ENGINEERING is the application of mathematics , as well as scientific , economic , social, and practical knowledge in order to invent , innovate , design , build, maintain , research , and improve structures , machines , tools , systems , components , materials , processes , solutions, and organizations .
The discipline of engineering is extremely broad and encompasses a range of more specialized fields of engineering , each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied science, technology and types of application.
* 1 Definition
* 2.1 Ancient era
* 3 Main branches of engineering
* 4 Practice
* 5 Methodology
* 5.1 Problem solving
* 6 Social context
* 6.1 Code of ethics
* 7 Relationships with other disciplines
* 8 See also * 9 References * 10 Further reading * 11 External links
The American Engineers\' Council for Professional Development (ECPD, the predecessor of ABET ) has defined "engineering" as:
The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation or safety to life and property.
The term engineering is derived from the word engineer, which itself dates back to 1390 when an engine'er (literally, one who operates an engine) originally referred to "a constructor of military engines." In this context, now obsolete, an "engine" referred to a military machine, i.e., a mechanical contraption used in war (for example, a catapult ). Notable examples of the obsolete usage which have survived to the present day are military engineering corps, e.g., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers .
The word "engine" itself is of even older origin, ultimately deriving
Later, as the design of civilian structures such as bridges and buildings matured as a technical discipline, the term civil engineering entered the lexicon as a way to distinguish between those specializing in the construction of such non-military projects and those involved in the discipline of military engineering .
The Ancient Romans built aqueducts to bring a steady supply of clean fresh water to cities and towns in the empire.
Pharos of Alexandria
The earliest civil engineer known by name is
Chinese, Greek, Roman and Hungarian armies employed complex military machines and inventions such as artillery which was developed by the Greeks around the 4th century B.C., the trireme , the ballista and the catapult . In the Middle Ages, the trebuchet was developed.
The first steam engine was built in 1698 by
With the rise of engineering as a profession in the 18th century, the term became more narrowly applied to fields in which mathematics and science were applied to these ends. Similarly, in addition to military and civil engineering, the fields then known as the mechanic arts became incorporated into engineering.
The International Space Station represents a modern engineering challenge from many disciplines.
The inventions of Thomas Newcomen and the Scottish engineer James Watt gave rise to modern mechanical engineering . The development of specialized machines and machine tools during the industrial revolution led to the rapid growth of mechanical engineering both in its birthplace Britain and abroad. Structural engineers investigating NASA's Mars-bound spacecraft , the Phoenix Mars Lander
The United States census of 1850 listed the occupation of "engineer" for the first time with a count of 2,000. There were fewer than 50 engineering graduates in the U.S. before 1865. In 1870 there were a dozen U.S. mechanical engineering graduates, with that number increasing to 43 per year in 1875. In 1890 there were 6,000 engineers in civil, mining, mechanical and electrical.
There was no chair of applied mechanism and applied mechanics established at Cambridge until 1875, and no chair of engineering at Oxford until 1907. Germany established technical universities earlier.
The foundations of electrical engineering in the 1800s included the
Aeronautical engineering deals with aircraft design process design while aerospace engineering is a more modern term that expands the reach of the discipline by including spacecraft design. Its origins can be traced back to the aviation pioneers around the start of the 20th century although the work of Sir George Cayley has recently been dated as being from the last decade of the 18th century. Early knowledge of aeronautical engineering was largely empirical with some concepts and skills imported from other branches of engineering.
The first PhD in engineering (technically, applied science and engineering) awarded in the United States went to Josiah Willard Gibbs at Yale University in 1863; it was also the second PhD awarded in science in the U.S.
Only a decade after the successful flights by the
Wright brothers ,
there was extensive development of aeronautical engineering through
development of military aircraft that were used in
World War I
In 1990, with the rise of computer technology, the first search engine was built by computer engineer Alan Emtage .
MAIN BRANCHES OF ENGINEERING
For a topical guide to this subject, see
Outline of engineering §
Branches of engineering . The design of a modern auditorium
involves many branches of engineering, including acoustics ,
architecture , and civil engineering .
Main article: Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the application of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering principles in order to carry out chemical processes on a commercial scale, such as petroleum refining , microfabrication , fermentation , and biomolecule production .
Main article: Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is the design, study, and manufacture of various electrical and electronic systems, such as electrical circuits , generators , motors , electromagnetic /electromechanical devices, electronic devices , electronic circuits , optical fibers , optoelectronic devices , computer systems, telecommunications , instrumentation, controls, and electronics .
Main article: Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is the design and manufacture of physical or mechanical systems, such as power and energy systems, aerospace /aircraft products, weapon systems , transportation products, engines , compressors , powertrains , kinematic chains , vacuum technology, vibration isolation equipment, manufacturing , and mechatronics .
Main article: List of engineering branches
Beyond these "Big Four", a number of other branches are recognized. Historically, naval engineering and mining engineering were major branches. Other engineering fields sometimes included as major branches are manufacturing engineering , acoustical engineering , corrosion engineering , instrumentation and control , aerospace , automotive , computer , electronic , petroleum , environmental , systems , audio , software , architectural , agricultural , biosystems , biomedical , geological , textile , industrial , materials , and nuclear engineering. These and other branches of engineering are represented in the 36 licensed member institutions of the UK Engineering Council .
New specialties sometimes combine with the traditional fields and form new branches – for example, Earth systems engineering and management involves a wide range of subject areas including anthropology , engineering studies , environmental science , ethics and philosophy of engineering .
One who practices engineering is called an engineer , and those licensed to do so may have more formal designations such as Professional Engineer , Chartered Engineer , Incorporated Engineer , Ingenieur , European Engineer , or Designated Engineering Representative . In the UK many skilled trades are called "Engineer" including gas, telephone, photocopy, maintenance, plumber-heating, drainage, sanitary, auto mechanic, TV, Refrigerator, electrician, washing machine, TV antenna installer (satellite) and many others.
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Design of a turbine requires collaboration of engineers from many fields, as the system involves mechanical, electro-magnetic and chemical processes. The blades , rotor and stator as well as the steam cycle all need to be carefully designed and optimized.
Engineers apply mathematics and sciences such as physics to find novel solutions to problems or to improve existing solutions. More than ever, engineers are now required to have a proficient knowledge of relevant sciences for their design projects. As a result, many engineers continue to learn new material throughout their career.
If multiple solutions exist, engineers weigh each design choice based on their merit and choose the solution that best matches the requirements. The crucial and unique task of the engineer is to identify, understand, and interpret the constraints on a design in order to yield a successful result. It is generally insufficient to build a technically successful product, rather, it must also meet further requirements.
Constraints may include available resources, physical, imaginative or technical limitations, flexibility for future modifications and additions, and other factors, such as requirements for cost, safety , marketability, productivity, and serviceability . By understanding the constraints, engineers derive specifications for the limits within which a viable object or system may be produced and operated.
A general methodology and epistemology of engineering can be inferred from the historical case studies and comments provided by Walter Vincenti. Though Vincenti's case studies are from the domain of aeronautical engineering, his conclusions can be transferred into many other branches of engineering, too.
According to Billy Vaughn Koen, the "engineering method is the use of heuristics to cause the best change in a poorly understood situation within the available resources." Koen argues that the definition of what makes one an engineer should not be based on what he produces, but rather how he goes about it.
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A drawing for a booster engine for steam locomotives .
Engineers use their knowledge of science , mathematics , logic , economics , and appropriate experience or tacit knowledge to find suitable solutions to a problem. Creating an appropriate mathematical model of a problem allows them to analyze it (sometimes definitively), and to test potential solutions.
Usually, multiple reasonable solutions exist, so engineers must evaluate the different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best meets their requirements. Genrich Altshuller , after gathering statistics on a large number of patents , suggested that compromises are at the heart of "low-level " engineering designs, while at a higher level the best design is one which eliminates the core contradiction causing the problem.
Engineers typically attempt to predict how well their designs will perform to their specifications prior to full-scale production. They use, among other things: prototypes , scale models , simulations , destructive tests , nondestructive tests , and stress tests . Testing ensures that products will perform as expected.
Engineers take on the responsibility of producing designs that will perform as well as expected and will not cause unintended harm to the public at large. Engineers typically include a factor of safety in their designs to reduce the risk of unexpected failure. However, the greater the safety factor, the less efficient the design may be.
The study of failed products is known as forensic engineering and can help the product designer in evaluating his or her design in the light of real conditions. The discipline is of greatest value after disasters, such as bridge collapses , when careful analysis is needed to establish the cause or causes of the failure.
A computer simulation of high velocity air flow around a Space Shuttle orbiter during re-entry. Solutions to the flow require modelling of the combined effects of fluid flow and the heat equations .
As with all modern scientific and technological endeavors, computers and software play an increasingly important role. As well as the typical business application software there are a number of computer aided applications (computer-aided technologies ) specifically for engineering. Computers can be used to generate models of fundamental physical processes, which can be solved using numerical methods .
One of the most widely used design tools in the profession is
computer-aided design (CAD) software like
These allow products and components to be checked for flaws; assess fit and assembly; study ergonomics; and to analyze static and dynamic characteristics of systems such as stresses, temperatures, electromagnetic emissions, electrical currents and voltages, digital logic levels, fluid flows, and kinematics. Access and distribution of all this information is generally organized with the use of product data management software.
There are also many tools to support specific engineering tasks such as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software to generate CNC machining instructions; manufacturing process management software for production engineering; EDA for printed circuit board (PCB) and circuit schematics for electronic engineers; MRO applications for maintenance management; and AEC software for civil engineering.
In recent years the use of computer software to aid the development of goods has collectively come to be known as product lifecycle management (PLM).
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The engineering profession engages in a wide range of activities, from large collaboration at the societal level, and also smaller individual projects. Almost all engineering projects are obligated to some sort of financing agency: a company, a set of investors, or a government. The few types of engineering that are minimally constrained by such issues are pro bono engineering and open-design engineering.
By its very nature engineering has interconnections with society, culture and human behavior. Every product or construction used by modern society is influenced by engineering. The results of engineering activity influence changes to the environment, society and economies, and its application brings with it a responsibility and public safety.
All overseas development and relief NGOs make considerable use of engineers to apply solutions in disaster and development scenarios. A number of charitable organizations aim to use engineering directly for the good of mankind:
Engineers Without Borders
Engineers Against Poverty
* Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief
Engineers for a Sustainable World
Engineering for Change
CODE OF ETHICS
Main article: Engineering ethics
Many engineering societies have established codes of practice and codes of ethics to guide members and inform the public at large. The National Society of Professional Engineers code of ethics states:
In Canada, many engineers wear the Iron Ring as a symbol and reminder of the obligations and ethics associated with their profession.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER DISCIPLINES
Engineers, scientists and technicians at work on target
National Ignition Facility
Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that has never been. — Theodore von Kármán
There exists an overlap between the sciences and engineering practice; in engineering, one applies science. Both areas of endeavor rely on accurate observation of materials and phenomena. Both use mathematics and classification criteria to analyze and communicate observations.
Scientists may also have to complete engineering tasks, such as designing experimental apparatus or building prototypes. Conversely, in the process of developing technology engineers sometimes find themselves exploring new phenomena, thus becoming, for the moment, scientists or more precisely "engineering scientists".
In the book What Engineers Know and How They Know It , Walter Vincenti asserts that engineering research has a character different from that of scientific research. First, it often deals with areas in which the basic physics or chemistry are well understood, but the problems themselves are too complex to solve in an exact manner.
There is a "real and important" difference between engineering and
physics as similar to any science field has to do with technology.
Physics is an exploratory science that seeks knowledge of principles
As stated by Fung et al. in the revision to the classic engineering text Foundations of Solid Mechanics:
Although engineering solutions make use of scientific principles, engineers must also take into account safety, efficiency, economy, reliability, and constructability or ease of fabrication as well as the environment, ethical and legal considerations such as patent infringement or liability in the case of failure of the solution.
MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY
Leonardo da Vinci
The study of the human body, albeit from different directions and for different purposes, is an important common link between medicine and some engineering disciplines. Medicine aims to sustain, repair, enhance and even replace functions of the human body , if necessary, through the use of technology . Genetically engineered mice expressing green fluorescent protein , which glows green under blue light. The central mouse is wild-type .
Modern medicine can replace several of the body's functions through the use of artificial organs and can significantly alter the function of the human body through artificial devices such as, for example, brain implants and pacemakers . The fields of bionics and medical bionics are dedicated to the study of synthetic implants pertaining to natural systems.
Conversely, some engineering disciplines view the human body as a biological machine worth studying and are dedicated to emulating many of its functions by replacing biology with technology. This has led to fields such as artificial intelligence , neural networks , fuzzy logic , and robotics . There are also substantial interdisciplinary interactions between engineering and medicine.
Both fields provide solutions to real world problems. This often requires moving forward before phenomena are completely understood in a more rigorous scientific sense and therefore experimentation and empirical knowledge is an integral part of both.
Medicine, in part, studies the function of the human body. The human body, as a biological machine, has many functions that can be modeled using engineering methods.
The heart for example functions much like a pump, the skeleton is like a linked structure with levers, the brain produces electrical signals etc. These similarities as well as the increasing importance and application of engineering principles in medicine, led to the development of the field of biomedical engineering that uses concepts developed in both disciplines.
Newly emerging branches of science, such as systems biology , are adapting analytical tools traditionally used for engineering, such as systems modeling and computational analysis, to the description of biological systems.
There are connections between engineering and art; they are direct in some fields, for example, architecture , landscape architecture and industrial design (even to the extent that these disciplines may sometimes be included in a university's Faculty of Engineering); and indirect in others.
Art Institute of Chicago , for instance, held an exhibition about
the art of
Business Engineering deals with the relationship between professional
engineering, IT systems, business administration and change management
Engineering management or "
Management engineering" is a specialized
field of management concerned with engineering practice or the
engineering industry sector. The demand for management-focused
engineers (or from the opposite perspective, managers with an
understanding of engineering), has resulted in the development of
specialized engineering management degrees that develop the knowledge
and skills needed for these roles. During an engineering management
course, students will develop industrial engineering skills,
knowledge, and expertise, alongside knowledge of business
administration, management techniques, and strategic thinking.
Engineers specializing in change management must have in-depth
knowledge of the application of industrial and organizational
psychology principles and methods. Professional engineers often train
as certified management consultants in the very specialized field of
management consulting applied to engineering practice or the
engineering sector. This work often deals with large scale complex
business transformation or
Business process management
PART OF A SERIES ON
* Acid-base * Analytical * Environmental * Inorganic * Nuclear * Organic * Physical * Solid-state * Supramolecular * Sustainable ("green") * Theoretical
* Classical * Modern * Applied
* Experimental * Theoretical
* Atomic * Condensed matter
* (classical * continuum * fluid * solid )
* Mathematical / theoretical biology
* v * t * e
Main article: Outline of engineering Lists
* List of engineering topics * List of engineers * Engineering society * List of aerospace engineering topics * List of basic chemical engineering topics * List of electrical engineering topics * List of genetic engineering topics * List of mechanical engineering topics * List of nanoengineering topics * List of software engineering topics
* Controversies over the term
* ^ "About IAENG". iaeng.org. International Association of
Engineers. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
* ^ ABET History
* ^ Engineers\' Council for Professional Development. (1947).
Canons of ethics for engineers
* ^ A B C D E F G H Engineers\' Council for Professional
Development definition on Encyclopædia Britannica (Includes
Britannica article on Engineering)
Oxford English Dictionary
* ^ Origin: 1250–1300; ME engin < AF, OF < L ingenium nature,
innate quality, esp. mental power, hence a clever invention, equiv. to
in- + -genium, equiv. to gen- begetting; Source: Random House
Unabridged Dictionary, Random House, Inc. 2006.
* ^ Barry J. Kemp, Ancient Egypt, Routledge 2005, p. 159
* ^ "The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project", The Antikythera
Mechanism Research Project. Retrieved 2007-07-01 Quote: "The
Antikythera Mechanism is now understood to be dedicated to
astronomical phenomena and operates as a complex mechanical "computer"
which tracks the cycles of the Solar System."
* ^ Wilford, John. (July 31, 2008). Discovering How Greeks Computed
in 100 B.C..
New York Times .
* ^ Wright, M T. (2005). "Epicyclic Gearing and the Antikythera
Mechanism, part 2". Antiquarian Horology. 29 (1 (September 2005)):
* ^ Britannica on Greek civilization in the 5th century Military
technology Quote: "The 7th century, by contrast, had witnessed rapid
innovations, such as the introduction of the hoplite and the trireme,
which still were the basic instruments of war in the 5th." and "But it
was the development of artillery that opened an epoch, and this
invention did not predate the 4th century. It was first heard of in
the context of Sicilian warfare against Carthage in the time of
Dionysius I of Syracuse."
* ^ Jenkins, Rhys (1936). Links in the