development of AI 2.0 are given.

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Noncoding RNAs and Their Potential Therapeutic Applications in Tissue Engineering
Shiying Li, Tianmei Qian, Xinghui Wang, Jie Liu, Xiaosong Gu
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 3-15.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1142KB)

Tissue engineering is a relatively new but rapidly developing field in the medical sciences. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are functional RNA molecules without a protein-coding function; they can regulate cellular behavior and change the biological milieu of the tissue. The application of ncRNAs in tissue engineering is starting to attract increasing attention as a means of resolving a large number of unmet healthcare needs, although ncRNA-based approaches have not yet entered clinical practice. In-depth research on the regulation and delivery of ncRNAs may improve their application in tissue engineering. The aim of this review is: to outline essential ncRNAs that are related to tissue engineering for the repair and regeneration of nerve, skin, liver, vascular system, and muscle tissue; to discuss their regulation and delivery; and to anticipate their potential therapeutic applications.

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Recent Developments in Functional Crystals in China
Jiyang Wang, Haohai Yu, Yicheng Wu, Robert Boughton
Engineering    2015, 1 (2): 192-210.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (18413KB)

Functional crystals are the basic materials for the development of modern science and technology and are playing key roles in the modern information era. In this paper, we review functional crystals in China, including research history, significant achievements, and important applications by highlighting the most recent progress in research. Challenges for the development of functional materials are discussed and possible directions for development are proposed by focusing on potential strengths of these materials.

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Development of CO2 Selective Poly(Ethylene Oxide)-Based Membranes: From Laboratory to Pilot Plant Scale
Torsten Brinkmann,Jelena Lillepärg,Heiko Notzke,Jan Pohlmann,Sergey Shishatskiy,Jan Wind,Thorsten Wolff
Engineering    2017, 3 (4): 485-493.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2074KB)

Membrane gas separation is one of the most promising technologies for the separation of carbon dioxide (CO2) from various gas streams. One application of this technology is the treatment of flue gases from combustion processes for the purpose of carbon capture and storage. For this application, poly(ethylene oxide)-containing block copolymers such as Pebax® or PolyActive™ polymer are well suited. The thin-film composite membrane that is considered in this overview employs PolyActive™ polymer as a selective layer material. The membrane shows excellent CO2 permeances of up to 4 m3(STP)·(m2·h·bar)−1 (1 bar= 105 Pa) at a carbon dioxide/nitrogen (CO2/N2) selectivity exceeding 55 at ambient temperature. The membrane can be manufactured reproducibly on a pilot scale and mounted into flat-sheet membrane modules of different designs. The operating performance of these modules can be accurately predicted by specifically developed simulation tools, which employ single-gas permeation data as the only experimental input. The performance of membranes and modules was investigated in different pilot plant studies, in which flue gas and biogas were used as the feed gas streams. The investigated processes showed a stable separation performance, indicating the applicability of PolyActive™ polymer as a membrane material for industrial-scale gas processing.

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A Research Review on the Key Technologies of Intelligent Design for Customized Products
Shuyou Zhang,Jinghua Xu,Huawei Gou,Jianrong Tan
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 631-640.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (4339KB)

The development of technologies such as big data and cyber-physical systems (CPSs) has increased the demand for product design. Product digital design involves completing the product design process using advanced digital technologies such as geometry modeling, kinematic and dynamic simulation, multi-disciplinary coupling, virtual assembly, virtual reality (VR), multi-objective optimization (MOO), and human-computer interaction. The key technologies of intelligent design for customized products include: a description and analysis of customer requirements (CRs), product family design (PFD) for the customer base, configuration and modular design for customized products, variant design for customized products, and a knowledge push for product intelligent design. The development trends in intelligent design for customized products include big-data-driven intelligent design technology for customized products and customized design tools and applications. The proposed method is verified by the design of precision computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools.

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High-Throughput Multi-Plume Pulsed-Laser Deposition for Materials Exploration and Optimization
Samuel S. Mao, Xiaojun Zhang
Engineering    2015, 1 (3): 367-371.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (4674KB)

A high-throughput multi-plume pulsed-laser deposition (MPPLD) system has been demonstrated and compared to previous techniques. Whereas most combinatorial pulsed-laser deposition (PLD) systems have focused on achieving thickness uniformity using sequential multilayer deposition and masking followed by post-deposition annealing, MPPLD directly deposits a compositionally varied library of compounds using the directionality of PLD plumes and the resulting spatial variations of deposition rate. This system is more suitable for high-throughput compound thin-film fabrication.

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Additive Manufacture of Ceramics Components by Inkjet Printing
Brian Derby
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 113-123.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2218KB)

In order to build a ceramic component by inkjet printing, the object must be fabricated through the interaction and solidification of drops, typically in the range of 10−100 pL. In order to achieve this goal, stable ceramic inks must be developed. These inks should satisfy specific rheological conditions that can be illustrated within a parameter space defined by the Reynolds and Weber numbers. Printed drops initially deform on impact with a surface by dynamic dissipative processes, but then spread to an equilibrium shape defined by capillarity. We can identify the processes by which these drops interact to form linear features during printing, but there is a poorer level of understanding as to how 2D and 3D structures form. The stability of 2D sheets of ink appears to be possible over a more limited range of process conditions that is seen with the formation of lines. In most cases, the ink solidifies through evaporation and there is a need to control the drying process to eliminate the: “coffee ring” defect. Despite these uncertainties, there have been a large number of reports on the successful use of inkjet printing for the manufacture of small ceramic components from a number of different ceramics. This technique offers good prospects as a future manufacturing technique. This review identifies potential areas for future research to improve our understanding of this manufacturing method.

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An Intelligent Non-Collocated Control Strategy for Ball-Screw Feed Drives with Dynamic Variations
Hui Liu,Jun Zhang,Wanhua Zhao
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 641-647.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1626KB)

The ball-screw feed drive has varying high-order dynamic characteristics due to flexibilities of the slender screw spindle and joints between components, and an obvious feature of non-collocated control when a direct position measurement using a linear scale is employed. The dynamic characteristics and non-collocated situation have long been the source of difficulties in motion and vibration control, and deteriorate the achieved accuracy of the axis motion. In this study, a dynamic model using a frequency-based substructure approach is established, considering the flexibilities and their variation. The position-dependent variation of the dynamic characteristics is then fully investigated. A corresponding control strategy, which is composed of a modal characteristic modifier (MCM) and an intelligent adaptive tuning algorithm (ATA), is then developed. The MCM utilizes a combination of peak filters and notch filters, thereby shaping the plant dynamics into a virtual collocated system and avoiding control spillover. An ATA using an artificial neural network (ANN) as a smooth parameter interpolator updates the parameters of the filters in real time in order to cope with the feed drive’s dynamic variation. Numerical verification of the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed strategy is shown for a real feed drive.

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Control for Intelligent Manufacturing: A Multiscale Challenge
Han-Xiong Li,Haitao Si
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 608-615.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1761KB)

The Made in China 2025 initiative will require full automation in all sectors, from customers to production. This will result in great challenges to manufacturing systems in all sectors. In the future of manufacturing, all devices and systems should have sensing and basic intelligence capabilities for control and adaptation. In this study, after discussing multiscale dynamics of the modern manufacturing system, a five-layer functional structure is proposed for uncertainties processing. Multiscale dynamics include: multi-time scale, space-time scale, and multi-level dynamics. Control action will differ at different scales, with more design being required at both fast and slow time scales. More quantitative action is required in low-level operations, while more qualitative action is needed regarding high-level supervision. Intelligent manufacturing systems should have the capabilities of flexibility, adaptability, and intelligence. These capabilities will require the control action to be distributed and integrated with different approaches, including smart sensing, optimal design, and intelligent learning. Finally, a typical jet dispensing system is taken as a real-world example for multiscale modeling and control.

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Intelligent Manufacturing in the Context of Industry 4.0: A Review
Ray Y. Zhong,Xun Xu,Eberhard Klotz,Stephen T. Newman
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 616-630.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1607KB)

Our next generation of industry—Industry 4.0—holds the promise of increased flexibility in manufacturing, along with mass customization, better quality, and improved productivity. It thus enables companies to cope with the challenges of producing increasingly individualized products with a short lead-time to market and higher quality. Intelligent manufacturing plays an important role in Industry 4.0. Typical resources are converted into intelligent objects so that they are able to sense, act, and behave within a smart environment. In order to fully understand intelligent manufacturing in the context of Industry 4.0, this paper provides a comprehensive review of associated topics such as intelligent manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled manufacturing, and cloud manufacturing. Similarities and differences in these topics are highlighted based on our analysis. We also review key technologies such as the IoT, cyber-physical systems (CPSs), cloud computing, big data analytics (BDA), and information and communications technology (ICT) that are used to enable intelligent manufacturing. Next, we describe worldwide movements in intelligent manufacturing, including governmental strategic plans from different countries and strategic plans from major international companies in the European Union, United States, Japan, and China. Finally, we present current challenges and future research directions. The concepts discussed in this paper will spark new ideas in the effort to realize the much-anticipated Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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Genetically Engineered Crops
Lance A. Davis
Engineering    2016, 2 (3): 268-269.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (910KB)
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A Novel Tele-Operated Flexible Robot Targeted for Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery
Zheng Li, Jan Feiling, Hongliang Ren, Haoyong Yu
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 73-78.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (3530KB)

In this paper, a novel flexible robot system with a constrained tendon-driven serpentine manipulator (CTSM) is presented. The CTSM gives the robot a larger workspace, more dexterous manipulation, and controllable stiffness compared with the da Vinci surgical robot and traditional flexible robots. The robot is tele-operated using the Novint Falcon haptic device. Two control modes are implemented, direct mapping and incremental mode. In each mode, the robot can be manipulated using either the highest stiffness scheme or the minimal movement scheme. The advantages of the CTSM are shown by simulation and experimental results.

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Research and Development of Heat-Resistant Materials for Advanced USC Power Plants with Steam Temperatures of 700 °C and Above
Fujio Abe
Engineering    2015, 1 (2): 211-224.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1966KB)

Materials-development projects for advanced ultra-supercritical (A-USC) power plants with steam temperatures of 700 °C and above have been performed in order to achieve high efficiency and low CO2 emissions in Europe, the US, Japan, and recently in China and India as well. These projects involve the replacement of martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels with nickel (Ni)-base alloys for the highest temperature boiler and turbine components in order to provide sufficient creep strength at 700°C and above. To minimize the require­ment for expensive Ni-base alloys, martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels can be applied to the next highest temperature components of an A-USC power plant, up to a maximum of 650°C. This paper comprehensively describes the research and development of Ni-base alloys and martensitic 9%−12% Cr steels for thick section boiler and turbine components of A-USC power plants, mainly focusing on the long-term creep-rupture strength of base metal and welded joints, strength loss in welded joints, creep-fatigue properties, and microstructure evolution during exposure at elevated temperatures.

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Development of 8-inch Key Processes for Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor
Guoyou Liu, Rongjun Ding, Haihui Luo
Engineering    2015, 1 (3): 361-366.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (3079KB)

Based on the construction of the 8-inch fabrication line, advanced process technology of 8-inch wafer, as well as the fourth-generation high-voltage double-diffused metal-oxide semiconductor (DMOS+) insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) technology and the fifth-generation trench gate IGBT technology, have been developed, realizing a great-leap forward technological development for the manufacturing of high-voltage IGBT from 6-inch to 8-inch. The 1600 A/1.7 kV and 1500 A/3.3 kV IGBT modules have been successfully fabricated, qualified, and applied in rail transportation traction system.

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On Advanced Control Methods toward Power Capture and Load Mitigation in Wind Turbines
Yuan Yuan,Jiong Tang
Engineering    2017, 3 (4): 494-503.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2089KB)

This article provides a survey of recently emerged methods for wind turbine control. Multivariate control approaches to the optimization of power capture and the reduction of loads in components under time-varying turbulent wind fields have been under extensive investigation in recent years. We divide the related research activities into three categories: modeling and dynamics of wind turbines, active control of wind turbines, and passive control of wind turbines. Regarding turbine dynamics, we discuss the physical fundamentals and present the aeroelastic analysis tools. Regarding active control, we review pitch control, torque control, and yaw control strategies encompassing mathematical formulations as well as their applications toward different objectives. Our survey mostly focuses on blade pitch control, which is considered one of the key elements in facilitating load reduction while maintaining power capture performance. Regarding passive control, we review techniques such as tuned mass dampers, smart rotors, and microtabs. Possible future directions are suggested.

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Dual-Material Electron Beam Selective Melting: Hardware Development and Validation Studies
Chao Guo, Wenjun Ge, Feng Lin
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 124-130.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (9569KB)

Electron beam selective melting (EBSM) is an additive manufacturing technique that directly fabricates three-dimensional parts in a layerwise fashion by using an electron beam to scan and melt metal powder. In recent years, EBSM has been successfully used in the additive manufacturing of a variety of materials. Previous research focused on the EBSM process of a single material. In this study, a novel EBSM process capable of building a gradient structure with dual metal materials was developed, and a powder-supplying method based on vibration was put forward. Two different powders can be supplied individually and then mixed. Two materials were used in this study: Ti6Al4V powder and Ti47Al2Cr2Nb powder. Ti6Al4V has excellent strength and plasticity at room temperature, while Ti47Al2Cr2Nb has excellent performance at high temperature, but is very brittle. A Ti6Al4V/Ti47Al2Cr2Nb gradient material was successfully fabricated by the developed system. The microstructures and chemical compositions were characterized by optical microscopy, scanning microscopy, and electron microprobe analysis. Results showed that the interface thickness was about 300 μm. The interface was free of cracks, and the chemical compositions exhibited a staircase-like change within the interface.

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Opportunities and Challenges in Deep Mining: A Brief Review
Pathegama G. Ranjith,Jian Zhao,Minghe Ju,Radhika V. S. De Silva,Tharaka D. Rathnaweera,Adheesha K. M. S. Bandara
Engineering    2017, 3 (4): 546-551.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2003KB)

Mineral consumption is increasing rapidly as more consumers enter the market for minerals and as the global standard of living increases. As a result, underground mining continues to progress to deeper levels in order to tackle the mineral supply crisis in the 21st century. However, deep mining occurs in a very technical and challenging environment, in which significant innovative solutions and best practice are required and additional safety standards must be implemented in order to overcome the challenges and reap huge economic gains. These challenges include the catastrophic events that are often met in deep mining engineering: rockbursts, gas outbursts, high in situ and redistributed stresses, large deformation, squeezing and creeping rocks, and high temperature. This review paper presents the current global status of deep mining and highlights some of the newest technological achievements and opportunities associated with rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering in deep mining. Of the various technical achievements, unmanned working-faces and unmanned mines based on fully automated mining and mineral extraction processes have become important fields in the 21st century.

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Mechanism of the December 2015 Catastrophic Landslide at the Shenzhen Landfill and Controlling Geotechnical Risks of Urbanization
Yueping Yin,Bin Li,Wenpei Wang,Liangtong Zhan,Qiang Xue,Yang Gao,Nan Zhang,Hongqi Chen,Tiankui Liu,Aiguo Li
Engineering    2016, 2 (2): 230-249.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (10134KB)

This paper presents findings from an investigation of the large-scale construction solid waste (CSW) landslide that occurred at a landfill at Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, on December 20, 2015, and which killed 77 people and destroyed 33 houses. The landslide involved 2.73×106 m3 of CSW and affected an area about 1100?m in length and 630?m in maximum width, making it the largest landfill landslide in the world. The investigation of this disaster used a combination of unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance and multistage remote-sensing images to reveal the increasing volume of waste in the landfill and the shifting shape of the landfill slope for nearly two years before the landslide took place, beginning with the creation of the CSW landfill in March, 2014, that resulted in the uncertain conditions of the landfill’s boundaries and the unstable state of the hydrologic performance. As a result, applying conventional stability analysis methods used for natural landslides to this case would be difficult. In order to analyze this disaster, we took a multistage modeling technique to analyze the varied characteristics of the landfill slope’s structure at various stages of CSW dumping and used the non-steady?flow?theory to explain the groundwater seepage problem. The investigation showed that the landfill could be divided into two units based on the moisture in the land: ① a front uint, consisted of the landfill slope, which had low water content; and ② a rear unit, consisted of fresh waste, which had a high water content. This structure caused two effects—surface-water infiltration and consolidation seepage that triggered the landslide in the landfill. Surface-water infiltration induced a gradual increase in pore water pressure head, or piezometric head, in the front slope because the infiltrating position rose as the volume of waste placement increased. Consolidation seepage led to higher excess pore water pressures as the loading of waste increased. We also investigated the post-failure soil dynamics parameters of the landslide deposit using cone penetration, triaxial, and ring-shear tests in order to simulate the characteristics of a flowing slide with a long run-out due to the liquefaction effect. Finally, we conclude the paper with lessons from the tens of catastrophic landslides of municipal solid waste around the world and discuss how to better manage the geotechnical risks of urbanization.

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Tackling Global Grand Challenges in Our Cities
Andrew Ka-Ching Chan, FREng
Engineering    2016, 2 (1): 10-15.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (5354KB)
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Marine Structures: Future Trends and the Role of Universities
Preben Terndrup Pedersen
Engineering    2015, 1 (1): 131-138.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (8482KB)

This paper emphasizes some of the challenges and trends associated with the future development of marine structures. Its main focus is on ways to improve the efficiency of energy-consuming ships, and on design challenges related to energy-producing offshore structures. This paper also discusses the analysis tools that are most needed to enable sustainable designs for future ships and offshore structures. The last section of the paper contains thoughts on the role of universities in education, research, and innovation regarding marine structures. It discusses curriculum requirements for maritime-technology education, basic research activities, and international cooperation.

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Simulating Resin Infusion through Textile Reinforcement Materials for the Manufacture of Complex Composite Structures
Robert S. Pierce,Brian G. Falzon
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 596-607.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2946KB)

Increasing demand for weight reduction and greater fuel efficiency continues to spur the use of composite materials in commercial aircraft structures. Subsequently, as composite aerostructures become larger and more complex, traditional autoclave manufacturing methods are becoming prohibitively expensive. This has prompted renewed interest in out-of-autoclave processing techniques in which resins are introduced into a reinforcing preform. However, the success of these resin infusion methods is highly dependent upon operator skill and experience, particularly in the development of new manufacturing strategies for complex parts. Process modeling, as a predictive computational tool, aims to address the issues of reliability and waste that result from traditional trial-and-error approaches. Basic modeling attempts, many of which are still used in industry, generally focus on simulating fluid flow through an isotropic porous reinforcement material. However, recent efforts are beginning to account for the multiscale and multidisciplinary complexity of woven materials, in simulations that can provide greater fidelity. In particular, new multi-physics process models are able to better predict the infusion behavior through textiles by considering the effect of fabric deformation on permeability and porosity properties within the reinforcing material. In addition to reviewing previous research related to process modeling and the current state of the art, this paper highlights the recent validation of a multi-physics process model against the experimental infusion of a complex double dome component. By accounting for deformation-dependent flow behavior, the multi-physics process model was able to predict realistic flow behavior, demonstrating considerable improvement over basic isotropic permeability models.

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