Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections On National Geographic ChannelPosted on: 26 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections hits TV screens on Mondays at 9pm from 8th September.
What could a 12th century Mongol bow and the largest passenger plane in the world have in common? How did a birdcage lead to the building of Taipei 101, and why does the fate of a million ton gas platform rest in the hands of a single musical note?
This brand new series fronted by Richard Hammond follows him scouring the globe to investigate modern miracles of engineering. Going deep inside elaborate structures, Richard reveals the often surprisingly simple, yet remarkably effective secrets that make them tick and how their very existence is attributable to things as diverse as a bird cage and a 19th century rocket.
With wings so immense that 70 family cars could park on each one and cabins so vast they can carry 853 passengers, Airbus A380 is the largest airliner ever.
This super jumbo is packed with cutting edge technology yet part of the expertise behind getting it off the ground is influenced by 12th Century Mongol bows. Connect that ancient knowledge with eagle-inspired wings and technology shared by the humble bicycle pump, and it all combines to form an extraordinary achievement in aviation.
With a little help from a chicken-firing gun, Richard demonstrates this plane's brilliant simplicity.
Monday 8th September at 9pm
Constructing the world's tallest building in the middle of an earthquake and typhoon hotspot might seem like madness, but thanks to inspiration gained from bamboo, racing yachts and sports cars, Taiwan's Taipei 101 has been able to withstand everything Mother Nature has thrown at it.
Richard learns how the design was based on a simple stick of bamboo, before being stabilised using the same technology as a seat belt and fitted with outriggers similar to those first developed by the Polynesians over 3,000 years ago.
And no visit is complete without a ride in one of the building's Porsche influenced lifts, launching our valiant host 84 floors up at some 64 kilometres an hour.
Monday 15th September at 9pm
Deep Space Observer
With its ability to spot a galaxy 13 billion light years away, and thermal imaging cameras capable of detecting a candle flame on the moon, you'd be forgiven for thinking the telescope at the US Keck Observatory in Hawaii must utilise the most complicated technology imaginable.
However, as Richard discovers, it actually uses the same principles first recognised by Archimedes over 2,000 years ago, along with a little know-how borrowed from planes used during the Korean War. Used together, these techniques open up a window to the universe.
Monday 22nd September at 9pm
Now situated in the stormy North Sea, the gargantuan Troll-A gas platform was constructed over 300km away from its ultimate destination and is the largest object ever moved across the earth's surface by man. It is one of the most complicated engineering feats ever achieved but even this incredible structure has a series of simple, everyday processes to thank for its existence.
Taking its inspiration from an air pump, an 1800s grain elevator, a failed suspension bridge and the ability of a single musical note to shatter a wine glass, this is perhaps the most incredible example yet of how simple ideas can be scaled up to achieve amazing results. Richard braves the rough seas to investigate.
Monday 29th September at 9pm
Visit www.natgeotv.com/engineering-connections for more details on Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections series.
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