Machine Design & Advanced Materials - Is it for me?
The term "design" covers a wide spectrum of concepts from designer jeans to high temperature components and subsystems in jet engines. The Machine Design & Advanced Materials specialty emphasizes design of engineering components, subsystems and/or systems that utilized metallic or non-metallic materials. According to ABET, engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision making process (often open-ended and thus iterative), in which the basic scientific and mathematical principles together with engineering sciences are integrated and applied to optimally convert resources in an efficient manner to meet a stated objective.
Some of the basic elements of the design process are the establishment of clear objectives, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing and evaluation. Engineering design may involve conceptual design of a new device or modification of an existing device to meet new customer requirements, or to correct an operating problem.
A designer may be responsible for directing the efforts of other personnel such as draftpersons (CAD specialists), motion and stress analysts (CAE experts), manufacturing process engineers, assembly and testing personnel, field operating and customer interfacing personnel, all of whom are responsible for the realization of the final product. Thus, a designer works under constraints, taking into account economic, health and safety, social and environmental factors, codes of practice and applicable laws.
An analyst may be responsible to perform motion analysis (kinematic and dynamic analysis) of a mechanical system before designing each individual component or subsystem using the appropriate design criteria and the applicable codes and standards. Selection of proper engineering materials along with a clear understanding of how they behave in a variety of operating conditions, such as static loading (stress-strain curve), variable loading (stress-life evaluations), and elevated temperatures (creep and thermal fatigue) conditions is very important. Further, an understanding of how the material properties may change due to different heat-treatment processes and how this impacts the original design of a component is also critical for the final product realization. The designer along with other personnel in his/her team may be responsible for one or more of these activities.
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