You are on page 1of 4




Academic year: 2018-2019 (25-10-2018)

Homework no. 1: Dynamics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, stress analysis

High–altitude balloons consist of (usually) a spherical envelope or membrane and a

basket or nacelle that are released from sea level and generally attain a height between
18 and 37 km. The spherical envelope is usually filled with helium or hydrogen.
In this homework, you are to determine

1. the location of the balloon as a function of time and altitude above sea level, and

2. the stress on the latex envelope as a function of time and altitude above sea level,

if the balloon’s envelope does not change. (Is this a realistic assumption?) You may
assume that the balloon’s diameter is 2.5 m. Take into consideration that the temperature
and pressure of the air surrounding the balloon vary with altitude and that the speed of
the balloon is not constant.
In order to account for the variation of the external pressure and temperature condi-
tions in the atmosphere, troposphere and stratosphere, you have to use an “atmospheric”
model such as the US Standard Atmosphere Model. In order to account for the drag on
the balloon, you have to take into account the Reynolds number and the dependence of
the drag coefficient on the Reynolds number.
As a balloon ascends, the atmospheric pressure decreases, and the balloon’s volume
increases, so the Archimedes force increases. However, the balloon’s diameter cannot
increase forever; the balloon may reach a maximum height where buoyancy exactly bal-
ances gravity and the stress on the envelope does not exceed the material’s (latex) ulti-
mate/failure stress, or the stress equals to or exceeds its ultimate value.
For the same conditions as above, determine

1. the location of the balloon as a function of time and altitude above sea level,

2. the stress on the latex envelope as a function of time and altitude above sea level,

3. whether the stress exceeds or does not exceed the envelope’s ultimate/failure stress.

Homework no. 2: Dynamics

PGH Industries, Inc., manufactures springs for the damping systems of cars and trucks
and has recently developed a spring where the force F and the length of the spring x have
been found experimentally to be related as
( ( ) )
KL x−L
F (x) = exp α −1 , (1)
α L
where K is the spring constant, α = 1, and L = 0.35 m denote the natural length of the
spring, i.e., F (L) = 0.
Experiments conducted by loading the spring with a mass m = 400 kg at one of its
ends in Paris (France) indicate that the spring’s length is 0.40 m, i.e., the spring has been
elongated 0.05 m.
Engineers at PGH are extremely happy and excited because the above expression
reduces to the well–known linear spring or linear Hooke’s expression

F (x) = K(x − L), (2)

for |x − L| << L and think that the new spring offers many advantages over a linear one.
However, the chief engineer of PGH does not believe so, and has asked his engineers to
convince him that they are right by determining
1. the elastic energy of the new spring and comparing it with that of a linear spring,
2. the response frequency of a mass-spring system consisting of a mass m = 400 kg
attached at one end of the spring when the spring is stretched to x(0) = 0.50 m and
then released, and how this frequency compares with that of a linear spring,
3. whether the new design is or is not subject to the resonance that a linear mass–spring
system experiences when it√ is excited with a force f (t) = A cos(ωt) of amplitude A
and frequency ω with ω = m

4. the length
√x(t) of the proposed mass–spring system for m = 400 kg, F = 30000 N
and ω = K m
, and

5. values of the inductance l, capacitance c and source voltage v(t) of a series LC–
circuit that has the same response for the current or intensity i(t) as x(t) as in item
A non–technical manager of PGH thinks that the new spring has potential applications
not related with the damping systems developed at PGH. In particular, he thinks that
1. if the spring were stretched and kept so, it would store elastic energy that would be
released when the spring is left free. How would you recover or harvest this energy?
(Think about hydroelectrical plants where water is stored in dams and released to
generate electricity when needed and then pumped up to the dam at night when
there is not much electricity demand.) Is the manager’s idea reasonable and/or
plausible? What efficiency do you think one can obtain?

Homework no. 3: Stress analysis

A bridge is to be constructed over two pillars 60 m apart. The bridge has to support
two–lane traffic in the same direction, be 9 m wide and consist of only two longitudi-
nal beams between the two pillars and a number of transversal beams. Assume that
longitudinal and transversal beams are made of reinforced concrete.
Determine the cross–section of the longitudinal and transversal beams so that the
maximum stress on any component of the bridge is 275 % smaller than its corresponding
failure value, i.e., the safety factor is 2.75, and the bridge’s maximum deflection is less
than 2.5 degrees. HINT: you should account for the loads on the bridge due to cars,
trucks, etc., as well as those of the pavement, asphalt, etc.

Homework no. 4: Heat transfer, electrical circuits, fluid dynamics

Hot wires are well–known instruments for measuring the velocity of fluids which are
based on the use of s highly conducting thin wires that are arms of a Wheastone bridge.
As a current flows through the wire, heat is generated by Joule’s effect and heat is lost
by convection and radiation with the fluid. When steady state conditions are reached,
the heat generated by Joule’s effect that depends on the current is balanced out by heat
losses that depend on the fluid velocity; therefore, after calibration, one may obtain the
fluid velocity from the current.
Usually, radiation effects and heat conduction along the wire are neglected,
√ and, as a
consequence, a very simple relation known as King’s law, i.e., i2 = A + B |v|, where i is
the current, v is the fluid’s velocity, and A and B are constants, is obtained.
In this homework, you are to determine the effects of radiation and heat conduction
along the wire on hot wire anemometry and the conditions for which King’s law is not
HINTS: you have to take into account that the electrical resistivity is a function
of temperature and, therefore, may change along the wire. Furthermore, if the wire’s
diameter–to–length ratio is not sufficiently small (how small is small?), the temperature
is not uniform across the wire and, therefore, the electrical resistivity and Joule’s heat
generation are not constant across the wire. You are recommended to consult the web on
Wheastone’s bridge, hot wires, etc.


1. You are to do three of the proposed homeworks. If you do the fourth one, extra
points will be added to your grade.
2. Homeworks nos. 1 and 2 are concerned with initial–value problems (IVP), while
Homeworks nos. 3 and 4 are concerned with boundary–value problems (BVP).
Since the first part of the course deals with IVP, you can start solving HWs 1 and
2 from the third lecture or so, but you have to wait to the second part of the course
lectures on BVP for HWs 3 and 4.

3. You will learn quite a lot from the homeworks if you dedicate them time and do the
coding yourself. If you use available software, make sure that the results you report
make sense and are physically plausible.

4. The four homeworks but especially HWs 1, 3 and 4 are open–ended; this means
that your results will depend on how far you go or how much work you do. And,
the farther you go, the higher would be the greater you will get.

5. Proposed deadlines for the HWs: 18/12/2018; 18/01/2019; 20/02/2019;

01/03/2019. (You have to deliver a typewritten report on each project and you
should include your MATLAB code if applicable, and the report should contain
your name and last name).