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ME 406 Lecture 13: E-mails, Resumes, and Work Portfolios

It was a revelation. It was so simple. How could I have waited until graduate school to read this?

I called my dad to see if he knew about it. “Oh ya, your mom and I both attended trainings by him when before you were born. Definitely influenced how we raised you.”

If I had one piece of advice for learning to communicate and be successful in your careers it would be to read Dale Carnegie’s classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  Here’s an excerpt about writing a letter:

Dear Mr. Vermylen,

Your company has been one of our good customers for … » More …

ME 406 Lesson 7: Visualizing your Results

We’re now to the point where we’ve taken measurements and analyzed our confidence and uncertainties. One of the most rewarding parts of experimental investigations is graphing and visualizing your hard work. Usually this will appear in the Results and Conclusions section of your report.

5. Results and Conclusions

What would someone take away from your report if they only read the introduction and skimmed ahead to the results and conclusions? Make sure you don’t let them miss your most important points and findings! When you skim through something what do you look for? Odds are headings and images.

Why the images?

They’re worth a thousand … » More …

ME 406 Lesson 6: Data Analysis and Uncertainty Propagation

Now that we’ve covered the design/layout, procedure, and instrument calibration and traceability for our experiment, it’s time to start analyzing our data.

Section 4.3: Data Analysis and Uncertainties

The goals for this section of your report are

Show us what happens to a raw data point prior to being reported, such that the raw data can be analyzed by someone, somewhere else.
Show us where uncertainties of the reported values come from (i.e. bias error, precision error, etc.)
Quantify how confident you are in the reported measurements.
Conform to ASTM Standard E2586 – Standard Practice for Calculating and Using Basic … » More …

ME 406 Lesson 5: Instrument Calibration and Traceability

In section 4.1 we created a table of key instruments for our measurements that included columns for instrument, purpose, make, model number, range, and uncertainty. Today we dive into the details of instrument uncertainty and traceability.

Many times knowing the precision/uncertainty of your measurement is just as, if not more, important than the value of the measurement itself. The question is: how can you quantify your confidence in the measurement? Two kinds of error will affect your instruments: Precision error and bias error.

Precision versus Bias error» More …

ME 406 Lesson 4: Experimental Setup and Procedure

Now that we have our motivation for an experiment established (Chapter 1), showed that there is a gap needing to be filled in the literature and standards for doing so (Chapter 2), and have a working model connecting what our client cares about to what we are measuring (Chapter 3), it’s time to start experimenting. Give us an introductory paragraph describing how this experimental chapter is organized. Begin with the following section:

4.1 Experimental Setup

The goals of the experimental section are two:

SHOW that you understand the key components of the experiment and how they work.
SHOW enough information so that the … » More …

ME 406 Lesson 3: Using Theory to Guide Experiments

In just about every job I’ve been in, people were tempted to label me as either a “theorist” or an “experimentalist”. — Don’t take the bait. It’s easy to fit into a stereotype, tough to break free of them. The very best engineers are competent with both the theory and the experiment. It’s what we call a positive synergy — knowledge of one aids the other.

This brings us to three general guiding principles for the Theory chapter of our reports:

Relevancy: Connect the primary motivations/needs/objectives for the experiment (performance, efficiency, outputs, etc.) to the key variables for the experiment (resistances, potentials, inputs, etc.).
» More …

ME 406 Lesson 2: Literature Reviews

There’s an old saying — “A week’s worth of time spent in the library can save a year’s worth of time in the laboratory.”

Of course today the time is usually spent on-line with Google instead of the library. Enter the quantity vs. quality debate. Do you want 5 highly relevant sources to your project with the chance that you miss an important one? Or 5 million potentially relevant sources to your project that you have to sift through to find the golden nuggets? The answer is probably the first.

So ask yourself, do you feel proficient at navigating the aggregated on-line knowledge of human … » More …

ME 406 Lesson 1- Introduction

Welcome to Northwest Engineering Inc. I’m the CEO, boss, and your supervisor. Here at NEI we characterize the performance of large mechanical machinery for use in other engineering systems.

Before we tour the lab and assign projects, you need to know how the class is structured. Here’s a link to the course syllabus with the schedule: ME 406 syllabus Sp19.

During this first Engineering Experimentation third of the class, each class lecture corresponds to the portion of your report and presentation you need to complete. Let that be clear, if you keep up with the class lectures, the work of completing your report and … » More …