Engineering: The nature of problems

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Discover the nature of engineering problems and the innovative solutions they create. Learn problem-solving techniques and technical terms in this free course.

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Engineering is about extending the horizons of society by solving technical problems, ranging from the meeting of basic human needs for food and shelter to the generation of wealth by trade. In this free course, Engineering: The nature of problems, we learn that engineers see the problems more as challenges and opportunities than as difficulties. What they appear to be doing is solving problems, but in fact they are busy creating solutions, an altogether more imaginative activity.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

View solutions as belonging to particular categories, broadly classified as: innovation by context

Innovation by practice

Routine

See how external factors affect engineering projects, and appreciate the range of engineering involved in meeting the basic needs of our society

Recognise and apply a range of problem-solving techniques from each stage of the engineering design cycle, to include the following: physical modelling

Mathematical modelling

Iteration

Use of reference data

Refining an engineering specification

Identify when models are likely to be useful and when they are no longer valid

Recognise and distinguish between the following technical terms: differential equation

Simultaneous equation

Boundary condition

Constraint

Finite element analysis (FEA)

Mathematical model

Physical model

Prototype

Demonstrator

Anthropometric

Ergonomic

Product specification

Functional specification.

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    Engineering: The nature of problems
    Engineering: The nature of problems
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