Exploring Engineering - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123694058, 9780080547183

Exploring Engineering

1st Edition

An Introduction for Freshmen to Engineering and to the Design Process.

Authors: Philip Kosky Robert Balmer William Keat George Wise
eBook ISBN: 9780080547183
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 11th September 2006
Page Count: 400
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Winner of the Best New Undergraduate Textbook Award from the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the American Association of Publishers! Exploring Engineering was developed to meet the need for a better way to introduce incoming engineering students to the fundamental concepts at the heart of all engineering disciplines. It was also created to show students in a vivid way the great array of opportunities and possibilities of today's engineering fields-from classical mechanical engineering to bioengineering and mechatronics. This is the first text to introduce nearly all of the major engineering areas, and to do so with a strong interdisciplinary case study approach. This approach better prepares and enables students to draw upon knowledge not only from their own particular field of expertise, but also from related or even distantly related engineering and technical and scientific fields, allowing them to become more versatile within their future employment.

Exploring Engineering is flexible enough to offer a variety of approaches to the introduction of modern engineering for new students, while still providing the most important essentials that hold all engineering disciplines together, particularly the mathematical, quantitative basis of engineering as well as the modern computer tools that make today's engineering design so efficient and accurate.

Key Features

  • Introduces the fundamental physical, chemical, and material foundations for all engineering work, including motion, force, conservation of energy and matter
  • Explains the workings of simple electrical circuits, computer logic, control and mechatronics, stress/strain diagrams, bioengineering, stoichiometry
  • Offers applications of engineering ethics—using an extended case study metaphor: the modern automobile
  • Provides simple data spreadsheets and other analytical "tools of the trade" to introduce students to the concepts of theoretical and of empirical engineering
  • Presents the engineering design process using examples and assignments specifically aimed at helping to guide students and instructor through a hands-on design project


• Freshman undergraduate students entering 4-year engineering programs, including those with declared or intended majors in all engineering areas such as mechanical, electrical, chemical, industrial, and civil engineering • Freshman undergraduate students who are taking an “Introduction to Engineering Course” either as a requirement for a technical degree or as an elective for science and technology requirements for other degree programs in liberal arts, business, life sciences, and so forth • Undergraduate and graduate students in other technical disciplines or physical sciences who may take this course as an elective. • Undergraduate Liberal Arts Students who are taking courses to fulfill science requirements or who may want to enter technical fields

Table of Contents

Part 1: Minds-on
Chapter 1: What Engineers Do
Scope of this text
Context of covered material
Learning Sections
What are personal ethics? (… and what have they to do with engineering?)
The Five Cornerstones of Ethical Behavior
Top Ten Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Making an Ethical Decision
What are Professional ethics?
National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics for Engineers
Fundamental Canons
What You Should Expect to Achieve in this Course

Chapter 2: Key Elements of Engineering Analysis with an Introduction to the Concept of Force
The SI Unit System
Force, Weight and Mass
Significant Figures

Chapter 3: How to solve problems and spreadsheet analyses
Need-to-know-how-to-solve method of solving problems
Spreadsheet analysis
Cell addressing modes
Types of data that can be in a cell
Input to a spreadsheet
Graphing in Spreadsheets

Chapter 4: Energy: Kinds, Conversion, and Conservation
Energy is the Capability to do Work
Kinds of Energy
Conservation of Energy

Chapter 5: Chemical Energy of Fuels
Atoms, Molecules, and Chemical Reactions
The mol and the kmol
The Air-to-Fuel Ratio
The Heating Value of Hydrocarbon Fuels
The Heating Value of Fuels: The General Case

Chapter 6: The Automotive Drive Train
Modeling the Power Output of the Otto Cycle
Derivation of Otto cycle power output equation from first principles
Gearing and Gear Ratios
Improving on the Otto Cycle

Chapter 7: Electrical Circuits
Electrical Circuits
Resistance, Ohm's Law and the “Power Law”
Series and Parallel Circuits

Chapter 8: Logic and Computers
Analog Computers
From Analog to Digital Computing
Binary Logic
Truth Tables
Binary Arithmetic
Binary Codes
How does a computer work?

Chapter 9: Control Systems Design and Mechatronics
Modeling the control system as a block diagram
Translating the block diagram into a mathematical model
Selecting a control strategy
Implementing the chosen strategy in hardware

Chapter 10: Kinematics and Traffic Flow
Distance, Speed, and Acceleration
The Speed versus Time Diagram
Applying the tool to the on-ramp problem
General Equations of Kinematics
The Highway Capacity Diagram

Chapter 11: Introduction to Materials Engineering
What are the reasons for a particular material’s strength?
Defining Materials Requirements
Materials Selection
Properties of modern materials

Chapter 12: Bioengineering
Biological implications of injuries to the head
The Stress-Speed-Stopping Distance-Area Criterion
Criteria for Predicting Effects of Potential Accidents

Chapter 13: Introduction to Chemical Engineering
Oil Refining
Oil refineries
Process Engineering
How refinery output can be improved
Catalytic Conversion

Chapter 14: Cars of the Future - What Will They Be Like?
The Car Culture
Big Changes Ahead: Convergence
Automotive Electronics
Smart Automobile Safety Systems
Smart Tire Systems
Smart Exhaust Systems
Smart Drive-By-Wire Systems
Smart Highway Systems
Smart Traffic Systems
Smart Advanced Power Systems
Variable Displacement and Variable Valve Engines
Fuel Cell Systems
Enjoying the Ride – Smart Vehicle Entertainment Systems
How Do We Get There?
Looking Forward

Part 2: Hands-on
Chapter 15: Introduction to Engineering Design
The Nature of Engineering Design
Hands-on Design Exercise ‘The Tower’
Benefits of a Hands-on Design Project
Qualities of a Good Designer
The Need for a Systematic Approach
The Steps in the Engineering Design Process

Chapter 16: Two Ground Rules for Design
Ground Rule No.1: Use a Design Notebook
Ground Rule No.2: Team Effectively

Chapter 17: Clarification of the Task
Problem Definition
List of Specifications
Design Milestone: Clarification of the Task

Chapter 18: Generation of Alternative Concepts
Hands-on Design Exercise ‘The Tube’
Research Based Strategies for Promoting Creativity
Functional Decomposition for Complex Systems
Design Milestone: Generation of Alternatives

Chapter 19: Evaluation of Alternatives and Selection of a Concept
Minimize the Information Content of the Design
Maintain the Independence of Functional Requirements
Design for Ease of Manufacture
Design for Robustness
Design for Adjustability
Hands-on Design Exercise ‘Waste Ball’
The Decision Matrix
Design Milestone: Evaluation of Alternatives

Chapter 20: Detailed Design
Detailed Drawings
Design Milestone: Detailed Design

Chapter 21: Oral Design Defense
Design Milestone: Oral Design Defense

Chapter 22: Manufacturing and Testing
Manufacturing and Testing Strategies
Joining Methods
Useful Hand Tools
Design Milestone: DFM Assessment I
Design Milestone: DFM Assessment II

Chapter 23: Performance Evaluation
Individual Performance Testing
The Final Competition
Design Milestone: Individual Performance Testing

Chapter 24: Design Report
Organization of the Report
Writing Guidelines
Design Milestone: Design Report

Chapter 25: An Example of a Design Competition: “A Bridge Too Far.”
Design Competition Example: “A Bridge Too Far”
Design Milestone Solutions for “A Bridge Too Far”
DM 1: Clarification of the Task
DM 2: Generation of Alternative Concepts
DM 3: Evaluation of Alternative Concepts
DM 4: Detailed Design

Appendix: Official Rules for the “A Bridge Too Far” Design Competition

Chapter 26: Closing Remarks on the Important Role of Design Projects


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2006
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Philip Kosky

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., USA; formerly Staff Scientist, GE Research Laboratory, Niskayuna, N.Y., USA

Robert Balmer

Affiliations and Expertise

Mechanical Engineering Professor Emeritus,University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Dean Emeritus, Engineering and Computer Science, Union College, Schenectady NY

William Keat

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor Mechanical Engineering, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., USA

George Wise

Affiliations and Expertise

Formerly Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., USA; also Technical Staff and Communication Specialist, GE Research Laboratory, Niskayuma, N.Y., USA


"Kosky, Wise, Balmer and Keat have developed a wonderful pedagogical text which provides a unique fresh perspective of first-year engineering education. This book enriches the content and facilitates the delivery of freshmen engineering courses. It is a very timely textbook." Ronald A. Perez, Ph.D., P.E. Associate Dean, Academic and Administrative Affairs College of Engineering and Applied Science University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee