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Monthly Archives: July 2013

My real job

My real job,and by that I mean the one that pays the bills, is that of being the technician in the Fluids Lab in the Dept of Mechanical Engineering at Melbourne University. For those of you who think that sounds a little dodgy, Fluids are defined as a substance,liquid or gas that is capable of flowing and that changes its shape at a steady rate when acted upon it by a force tending to change its shape. For the layman this means that we commonly study the flow of air or water and how it reacts to certain interruptions. We do this in wind tunnels or water channels and we are particularly interested in turbulence. I get to make lots of exiting bits and pieces, many of them highly accurate, to aid in this process.
One of our current projects involves the measurement of flow and turbulence behind a cyclists legs at various degrees of cadence and ultimately whether different cadence might produce the same amount of power with less turbulence ie. be more aerodynamic and therefore enable faster speeds. In order to do this we have a grant from the AIS in Canberra and I have been engaged in building a working model of a cyclists legs that can run for several hours at the same cadence in the wind tunnel while we take measurements. We have tried to replicate the action of a specific elite cyclist (identity unknown). We have the same leg lengths, saddle height, and setback and have tried to repeat the amount of ankling that their tracking shows. This is far more difficult than it first seemed. Our bodies are much more flexible than lengths of aluminum and bearing joints that bond them together and getting our model right is not proving to be that easy. We are getting there but this what has taken up most of my time recently.I must admit it looks a little creepy and will sound better once we eliminate a few pin joints and substitute bearings and look better when we get the flesh molded on to the legs . Hopefully more footage will follow.It has. See below

IMG 0024 from geoff Duke on Vimeo.

More of the cycling model from geoff Duke on Vimeo.

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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Uncategorized