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Content by Dave Palmer
Dave Palmer
Member Since: January 18, 2012
Blogger
Blog Posts: 45
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Fire-Resistant Steel Made to Order Using Thermodynamic Simulation
Blog 
11/28/2014  Post a comment
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
Is Sexism Driving Women Out of Engineering?
Blog 
11/25/2014  25 comments
When my daughter decided she wanted to study engineering, I was very proud of her. At the same time, in the back of my mind, I wondered if she knew what she was in for.
Desert Scorpions Inspire Abrasion-Resistant Surfaces
Blog 
11/20/2014  4 comments
For decades, engineers have worked to combat erosion by developing high-strength alloys, composites, and surface coatings. However, in a new paper, a team at Jilin University in China turned to one of the most deadly animals in the world for inspiration -- the yellow fat-backed scorpion.
Keeping It Together With Bolted Joints
Blog 
11/18/2014  5 comments
It's not uncommon for thousands of dollars worth of equipment to be held together by $.10 screws. Because of their low cost and high degree of standardization, screws, studs, bolts, and nuts tend to be thought of as commodity products. As a result, bolted joints too often fail to receive the level of attention they deserve in engineering design.
Do Good Engineers Make Good Engineering Managers?
Blog 
11/11/2014  20 comments
Being a good engineer is a prerequisite for being a good engineering manager. However, itís a necessary but not sufficient condition: not every good engineer will make a good engineering manager, or even want to be one in the first place. This is why good engineering managers are few and far between.
Would You Let Your Kids Play With Atomic Energy?
STEM Connection 
11/10/2014  25 comments
In the early 1950s, the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab offered young people the opportunity to watch radioactive decay with a spinthariscope, measure the radioactivity of uranium ore with an electroscope, watch the tracks formed by alpha particles in a cloud chamber, and even prospect for uranium using a Geiger counter. Yikes!
Why You Need to Take a Break
Blog 
11/6/2014  29 comments
This is the article your manager doesnít want you to read. Are you working on a tough engineering problem? Donít keep plugging away at it. Take a break and do something else for a while. Your manager will thank you later.
How GM Failed Me
Blog 
11/4/2014  31 comments
Iím willing to believe that Mary Barra is sincere in her desire to fix GMís mistakes. Iím even willing to forgive GM for the defective ignition switch. However, after the abysmal service my daughter and I received, itís hard for me to imagine ever buying another GM product.
NASAís Asteroid Redirect Mission: Innovative or a Waste of Time?
Blog 
10/31/2014  11 comments
On April 15, 2010, President Barack Obama gave a major speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, announcing that the US would send astronauts to Mars by the mid-2030s. But in order to do so, NASA would first need to ramp up its capabilities through missions directed toward "a series of increasingly demanding targets," i.e. asteroids.
Take Care Ė Coating Side Effects Could Be Killing Your Product Quality
Blog 
10/28/2014  2 comments
Coatings are a great way to modify the surface characteristics of a product, but donít assume that the property youíre trying to change is the only one that will be affected.
Robert Langer: The Thomas Edison of Biomedical Engineering
Blog 
10/14/2014  5 comments
The numerous, groundbreaking inventions of biomedical engineer Robert Langer may have an impact on life in our century that rivals Edison's impact on the last century.
Understanding the Hardness of Metals
Blog 
10/13/2014  8 comments
When designing metal parts, it's important to specify their hardness. However, many engineers have only a shaky understanding of what hardness actually is, or how it's measured. This article helps clear up that confusion.
How to Think Like an Engineer
Blog 
10/8/2014  31 comments
Most engineers spend a lot of time thinking about how to solve design problems, but not much time thinking about how we think. Using analogies can help you come up with more, and possibly better, design ideas.
MacArthur Genius Grants: Don't Call Them, They'll Call You
Blog 
10/6/2014  4 comments
On Sept. 17, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded no-strings-attached fellowships of $625,000 each to 21 people recognized as exceptionally creative. The foundation has given out these ďgenius grantsĒ every year since 1981.
Can You Really Slip on a Banana Peel?
Blog 
10/2/2014  12 comments
The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Dr. Kiyoshi Mabuchi and his team members for their work measuring the slipperiness of banana peels. Turns out they're slipperier with the yellow side up.
India's Mangalyaan Probe Reaches Mars
Blog 
9/30/2014  13 comments
Three days after NASA's MAVEN probe reached Mars, India's Mangalyaan probe went into orbit around the red planet. India's first interplanetary mission, and the first successful Mars probe launched by an Asian nation, has a total project cost of nearly $600 million less than MAVEN's.
Teaching Electrical Engineering Concepts With Squishy Circuits
STEM Connection 
9/25/2014  18 comments
Is it possible to teach electrical engineering concepts to 5 year olds? AnnMarie Thomas, an engineering professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, thinks so.
What Can Engineers Learn From 4 Year Olds?
STEM Connection 
9/23/2014  19 comments
In many engineering workplaces, thereís a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
An Engineer's Understanding of 'Feature-Advantage-Benefit'
Guest Blogs 
9/19/2014  11 comments
Feature-advantage-benefit could help engineers in how we approach design problems, how we sell our ideas to management, and how we market ourselves when it comes to jobs.
Strength & Stiffness: Whatís the Difference?
Guest Blogs 
9/17/2014  8 comments
Asking yourself the simple question, ďIs this a strength problem or a stiffness problem?Ē can prevent many design mistakes.
How to Harpoon a Comet
Guest Blogs 
9/12/2014  10 comments
In November, a European space probe will try to land on the surface of a comet moving at about 84,000 mph and rotating with a period of 12.7 hours. Many factors make positioning the probe for the landing an engineering challenge.
5 More Tips for Engineering Students
STEM Connection 
9/9/2014  18 comments
Materials engineer Dave Palmer shares more top advice for new engineering students. He wishes someone would have given him these tips.
Understanding Case Hardening of Steel
Guest Blogs 
9/4/2014  2 comments
What do gears, bearings, and shafts have in common? For one thing, they're often made out of steel. For another, they're subject to a failure mode known as rolling contact fatigue.
5 Tips for Engineering Students
STEM Connection 
8/26/2014  26 comments
Materials engineer Dave Palmer shares his top advice for new engineering students; he wishes someone would have given him these tips.
The Iceberg Ship: A Cautionary Tale
Guest Blogs 
8/13/2014  3 comments
The first and most obvious lesson of the following story is to remember to consider creep, along with all other potential failure modes.
Top Myths About Stainless Steel
Guest Blogs 
8/6/2014  52 comments
The properties of stainless steel make it well suited for a wide range of applications, but many of the things engineers think they know about stainless steel arenít true.
Why the Goodman Diagram Is Not So Good
Guest Blogs 
5/30/2014  5 comments
It's time for the Goodman diagram to be retired. More accurate equations are available and are just as easy to use.
Why We Need More Women in Engineering
STEM Connection 
5/23/2014  24 comments
A large number of studies have shown that men and women have different approaches to solving complex problems. It is precisely because of the differences between men and women that the engineering profession would benefit from greater participation of women.
All I Really Need to Know About Engineering, I Learned From Star Trek
Guest Blogs 
11/6/2013  32 comments
Since its premiere in 1966, the television program Star Trek has inspired multiple generations of young people to pursue careers in science and engineering.
How to Be a 'Doctor of Engineering' Without Going to Grad School
Guest Blogs 
10/22/2013  21 comments
The process of differential diagnosis, as practiced by physicians, provides a framework for thinking about problem solving in many contexts, of which engineering is just one.
Department of Defense Corrosion Conference Goes Virtual
Guest Blogs 
10/15/2013  10 comments
The US government shutdown forced the Department of Defense Corrosion Conference to move from Hawaii to an online-only platform.
Spreading Excitement About Space Exploration
STEM Connection 
9/20/2013  21 comments
It's commonplace to hear engineers lament the small size of the NASA budget, the lack of a successor to the Space Shuttle, and the lack of a US heavy launch vehicle. We need to teach young people to have an optimistic view of the future of human space exploration.
Slideshow: An Engineer Goes to Congress
Guest Blogs 
5/29/2013  24 comments
Many engineers often comment that Congress would make better decisions if it included more engineers. What they didn't know...
Suzuki Saves Weight With Extruded Suspension Arm
Guest Blogs 
3/7/2013  14 comments
Suzuki developed an extruded aluminum lower control arm that weighs 50 percent less than a welded steel design, while costing roughly the same.
Engineering Students Show Off Interdisciplinary Problem-Solving Skills
STEM Connection 
12/12/2012  10 comments
An innovative program at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago teams up students to work together to solve complex, open-ended, real-world problems.
Slideshow: Finding Success by Focusing on Failure
Guest Blogs 
11/27/2012  10 comments
Rob Manning, chief engineer of the Mars Science Laboratory, sits down for a chat with Design News.
Myth of the College Experience
Guest Blogs 
10/3/2012  40 comments
The best way to prepare for success in your career and in life is to start out at a community college.
Avoiding the Dangers of Groupthink
Guest Blogs 
9/25/2012  42 comments
How do engineers, who pride ourselves on our rationality and individualism, get caught up in a collective denial of reality?
Danger: When Hydrogen Embrittlement Strikes
Guest Blogs 
8/6/2012  6 comments
Typically, failure occurs without warning, under stresses well below the yield strength of the material, and within a relatively short time.
5 Common Failure Analysis Mistakes
Guest Blogs 
4/26/2012  21 comments
Recognizing common failure analysis mistakes can help your team resolve issues more quickly and effectively.
Understanding Fatigue Failures
Guest Blogs 
4/9/2012  24 comments
Designing for fatigue is not as simple as designing for overload, and by understanding basic principles you can avoid fatigue failure.
Understanding Overload Failures
Guest Blogs 
3/23/2012  17 comments
Avoiding overload failures is a matter of understanding the forces that act on a part and the properties of the material from which it is made. Things break, but they don't necessarily have to.
How Much Thread Engagement Is Enough?
Guest Blogs 
2/17/2012  22 comments
To avoid defective designs, you must find the proper thread engagement.
When Environmental Stress Cracking Strikes
Guest Blogs 
2/3/2012  22 comments
Environmental stress cracking is a common failure mode for plastics, and you may need to do your own testing to make sure that the plastic you plan to use will not crack.
Understanding Galvanic Corrosion
Guest Blogs 
1/20/2012  15 comments
Following these simple rules can help keep your designs safe from galvanic corrosion.


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