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  #51  
Old 06-11-2017, 12:19 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
We've discussed this before. And I think there was a consensus that a modern nuclear bomb is the best answer.
Weren't there a few votes for the modern microprocessor?

If it's not the most highly engineered ("from scratch")--for which I'll also vote for the first A-Bomb--it certainly is the most complicated.
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  #52  
Old 06-11-2017, 04:12 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Weren't there a few votes for the modern microprocessor?
Yep. Add another one from me.

Building something big is a lot easier than building something tiny with 4,800,000,000 transistors.

Got a problem with your jet, turbine, whatever? Swap out a part. Got a problem with a microprocessor? It's garbage. (Sure you can turn off a faulty core now, but it's not a good sign for the CPU overall. Toss it.)

Fab plants are some of the most expensive constructions on the planet. One in Taiwan cost $9.3 billion. And that's just the place that makes them.
  #53  
Old 06-12-2017, 08:45 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
There's more than a hint of truth in that. The classic Lotus 49 (still the most beautiful racing car IMHO) was always on the ragged edge of survival due to Chapman's innovative brilliance and mantra of "add lightness"

and the turbo era cars of the mid-80's were insane. The tiny 1500cc engines were boosted in qualifying trim to 1300+ bhp and all they'd be looking to do is run a few laps in order to secure pole and then replace and rebuild. Any more than half a dozen laps in quali trim and they went boom (and often did so anyway)
Getting huge amounts of power out of a tiny engine is not that difficult with a turbo. You just turn the boost way up and make the turbo plumbing and gearbox stronger to compensate. You could get 1300 horsepower out of a fairly standard 2 litre engine from any family car with a big enough turbo, so long as you aren't too worried about how long it will last.

Today's F1 cars, which get around a track 15 seconds quicker than the 1987 turbo McLaren-Honda yet use a quarter of the fuel are much more impressive.

I don't think F1 cars really fit this question, though. They are engineered to an artificial set of limitations (X engine size, Y maximum fuel load, Z weight and so on) rather than to be as fast as a car possibly can be around a track.

If Mercedes (or whoever) decided to build a car that didn't meet F1 regs just to see how quickly it could lap, that might fit. But it would be a vanity project so it would probably be built on a shoestring budget.
  #54  
Old 06-12-2017, 09:15 AM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
I don't think F1 cars really fit this question, though. They are engineered to an artificial set of limitations (X engine size, Y maximum fuel load, Z weight and so on) rather than to be as fast as a car possibly can be around a track.
I don't see how that matters. Engineering is about finding the optimal solution to satisfy conflicting constraints and goals. Some of those constraints are often very artificial. E.g. space probes are generally designed to fit on a specific launch vehicle.
  #55  
Old 06-12-2017, 09:24 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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That's not an artificial constraint, though. The launch vehicle itself is constrained by the laws of physics and so forth. Nobody at NASA is specifically demanding that satellite designers artificially hamstring themselves for funsies (for safety and economic reasons, perhaps). The rule about how wide an F1 car can be doesn't have anything to do with fitting it in a transporter; it's just an arbitrary number chosen by FOCA and the FIA.
  #56  
Old 06-12-2017, 10:15 AM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
That's not an artificial constraint, though. The launch vehicle itself is constrained by the laws of physics and so forth.
I would argue that the more constraints the engineers face, the more "highly engineers" it must be. It doesn't matter how "artificial" the constraints are. For example, street-legal mopeds in many countries/states must have <50cc engines, meet emission standards, etc. It takes far more engineering to design it than a one-off racing bike with no rules on engine size or emissions.
  #57  
Old 06-12-2017, 10:22 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
I would argue that the more constraints the engineers face, the more "highly engineers" it must be. It doesn't matter how "artificial" the constraints are. For example, street-legal mopeds in many countries/states must have <50cc engines, meet emission standards, etc. It takes far more engineering to design it than a one-off racing bike with no rules on engine size or emissions.
yeah, if we're going to measure e-peens on which is more "highly engineered," I'd say a pedestrian Honda Fit is head and shoulders above a Formula 1 car. an F1 car is designed to go around a racetrack for a couple hundred miles, and are allowed to use up to four engines in a season.

meanwhile, a Honda Fit will easily last 10-15 years and 200,000 miles on pretty much minimal maintenance.
  #58  
Old 06-12-2017, 10:42 AM
Steophan Steophan is offline
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
yeah, if we're going to measure e-peens on which is more "highly engineered," I'd say a pedestrian Honda Fit is head and shoulders above a Formula 1 car. an F1 car is designed to go around a racetrack for a couple hundred miles, and are allowed to use up to four engines in a season.

meanwhile, a Honda Fit will easily last 10-15 years and 200,000 miles on pretty much minimal maintenance.
And yet, the engineering techniques developed for Formula 1 are used years later in road cars to enable them to work so well.
  #59  
Old 06-12-2017, 10:59 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
And yet, the engineering techniques developed for Formula 1 are used years later in road cars to enable them to work so well.
Formula 1 has had little relevance to road cars for a while now. in fact with the introduction of KERS the direction of technology transfer has gone from road cars to F1.

WEC and IMSA endurance racing have far, far more relevance to street cars than F1.
  #60  
Old 06-12-2017, 11:16 AM
DrCube DrCube is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Well, this thread did give us a factual answer. As it turns out, the answer is entirely dependent on which engineering field one works in.
True. Being an electrical engineer, I was coming in to answer that "the most highly engineered object ever" is the electric power grid.

I do think the answer is going to be more like infrastructure than a single consumer object or special purpose machine for something like space travel or blowing things up. Plumbing, for example, has been continuously "engineered" from Ancient Rome up until today, with no end in sight. The power grid has thousands of man-centuries of engineering behind it, again with no end in sight. It is improved every day, to the extreme benefit of mankind.

The engineers who brought us clean, safe water and made our sewage flow far away from where we live have probably saved more lives than all the doctors who ever lived. Every electrical appliance you have used, from air conditioning and your computer to all those fancy beds and breathing machines in hospitals depend on a highly redundant and resilient power grid.
  #61  
Old 06-12-2017, 11:40 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Wouldn't the fact that it's lasted so much longer than its designed mission suggest that it's poorly engineered? That probably means that they could have made it cheaper while still accomplishing all of their goals.
But that doesn't mean it wasn't HIGHLY engineered.

"Highly engineered" to me means lots and lots of engineering. The logical way to leasure such a thing would be the number of non-redundant engineering hours but into the thing. I sincerely doubt the Cassini probe is in the top 100 of single objects - sure, the "power grid" or "sewage system" are heavily engineered, and continue to be so, but none of those things are "objects."

The most engineered object ever built might well have been the first atomic bomb. It is a single identifiable object, which had years upon years upon years of dedicated engineering, specifically orchestrated for the creation of that object. Even if you divide those hours in half between the Trinity bomb and Fat Man (the two implosion bombs, and hence more complex; Little Boy, a gun-type bomb, was simpler and thus no test was bothered with before using it) it's way ahead of Cassini, that's fr sure.

Last edited by RickJay; 06-12-2017 at 11:44 AM.
  #62  
Old 06-12-2017, 01:13 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
Formula 1 has had little relevance to road cars for a while now. in fact with the introduction of KERS the direction of technology transfer has gone from road cars to F1.

WEC and IMSA endurance racing have far, far more relevance to street cars than F1.
Maybe I missed something, but it looks like the first flywheel- and capacitor-based KERS systems came from track applications (Peugeot in the WEC, McLaren in F1, and Toyota in various domestic "stock" racing series).

Anyway, the fact that things are constantly being adopted from F1 for road use is irrelevant; we don't know which F1 technologies of today will be on the road tomorrow.

Off the top of my head, carbonfibre chassis, ceramic brakes, various suspension designs, active suspension, manumatic/Tiptronic/flappy-paddle gearboxes, active aerodynamics and traction control all came to the road from F1. Granted, not all of those have made it into everyday road cars (though I suspect carbonfibre construction will eventually as costs come down).
  #63  
Old 06-12-2017, 01:49 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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If new inventions and innovations are first used on F1 cars and later applied to road cars, then it means road cars are more highly engineered, not less. The F1 cars are acting as testbeds for prototypes of these technologies before they are further refined, to the point where they are reliable enough for production cars.

In my field (space science), new technologies are usually first used on high-altitude balloons or sub-orbital rocket flights (sounding rockets) before they are used in satellites and deep-space probes. Nobody would ever say a sounding rocket experiment is more highly engineered than a satellite. Quite the opposite. You could even say that the sounding rocket experiment is part of the development process for a satellite.

Last edited by scr4; 06-12-2017 at 01:52 PM.
  #64  
Old 06-12-2017, 01:58 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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p.s. This article says about the development cost for a new road car:

"It can be as much as $6 billion if it's an all-new car on all-new platform with an all-new engine and an all-new transmission and nothing carrying over from the old model."

And that's back in 2010.
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