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ENGINEERING YOUR FUTURE
A Comprehensive Introduction to Engineering

-------- William C. Oakes, PhD
Purdue University

--------------Les L. Leone, PhD
M ich ig a n S ta te U n iversity

-------------Craig J. Gunn, MS
Michigan State University

Contributors
Frank M. Croft, Jr., PhD
Ohio State University

John B. Dilworth, PhD
Western Michigan University
Heidi A. Diefes, PhD
Purdue University


Ralph E. Flori, PhD
University o f Missouri-Rolla

Marybeth Lima, PhD
Louisiana State University

Merle C. Potter, PhD
Michigan State University
Michael F. Young, MS
Michigan Technological University

Editor
John L. Gruender

Great Lakes Press, Inc.
St. Louis, MO
PO Box 520 / Chesterfield, MO 63006
(800) 837-0201
custser v @ glpbooks.com
www.glpbooks.com


International Standard B ook N um ber: 978-1-881018-95-7

Copyright © 2009 by Great Lakes Press, Inc.
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Table of Contents

Preface............................................................................................................................ ix
The World of Engineering
1. The History of Engineering ...................................................................................... 1
1.1
Introduction ..................................................................................................1
1.2
Getting Started ............................................................................................2
1.3 The Beginnings of Engineering .................................................................... 5
1.4 An Overview of Ancient Engineering ............................................................7
1.5 Traveling Through the Ages ........................................................................11
1.6 A Case Study of Two Historic Engineers ....................................................15
1.7 The History of the Disciplines ....................................................................21
References............................................................................................................26
Exercises and Activities ........................................................................................27

2. Engineering Majors ................................................................................................ 29
2.1
Introduction ................................................................................................29
2.2
Engineering Functions................................................................................ 33
2.3
Engineering Majors ....................................................................................41
2.4
Emerging Fields ........................................................................................59
2.5
Closing Thoughts........................................................................................60
2.6
Engineering and Technical Organizations ..................................................61
References............................................................................................................68
Exercises and Activities ........................................................................................68

3. Profiles of Engineers ................................................................................................ 73
4. A Statistical Profile of the Engineering Profession

............................................ 105

4.1
Statistical Overview ..................................................................................105
4.2
College Enrollment Trends of Engineering Students ................................105
4.3
College Majors of Recent Engineering S tudents......................................107
4.4
Degrees in Engineering ............................................................................ 107
4.5
Job Placement Trends ..............................................................................109
4.6
Salaries of Engineers ..............................................................................109
4.7 The Diversity of the Profession ................................................................119
4.8
Distribution of Engineers by Field of Study ..............................................121
4.9
Engineering Employment by Type of Employer ........................................122
4.10 Percent of Students Unemployed or in Graduate School ........................122
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Table o f Contents

4.11 A Word from Employers ............................................................................123
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................123
5. Global and International Engineering ................................................................ 125
5.1
Introduction ..............................................................................................125
5.2
The Evolving Global Marketplace ............................................................ 126
5.3
International Opportunities for Engineers ................................................129
5.4
Preparing for a Global Career .................................................................. 138
Exercises and Activities ...................................................................................... 142
6. Future Challenges .................................................................................................. 145
6.1
Expanding World Population .................................................................... 145
6.2
Pollution ....................................................................................................147
6.3
Energy ......................................................................................................152
6.4 Transportation ..........................................................................................155
6.5
Infrastructure ............................................................................................156
6.6
Aerospace ................................................................................................157
6.7
Competitiveness and Productivity ............................................................ 159
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................160
Studying Engineering
7. Succeeding in the Classroom ................................................................................ 163
7.1
Introduction ..............................................................................................163
7.2
Attitude ....................................................................................................164
7.3
Goals . . ....................................................................................................165
7.4
Keys to Effectiveness ..............................................................................167
7.5
Test-taking ................................................................................................172
7.6
Making the Most of Your Professors ........................................................ 174
7.7
Learning Styles ........................................................................................175
7.8
Well-Rounded Equals Effective ................................................................180
7.9
Your Effective Use of T im e ........................................................................ 183
7.10 Accountability ..........................................................................................188
7.11 Overcoming Challenges ..........................................................................189
References.......................................................................................................... 190
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................191
8. Problem Solving .................................................................................................... 195
8.1
Introduction ..............................................................................................195
8.2
Analytic and Creative Problem Solving ....................................................195
8.3
Analytic Problem Solving .......................................................................... 197
8.4
Creative Problem Solving ........................................................................ 204
8.5
Personal Problem Solving S ty le s ..............................................................212
8.6
Brainstorming Strategies ..........................................................................216
8.7
Critical Thinking ........................................................................................221
References..........................................................................................................222
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................222
9. Visualization and Graphics .................................................................................. 229
9.1
Why Study Visualization and Graphics? ..................................................229
9.2
The Theory of Projection ..........................................................................230
9.3 The Glass Box Theory................................................................................232
9.4
First and Third Angle Projections ............................................................234
9.5
The Meaning of Lines ..............................................................................236
9.6
Hidden Lines ............................................................................................238


Table o f Contents

9.7
Cylindrical Features and R a d ii..................................................................239
9.8
The Alphabet of Lines and Line Precedence .......................................... 240
9.9
Freehand Sketching.................................................................................. 242
9.10 Pictorial Sketching ....................................................................................243
9.11 Visualization ............................................................................................251
9.12 Scales and Measuring................................................................................254
9.13 Coordinate Systems and Three Dimensional Space ................................259
9.10 Pictorial Sketching ....................................................................................243
Exercises ............................................................................................................264
10. Computer Tools for Engineers ............................................................................ 271
10.1 Introduction ..............................................................................................272
10.2 The Internet ..............................................................................................272
10.3 Word Processing Programs ......................................................................278
10.4 Spreadsheets ..........................................................................................279
10.5 Mathematics Software ..............................................................................282
10.6 Presentation Software ..............................................................................291
10.7 Operating Systems ..................................................................................291
10.8 Programming Languages ........................................................................292
10.9 Advanced Engineering Packages ............................................................293
References..........................................................................................................297
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................298
11. Teamwork Skills .................................................................................................. 301
11.1 Introduction ..............................................................................................302
11.2 What Makes a Successful Team? ............................................................306
11.3 Growth Stages of a Team ........................................................................307
11.4 Team Leadership ......................................................................................309
11.5 How Effective Teams Work ......................................................................310
11.6 The Character of a Leader ......................................................................312
11.7 Team Grading ..........................................................................................314
References..........................................................................................................316
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................316
12. Project M anagem ent............................................................................................ 319
12.1 Introduction ..............................................................................................319
12.2 Creating a Project C ha rte r........................................................................320
12.3 Task Definitions ........................................................................................321
12.4 Milestones ................................................................................................322
12.5 Defining Times ..........................................................................................322
12.6 Organizing the Tasks ................................................................................324
12.7 PERT Charts ............................................................................................324
12.8 Critical Paths ............................................................................................325
12.9 Gantt Charts ............................................................................................325
12.10 Details, D etails..........................................................................................327
12.11 Personnel Distribution ..............................................................................327
12.12 Money and Resources..............................................................................327
12.13 Document As You Go ..............................................................................328
12.14 Team Roles ..............................................................................................328
References..........................................................................................................332
Exercises ............................................................................................................333
13. Engineering Design .............................................................................................. 335
13.1 What Is Engineering Design ....................................................................335
13.2 The Design Process ................................................................................336

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Table o f Contents

13.3 A Case Study ..........................................................................................345
13.4 A Student Example of the 10-Stage Design Process ..............................356
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................361
14. Communication S k ills .......................................................................................... 363
14.1 Why Do We Communicate? ....................................................................363
14.2 Oral Communication Skills ......................................................................364
14.3 Written Communication Skills ..................................................................370
14.4 Other Types of Communication ................................................................377
14.5 Relevant Readings ..................................................................................386
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................387
15. Ethics .................................................................................................................... 389
15.1 Introduction ..............................................................................................389
15.2 The Nature of Ethics ................................................................................390
15.3 The Nature of Engineering Ethics ............................................................394
15.4 The Issues and Topics ..............................................................................397
15.5 Engineering Ethics and Legal Issues ......................................................409
Exercises ............................................................................................................411
The Fundamentals of Engineering
16. Units .................................................................................... ................................. 415
16.1 History ......................................................................................................415
16.2 The SI System of Units ............................................................................416
16.3 Derived Units ............................................................................................418
16.4 Prefixes ....................................................................................................422
16.5 Numerals ..................................................................................................423
16.6 Conversions..............................................................................................424
References ..........................................................................................................427
Exercises ............................................................................................................427
17. Mathematics Review ............................................................................................ 431
17.1 Algebra ....................................................................................................431
17.2 Trigonometry ............................................................................................435
17.3 G eom etry..................................................................................................438
17.4 Complex Numbers ....................................................................................442
17.5 Linear Algebra ..........................................................................................445
17.6 Calculus ....................................................................................................450
17.7 Probability and Statistics ..........................................................................456
Exercises ............................................................................................................460
18. Engineering Fundamentals ................................................................................ 465
18.1 Statics ......................................................................................................465
18.2 Dynamics ..................................................................................................472
18.3 Thermodynamics ......................................................................................481
18.4 Electrical Circuits ......................................................................................493
18.5 Economics ................................................................................................502
19. The Campus E xpe rie nce...................................................................................... 515
19.1 Orienting Yourself to Your Campus ..............................................................515
19.2 Exploring ..................................................................................................515
19.3 Determining and Planning Your Major ......................................................516
19.4 Get into the Habit of Asking Questions .................................................... 516
19.5 The ‘People Issue’ ....................................................................................517


Table o f Contents

19.6 Searching for Campus Resources............................................................518
19.7 Other Important Issues ............................................................................519
19.8 Final Thoughts ..........................................................................................524
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................524

20. Financial Aid ........................................................................................................ 527
20.1 Introduction ..............................................................................................527
20.2 Parental Assistance ..................................................................................528
20.3 Is Financial Assistance For You? ..............................................................529
20.4 Scholarships ............................................................................................532
20.5 Loans ........................................................................................................541
20.6 Work-Study ..............................................................................................541
20.7 Scams ......................................................................................................546
20.8 The Road Ahead Awaits ..........................................................................547
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................547

21. Engineering Work Experience............................................................................ 549
21.1 A Job and Experience ..............................................................................549
21.2 Summer Jobs ..........................................................................................551
21.3 Volunteer ..................................................................................................551
21.4 Supervised Independent Study ................................................................ 552
21.5 Internships ................................................................................................552
21.6 Cooperative Education..............................................................................553
21.7 Which Is Best for You? ..............................................................................558
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................558

22. Connections: Liberal Arts and Engineering...................................................... 561
22.1 What Are “Connections”? ........................................................................561
22.2 Why Study Liberal Arts? ..........................................................................562
Exercises and Activities ......................................................................................566

Appendix A: The Basics of PowerPoint.................................................................... 567
Appendix B: An Introduction to MATLAB ............................................................ 571
In d e x ............................................................................................................................ 591

vii



Preface

You can’t make an educated decision about what career to pursue without adequate infor­
mation. Engineering Your Future endeavors to give you a broad introduction to the study and
practice of engineering. In addition to presenting vital information, we’ve tried to make it
interesting and easy to read as well.
You might find Chapter 3, Profiles of Engineers, to be of particular interest to you. The
chapter includes information from real people—engineers practicing in the field. They dis­
cuss their jobs, their lives, and the things they wish they had known going into the profes­
sion. Chapter 2, Engineering Majors, also should be a tremendous help to you in determin­
ing what areas of engineering sound most appealing to you as you begin your education.
The rest of the book presents such things as a historical perspective of engineering;
some thoughts about the future of the profession; some tips on how best to succeed in
the classroom; advice on how to gain actual, hands-on experience; exposure to computeraided design; and a nice introduction to several areas essential to the study and practice of
engineering.
We have designed this book for modular use in a freshman engineering course which
introduces students to the field of engineering. Such a course differs in content from univer­
sity to university. Consequently, we have included many topics, too numerous to cover in one
course. We anticipate that several of the topics will be selected for a particular course with
the remaining topics available to you for outside reading and for future reference.
As you contemplate engineering, you should consider the dramatic impact engineers
have had on our world. Note the eloquent words of American Association of Engineering
Societies Chair Martha Sloan, a professor of electrical engineering at Michigan Technologi­
cal University:
“In an age when technology helps turn fantasy and fiction into reality engineers
have played a pivotal role in developing the technologies that maintain our na­
tion’s economic, environmental and national security They revolutionized med­
icine with pacemakers and MRI scanners. They changed the world with the de­
velopment of television and the transistor, computers and the Internet. They
introduced new concepts in transportation, power, satellite communications,
earthquake-resistant buildings, and strain-resistant crops by applying scientific
discoveries to human needs.

ix


x

Preface

“Engineering is sometimes thought of as applied science, but engineering is
far more. The essence of engineering is design and making things happen for
the benefit of humanity,
Joseph Bordogna, President of IEEE, adds:
"Engineering will be one of the most significant forces in designing continued
economic development and success for humankind in a manner that will sustain
both the planet and its growing population. Engineers will develop the new
processes and products. They will create and manage new systems for civil
infrastructure, manufacturing, communications, health care delivery, information
management, environmental conservation and monitoring, and everything else
that makes modern society function.”
We hope that you, too, will find the field of engineering to be attractive, meaningful, and
exciting—one that promises to be both challenging and rewarding, and one that matches
well with your skills and interests.
You may be interested to know who authored each chapter. Dr. Oakes wrote Chapters 2,
3, 7, and 8; Dr. Leone wrote Chapters 4, 5, 6, 13, and 21; Mr. Gunn wrote Chapters 1,14,
19, 20 and 22; Dr. Dilworth wrote Chapter 15; Dr. Potter wrote Chapters 16, 17 and 18; Dr.
Diefes wrote Chapter 10; Dr. Croft and Mr. Young developed Chapter 9; and Dr. Flori wrote
Chapter 11. Hugh Keedy contributed the Appendix A material on PowerPoint. A huge thanks
is due Mr. John Gruender, executive editor of Great Lakes Press. His efforts contributed sig­
nificantly to the final content and format of this book.
If you have comments or suggestions for us, please contact the editor, John Gruender, at
jg@glpbooks.com or call (800) 837-0201. We would greatly appreciate your input.
—The Authors


Chapter 1

The History of Engineering

Engineering involves a continuum, where every new innovation stands on the shoulders of
those who have gone before—perhaps including yours some day. How do you get the nec­
essary insight to participate? Look to the stories of history.
As we begin, you will notice that there were few engineering innovations in the early
years. As time passed, innovations occurred more rapidly. Today, engineering discoveries
are made almost daily. The speed with which things now change indicates the urgency of
understanding the process of innovation. But if we don’t maintain a big-picture awareness
regarding our projects, we may be surprised by unintended consequences. History provides
a great opportunity to observe the context of before, during and after of some of the great­
est engineering problems ever faced—and of those we face today.
A main thing to realize is that history is not about memorizing names and dates. History
is about people. The insights you’ll gain from stories about how engineers developed every­
thing from kitchen appliances to high-tech industrial equipment can be very motivating. And
you’ll really be able to relate to the history of bridges, for instance, after you’ve been
assigned to build a model bridge in class yourself!
Engineers are professionals. Professionals are leaders. To lead you need to understand
the origins of your profession. The stories of history give you the foundation you need, as
you learn from the great innovators and see how they handled all aspects of problem-solv­
ing. Such broad learning can greatly help your career and aid your development as a leader
in your profession.
Many types of professionals are required to master the history of their trade as part of
their degrees. The best professionals keep studying throughout their careers. Reading
papers, magazines, and journals is simply contemporary “historic” study. This habit builds
on their foundational knowledge of history. Such a background gives professionals their best
chance to know what it takes to move forward in their field—an amazing challenge, as the
stories to come will show!
The study of history, of course, not only helps us create new futures, but it also helps us
understand what good qualities from the past are worth emulation. Craftsmanship, integrity,
and dedication are clearly evident in our forebears’ engineering artifacts. And history is full
of interesting, educational stories, characters, and ingenious development. You can learn
what it means to do quality work in a quality way, no matter what is the level of your contri­
bution to the profession.


2

Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

Definition of Engineering
Even if you already have a general knowledge of what engineering involves, a look at the
definition of the profession may give you more insight. ABET—The Accreditation Board for
Engineering and Technology—defines engineering as:
The profession in which knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences,
gained by study; experience, and practice, is applied with judgment to develop
ways to use, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of
mankind.
In simple terms, engineering is about using natural materials and forces for the good of
mankind —a noble endeavor. This definition places three responsibilities on an engineer: (1)
to develop judgment so that you can (2) help mankind in (3) thrifty ways. Looking at case
histories and historic overviews might help us achieve the insight needed to fulfill those
responsibilities.
An engineering professor once said that the purpose of an engineer is “to interpret the
development and activity of man.” Technical coursework teaches us skills, but history can
teach us how to interpret scenarios, and to sort out the pros and cons of various options.
History helps us forge bonds of fellowship that connect us to the past and inspire us to be
our best for tomorrow. A solid knowledge of history transforms our schooling from training to
true education.


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As we proceed, you should note that the engineer has always had a monumental impact on
the human race at every stage of societal development. The few items mentioned here are
only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the contributions that engineers have made to
the progress of humanity.

Prehistoric Culture
If you look back at the definition of engineering given by ABET, you will notice an important
statement: “The profession in which knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences...
is applied. . . Individuals involved during prehistoric times in activities which we recognize
today as engineering—problem-solving, tool-making, etc.—did not have a grasp of mathe­
matical principles nor knowledge of natural science as we know it today. They designed and
built needed items by trial and error and intuition. They built some spears that worked and
some that failed, but in the end they perfected weapons that allowed them to bring down game
animals and feed their families. Since written communication and transportation did not exist
at that time, little information or innovation was exchanged with people from faraway places.
Each group inched ahead on its own.
However, the innovators of yore would have made fine engineers today. Even in light of
their limited skill, their carefully cultivated knowledge of their surroundings was more exten­
sive than we typically can comprehend. Their skill in craftsmanship was often marvelous in
its effectiveness, integrity, and intricacy. They passed on knowledge of all aspects of life,
which they typically treated as a whole entity, with utmost seriousness to the next genera­
tion. This information was carefully memorized and kept accurate, evolving, and alive. Early
man even tried to pass on vital information by way of coded cave paintings and etchings as
an extra safeguard. Breakthroughs in transportation and exploration are being located ever
earlier as we continue to make discoveries about various peoples traveling long before we


Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

thought they did—influencing others and bringing back knowledge. We can still see some­
thing of the prehistoric approach in some of today’s cultures, such as Native Americans,
aborigines, and others.
However, despite the strong qualities of prehistoric man—the importance placed on
respect for life and a sense of the sacred —their physical existence was harshly limited. The
work of engineers can be seen in this light as a quest to expand outer capacity without sac­
rificing inner integrity. The physical limitations of prehistoric man can perhaps be highlighted
as follows. (How does engineering impact each of the areas listed?)
Physical limitations of prehistoric cultures:





They had no written language.
Their verbal language was very limited.
They had no means of transportation.
They had no separate concept of education or specialized methodology to discover
new things.
• They lived by gathering food and trying to bring down game with primitive weapons.
• Improvement of the material aspects of life came about very slowly, with early, primi­
tive engineering.

Our Computer Age
You, on the other hand, live in the information age. With such tools as the Internet, the
answers to millions of questions are at your fingertips. We have traveled to the moon and
our robots have crawled on Mars. Our satellites are exploring the ends of our known uni­
verse. Change is no longer questioned; it is expected. We excitedly await the next model in
a series, knowing that as the current model is being sold it has already become obsolete.
Speed, furious activity, and the compulsion to never sit still are part of our everyday lives.
Let’s look at the times when constant change was not the norm. As we progress from those
primitive times into the 20th century, you will observe that fury of engineering activity.
We will present a panoramic view of engineering by briefly stating some of the more inter­
esting happenings during specific time periods. Notice the kinds of innovations that were
introduced. Take a careful look at the relationships that many inventions had with each other.
Think about the present, and the connectivity between all areas of engineering and the crit­
ical importance of the computer. Innovations do not happen in a vacuum; they are interre­
lated with the needs and circumstances of the world at the time.

Activity 1.1
Prepare a report that focuses on engineering in one of the following eras. Analyze the
events that you consider to be engineering highlights and explain their importance to the
progress of man.
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)

Prehistoric man
Egypt and Mesopotamia
Greece and Rome
Europe in the Middle Ages
Europe in the Industrial Revolution
The 20th century

3


4

Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

The assignment above might seem overwhelming—covering an enormous amount of
time and information. Actually, the key developments might be simpler to identify than you
think. In the pages that follow, however, we will only set the stage for your investigation of
your profession. It will be your job to fill in the details for your particular discipline.

The Pace of History
The rate of innovation brings up some interesting points. As we move through the past 6000
years, you should realize that the rate at which we currently introduce innovations is far more
rapid than in the past. It used to take years to accomplish tasks that today we perform in a
very short time—tasks that we simply take for granted. Think about the last time that your
computer was processing slower than you thought it should. Your words may be echoing
now: “Come on! Come on! I don’t have all day!” In the past, there were often decades with­
out noticeable technological progress. Think of the amount of time that it takes to construct
a building today with the equipment that has been developed by engineers. It is not uncom­
mon to see a complete house-frame constructed in a single day. Look in your history books
and read about the time it took to create some of the edifices in Europe. You can visit
churches today that took as long as 200 years to construct. Would we ever stand for that
today?
Now, shift gears and evaluate the purpose behind the monumental efforts of the “slow”
past. Was their only goal “to get the job done”? Ask them! Look into their stories. There you’ll
find coherent, colorful explanations for the case of keeping all aspects of culture connected
to the main goals of life. The proper connection to God, truth, justice, fate, reality, life, and
ancestry was the goal of early science and of many cultures. Not much was allowed to inter­
fere. Even so, the ancients accomplished fantastic feats with only a rudimentary knowledge
of the principles you learned as a child. But do we know what else they knew? Perhaps their
lack of physical speed was partly voluntary! Perhaps it was surpassed by strengths and
insights in other areas. Perhaps today’s prowess comes at the loss of other qualities. We
need to study history so that we can avoid making Faustian bargains. (Hey! Faust is a char­
acter from literary history!) Archimedes, for instance, refused to release information that
could be used to make more effective weapons; he knew it would be used for evil and not
the pursuit of wisdom; only when his home city of Syracuse was no longer able to hold off
Roman attackers did he release his inventions to the military.
The study of history confronts us with dilemmas. Neither side of a true dilemma ever goes
away. The story of history is never over. Speed is relative, after all!

Quick Overview
Let’s begin with a quick review of the history of engineering—six thousand years in a single
paragraph . . .
Our technological roots can be traced back to the seed gatherer/hunter. Prehis­
toric man survived by collecting seeds and killing what animals he could chase
down. He endured a very lean physical existence. As he gradually improved his
security through innovation, humanity increased in numbers, and it was impor­
tant to find ways to feed and control the growing population. To support larger
populations reliably, the methods and implements of farming and security were
improved. Much later, after many smaller innovations, specialized industrial man
stepped onto the scene, ready to bring the world productivity and material
wealth. The pursuit of science prospered due to its usefulness and profitability.


Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

Much abstract research was done with surplus funding. The microchip was
developed. And today, the resulting Technological/Post-lndustrial/ComputerInformation Man is you—ready to use the vast information available in the pres­
ent day to build the world of the future.
Most innovation would not have come to pass were it not for the work of engineers. The
sections that follow will present a brief look at some of the highlights of those 6000 years.
Spend some time poring over a few classic history texts to get the inside stories on the inno­
vations that interest you the most. Though you might have interest in one particular field of
engineering, you might find stories of innovation and discovery in other disciplines to be
equally inspiring.

The Earliest Days
The foundations of engineering were laid with our ancestors’ effort to survive and to improve
their quality of life. From the beginning they looked around their environment and saw areas
where life could be made easier and more stable. They found improved ways to hunt and fish.
They discovered better methods for providing shelter for their families. Their main physical
concern was day-to-day survival. As life became more complicated and small collections of
families became larger communities, the need grew to look into new areas of concern: power
struggles, acquisition of neighboring tribes’ lands, religious observances. All of these involved
work with tools. Engineering innovations were needed to further these interests. Of course,
in those days projects weren’t thought of as separate from the rest of life. In fact, individuals
weren’t generally thought of as being separate from their community. They didn’t look at life
from the point of view of specialties and individual interests. Every person was an engineer
to an extent.
Modern aborigines still live today much as their ancestors did in prehistoric times. How­
ever, frequently even they take advantage of modern engineering in the form of tools, motors
and medicine. The Amish can also fall into this category of being a roots-oriented culture.
Such cultures tend to use tools only for physical necessities so that the significance of
objects doesn’t pollute their way of life. This struggle, as we know from contemporary “his­
toric” media reports, has only been partly successful, and has caused conflict and misun­
derstanding on occasion.

Egypt and Mesopotamia
As cities grew and the need for addressing the demands of the new fledgling societies
increased, a significant change took place. People who showed special aptitude in certain
areas were identified and assigned to ever more specialized tasks. This labeling and group­
ing was a scientific breakthrough. It gave toolmakers the time and resources to dedicate
themselves to building and innovation. This new social function created the first real engi­
neers, and for the first time innovation flourished rapidly.
Between 4000 and 2000 B.C., Egypt and Mesopotamia were the focal points for engineer­
ing activity. Stone tools were developed to help man in his quest for food. Copper and bronze
axes were perfected through smelting. These developments were not only aimed at hunting.
The development of the plow was allowing man to become a farmer so that he could reside
in one place and leave the nomadic life. Mesopotamia also made its mark on engineering by

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Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

Figure 1.1 The stepped Pyramid of Sakkara.

giving birth to the wheel, the sailing boat, and methods of writing. Engineering skills that were
applied to the development of everyday items immediately improved life as they knew it. We
will never be able to understand completely the vast importance of the Greeks, Romans, and
Egyptians in the life of the engineer.
During the construction of the Pyramids (c.2700-2500 B.C b .c .) the number of engineers
required was immense. They had to make sure that everything fit correctly, that stones were
properly transported long distances, and that the tombs would be secure against robbery.
Imhotep (chief engineer to King Zoser) was building the stepped pyramid at Sakkara (pic­
tured in Fig. 1.1) in Egypt about 2700 b . c . The more elaborate Great Pyramid of Khufu (pic­
tured in Fig. 1.2) would come about 200 years later. The story of the construction of the pyr­
amids is one that any engineer would appreciate, so consider doing some research on the
Pyramids on your own. Or perhaps some day you’ll have a chance to take a trip to Egypt to
see them for yourself. By investigating the construction of the Pyramids, you will receive a
clear and fascinating education about the need for designing, building, and testing with
any engineering project. These early engineers, using simple tools, performed with great
acuity, insight, and technical rigor, tasks that even today give us a sense of pride in their
achievements.
The Great Pyramid of Khufu (pictured in Fig. 1.2) is the largest masonry structure ever
built. Its base measures 756 feet on each side. The 480—foot structure was constructed of
over 2.3 million limestone blocks with a total weight of over 58,000,000 tons. Casing blocks
of fine limestone were attached to all four sides. These casing stones, some weighing as
much as 15 tons, have been removed over the centuries for a wide variety of other uses. It
is hard for us to imagine the engineering expertise needed to quarry and move these base
and casing stones, and then piece them together so that they would form the pyramid and
its covering.
Here are additional details about this pyramid given by Roland Turner and Steven
Goulden in Great Engineers and Pioneers in Technology, Volume 1: From Antiquity through
the Industrial Revolution:
Buried within the pyramid are passageways leading to a number of funeral cham­
bers, only one of which was actually used to house Khufu’s remains. The granite-


Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

Figure 1.2 The Great Pyramid of Khufu.

lined King’s Chamber, measuring 17 by 34 feet, is roofed with nine slabs of gran­
ite which weigh 50 tons each. To relieve the weight on this roof, located 300 feet
below the apex of the pyramid, the builder stacked five hollow chambers at short
intervals above it. Four of the “relieving chambers” are roofed with granite lintels,
while the topmost has a corbelled roof. Although somewhat rough and ready in
design and execution, the system effectively distributes the massive overlying
weight to the sturdy walls of the King’s Chamber.
Sheer precision marks every other aspect of the pyramid’s construction. The
four sides of the base are practically identical in length—the error is a matter of
inches—and the angles are equally accurate. Direct measurement from corner
to corner must have been difficult, since the pyramid was built on the site of a
rocky knoll (now completely enclosed in the structure). Moreover, it is an open
question how the builder managed to align the pyramid almost exactly northsouth. Still, many of the techniques used for raising the pyramid can be
deduced.
After the base and every successive course was in place, it was leveled by
flooding the surface with Nile water, no doubt retained by mud banks, and then
marking reference points of equal depth to guide the final dressing. Complica­
tions were caused by the use of blocks of different heights in the same course.
The above excerpt mentions a few of the fascinating details of the monumental job under­
taken to construct a pyramid with primitive tools and only human labor.

The following sections will give you a feel for what was going on from 2000 B.C. to the pres­
ent. In this section we will review one specific engineering feat of each of the cultures of
ancient Greece, Rome, and China. These overviews are meant to demonstrate the effort that
went into engineering activities of the past. They represent only a small portion of the many

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Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

developments of the time. It is important for you to look closely at what was being accom­
plished and the impact it had upon the people of the time. We will mention a few of those
accomplishments, but it is important that you consider on your own what good came from the
activities of those early engineers. How did their innovations set the groundwork for what was
to come?

Figure 13 The Parthenon in Athens.

Engineering the Temples of Greece
The Parthenon, shown in Fig. 1.3, was constructed by Iktinos in Athens in 447 b .c . and was
completed by 438 b . c . The temple as we know it was to be built on the foundation of a
previous temple. The materials that were used came from the salvaged remains of the pre­
vious temple. The Parthenon was designed to house a statue of Athena, which was to
be carved by Phidias and stand almost forty feet tall. The temple was to make the statue
seem proportioned relative to the space within which it was to be housed. Iktinos performed
the task that he was assigned, and the temple exists today as a monument to engineering
capability.
Structural work on the Parthenon enlarged the existing limestone platform of the

old temple to a width of 160 feet and a length of 360 feet. The building itself, con­
structed entirely of marble, measured 101 feet by 228 feet; it was the largest
such temple on the Greek mainland. Around the body of the building Iktinos built
a colonnade, custom ary in Greek tem ple architecture. The bases of the

columns were 6 feet in diameter and were spaced 14 feet apart. Subtle har­
monies were thus established, for these distances were all in the ratio of 4:9.
Moreover, the combined height of the columns and entablatures (lintels) bore
the same ratio to the width of the building.


Chapter 1: The History o f Engine

imember that this was the year 438 b . c . If we asked a contractor today about th<
?d to build this structure with tools that were available 2500 years ago, we’d get
y-

Figure 1.4 Roman Aqueduct.

Roman Roads and Aqueducts
ruction of the first great Roman Road, the Appian Way, began around 312 b .c . It
d Rome and Capua, a distance of 142 miles. The Appian Way eventually stretch
lisium at the very southern-most point in Italy, and covered 360 miles. With this
>man engineers continued building roads until almost a . d . 200. Twenty-nine major r
ually connected Rome to the rest of the empire. By a . d . 200 construction ceased
and maintenance were the only work done on these roads. Aqueducts were part c
'uction. One such aqueduct is shown in Fig. 1.4.
r those interested in civil engineering, the Roman roads followed elaborate princ
istruction. A bedding of sand, 4 to 6 inches thick, or sometimes mortar one inch 1
pread upon the foundation. The first course of large flat stones cemented togethei
nortar were placed upon this bedding of sand. If lime was not available, the st
smaller than a man’s hand) were cemented together with clay. The largest
i along the edge to form a retaining wall. This course varied from 10 inches thic
ground to 24 inches on bad ground. A layer of concrete about 9 inches deep
j on top of this, followed by a layer of rich gravel or sand concrete. The roadway v
ally be 12 inches thick at the sides of the road and 18 inches in the middle, thus
a crown which caused runoff. While this third course was still wet, the fourth or
3 was laid. This was made of carefully cut hard stones. Upon completion these r
be from 2 feet to 5 feet thick, quite a feat for hand labor.
3 interesting to note that after the fall of Rome, road building was no longer prac
/one in the world. It would be many hundreds of years before those who specia
d building again took on the monumental task of linking the peoples of the world


10

Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

Figure 1.5 The Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall of China
In 220 b . c . of the Ch’in Dynasty, Meng Tien, a military general, led his troops along the bor­
ders of China. His primary role was that of a commander of troops charged with the task of
repelling the nomadic hordes of Mongolians who occasionally surged across the Chinese
border. The Ch’in emperor, Shih Huang Ti, commissioned him to begin the building of what
would become known as the Great Wall of China; see Fig. 1.5.
The emperor himself conceived the idea to link all the fortresses that guarded the northern
borders of China. The general and the emperor functioned as engineers, even though this was
not their profession. They solved a particular problem by applying the knowledge they pos­
sessed in order to make life better for their people. The ancient wall is estimated to have been
3,080 miles in length, while the modern wall runs about 1,700 miles. The original wall is
believed to have passed Ninghsia, continuing north of a river and then running east through
the southern steppes of Mongolia at a line north of the present Great Wall. It is believed to have
reached the sea near the Shan-hal-huan River. After serving as a buffer against the nomadic
hordes for six centuries, the wall was allowed to deteriorate until the sixth and seventh cen­
turies a . d ., when it underwent major reconstruction under the Wei, Ch’i and Sui dynasties.
Although the vast structure had lost military significance by the time of China’s last dynasty,
the Ch’ing, it never lost its significance as a “wonder of the world” and as a feat of massive
engineering undertaking.


Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

At the same time that the previous monuments were being built, there were a number of
other engineering feats under way. Let’s look at a few of those other undertakings.
As you read through the following, we encourage you to investigate on your own any of
the engineering accomplishments which grab your attention from this list. You should get an
overall sense of both the pace and the focus of development over the centuries from these
lists.
Note that as we enter the modern age, the scope of invention appears to narrow, with
much of the activity relating to computers. What impact does this have on the notion of “everfaster historic development”?
What is the role of the inventor in history? Sometimes the name is important, other times
not. At times during certain eras, innovations were being made simultaneously by a number
of people. So no individual really stands out. Perhaps the developments were more collec­
tive during such times. Perhaps the players involved were often racing each other to the
patent office. At other times, with certain inventions, a single person made a significant
breakthrough on his own.
When is it the person and when is it the times? Here are a few clues. When it’s the per­
son, his peers might think he’s a nut, his work might even be outlawed or ignored. When it’s
the times, there are frequently many innovators doing similar work in close proximity or even
in cooperation. Sometimes even when a name stands out, you still get the impression that
his effort was more communal than singular. These are concepts to consider as you watch
time and innovations flow past in these lists and in your studies.

1200 B.C.







- A.D.

1

The quality of wrought iron is improved.
Swords are mass produced.
Siege towers are perfected.
The Greeks develop manufacturing.
Archimedes introduces mathematics in Greece.
Concrete is used for the arched bridges, roads and aqueducts in Rome.

Activities 1.2
a) Investigate the nature of manufacturing in these early times.
b) Investigate warfare as it was first waged. What was the engineer’s role in the design
of war-related equipment? What did these engineers build during peacetime?
c) Concrete was being used in Rome before a . d . 1. Trace the history of concrete from
its early use to its prominence in building today.
d) Metals have always been an important part of the history of engineering. Investi­
gate the progression in the use of metals from copper and bronze to iron and steel.
What effect did the use of these metals have on the societies in which they were
used?

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Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

A.D.

1 -1000

• The Chinese further develop the study of mathematics.
• Gunpowder is perfected.
• Cotton and silk are manufactured.

1000-1400
• There is growth in the silk and glass industries.
• Leonardo Fibonacci (1170-1240), medieval mathematician, writes the first Western
text on algebra.

Activity 1.3
What influence does the introduction of the first Western algebra text have on the soci­
ety of the time? Why would engineers be interested in this text?

1400-1700
• Georgius Agricola’s De re metallica, a treatise on mining and metallurgy, is published
posthumously.
• Federigo Giambelli constructs the first time bomb for use against Spanish forces
besieging Antwerp, Belgium.
• The first water closet (toilet) is invented in England.
• Galileo begins constructing a series of telescopes, with which he observes the rota­
tion of the sun and other phenomena supporting the Copernican heliocentric theory.
• Using dikes and windmills, Jan Adriaasz Leeghwater completes drainage of the
Beemstermeer, the largest project of its kind in Holland (17,000 acres).
• Otto von Guericke, mayor of Magdeburg, first demonstrates the existence of a vac­
uum.
• Christian Huygens begins work on the design of a pendulum-driven clock.
• Robert Hooke develops the balance spring to power watches.
• Charles II charters the Royal Society, England’s first organization devoted to experi­
mental science.
• Isaac Newton constructs the first reflecting telescope.
• Work is completed on the Languedoc Canal, the largest engineering project of its kind
in Europe.
• Thomas Savery patents his “miner’s friend,” the first practical steam pump.
• The agriculture, mining, textile and glassmaking industries are expanded.
• The concept of the scientific method of invention and inquiry is originated.
• The humanities and science are first thought to be two distinctly separate entities.
• Robert Boyle finds that gas pressure varies inversely with volume (Boyle’s Law).
• Leibniz makes a calculating machine to multiply and divide.

1700-1800
• The Leyden jar stores a large charge of electricity.
• The Industrial Revolution begins.


Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering

• James Watt makes the first rotary engine.
• The instrument-maker Benjamin Huntsman develops the crucible process for manu­
facturing steel, improving quality and sharply reducing cost.
• Louis XV of France establishes the Ecole des Ponts et Chausses, the world’s first civil
engineering school.
• John Smeaton completes construction of the Eddystone lighthouse.
• James Brindley completes construction of the Bridgewater Canal, beginning a canal
boom in Britain.
• James Watt patents his first steam engine.
• The spinning jenny and water frame, the first successful spinning machines, are
patented by James Hargreaves and Richard Arkwright, respectively.
• Jesse Ramsden invents the first screw-cutting lathe, permitting the mass production
of standardized screws.
• The Society of Engineers, Britain’s first professional engineering association, is
formed in London.
• David Bushnell designs the first human-carrying submarine.
• John Wilkinson installs a steam engine to power machinery at his foundry in Shrop­
shire, the first factory use of the steam engine.
• Abraham Darby III constructs the world’s first cast iron bridge over the Severn River
near Coalbrookdale.
• Claude Jouffroy d’Abbans powers a steamboat upstream for the first time.
• Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier construct the first passengercarrying hot air balloon.

• Henry Cort patents the puddling furnace for the production of wrought iron.
• Joseph Bramah designs his patent lock, which remains unpicked for 67 years.
• British civil engineer John Rennie completes the first building made entirely of cast
iron.

Activities 1.4
a) The Industrial Revolution changed the whole landscape of the world. How did the
engineer fit into this revolution? What were some of the major contributions?
b) Research and compare the first rotary engine to the rotary engines of today.

1800-1825
• Automation is first used in France.
• The first railroad locomotive is unveiled.
• Jean Fourier, French mathematician, states that a complex wave is the sum of sev­
eral simple waves.
• Robert Fulton begins the first regular steamboat service with the Clermont on the Hud­
son River in the U.S.
• Chemical symbols as they are used today are developed.
• The safety lamp for protecting miners from explosions is first used.
• The single wire telegraph line is developed.
• Photography is born.

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Chapter 1: The History o f Engineering







Electromagnetism is studied.
The thermocouple is invented.
Aluminum is prepared.
Andre Ampere shows the effect of electric current in motors.
Sadi Carnot finds that only a fraction of the heat produced by burning fuel in an engine
is converted into motion. This forms the basis of modem thermodynamics.

1825-1875












Rubber is vulcanized by Charles Goodyear in the United States.
The first iron-hulled steamer powered by a screw propeller crosses the Atlantic.
The rotary printing press comes into service.
Reinforced concrete is used.
saac Singer invents the sewing machine.
George Boole develops symbolic logic.
The first synthetic plastic material—celluloid—is created by Alexander Parkes.
Henry Bessemer originates the process to mass-produce steel cheaply.
The first oil well is drilled near Titusville, Pennsylvania.
The typewriter is perfected.
The Challenge Expedition (1871-1876) forms the basis for future oceanographic
study.

1875-1900
• The telephone is patented in the United States by Alexander Graham Bell.


The phonograph is invented by Thomas Edison.






The
The
The
The

incandescent light bulb also is invented by Edison.
steam turbine appears.
gasoline engine is invented by Gottlieb Daimler.
automobile is introduced by Karl Benz.

1900-1925
• The Wright brothers complete the first sustained flight.
• Detroit becomes the center of the auto industry.
• Stainless steel is introduced in Germany.


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