Buildings want to float, and cars want to fly. These are just a couple of the counterintuitive engineering principles taken from the book, 101 Things I Learned in Engineering School (Grande Central Publishing) by John Kuprenas with Matthew Frederick.
We also learn that skyscrapers are built mostly to resist pressures from the side, not weight from the top. We discover that a triangle is more stable than a square â€“- thus many bridges and buildings are based on triangles.
Using the comment section below, let us know the unusual-but-obvious-once-you-think-about-it principles you learned in engineering school. We'd also like to know what you learned after engineering school that you wish you had known when you were a student.
Click the image below to start our slideshow on things learned in engineering school.
A skyscraper is a vertically cantilevered beam. The primary structural design consdieration is not resistance to vertical (gravity) loads, but resistance to lateral loads from wind and earthquakes. For this reason, tall structures function and are designed conceptually as large beams cantilevered from the ground. (Illustration source: Earthquake Buddy)
Rob, at first I thought this would be stuff YOU learned in engineering school. I was prepared to be amazed at your memoory (or imagination).
As it is, there are some very good points made in the slide show. I like the one about the roundabouts. While living in the UK I got used to them and they are very good. As applied here, not so much. People are just not trained in how they work.
Slide 10 is something I am very knowledgeable about (for decades). I did run into a book about UML for embedded systems where the author turns this on its head and talks about requirements defects having a big impact on development. While this is true, it is easier to work with requirements and make changes than it is with code or silicon.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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