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The Engineer and the Method. EGR 1310 Introduction to Engineering. What is Engineering?.

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The Engineer and the Method

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The Engineer and the Method

EGR 1310

Introduction to Engineering


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What is Engineering?

“The profession in which knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences, gained by study, experience, and practice, is applied with judgment to develop ways to use, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.”

Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET)


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What is Engineering?

  • What is the difference between…

    • a scientist and an engineer?

    • a mechanical engineer and a mechanic?

    • an electrical engineer and an electrician?

  • Engineering vs. Engineering technology


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Why Study Engineering?

  • To become a

    • Professional engineer

    • Business consultant for a prestigious consulting firm

    • Lawyer

    • Physician

  • To use my God-given gifts and talents to serve others in the best possible way

    • “Vocation”


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The Engineering Disciplines

  • The three big disciplines (a large majority of all engineers)

    • Civil Engineering

    • Electrical and Computer Engineering

    • Mechanical Engineering

  • Additional disciplines

    • Chemical Engineering

    • Industrial Engineering

    • Biomedical Engineering

    • Nuclear Engineering


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Civil Engineering

  • Oldest engineering discipline


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Civil Engineering

  • Origins back to ~4000BC


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Mechanical Engineering

  • Developed after civil engineering

  • Concerned with the design of mechanical and thermal systems

    • Many final products, such as cars & airplanes

    • Most equipment that makes other products

    • Heating and air conditioning systems


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Mechanical Engineering


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Mechanical Engineering


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Alumna Profile

  • Karen Davis, BSME, 2009

  • Propulsion test engineer and test conductor

  • SpaceX, McGregor, Texas

  • “I work on the in-space team, so I work with second stage engines and Draco thrusters for the cargo carrying capsule (the Dragon).  As a TE/TC, I am responsible for controlling the many different systems on our test stand that make testing the Draco possible.  I will also be doing some design work to expand the test stand for a module of Draco's (five thrusters in flight configuration) and helping to develop a test plan for that series of testing.”

Karen in Rwanda with Engineers with a Mission

Space X Falcon 9 Engines


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Alumna Profile

  • Jonathan Crabtree, BSME 2009

  • Level 1 Mechanical Engineer

  • Black and Veatch, Kansas City, KA

  • “I work in the energy division and retrofit projects for older power plants (coal, gas, and combined cycle). Retrofits include emission control equipment (scrubbers for SO2 reduction, SCR for NOx reduction, etc.) and fuel conversion projects. I work on detailed designs, studies, proposals, and also the cost estimate for a new solar thermal power plant that will be the biggest of its kind. I feels that my Baylor education trained me well. Besides starting work, I am getting married in October. Woowho!!”

Jonathan and Katie on the Waco Suspension Bridge

A Solar Thermal Power Plant


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Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Design of electrical systems

  • Very large engineering discipline as all industries will need some electrical engineers

  • Computer portion of this discipline is much newer, having developed since the 1960’s

  • Primarily concerned with information and/or power


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Electrical and Computer Engineering


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Electrical and Computer Engineering


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Alumna Profile

  • Amy Bowen, BSECE, 2006

  • Engineer, National Wind Technology Center

  • NREL, Boulder, CO

  • “I have been a field test engineer for small turbine independent testing at the National Wind Technology Center since September 2007. I am involved in duration, power performance, and safety and function testing for small wind turbines. I am also currently involved in software development for small turbine testing, blade testing, LabVIEW programming, data acquisition, and data analysis.”

Amy visiting wind farm

Large and Small Wind Turbines


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Alumni Profile

  • Chris Matcek, BSECE 2006, ME/MBA 2008

  • Engineering Management Trainee

  • Raytheon, San Diego, CA

  • “I am member of the Rotational Engineering Leadership Development Program (RELDP). I rotate between three assignments around the USA for 2 years, experiencing different areas of the company. Then I move into management upon graduation. I am currently working on organizational strategy and business continuity for the company.”

Chris with MBA students in Washington DC

Raytheon’s KillerBee UAV


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What is an Engineer?

  • An Engineer is not defined by her product

    • Nano-robots

    • Airplanes

    • Suspension bridges

  • An engineer is defined by her method

    • Finding the best change

    • Using available resources

    • In an environment of uncertainty


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“To Engineer”

  • The clergy in Iran engineered the firing of the president.

  • The chessmaster engineered a perfect countermove.

  • The general engineered a coup d'état without the loss of life.


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Why is Engineering Such a Mystery?

  • The Scientific Method

    • Well-understood, even by the layperson.

    • “Science is theory corrected by experiment.”

    • All variables held constant except one.

    • “Answer in the back of the book.”

  • Extensively analyzed by philosophers

  • None of these are true for the Engineering Method

    • Although engineers often employ science and scientific reasoning


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Four Key Elements of Engineering Problems:

  • Change: the situation requires a change.

  • Best: the best change is desired...

  • Resources: using the available resources.

  • Uncertainty: knowledge about the situation is incomplete and sometimes inconsistent


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Four Key Elements of Engineering Problems:

  • Change: the situation requires a change.

  • Best: the best change is desired...

  • Resources: using the available resources.

  • Uncertainty: knowledge about the situation is incomplete and sometimes inconsistent


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Change

A

Measure of Change

B

time


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Change

  • Four practical difficulties in getting from A to B:

    • Engineer lacks complete knowledge of the world at A

    • The exact final state, B, is unknown and cannot be anticipated

    • There is no single path from A to B

    • Engineering goals can change during the process (the location of B floats!)


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Change

  • Is all change caused by engineers good?

    • What about unintended consequences?

      • Aswan High Dam in Egypt

      • Can you name any others?

    • Can you think of any engineering disasters?

      • Tacoma Narrows Bridge

      • Kansas City Hyatt Regency

      • Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in U.S.S.R.


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The Final State (B) Cannot Be Fully Known!


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Unforeseen Consequences

  • Increased salinity of the Nile by 10%

    • Led to collapse of sardine industry

  • Caused Coastal Erosion

  • Displaced 100,000 Nubians

    • Drastically altering their way of life

  • BUT provides ½ of Egypt’s electrical needs


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Four Key Elements of Engineering Problems:

  • Change: the situation requires a change.

  • Best: the best change is desired...

  • Resources: using the available resources.

  • Uncertainty: knowledge about the situation is incomplete and sometimes inconsistent


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Best

  • Best for whom?

    • Westerners are conditioned to accept Plato’s notion of the Ideal

    • A new concept of “best”

  • Optimization theory

    • The optimum compromise

    • Apollo Program

      • Leapfrog learning

      • Political vs. Economic tradeoffs


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Television Example: Best

  • Consider a television with only one knob:

    • Increased knob setting results in sharper picture

    • Increased knob setting also results in worse sound.


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Television Example: Best

Assuming Picture and Sound are Equally Weighted


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Television Example: Best

With Picture is half as important as Sound (for a person with hearing problems)


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What is the Best?

“In essence, the engineer creates what he thinks an informed society should want based on his knowledge of what an uninformed society thinks it wants.”

Discussion of the Method, Billy Koen


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Four Key Elements of Engineering Problems:

  • Change: the situation requires a change.

  • Best: the best change is desired...

  • Resources: using the available resources.

  • Uncertainty: knowledge about the situation is incomplete and sometimes inconsistent


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Available Resources

  • Tangible Resources

    • Money available for project

    • Time to complete project

    • Raw materials like steel, concrete, silicon

    • Computer resources

    • Number and education of engineers

  • Intangible Resources

    • Past experience with similar projects

    • Engineer’s interests, passions, etc.


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Time as a Resource

  • Problem: estimate number of ping-pong balls that can fill the room in

    • 60 seconds

    • 2 days

    • Unlimited time

  • Each time limit defines a new engineering problem because the time resource is different

  • Each solution would be valid from an engineering point of view because it was done within the time constraints imposed.


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Four Key Elements of Engineering Problems:

  • Change: the situation requires a change.

  • Best: the best change is desired...

  • Resources: using the available resources.

  • Uncertainty: knowledge about the situation is incomplete and sometimes inconsistent


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Uncertainty

  • Engineers are asked to find a solution to a problem while lacking complete information

  • In Change: both the starting and ending points (A & B) are not fully known

  • Resources: intangible resources cannot be quantified, yet they affect the outcome

  • Best: the best design is not always clear, best for whom?


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What is an Engineer?

  • An Engineer is not defined by her product

  • Although, her discipline is

    • Electrical Engineer

    • Computer Engineer

    • Mechanical Engineer

  • An Engineer is defined by her method

    • Finding the best change, using available resources in an environment of uncertainty

  • Engineering degree is great training for…

    • Business, Medicine, Law, Politics, Development


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