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Journal Cover Australian Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Engineering
  [2 followers]  Follow
    
   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
   ISSN (Print) 1448-8388
   Published by RMIT Publishing Homepage  [406 journals]
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - Queensland's Timber and Iron Lighthouses: 19th Century
           Colonial Innovation
    • Abstract: Marquis-Kyle, P
      The geography, resources and economic circumstances of the colony of Queensland fostered the local design and construction of two related types of composite timber-framed, iron-clad lighthouse towers in Queensland from the 1870s - an early type clad with riveted wrought iron plating, and a later type clad with corrugated galvanised iron. This paper gives a short historical account of their design and construction, outlines the range of towers and how they have been changed. The paper concludes with an assessment of the success and influence of the type, and a table of major 19th century lighthouses.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - The Engineering of 'Engineering a City'
    • Abstract: Venus, RJ
      The South Australia Division of Engineers Australia has recently produced a small guide to the engineering heritage of the City of Adelaide. The publication supports the 'Looking Back' theme of Engineers Australia's 90th Year. Although little physical evidence of Adelaide's engineering heritage remains, the research for the booklet uncovered many more sites than were expected. This paper describes the planning process and provides a brief summary of the heritage aspects covered.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - The Coorong Battery at the Winnecke Gold Mine, NT
    • Abstract: Ridgway, N
      The Winnecke gold mine was one of the remotest gold mines in Australia, not far from the more renown Arltunga mines, 90 km east-northeast of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, which have been extensively researched by Donovan, Forrest, Holmes and Phelts et al. An examination of the site relics and literature reveals the important links to engineering in South Australia, early steam engine technology of Hawke & Co., and their national contribution to mining. It was also found that the records of Hawke are randomly dispersed, and it is hoped this paper will encourage others to conserve the engineering heritage and records of Hawke and Co.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - Early Electricity Supply in Melbourne
    • Abstract: Pierce, M
      This paper traces the commencement of public electricity supply in Melbourne in 1882, placing it in the vanguard of similar developments worldwide. The subsequent participation of other private enterprise ventures and the entry of the Melbourne City Council into the field are then outlined, along with the range of electricity supply technologies that were successively adopted - from high voltage series DC, single-phase AC, low-voltage DC to three-phase AC.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - The History of High Voltage Direct Current Transmission
    • Abstract: Peake, O
      Transmission of electricity by high voltage direct current (HVDC) has provided the electric power industry with a powerful tool to move large quantities of electricity over great distances and also to expand the capacity to transmit electricity by undersea cables. The first commercial HVDC scheme connected the island of Gotland to the Swedish mainland in 1954. During the subsequent 55 years, great advances in HVDC technology and the economic opportunities for HVDC have been achieved. Because of the rapid development of HVDC technology many of the early schemes have already been upgraded, modernised or decommissioned. Very little equipment from the early schemes has survived to illustrate the engineering heritage of HVDC. Conservation of the equipment remaining from the early projects is now an urgent priority, while the conservation of more recent projects, when they are retired, is a future challenge.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - Remnants of Early Hydraulic Power Systems
    • Abstract: Gibson, JW; Pierce, MC
      This paper briefly outlines the development of water hydraulic power systems and devices during the 19th century, and then describes a range of extant system elements from Australia and New Zealand. The significance of this early motive power technology is underlined by the many end-use applications that evolved, and further work in identifying, recording and, where practicable, conserving extant remnants is advocated.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - American Bridges in New South Wales, 1870-1932
    • Abstract: Fraser, D
      New South Wales Government Railways and the Department of Public Works began with British technology, particularly for rail and road bridges such as the expensive iron lattice girders. Long-serving Engineers-in-Chief, John Whitton and W. C. Bennett, applied their authority to exclude contemporary American bridge technology. However, by 1890 the merits of American bridges were well known and had economic appeal for Government funding. The effect was that in 1894 there was an abrupt and complete change to American Pratt truss bridges, which became the standard for the next 50 years. The first uniform application to railways was for the new standard gauge North Coast Railway, 1911-1932. They are now an historic class of bridges of high heritage significance. For road bridges, American Howe timber trusses were dominant post-1894, and 29 are on the State Heritage Register. Also, steel Pratt truss road bridges from this period are still in-service. This paper details the change to American bridge technology.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - John Harry Grainger: Engineer and Architect
    • Abstract: Tibbits, GR; Beauchamp, D
      Shortly after John Grainger arrived in Australia in 1877 he won competitions for the design of three bridges in Adelaide, Sale and Melbourne. During his life, despite being subjected to recurring bouts of debilitating illness, he designed at least 14 bridges, five water supply and irrigation schemes, and a large number of buildings, many of which are on heritage registers in both Australia and New Zealand. Today he is largely forgotten.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - The Engineer as Landscaper and Cultural Warrior
    • Abstract: Dolan, D
      In 1910, American philosopher William James called on governments of all nations to eschew fighting each other, and instead jointly pursue 'the moral equivalent of war' - a war against nature. Believing the world to be fundamentally hostile to the human struggle for survival, James was inspired by the projects of the great 19th century engineers. He saw their work as a grand cultural endeavour, transcending merely building infrastructure to solve local practical problems. Pipelines, railways, roads, tunnels, bridges and canals tie formerly separate places and people together, creating new political, economic and population zones. The engineers of the Victorian and Edwardian era literally reshaped the landscape and redrew the maps, changing forever the ways we experience, conceptualise and understand the environment. In the context of the British Empire, impressive engineering works were articulated to enhance the credibility of the imperial enterprise. The visual impact on the physical landscape was controversial, but the new spatial and cultural reality they created is reflected in landscape art and popular national imagery. The fame and drama that surrounded C. Y. O'Connor in Australia and New Zealand, and his international peers, made them significant cultural figures in their own right, as influential as literary or visual artists in creating cultural imagery and sense of place.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Seek First to Understand Before Being Understood
    • Abstract: Brennan, Michael; Stinson, Tracey
      The power industry has plans for an unprecedented level of capital expenditure over the next decade on projects that are required to meet increasing demand and reliability, and the replacement of aging infrastructure. A substantial proportion of this expenditure will be spent on overhead lines and major substations, assets that elicit increasingly more hostile reactions from the community. The mere suggestion of a proposal for a new sub-transmission line often brings out the 'nimbys' on mass, making the job of the power industry increasingly more difficult. Overhead lines, underground cables and substations can inevitably impact on landholders and the community. Community scrutiny is increasing. Communities and individuals are better educated and informed, and are able to rally more readily than ever to demand involvement in the decision making about project outcomes. Informed and well organised communities can delay the roll out of major works. The community wants and deserves better justification, analysis and reasoning behind decisions. If stakeholder engagement is done well, it can lead to innovative solutions and stronger relationships with local communities, built on mutual respect and understanding. This involves a shift in mindset for infrastructure providers and their project teams. Through genuine engagement of key stakeholders, infrastructure providers can tap into the ideas and problem solving abilities from within communities to assist in identifying innovative solutions that are far more acceptable to all parties. This paper reflects on past and present attitudes and community consultation practices, and proposes a fresh approach that combines the technical skill and knowledge of engineers with a genuine desire to listen and understand landholders and the community. These partnerships can generate thought-provoking ideas for achieving creative and technically-sound solutions that are embraced by the community and landholders. The authors draw on experience and observation gained in community consultation and landholder negotiation in a major power infrastructure project in the Clarence Valley.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Broadband: New Highways for Regional Development in the
           21st Century
    • Abstract: Hitchiner, Peter
      Broadband has been the subject of serial inquiries since the Broadband Services Expert Group reported in 1994. Rarely has a subject been so heavily inquired about without, apparently until recently, a great deal of action. Like transport infrastructure it is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Broadband communications is as essential infrastructure in today's economy as is road and rail: this importance is perhaps not so readily realised. The user of broadband is the economy, the digital economy, which is critically dependent on appropriate engineering of this infrastructure and in its investment. Like road and rail, broadband infrastructure has to be engineered with changing user needs in mind. This paper will explore the issues faced by engineers and engineering in the development of broadband networks, and the critical needs of the digital economy, including in the management of other (eg. utility, road and transport) infrastructure. The paper will also consider the need for connectedness of people and services, the importance of connecting information systems (including advanced computing capabilities) and the contribution to be made by broadband in addressing sustainability.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Best Practice in Planning Transport Infrastructure for
           Regional Australia
    • Abstract: Nairn, Robert J; Stewart, David
      In the mid 1990s, regional organisations were taking an interest in transport as it served regional economies. The Northern Rivers regional economic development unit in 1995 commissioned a study of the economic and other benefits from rapid upgrading the Summerland Way. This paper reviews that work, examines the outcome from it and considers the broad appraisal process for transport infrastructure. The work used techniques developed by one of the authors from several decades of examining regional economies from the transportation viewpoint. The aim of the various state environmental planning and assessment acts of the 1970s and 1980s was to provide for a broader view to be taken of development and its consequences, and to give a voice to the various interests in the outcome. Although the environmental assessment process has generally served the community well for several decades, the process would appear to be out of control, in terms of properly reflecting community views, in terms of cost and time, and in terms of public credibility with the outcome. This paper uses the Summerland Way studies to review the place of the environmental assessment process, and examines ways to reduce the time to assess the environmental acceptability of infrastructure development proposals. Several other regional road corridors are also commented on as illustrations of the process.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Transport System Efficiency Trade-offs
    • Abstract: Brinsmead, Thomas S
      A first principles analysis presents a systems perspective broad-brush overview of the design limits of transport systems to sustainably provide socioeconomically valuable services. Motivated by future possible constraints both on greenhouse emissions (to reduce climate change risk) and fuel availability (due to diminishing global supplies), the primary focus is environmental performance (fuel demand and greenhouse emissions), given consideration of service performance (the quantity, reliability and timeliness of material movements). Other measures, such as nongreenhouse pollution, health impacts, material resource use, land-use, financial cost and service flexibility, will not be discussed systematically. The transport value chain (cf. the energy conversion chain of Lovins, 2004) provides the service of the translocation of material (or information) payload over a net distance. This induces a logistics and network design dependent demand for gross movement across a gross distance, which then induces the final demand for resource usage that is dependent on traditional engineering efficiencies. Constraints on potential efficiency are investigated in broadly quantitative terms, considering the use of alternative fuels and drives. Crude quantitative models are used to explore, in less quantitatively precise terms, the potential performance of alternative network designs. Noting that the ultimate motivation for payload translocation is the valuable conjunction of material or information, urban design, land-use planning, logistic redesign and other ways of spatially reorganising socioeconomic activity are briefly mentioned.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - The Hunter Rail Car: A Versatile Design Solution for
           Regional Rail Transport
    • Abstract: Duncan, Brian
      Rolling stock orders in Australia are often for small numbers of vehicles with sophisticated requirements. The design cost associated with these small orders is a significant percentage of the total vehicle cost. A versatile design solution has the potential to satisfy various applications that may be required in the future in an economically sensible manner. The Hunter Rail Car was primarily designed to provide an urban/regional rail transport solution for the Hunter Valley. During the concept design stage, the Hunter Rail Car was configured in such a way to enable convenient modification for other applications such as intercity travel over longer distances. This paper describes how the design configuration of the Hunter Rail Car was developed to be able to accommodate a variety of configurations to suit different suburban and regional rail transport applications. The paper also provides some insight into rail vehicle acquisition and typical considerations for the design of passenger rail vehicles. All 14 Hunter Rail Cars have been delivered to RailCorp and are providing a successful, reliable service.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Rural Fencing
    • Abstract: Jenkins, Christopher
      This paper addresses some of the engineering aspects of post and wire fencing in rural New South Wales. Many different post sizes and materials are used, and the wire properties and layout also show wide variations. The basic structural properties of these systems are examined and comments made on the desired outcomes. Some suggestions are made in an effort to provide a logical basis for the choice of fencing systems for the intended site and use. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of steel W-beam (guard fence) and wire rope road safety barrier systems to demonstrate their similarities with rural fence systems.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Slurry Pipelines: Past, Present and Future
    • Abstract: Cowper, Norman T, Snr; Cowper, Norman T, Jnr; Thomas, Allan D
      The world's first long-distance mineral slurry pipeline was built in Australia in 1967 for the Savage River magnetite concentrate mine in Tasmania. Since then, in the Australasian region, the following slurry pipelines have been built: the 24 km Gladstone limestone pipeline; the 18 km NZ steel ironsand pipeline; the 304 km Century zinc/lead concentrate pipeline; and most recently the 62 km OneSteel Whyalla magnetite pipeline commissioned in 2007. The current paper reviews the development of long-distance pipeline technology, describes the existing pipelines in the Australian region, and considers the engineering, construction, operation and current status and future of long-distance slurry pipelines in Australia.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Spatial/Political Relations and the Uncertainty of
           Regional Railways
    • Abstract: Gray, Ian
      The recent history of Australia's regional railways indicates a degree of government policy inertia, constrained by our system of governance as well as reliance on competition as a solution to inefficiencies in transport. The approach taken by governments to reforming regional railway systems was placed under the same blanket of competition policy-derived measures: creating competing businesses by way of privatisation and 'open access' to tracks, or at least allowing competitors for the government's operator, in the case of Queensland, onto the states' tracks. An inquiry into the condition of Victoria's regional network has indicated that, at best, this approach has been inadequate. During 2008, the NSW Government implicitly acknowledged the shortcomings of competition-dependent policy by restoring some assets to public ownership. It also appears that insufficient consideration was given to the spatial arrangement of the main line and regional systems, which, in the light of experience in Canada and the USA, appear to be better treated separately due to different conditions and constraints on branch lines, and the greater productivities available on main lines. Following some analysis of the branch line system of NSW, this paper attempts to propose that a political/geographical analysis in company with the basic economics of railway operation would point towards different plans for branch and main line systems, and avoid the conditions now threatening regional freight railways. Such plans should be accompanied by a different approach to regional-central government relations and reconsideration of Commonwealth, state and local government roles in regional transport development. This paper mentions the recent history of local-central government relations in Australia, highlighting the present difficulties faced by local interests in developing rail services for local industrial development. It places regional transport issues in that context before suggesting some ways to give greater certainty to sustainable transport options, both passenger and freight, for regional Australia.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - The Sydney to Brisbane Railway: Yesterday, Today and
           Tomorrow
    • Abstract: Laird, Philip
      The paper outlines the development of the Sydney to Brisbane 'coastal' railway, which includes the Sydney to Maitland section completed in 1889; the linking up of branch lines between Maitland and Kyogle by 1923; and the completion of the Kyogle to South Brisbane section in 1930. Comment is given on the present state of the Sydney to Brisbane railway (which has 40% of its length on tight radius curves) and the ongoing upgrading of the Pacific Highway, along with a decline in rail's modal share of corridor freight from about 24% in 1996 to less than 12% today. In addition to the track upgrading due to be completed by 2010 by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, the paper recommends not only upgrading the present Strathfield to Hexham section, but also consideration of rail deviations north of Hexham. The resulting improvement in rail freight efficiency and competitiveness from construction of a 'fit for purpose' Sydney to Brisbane railway could give rail a 50% share of line haul freight. Compared with a projected 5% share by 2014, this upgrade would save 52 ML/a of diesel, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce external costs by over $90 million per annum. A major track upgrade would also allow for faster passenger train services and improve road safety.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Reflections on the C.38 Class and Overhaul of Heritage
           Steam Locomotive 3801
    • Abstract: Mackey, Craig
      This paper outlines some of the history behind the introduction of the famous New South Wales Government Railways 38 Class passenger locomotives, including influences on the design of the locomotive. The story then focuses on locomotive 3801, which was preserved in the mid 1960s for tourist steam hauled trains; its rebuilding in the 1980s; and its impending boiler replacement and heavy overhaul, which will ensure it continues in heritage service for years to come.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Twentieth Century Delivery Use of Horses
    • Abstract: Jenkins, Colin
      This paper is essentially a record of the author's actual eyewitness experiences. Although references have been checked and are listed in the bibliography, they mainly enable a documentary comparison of the author's experiences with what appears to be the experiences in other cities in both Australia and abroad. There is a brief conclusion stated, but most readers should find those conclusions self-evident anyway.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Uncovering and Understanding Australia's First Railway
    • Abstract: Campbell, David; Brougham, John; Caldwell, Rod
      In 1831 the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) began operations of its first coal mine in Newcastle to serve the growing colony of New South Wales (NSW). It honoured an agreement (and contract of 1824) to take over the sourcing of coal from the NSW Government, which since 1801 had been carried out inefficiently using convict labour under supervision of the military. The mine was developed on 'The Hill' overlooking Newcastle's Harbour and was connected to a staith (coal loader) on the wharf by a railway. With an official opening date of 10 December 1831, the railway can rightly claim to be Australia's first. However, for many years little was known about the design, history or archaeology of this railway to give this claim substance and credibility. This paper will first explain the historical background to the AACo's coal mine and railway based on evidence unavailable until recently. This evidence includes sketches of the mine and accounts from the AACo's records. It suggests that AACo carefully designed and resourced its first mines with technology of the time that was developed for mines in the northeast of England. In a second part, this paper will describe recent archaeological evidence and research that shows that the design of the mine and the supply of equipment for the railway was of a high standard for that time (c. 1826). The opportunity to do this follows a very fortuitous uncovering of an iron relic from the early AACo mines by local historian and co-author, David Campbell. Recent research of early rail line technology has provided an understanding of this relic and its historic provenance. International inquiries have led to the discovery that the railway line may be contemporary in design and supply with some of the very early English railways. Railway historians in the UK are also surprised that a rare, cast iron 'fish-belly' rail section, similar to that used on their famous Stockton to Darlington Railway of 1825, could be found from a railway in Australia.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Ports, Ferries and Bridges: Clarence Valley's
           Engineering Heritage
    • Abstract: Mashiah, Greg
      In the late 19{th} and early 20{th} century, coastal shipping provided the only reliable transport link between the Clarence Valley, in northern New South Wales (NSW), and Sydney. Towns such as Grafton, Lawrence and Maclean developed as ports, which also served the NSW Northern Tablelands region prior to construction of a railway to that area. Engineering infrastructure developed to support shipping included extensive port entrance works, a dry dock at Ashby, associated road transport links, vehicular ferries and bridges. Following completion of the Sydney to South Grafton railway in 1923, reliance on coastal shipping declined and cessation of regular trade in 1954 made much of the port infrastructure redundant. The transport engineering infrastructure developed in the Clarence Valley, primarily in support of coastal shipping, provides a rich engineering heritage and examples of engineering technological development in the late 19{th} and early 20{th} centuries.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Dray to Steamer: Road Transport Connections between
           Coast and Tablelands in Northern NSW
    • Abstract: Glencross-Grant, Rex
      This paper provides background to the various road transport routes between Grafton on the north coast and the Northern Tablelands of NSW, and why the Grafton-Glen Innes line was eventually chosen. The development of the Grafton-Glen Innes link and its evolution through to the contemporary line are discussed, along with some unique circumstances and events of that period. Not only was local competition active among towns vying for direct road links, but also competing with the burgeoning rail network, expanding throughout NSW. Eventually rail won out and remained the dominant form of land transport in the area well into the 20{th} century. However, that win had some losses in other areas, resulting in change to town and population dynamics and patterns of settlement.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - Large Road Bridges in Northern NSW: 19th Century
           Evolution from Timber to Iron and Back Again
    • Abstract: Glencross-Grant, Rex
      This paper describes the evolution of large road bridges in NSW, citing examples of various timber and iron genres in northern NSW. In particular it highlights the high proportion of iron bridges constructed in northern NSW over approximately a 25-year period from around 1870. Various postulates are canvassed as to why that might have been so. Financial astringency forced the engineering profession to account for deteriorating economic conditions and political imperatives. Typical of such major changes was a dramatic swing from substantive and expensive iron road bridges to more slender, astutely-designed and economical timber truss bridges. These colonially-designed 'lean and mean' timber truss bridges were a far cry from the earlier, stockier, high maintenance versions that were inherited from British/European designs. In some respects such innovative local design was a symbolic way of releasing the restraining shackles of the colonial past and the spawning of a new nation. For over 40 years these new-style timber bridges, of successively improved forms, dominated timber truss bridge construction in NSW, to the extent that NSW was euphemistically known as the 'timber bridge state'. It was not until innovations and improvements were made in steel production, steel-fixing and concrete technology in the early 1930s that the newer materials started to replace timber.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 7 Issue 2 - American Bridges of the NSW North Coast Railway
    • Abstract: Fraser, Don
      The North Coast Railway of New South Wales from Maitland to South Grafton, 1911-1923, was the first trunk line of the NSW railway network built to uniform standards for track and structures, particularly the underbridges. Unlike the earlier trunk lines, north, west and south of Sydney, which were progressively upgraded to main line standards, the North Coast Railway was designed and built to main line standards to ensure reliable long-term, cost-effective performance compatible with the projected extension of the standard gauge railway to Brisbane. Importantly, all the steel trusses, steel girders and transom-topped timber spans were based on American bridge technology, including the American Railway Engineering Association Design Code. The original steel bridges continue in service (the timber bridges having been replaced by welded steel girders) and now constitute a family of historical bridges of high heritage significance. This paper summarises the background to the change from British bridges to the new designs by eminent bridge engineer J. W. Roberts, culminating in closing the gap across the Clarence River in 1932 with an American double-deck bascule bridge.

      PubDate: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 12:24:14 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Real-time data requirements for model-based adaptive
           control of irrigation scheduling in cotton
    • Abstract: McCarthy, AC; Hancock, NH; Raine, SR
      Model-based adaptive control strategies can be used to determine site-specific irrigation volumes with the aim of maximising crop water use efficiencies and/or yield. These strategies require infield weather, soil and crop measurements to calibrate a crop model: the crop model is then used to determine the irrigation applications throughout the crop season which produce the desired simulated crop response or condition (eg. maximum yield). However, data collection spatially over a field and throughout the crop season will potentially lead to a large sensed data requirement which may be impractical in a field implementation. Not all the collected data may be required to sufficiently calibrate the crop model and determine irrigation applications for model-based adaptive control; rather, a smaller dataset consisting of only the most influential sensor variables may be sufficient for adaptive control purposes. This paper reports on a field study which examined the utility of five sensed variables - evaporative demand, soil moisture, plant height, square count and boll count - to calibrate the cotton model OZCOT within a model-based controller and evaluate the relative significance of each sensed variable (either individually or in combination) as a control input. For the field study conditions, OZCOT was most effectively calibrated (and therefore able to predict the soil and crop response to irrigation application) using full data input, while for situations where only two data inputs were available, the simulations suggested that either weather-and-plant or soil-and-plant inputs were preferable.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Numerical predictions of air temperature and velocity
           distribution to assist in the design of natural ventilation piggery
           buildings
    • Abstract: Mossad, RR
      Pigs are subjected to intensive environment control and management for higher productivity due to their sensitivity to climatic variation, which affects their growth and impacts greatly on the profitability of this industry. The appropriate temperature and air speed inside a piggery that meets the thermal comfort of the pigs depends on the age of the pigs; in this study grower pigs (32-52 kg) are considered. The aim of the current work is to model the air flow in a natural ventilation piggery numerically and hence predict the velocity and temperature of the air inside the piggery. The effect of some variation in the design of the piggery on the environment inside the piggery, and more specifically at the pigs' level, has been also investigated. A steady two-dimensional numerical model including the effect of buoyancy, turbulence and heat generated by the pigs was solved using the computational fluid dynamics software Fluent, which is based on the integral volume method. Temperature and air speed inside the piggery and at the pigs' level were predicted for a particular wind velocity and temperature to facilitate the comparison of the effect of the different variations in the design proposed in this study. These variations were reducing the height of the outer wall of the piggery to the same level as the pens and changing the type of fence used in the pens as well as adding louvers in the air opening, changing the shape of the roof and adding insulation to the roof. Air was assumed to enter the piggery at speed of 0.92 m/s to the southwest and at temperature of 34 C. The results suggest that varying the type of fence from a solid internal fence to ones made of separated bars (new fence) only did not have much impact on the environment inside the piggery. When this change was combined with the other variation such as lowering the outer walls it made some improvements. Combining the new fence, lowering the outer walls and changing the shape of the roof resulted in the highest increase in the air speed of about 0.2-0.4 m/s at the pigs' level in comparison to the original design. Unfortunately this reduction was not large enough to bring temperature and air speed to the thermal comfort of these pigs at that climate; however this improvement would be sufficient in a milder climate. It was concluded that water sprayers are needed in this hot climate to meet the pigs' thermal comfort limit. The addition of sprayers has been investigated and results show that a large portion of the piggery with the sprayers meets the thermal comfort of the pigs at this age. However, optimisation of the location of the sprayers and the amount of water to be used in the sprayers is recommended for future study so an economical watering system is obtained.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Oil spraying as an air quality improvement technique in
           livestock buildings: Development and utilisation of a testing device
    • Abstract: Banhazi, TM; Saunders, C; Lu, V; Banhazi, A; Nieuwe, N
      Air quality is known to affect the production efficacy, health and welfare of different livestock species, as well as the health of farm workers. It is therefore important to improve air quality in facilities housing livestock to reduce the incidence and severity of respiratory diseases, improve animal welfare, production efficiency and reduce the potential occupational health and safety risks arising from exposure of farm workers to airborne pollutants in livestock facilities. This paper outlines the development of test equipment that enabled the standardised testing of different oil application rates (to be applied in bedded livestock buildings) on the resulting levels of dust suppression. Specifically the development of the equipment enabled optimum stirring and rotational speeds to be determined to give consistent levels of dust generation within the test chamber. This allowed for different oil inclusion rates to be determined in the oil/water mixture to achieve optimal dust reduction rates. Results showed that increased amounts of oil water mixture resulted in a decrease of airborne dust particles from the bedding material. However, an economically optimum rate was also identified, when the diminishing return (in terms of dust reduction rate) on the amount of oil applied was also considered. The paper also reviewed some previous studies conducted in Australia aimed at fine-tuning and applying oil spraying in livestock buildings to suppress dust.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Assessment of the performance of evaporation
           suppressant films: Analysis and limitations of simple trialling methods
    • Abstract: Hancock, NH; Pittaway, PA; Symes, TW
      The potential utility of monomolecular layers ("monolayers") and other surface film materials for the reduction of open water evaporation has long been argued. However, outside the laboratory, trials to quantify the effectiveness of artificial surface films have produced highly variable results after application to water surfaces, whether natural water bodies or managed farm storages. This paper briefly reviews the physical mechanisms involved in evaporation suppression and the biophysical literature on aquatic surface microlayers. The wide-ranging results from 16 months of outdoor trough-scale and (simultaneous) replicated bucket-scale evaporation reduction trials are interpreted using biophysical measurements made on microlayer and immediate subsurface water samples taken from the experimental troughs. When the prevailing environmental conditions and other ancillary measurements are taken into account, plausible hypotheses arise to account for at least some of the observed trial-to-trial differences in evaporation reduction and surface film performance. Results for the commercial monolayer product are inconclusive, as the concentration of the active ingredient in its formulation lacked the uniformity required for the accuracy at which these trials were conducted. Results for the temperature differential between open (unprotected) water and film-covered water, and the influence of windspeed on evaporative loss, indicate that the mechanism of evaporation suppression for mono-molecular (monolayer) organic films differs from that for thicker silicone oil films. These results have implications for both small-scale trialling of evaporation suppressants and the deployment and management of artificial surface film materials on agricultural water storages. In addition, it concluded that despite the attractiveness of simple side-by-side comparisons of performance, meaningful interpretation of results must consider prevailing meteorological conditions, and a timescale of hours rather than days.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Treatment of airborne pollutants in livestock buildings
           with ozone as potential abatement option
    • Abstract: Banhazi, T
      Previous research has demonstrated the negative effects of sub-optimal air quality on profitability, production efficiency, occupational health and safety, environmental sustainability and animal welfare. Ozone application has been used in North America to reduce internal air pollutant concentrations in livestock buildings and as a result potentially reduce airborne pollution emission. The main objective of this research was to evaluate the potential of using low concentration ozone (0.03 ppm) in Australian piggery buildings to reduce airborne pollution levels within piggery buildings and thus reduce pollution emission potentially. The data collected during the experiments demonstrated that ozone could be used effectively to reduce airborne bacteria (on average by 30% within this study) and reduce the concentration of inhalable particles (by 21% on average within this study). However, it appeared that ozone treatment did increase the concentration of respirable particles in the airspace of piggery buildings (within this study by approximately 26% on average).

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle as a remote
           sensing platform in agriculture
    • Abstract: Jensen, TA; Zeller, LC; Apan, AA
      One of the limitations of using hobbyist remotely controlled aircraft with an attached digital camera is that a great number of images look alike and unless a large number of natural features or artificial targets are present at the location, it is hard to identify and orientate the images. This paper investigates the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for use in agricultural applications. Trials were conducted, in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation and Queensland University of Technology, on the ability of a UAV autopilot to accurately trigger a two-camera sensor when at a desired location. The study area was located at Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield, near Toogoolawah (152.460 , -27.098 ) in southeast Queensland, Australia. The airfield has dedicated areas for use of remotely controlled aircraft, with the mission being undertaken on 5 March 2008. The target and waypoints were arranged so that the UAV flew in an anticlockwise flight pattern. Three separate missions were flown with images being acquired when over target on each of the nine passes. Although capturing the target in the image was achieved on every flight, the accuracy of capturing the target in the middle of the image was variable. The offset from the centre of the image to the target (zero in the perfect system) ranged from just under 15% to just over 60% of the image extent. The misalignment was due to a combination of the predetermined offset value, cross-wind, global position system/autopilot error, the UAV not being level when the image was acquired, and/or inaccuracies in positioning the sensors in the hinged pod. The capacity to accurately acquire images over pre-determined points is essential to ensure coverage and to expedite mosaicing of the images. It will also expand the application of these technologies into the broader-scale applications, such as imaging in broadacre cereal cropping or imaging along transects.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - The development and commercialisation aspects of a
           practical feed intake measurement instrumentation to be used in livestock
           buildings
    • Abstract: Banhazi, TM; Lewis, B; Tscharke, M
      The aim of the research presented in this paper was to further develop and field-test a simple and robust feed-mass measurement apparatus in order to facilitate the on farm feed-intake measurement of a distinct group of livestock. The underlining technology described in this article is known as a "mass-flow" measurement technology. After progressing through a number of development stages, the final version of the feed measurement apparatus was developed in close collaboration with an industrial partner. The measurement apparatus underwent significant and continuous changes during the study. The hardware and software were progressively improved on by the utilisation of magnetic coupling technology, the development of a calibration function, the integration of a control system and user interface. These improvements were the results of assessment of the instrument and the recursive identification of opportunities for enhancements. Experiments conducted under controlled conditions proved that the reliability and precision of the apparatus was excellent under simulated field conditions and was not affected by change in feed temperature and/or feed composition. A limited number of tests were also conducted on a commercial pig farm with encouraging results. Future development of the feed-measurement unit has the potential to improve the technology to a level where actual feed wastage can be measured and reduced by innovative use of the underlying technology.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Development of a smart monolayer application system for
           reducing evaporation from farm dams: Introductory paper
    • Abstract: Brink, GN; Symes, TW; Hancock, NH
      Chemical monolayer films are potentially an economical low-impact means of reducing evaporative loss from farm water storages. However, their performance can be highly variable as they are affected by climatic and environmental factors: principally wind, wave action and bio-degradation. Some of this observed variability is associated with the monolayer materials themselves and their interaction with the water-surface physics and biology, but the fact that they are only a few nanometres thick means that a very small amount of material has to be distributed over a very large area. Therefore, appropriate and timely autonomous application of monolayer, with regard to prevailing (and changing) wind conditions on-site, is required. Although a number of autonomous application systems for monolayer already exist, none has proved overly successful. It is argued that while this is in part due to sub-optimal performance of monolayer materials, it is also due in large measure to inaccuracies and/or inappropriate design in both application systems and particularly application strategies, which are not adaptive to the prevailing environmental conditions. Therefore a control system is being developed to adaptively and spatially vary monolayer application rates according to changing conditions monitored on-site. This will form part of an autonomous electromechanical system for the optimal application and spreading of any given chemical monolayer. This paper reports progress towards this objective; firstly by evaluation of the design requirements for automated systems at a range of spatial scales; and secondly via the construction of a first pre-prototype to act as an evaluation platform and concept demonstrator.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Improved image analysis based system to reliably
           predict the live weight of pigs on farm: Preliminary results
    • Abstract: Banhazi, TM; Tscharke, M; Ferdous, WM; Saunders, C; Lee, S-H
      A computer vision system was developed to automatically measure the live weight of pigs without human intervention. The system was trialled on both research and commercial farms to demonstrate the ability of the system to cope with different conditions and non-uniform lighting conditions. Early results demonstrate that the system can achieve sufficient practical accuracy. The results of the initial trials demonstrated that weight of the pigs can be predicted with an average error of 1.18 kg. Precision, reliability and repeatability are likely to be increased in future through improved weight prediction models, increased image resolution and algorithm enhancement.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - Development and evaluation of a prototype precision
           spot spray system using image analysis to target guinea grass in sugarcane
           
    • Abstract: Rees, SJ; McCarthy, CL; Baillie, CP; Burgos-Artizzu, XP; Dunn, MT
      Herbicide usage in weed control represents a significant economic cost and environmental risk in Australian sugarcane production. Weed spot spraying has potential to increase sugarcane production while reducing chemical usage and environmentally damaging runoff. However, weed spot spraying is traditionally a laborious manual task. This paper reports on a precision machine vision system that was developed to automatically identify and target the difficult to control weed Panicum spp. (Guinea Grass) in sugarcane crops. The infield machine vision system comprised a camera and artificial illumination to enable day and night trials. Image analysis algorithms were developed to discriminate Guinea Grass and sugarcane based on colour and textural differences between the species. A positive weed identification from the image analysis activated solenoid-controlled spray nozzles. Evaluations of the system in a sugarcane crop established that the image analysis algorithm parameters required frequent recalibration during the day but that the requirement for recalibration was reduced at night with constant artificial illumination. The algorithm was only effective at detecting mature Guinea Grass. The developed technology is considered a viable alternative to manual spot spraying of mature Guinea Grass in sugarcane at night. A cost benefit analysis of the new weed control system indicated potential grower savings of $170/ha by adopting the technology.

      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 2 - 2009 society for engineering in agriculture
           international conference
    • Abstract: Banhazi, Thomas
      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
  • Volume 8 Issue 1 - 3rd Australasian Engineering Heritage Conference
    • Abstract: Peake, Owen
      PubDate: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 12:02:32 GMT
       
 
 
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