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Energy, Effort & Flow

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bobjengr
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Energy , Effort and Flow
bobjengr   7/6/2013 12:08:25 PM
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Very interesting Kevin.  My first introduction to modeling (and the most profound) came while taking a course in Reliability Engineering from Arizona State University.  It was a great course, very informative and very helpful relative to trying to formulate mathematical models describing various HALT (highly accelerated life test) procedures.   I was somewhat surprised to find the math models provided significant accuracy for predicting outcomes.  This was a real eye-opener.   I have no idea as to other applications for modeling but if most were as successful as the ones I used then I say have at it.  A remarkable saving of time for the practicing engineer.

William K.
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ffort and flow as the major characteristics of a system?
William K.   7/5/2013 2:18:44 PM
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This posting is interesting in that the basis seems to be the proposition that Effort and flow are the major parametrs that somehow describe a system. While that would certainly be true for hydraulic cylinders and possibly a few other items, it does not really seem to me to describe much relative to the functionality and uniqueness of most systems. Starting with an item that does have parameters that fit those categories, such as a chain saw. Certainly chain speed and the available force are indeed critical parameters, but the other parameter that is instantly important is the "bar" length, which defines the maximum thickness that is simple to cut. But there are lots of chain saws with all different levels of pricing. So the things that are critical to any particular product are hose other varriables, such as balance, ease of use, reliability, and power source, which relates to the actual cutting speed. The different power sources are also critically defining parameters. 

How about a washing machine? The tumbling tub is the defining element and is what makes the washer modern and more energy efficient. Size and the resulting  load capacity is the main parameter, That does certainly depend on the effort that can be delivered, but neither speed nor effort is a hard to determine parameter. Efficiency and effectiveness, along with ease of use are the critical parameters. 

So while force and flow are imortant parameters on a few kinds of systems, the portions that would be modeled and the thinking behind those other variables are probably and most often the parts that define the qualities of a system.

My point being that the mathmatical model of some systems is what defines them, in the majority of cases it is the "other stuff" that defines the value and success of a product. Creativity, insight, and knowledge are the qualities that make an engineer valuable for a particular application, and those are qualifications that are mostly not all the same. The result is that engineers, unlike the high quality bolts that are available, are not nearly so interchangable and easily replacable, no matter what they teach in MBA schools. 

While the relation of these comments to the original proposition may seem a bit distant, they really are related.

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