Yep, you heard it. This week is National Engineers Week. In celebration, I’d like to request the following of the Teeming Millions: Non-engineers, it is your duty to hug an engineer this week; at least one, although more is better (and you were wondering why I called you in here).
Engineers, we’ve done this already, but it’s been a while so we’ll do it again. It’s your duty to bore…er…ah…share with the Teeming Millions what your job entails. I’ll go first.
I wear a few hats where I work. Most of my time is spent supporting the finite element analysis (aka “virtual testing” aka “virtual prototyping” aka “Computer Aided Engineering (CAE),” for those of you laymen who have read this far) software that my company distributes. These support duties include training, technical support, and mentoring. I also write programs within the software for customers to facilitate specific finite element modelling processes and make them more efficient. Some of the time, I peform engineering analysis for jobs that are outsourced to us. My specialty is structural analysis (stress, dynamic, vibration, fatigue) although I do a little bit of heat transfer. I’m quite capable of using classical hand-calculations, but most of the jobs we get require finite element analysis (FEA).
The great thing about my job isn’t just the variety of tasks I perform, but the number of industries and applications to which I’m exposed. I’m most acquainted with the aerospace industry, with a fair amount of exposure to the semiconductor industry as well as a few others. Just last week, I had a student who’s a geologist with some background in mechanical engineering. She uses FEA to predict lava flow and temperatures in volcanos. She also uses it to predict the effects of the volcano weight and magma pressure on fault lines over a period of several years. We got along really well and I have the feeling that I’ll be learning a little geology in the future (Don’t read anything into that, you pervs!).
OK, I’ve bored you enough. Next!