asked “Do you know what engineering is?” most people will emphatically
reply that they do; however, when they’re then asked what does an
engineer do? What is something you have used today that has been
engineered?”, they struggle.
WHAT IS ENGINEERING?
can be defined as the application of practical and scientific knowledge
to the solving of a problem through the use of a methodical process.
More simply put, at its most fundamental level engineering is problem solving.
WHAT IS DESIGN?
term “design” was listed above, but what exactly does this mean?
A simpler definition might be: Design is thinking of and creating something new, or adapting something old to solve a problem and/or satisfy a need. One should note that this definition has the key words “problem solving” again.
DISCIPLINES OF ENGINEERING:
are many different types of engineers, each specializing in a different
field of knowledge, each with a specific set of problems they
specialize in solving. There are almost as many fields of engineering
as there are fields of scientific inquiry! Some examples are listed
below. Keep in mind that this list is not all-inclusive.
- Acoustical Engineering
- Aeronautical Engineering
- Aerospace Engineering
- Agricultural Engineering
- Architectural Engineering
- Automotive Engineering
- Biological Engineering
- Biomechanical Engineering
- Biomolecular Engineering
- Ceramic Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Control Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Electronic Engineering
- Energy Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
- Heating, Venting, Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineering
- Industrial Engineering
- Manufacturing Engineering
- Materials Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Metallurgical Engineering
- Mining Engineering
- Molecular Engineering
- Nano Engineering
- Naval / Ocean / Marine Engineering
- Nuclear Engineering
- Optical Engineering
- Paper Engineering
- Petroleum Engineering
- Plastics Engineering
- Power Engineering
- Process Engineering
- Structural Engineering
- Systems Engineering
- Thermal Engineering
- Transportation Engineering
The Engineering Process
engineering design process is a series of steps that engineers follow
when they are trying to solve a problem and design a solution for
something; it is a methodical approach to problem solving.
The design process in its simplest terms can be seen as a 3-step loop:
USING THE ENGINEERING DESIGN PROCESS:
discussed above, there is no single engineering design process.
Throughout this course students will use an 11-step design process as
they conceptualize, design, and create a robot to compete in
head-to-head robotics competition. The process used is seen below.
Step 1 – UNDERSTAND – Define the Problem
Step 2 – EXPLORE – Do Background Research
Step 3 – DEFINE – Determine Solution Specifications
Step 4 – IDEATE – Generate Concept Solutions
Step 5 – PROTOTYPE – Learn How Your Concepts Work
Step 6 – CHOOSE – Determine a Final Concept
Step 7 – REFINE – Do Detailed Design
Step 8 – PRESENT – Get Feedback & Approval
Step 9 – IMPLEMENT – Implement the Detailed Solution
Step 10 – TEST – Does the Solution Work?
Step 11 – ITERATE
WORKING ON A DESIGN TEAM:Every
student involved in competition robotics will have the opportunity to
work on a design team at some point. There are a number of
considerations they should keep in mind to achieve success:
should always keep an open mind. It is important to allow crazy ideas
to develop. The most likely time for a creative solution to be found is
early in the design process when wild ideas are expressed.
one should become overly attached to any single idea - especially one
they created. It is easy to become blinded to other ideas simply
because “they aren’t mine.”
should not become defensive regarding the opinions of others. Defend
one’s own opinions and ideas but always focus on the ultimate goal of
providing the best solution possible.
- One should always stay positive, even when discussing negatives.
is based in logic. One should focus on factual arguments, not those
based on opinions. Emotion should not be allowed to interfere with the
is important not to be offended if disagreements occur, even if things
get heated and criticisms are overly harsh. Most engineers get
passionate during design discussions and will often be very blunt. It is
important not to take this personally.
- An unjustified opinion is not useful. Team members must be able to describe WHY they like or dislike something.
- This is NOT rhetoric, it is engineering.
In rhetoric, the person who argues best will be most persuasive. In
engineering, the person who has the best argument will be most
persuasive. It is not the one who can speak the best but the one who
can provide quantitative proof that will win an argument and prove their
idea is better! It is important to be quantitative wherever possible.
nothing but ten letter size sheets of paper, students must create a
freestanding tower as tall as possible in 30 minutes. Students are
required to spend 5 minutes planning and designing their tower before
they receive any materials. Students will then be given ten sheets of
paper and allowed ten minutes for prototyping; at the end of the
prototyping period ALL paper and prototypes will be collected. Teams
will then be given 15 minutes to implement their final tower design.
The tower must remain freestanding for at least 30 seconds for its
height to count.
- What does an engineer do?
- What is something that you have used today that was designed by an engineer?
- Why are constraints and limits an important part of the engineering process?
the process used to design and build your tower. List each step. How
did you or did you not follow the engineering process?
- How many solutions did your team consider? Did you think about the possibilities enough?
- Did you divide up the work or all focus on the same task?
- What were some ways your team worked well? What were some ways you could have worked better?