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John Mitchell

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10 Engineering Materials You Must NEVER Use

Are you an engineer in the industrial or commercial sector? If you are part of the design team, you must know that selecting the best engineering materials is a critical part of your operations. Incorrect material selection has led to numerous disasters including the Boston Molasses Disaster, De Havilland Comet Plane Crashes and the Eschede …

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What is Parylene coating and when should you use it?

Deciding on the ideal coating for your engineering application is always a very difficult task, you need to decide on chemical, process, mechanical and component compatibility. Some coatings are not ideal for specific applications. There are many different types of coatings for a vast array of applications, however this post will focus on an advanced …

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plane panel

Metrology – a mechanical engineer’s guide

The act of measuring has become an important part of our everyday lives. The need to measure and standardise has developed into the science of metrology. It has become an indispensable tool in the advancement of technology. In this article we’ll look at its importance and how it relates to mechanical engineering. First of all, …

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HALT testing

HALT Testing (Highly Accelerated Life Testing)

Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT) refers to a reliability testing technique that aims to expose the weaknesses of a product. The main objective is to expose the product to incremental stresses, in order to discover flaws and defects. A HALT test must be conducted during the early stages of the product design process. HALT was …

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Solid Edge vs Solidworks

SolidWorks vs Solid Edge – which is best?

The amount of CAD packages available is overwhelming and it is often a painful exercise to decide which is best. This article will compare two of the most popular CAD packages; Solid Edge software by Siemens, and SolidWorks software by Dassualt Systemes. Both are very capable at 3d modelling and simulation. However, they have unique …

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EDM Machines

EDM Machine – types & working principles

EDM stands for Electrical Discharge Machining. An EDM machine is the piece of equipment used to carry out this manufacturing process. The principle behind EDM was first observed in 1770 by Joseph Priestley, who was experimenting with electrical discharges. He noticed that the sparks had eroded some of the electrode material. Almost 200 years later …

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induction heater

Induction heater – how it works

Different heating methodologies have historically been used for both domestic and commercial purposes. Conduction, convection and radiation are the main types of heat transfer, with more complex thermodynamics based on these three basic principles. Several heat transfer methods are implemented in manufacturing industries to change the electrical resistivity, magnetic, and physical properties of metals by …

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Resonant Frequency Equation

Resonant Frequency Equation: mechanical, electrical and acoustic

Resonant frequency can apply to many areas of the physical sciences or engineering. Thus, there is more than one resonant frequency equation, depending on the field you happen to be studying – electrical, acoustic, or mechanical engineering for example. In this article, we’re going to start by looking at what resonant frequency actually is, before …

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316 Stainless Steel Properties - chemical reactor

316 Stainless Steel Properties and Applications

Grade 316 stainless steel is a highly corrosion resistant type of standard grade stainless steel.  Have you ever wondered why this alloy fits in such a wide range of applications including heat exchangers, boat fittings, and threaded fasteners among many others? Stainless steel is generally suitable for many processing and related industries, but 316 stainless …

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MMPDS – A Guide to “Metallic Materials Properties Development Standardization”

Farmers have The Old Farmer’s Almanac and parents have the famous book Baby and Childcare. Have you ever wondered what the ‘Bible’ of aircraft engineering is? For more than six decades, a guide has been the essential design and maintenance guide for aircraft engineers – the MMPDS. These initials stand for Metallic Materials Properties Development …

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Yield Strength of Plastics – basic principles, the tensile test and material property table

Yield strength is one of the most important material properties to be aware of. It’s something that every mechanical engineer should know about. Why do some plastics break cleanly and others deform and elongate prior to break?  This is a common question and an important phenomenon to understand. The yield strength of plastics holds the …

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columbia debris engineering bodges

5 Engineering Bodges that Ended in Disaster

Seriously, you won’t believe some of these mechanical engineering bodges. You’ll be intrigued, flabbergasted and horrified in equal measures at these bodges that ended in catastrophe. 1. Titanic (1912) Everyone knows that the maiden voyage of the Titanic didn’t go quite as planned. The captain was blamed for poor navigation and traveling at a speed …

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industrial design intellectual property

The mechanical engineer’s guide to industrial design

What does the future of industrial design look like? How has the role of designers changed in the last half century? Many mechanical engineering professionals and students have asked such questions at some point. Five decades ago, the sole role of the designer was to sketch on a paper. Everything revolved around improving functionality, aesthetics …

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lift equation

Lift Equation – fully explained and simplified for beginners

It has been observed that most aircraft accidents occur during the take-off or landing phase of the flight. Lift is a major part of takeoff. Before getting technical and diving right into the, let’s understand what lift is in simple terms. This will make it easier to grasp the concepts involved in the equation itself. …

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density of wood

Density of wood in kg/m3, g/cm3, lb/ft3 – the ultimate guide

Wood is a natural resource that comes from trees, and has been used for centuries in a vast amount of different applications from furniture and decorative items, through to structures and framework. But how do the different properties affect the applications? As you would expect, wood has both physical and chemical properties. Physical properties comprise …

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solidworks forum

Solidworks Forum – Top 5 on the Web

Ask any engineer to list a few of the most popular software tools for 3D design creation and modeling, and the answers will most likely contain SolidWorks as one of the preferred tools. SolidWorks is a CAD/CAE software that helps users create 3D models and assemblies, based on specific parameters. It is easy-to-use and runs …

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10 Commandments of Mechanical Design

The 10 Commandments of Mechanical Design

Whether you’re a seasoned engineer or a wet-behind-the-ears novice, there are some immutable laws that must be followed to produce a good mechanical design. If you don’t follow them, you’ll be sentenced to eternal hellfire and damnation. Either that, or you’ll find yourself having to do lots of redesigning and pulling out of hair. So, …

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rebar sizes

A Guide to Rebar Sizes – an overview of steel reinforcement bars

Steel reinforcing bar, or rebar, is used to reinforce concrete in building work. It can be a complicated area of construction to navigate if you’re unfamiliar with it. Rebar sizes vary greatly and choosing the right ones for the job requires a certain amount of knowledge and skill. As well as the size of rebar, …

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Gauge-Symmetry-for-boneheads

Gauge Symmetry for Boneheads – a brief explanation of the fundamentals.

Have you ever wondered why gauge symmetry is synonymous with electromagnetism equations? Anytime the topic comes up, it reminds us of Maxwell’s electrodynamics. Gauge field theories are the characteristic of gauge symmetries. Interestingly, you were most probably taught about these theories if you went through a physics class, albeit unknowingly. In this guide, we will …

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hydroCAD screenshots

HydroCAD – review and latest 2018 pricing

As engineers we love to model the world around us and estimate the impact of variables on our design. It is an activity that appeals to the core of our profession. In this review, we look at a tool that uses the convenience of digital computers to help solve complex hydrological problems. Introducing – HydroCAD, …

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rhino cad image

Rhino CAD – Review and 2018 Latest Pricing

When deciding whether or not to invest the time and money into learning a new CAD package, the sea of choice is often overwhelming. Making the task that much more daunting is that fact that not all packages are equal. Some are better suited for machine design whereas others are better suited for product design …

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how much does abaqus cost

How much does Abaqus cost? Your 2018 guide to Abaqus pricing

As engineering designs increase in complexity we rely more and more on finite element analysis (FEA) packages to solve the problems encountered in these designs. Finding information on which software is best suited for your application is often a confusing and frustrating exercise. Furthermore, the cost structures of these software packages are often a labyrinth …

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Top 5 Engineering Forums

Engineering forums are amazingly helpful to engineers. Engineering is a very complex practice. Not only does it encompass an immense range of fields or specialisations, but it requires the application of many different disciplines like science, mathematics, and economics. Basically, all practical and technical knowledge can be capitalised by engineering. It involves the invention, innovation, …

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present your mechanical design

How to present your mechanical design to the team

Newbies to engineering often underestimate the ‘soft skills’ they will need to develop for the job. Being able to present your mechanical design effectively involves much more than just knowing the technical details inside out. Tips to help you present your mechanical design Whether you need to present your mechanical design to your peers, a …

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Ti-6Al-4V Titanium – Essential Reading

Stronger than some steels, but almost 45% lighter….. Twice as strong as aluminium, but just about 60% heavier….. That’s titanium for you! Titanium is a lustrous, silver-coloured metal, and incredibly strong, while being very light. It has the distinction of having very high corrosion resistance (even in sea water and chlorine), and the highest strength, …

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neurotic mechanical engineer

Are mechanical engineers neurotic?

Do you lie awake at night sweating over mechanical designs, running calculations through your head, unable to turn off the invasive thoughts of Newtonian physics? Chances are you’re a neurotic mechanical engineer. Neurosis is a state of being unbalanced, overly anxious, possibly deranged. But, surely this can’t apply to your average mechanical engineer can it? …

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convert pdf to dwg free

Convert PDF to DWG – the definitive guide

DWG (drawing) files are most commonly used when working on furniture drawings, house and building architecture, and of course mechanical and industrial components. As more dimensional data, components and design features are added to a drawing, the saved DWG file format becomes too large and heavy for emailing. Therefore, it’s useful to convert it into …

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