Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections
Sunday 08 May
7:10pm - 8:00pm
Burj Al Arab
1/6, series 3
Shackles, trusses and rotating cams, anyone? Lamina flow nozzles? Capacitors? Unless you’re an engineer, this sort of language is unlikely to excite you, but Richard Hammond explains them so simply and graphically in this series (first shown on National Geographic) that really, any fool can follow it. And enjoy it too: the explanation of how the principle of skin friction helps keep the sail-shaped Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai from falling over - even though at 320m it’s as tall as the Eiffel tower and built on sand - is brilliant. First Hammond does the old trick with two interleaved telephone directories, then he shows the principle with a kitchen knife and a jar of rice - simple but memorable. There are blazing garden sheds, big bags of water exploding and an attempt to unstir milk from coffee too, all (slenderly) linked to the Burj’s architecture, and all very clever.