When faculty member Leo Castagno of Brigham Young University discovered that many engineering students could write a program in C++ but couldn't tell the difference between a screw and a bolt, he wasn't exactly surprised. "In the traditional engineering curriculum, fasteners are covered in a single class," he says. "But I will tell you that there is a lot more to the technology than a person could possibly imagine." A former engineer and welder himself, Castagno's primary goal is to expose students to more than just pitches and thread counts. So he is expanding a process class that he teaches from just the basics of welding and chip cutting to include joining processes—in a very real-world kind of way. "This isn't a spectator sport, you know," he stresses. "I want to expose students to as many different kinds of fasteners as I can get my hands on." For starters, Penn Engineering has contributed a variety of fasteners to the school, free-of-charge. The idea is for students to gain some hands-on experience with them. Castagno is thrilled. But just in case some students may be contemplating not having to hit any books for the class, he says that the final exam will include at least some theory.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.