Sunday, 23 October 2016

Design of Commercial Complex Buildings to Mitigate Space Availability Concerns


Space availability is a major issue in rapidly developing cities. The space crisis affects public, private, and government businesses. The main responsibility of structural engineers is to design and develop buildings that mitigate the space crisis. The design of complex structures can be achieved by incorporating some structural design techniques from the design phase to the construction phase in order to utilize the available space effectively. SE exam review courses recap structural engineering design concepts and standard design codes for professional practice. 

SE Exam Course

Influence of Structural Engineering Design Methods for Better Space Utilization

Many structural engineers have analyzed how to mitigate space availability concerns and how to improve the structural stability of high-rise buildings without any failure due to the action of various forces on the structure. Fire protection systems play a critical role in designing high-rise buildings. Planning commercial buildings with many levels can eliminate space availability problems entirely. Professional engineering skills and expertise can greatly improve problems associated with space congestion by taking preventive measures. Engineers must ensure the protection of the building due to its vertical rise at an early design stage. The cost of rework will be greater when compared to the overall cost of the building, so it is always best to consider structural stability. The special design of buildings depends on geological features of the location. There are some unique features and standards recommended for each type of construction, like commercial buildings, school buildings, hospital buildings, and national defense structures. Structural engineer exam aspirants should be familiar with reference building codes for complex building designs within a restricted space. Structural engineering design methods always determine the use of lightweight non structural elements either for the exterior or interior of the buildings.

Implementation of Design Standards for Public Safety within Space Limits

When any structural failure occurs within a structure or nearby structure, it may cause catastrophic damage to the building's internal and external features, such as the collapsing of walls, blowing out of windows, and destruction of utility connections. The design of commercial buildings against space limit constraints depends on design standards and building codes. The structural engineer’s responsibility is to ensure the implementation of design standards for project approval as well as to procure an occupancy certificate. Engineers have a set of required space dimensions for protective security design. The standard references correlate each type of risk, and they provide the guidance to building owners and structural design professionals for prevention and mitigation measures. Furthermore, most of the reference books that help prepare individuals for the SE exam are related to design standards.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Need for Marketing, Sales and Business Communication Skills in Engineering

Introduction to Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Once businesses start growing, managers need to store an increasing amount of customer data, and it can become very difficult to keep track of every client’s information. By implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) approach, an organization can easily sort out the clients’ data. To maintain the records of customer data, categorization is essential. The categorization of customer data is based on inactive and active customers, suppliers, and partners. When using spreadsheets, it is difficult to for everyone in the organization to track all customer interactions. CRM makes it easy to store this kind of data and also manages all aspects of sales efficiently by providing full visibility into the sales process. Engineering economics is a major topic for the financial analysis of the organization, and it directly depends on customer relationship management. Computational tools and engineering economics concepts are reviewed in FE exam review courses.

FE Exam Review

The Process of CRM in An Organization

CRM is a method of managing the organization’s relations with active and potential customers. CRM improves business relationships with customers by analyzing data involving customers' histories with a company. CRM mainly focuses on customer retention in order to drive sales growth. The primary goal of CRM is to provide integration and automation of sales, marketing, and customer support. CRM systems have a control panel that gives an overall view of the these functions on a particular page for each customer. The control panel provides customer information, existing sales strategies, future sales strategies, and a summary of all of the relationships between the customer and the company. The CRM process has three steps: sales automation, service automation, and marketing automation. 

Sales automation implements automatic tracking of a client's history for repeated sales, marketing, calls, and retail channels. Marketing automation focuses the overall marketing efforts to make them more effective and better organized. The service automation system focuses on direct customer service technology. Through service automation, customers are maintained through multiple networks such as phone calls, emails, and social media advertising. Electrical and computer engineers should be familiar with the process and functionality of customer relationship management; if they are not, fundamentals of engineering exam review courses will help to refresh and recap the programming equations for the FE exam.

Benefits of Implementing CRM in An Organization

CRM tools can systematically manage repeated tasks such as sending out marketing emails at certain times to customers and posting marketing information on social media. Customer satisfaction is an important implication for the economic performance of companies because it has the ability to increase customer allegiance and usage behavior and reduce customer complaints. CRM helps to enhance customer supporting services by sending personalized messages in a timely manner to better serve customers and to better understand their needs.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Technical Aspects of Timber Frame Construction for Residential Buildings


Timber is widely used as a construction material for residential buildings and for other structures because of its load resistance and technical properties. Timber frame construction is a predominant method of building residential homes in the United States. Timber framing is also used for commercial and industrial construction. Timber frame buildings are economical to construct and are economical to heat in the winter and to cool in the summer. Timber construction is easily adaptable to conventional building models, contemporary building models and to new building models. The physical and chemical properties of timber influence the design aspect of the structures. Professional engineers with their PE certification can evaluate the strength parameters of the timber and can make recommendations for its various applications. 

PE Exam Course

Types of Timber Frame Construction

There are different types of timber frame construction techniques. One of them is platform-frame construction; this technique facilitates a work surface at every floor level and is easily adapted to different methods of pre-fabrication. In balloon-frame construction, outside wall studs continue through the first and second floors. Nailed joints exhibit the best durability and performance because the load is perpendicular to the nails. Knowing the types of joints and load carrying capacities of jointed frame structures is important for the PE exam. Those who plan to take the exam to become a Professional Engineer must refer to the codes and standards for design purpose. 

Strength and Fire Resistance Parameters of Timber Frame Construction

The strength and resilience of timber construction is due to its structural framework of structural lumber associated with a subflooring surface and wall and roof sheathing. A firm foundation, consisting of properly designed and installed footings of adequate size, is necessary to support the structure. A reliable foundation is essential for the satisfactory performance of all structures. 

Best construction practices prevent conditions that could lead to decay or a termite attack. Floor framing consists of a system of trusses that provides support to floor live loads and gives lateral support to exterior walls. Truss frames are major load carrying components, so analysis of the forces in each member of the truss is important. Calculation of forces in truss members is refreshed in PE exam review courses. Balancing tension and compression in each frame member results in equilibrium of the structure.

All concealed spaces in timber framing are fire resistant with wood blocking or other approved materials. All wall framings must have the strength to resist dead and live loads. Timber framing must be separated from fireplace and chimney masonry. All components of a timber frame structure must be kept at least a few inches from the outside face of chimney and fireplace masonry. Roof frame and trusses must have appropriate strength to withstand rain, snow and wind loads. Timber frame construction must require insulation to provide comfort and eliminate surrounding noises. Protective coatings, such as vapor retardant film, are used to prevent moisture vapor from moving through the insulated wall. This treatment helps control dampness and increases the lifespan of the timber frame components.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Boilers for Heat and Steam Production in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Applications

Introduction to Boilers: Definition and Usage (Mechanical or Industrial Applications)

Boilers are also known as steam generators; they are a closed vessel in which water is converted into steam through the application of heat. The steam is used for driving steam engines or steam turbines for power generation. The steam is also used for producing process steam, which is used for sizing and bleaching in the textile industry. The capacity of boilers used for power generation is considerably large compared with other boilers.

pe mechanical exam course

Boilers in Engineering Applications

Boilers are required to hold a certain quantity of water to generate and deliver the steam safely at the required temperature and pressure at the defined rate. Maximum heat produced by the fuel in the furnace should be utilized for engineering economics calculations. The boiler should be accessible for inspection and for further improvement. Mechanical or industrial engineers with their Professional Engineering exam certification are able to inspect and check quality control and quality assurance practices of the facility.

Different Types of Boilers Used for Various Engineering Applications

Boilers are classified according to the flow of water and hot gases.

  • Fire tube boilers: 

In fire tube boilers, hot gases pass through the tube, which is surrounded by water. There might be a single tube, as in the case of Lancashire boilers, or several tubes as in the case of Locomotive boilers.

  •  Water tube boilers:

With water tube boilers, water circulates through a large number of tubes, and hot gases pass around them. Babcock and Wilcox boilers are both water tube boilers. 

Based on the location of the furnace, boilers are classified as externally or internally fired boilers. 

  • In internally fired boilers, the furnace is located as an integral part of the boiler structure. 
  • In the case of externally fired boilers, a separate furnace is built outside the boiler shell. 

According to the application and position, boilers are classified as stationary or mobile:

  • A stationary boiler is one which is installed permanently on the boiler foundation in any production or manufacturing unit.
  • A mobile boiler is used for ocean cargo and passenger ships with an inherent fast navigation capacity.

Difference Between Fire Tube and Water Tube Boilers

Fire tube boilers are simple, vertical type boilers; they are the simplest form of internally fired boilers. Fire tube boilers do not require a heavy foundation, and they require minimum area. In water tube boilers, water is circulated inside the tubes, and hot gas flows over the tubes. The system requires a considerable amount of area for installation. Thermal and fluid systems of mechanical engineering in PE exam review courses will describe various types of boilers and functionality differences.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Water Tube Boilers

  • Steam can be generated at a very high pressure in water tube boilers
  • Steam can be raised at a quicker rate with large water capacity
  • The hot gases flow toward the direction of water flow, so the maximum amount of heat is transferred to the water
  • Bursting of one or two tubes does not greatly affect the boiler, so water tube boilers are sometimes known as safety boilers
  • The different parts of water tube boilers can be separated so it is easier to transport and is also suitable for use in steam power plants
  • Water tube boilers are less suitable for hard water because a small deposit of scale may cause overheating and bursting of tubes. Thus, the water treatment plant is very essential for water tube boiler consumption.
  • High operating and maintenance costs
  • A delay in water supply, even for a short period, will likely make the boiler overheated. Water level must be watched very carefully during the operation.

Professional mechanical engineers with their PE exam certification will be aware of all engineering applications of boilers and their capacity to generate steam. 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Typical Blasting Methods for Structural Engineering Operations

An Introduction to Blasting Technology

Blasting technology is an essential part of the construction process to perform structural engineering activities. Blasting is the process of cracking rock material by using a small amount of explosive substance so that the rock is destroyed into several pieces. In the past, black powder and dynamite were used for the explosive process. Blast design and execution are important for successful rock removal operations. The use of excessive explosive material at the blasting site may cause unwanted caving. Blasting is used for both the rock removal process and underground mining operations. Currently, the most common explosives used in mining industries are ammonium nitrate, slurries, and emulsions. The type of blast design and explosive material consumption depends on various factors; the most common factors are rock type, density, strength, and damage condition of the existing rock base. Structural engineering exam review courses recap geotechnical engineering properties of rocks for foundation design.

structural engineering exam

Blasting Technology Methods

When the drilling process is over, it is time to start to blast to break up the rock required for excavation.  The blasting method is used for rock excavation. Controlled blasting is a technique of blasting, which is used to reduce the amount of over break and to control ground vibrations. The different types of controlled blasting techniques are pre-splitting, smooth blasting, line drilling, perimeter blasting, and cushion blasting. 

Pre-Splitting: The purpose of this technique is to reduce the impact of ground vibrations on the other side of the pre-split line.

Smooth Blasting: This technique is used mostly in underground blasting and muffle blasting as a solution to prevent fly-rock. 

Line Drilling: This is the earliest controlled blasting method used for explosive activity. This method drills the perimeter of walls to the full depth of the excavation prior to blasting. This kind of drilling is not as noisy when compared with other types of drilling.

Perimeter Blasting: This type of blasting is mostly used in underground excavation; the perimeter holes of the roof of headings and tunnels are drilled along the design in a parallel direction to the excavation.

Cushion Blasting: This type of blasting is applicable in surface trimming.
Professional structural engineers who are preparing for their SE exam must be familiar with blasting methods and their applications. 

Blasting and its Consequences

Blasting techniques and the proportion of explosives/blasting agents used to remove all rocky outcrops exhibit the least disturbance to the surrounding environment. The outcomes of any type of blasting techniques are fragmentation, muck pile displacement, ground vibrations, and oversized fly-rock fragments. The main materials used for blasting are Nitrate mixtures, Nitro-glycerine based explosives, Mono-methyl amine or Nitro-carbo nitrate based explosives, RDX, HMX, and LOX. The by-products of the explosive chemicals can cause environmental pollution and contamination.

Safety Steps for Drilling Operations
  • Many accidents occur when working with drilling machines. Miners work with thread drill steels, and they work very close to the drilling machine. To avoid accidents during drilling operations, proper safety steps should be taken.
  • Proper training must be provided to the drilling machine operator to follow the manufacturer’s procedures when working with the driller.
  • Manual handling should be avoided during the drilling operation.
  • Operators should not wear loose-fitting clothing when working around drills. 
  • The safety features of the equipment should never be ignored.
  • Operators should be aware of emergency stop switches and ensure the switches are in working condition.
  • The safe routing of pipes and cables should be provided so that they are not close to the spin around the drill.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require project engineers to implement safety and precautionary measures for employees and the safety of the public. SE exam review courses refresh OSHA principles and standards for blasting operations. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

What to do after your PE Exam Result

Congratulations to all of those who passed the October 2016 PE exam. Now that you have passed, there are several steps to take.

Submit your result to obtain your license
The license will showcase to the world that you are aware of the critical elements of your job.

Showcase your designation
Showcase your designation wherever required.

Obtain your wall certificate
The wall certificate comes in few weeks or months’ time after you have passed the PE exam.

Obtain stamp/seal upon registration as a PE
Once you've registered as a PE, some states require you to obtain a stamp or seal.

There are several steps to follow now that you have passed your exam, but we wish you all the best in your future endeavors as a licensed professional engineer!

PE Exam

Monday, 26 September 2016

Information Technology Applications for Structural Engineering Design and Execution

Ancient Engineering Drawings

This article explains the importance of information technology applications used for civil engineering structural constructions. Traditional engineering drawings describe structural elements of construction. Today, we use more advanced technologies that help make drawing technical designs easier. Early engineering drawings served two purposes; they were used as a reference for engineers, and they were used to build or construct what was portrayed. Earlier drawings were more symbolic than what we are familiar with today; the engineers understood the intent of symbolic diagrams and were not taken account actual dimensions because every aspect of construction or structural element that engineers worked on was their own development. Computer-based graphic systems began to be used to improve the productivity of engineers, and large engineering companies slowly began recognizing designers. The design procedures and standard codes are critical in designing the structural engineering elements for engineers taking the SE exam. 

se exam

The Modern Technologies that are used for Construction

Graphical manipulation services are the functions that can handle user interactions in a graphical system and display requested design on the output screen. In the 1970s, new graphical manipulation software was developed to aid in the creation of engineering drawings. This software is known as Computer Aided Design (CAD). In the mid-1970s, as computer-aided design systems provided more capability than to reproduce manual designing with electronic designing, the cost benefit for the organization to switch to CAD became apparent. The earliest CAD systems handled two-dimensional data, emulating traditional drafting practices. Then CAD changed its technology from two-dimensional to three dimensional, which was completed using wireframe geometry. At present, a large number of software applications are available in all of the sub disciplines of the construction process. These software applications help structural engineers to construct buildings, dams and highways in an easy manner. Information technology is the backbone of the construction industry. Software is used to increase the productivity of the designer and to create a better design quality. Technology helps to improve the communication process with the help of documentation and helps to create a database for manufacturing various structural elements. Nowadays, structural engineering calculations have become easier on the Structural Engineering exam due to programed engineering calculators. Technology plays an important role in a structural engineer’s working life.

The Advantage of using Software Applications in Construction

At present, the construction industry has high expectations. Clients need their building infrastructures to look appealing, and they should be safe and provide a comfortable environment.  Construction software can aid engineers in completing many of these tasks within a short time frame. Construction software has some tools that ensures the project stays on budget by tracking the costs and expenses. Engineering economics and quantity takeoffs in the SE exam review course recaps engineering analysis in construction project management. Construction software can greatly improve the overall quality of construction. It can facilitate more accurate designs and models through apps that allow design changes to be made directly on the systems.