Tuesday, 30 August 2016

An Electrical Engineer’s Perspective on Planning, Development and Management


For many decades, power creation and transmission and information have been underlying themes of electrical engineering, which are relevant even today. Undergraduate courses in the electrical engineering discipline focus mainly on electrical engineering functional aspects and means and methods of various applications. Electrical engineers focus on the transmitting and receiving of information. Information is divided in to analog and digital forms. Analog information is a continuous value, such as audio and video; whereas digital information is discrete with the best example being text. The FE exam review course recaps fundamentals of electrical engineering technology concepts.

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Electrical Engineering Concepts

In the present contest, conversion of information-bearing signals from one energy form to another is known as energy conversion. Most of the conversion methods are inefficient since some input energy is lost as heat. Conceptually, any form of energy can be used to represent information, but electric signals are appropriate for information representation, transmission and manipulation. Electrical engineering concepts such as electrical signals, encoding information, voltages, current and electromagnetic waves manipulation skills play a predominant role in day-to-day activities of engineering practices. The Fundamentals of Engineering exam review course provides information to achieve a passing score on the FE exam by reviewing all of the above topics.

Planning, Development and Management Skills Necessary for Engineers

Planning is a functional concept that provides information about origins, components and ways of developing activities so that the development process is easy for electrical engineers. Planning is a symbolic representation of activities for achieving a goal. Theorists of planning developed four general steps in the planning processes. The steps are: define the goal state, define the problem state, note the differences between problem and goal states and determine the constraints to close the difference and redefine the goal. After these steps, the next actions are to plan construction and plan execution.

Development is a concept to apply to rather than find in individuals or performances across time. By analyzing productivity and implementation skills, engineers need to clearly explain the criteria that is basic to planning activities. Processing manpower resources, equipment and time alerts economy of actions. Planning an activity may be more or less economical for engineers. The effort to read the plan during its execution minimizes the expenditure and eliminates the need for rework. 

The Need for Management Skills

Electrical engineering is a professional service that requires effective management principles for the planning, development and execution of a project from design phase to completion phase. Cost and quality management principles reduce the cost, ineffective methods and reworking time. Implementation of OSHA and state/local regulations for all electrical engineering construction activities is mandatory for best management practices. The Fundamentals of Engineering exam review course recaps project planning, scheduling, OSHA principles and safety precautions. 

Friday, 26 August 2016

Pavement Material Characterization and Importance of Using Asphalt Mixture Performance Tester

Importance of highway construction

There are some serious challenges in highway construction that are motivating new approaches to design, build and maintain highways. The construction of highways deals with the planning and designing of service roads for safe, convenient and economical transportation. The main goals of highway construction are to reduce congestion and to improve safety. The environmental effects while developing and maintaining the highway infrastructure is an important concern for the residential public and commuters. Most of the above topics are discussed in the Fundamentals of Engineering exam refresher course material. Therefore, it is important to focus on highway design, construction and safety guidelines for excellent pavement performance.

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Primary Pavement Construction Material and its Importance

The present trend of constructing roadway pavements is with cement concrete and asphalt. The pavements provide a convenient riding surface that can be designed to handle heavy loads due to trucking traffic. The pavement construction material plays a predominant role in the durability of pavement surface. Aggregate material used for roadway construction should possess an abrasive resistance property. The requirement of such aggregates is particularly needed when it is to be used in flexible pavements. Asphalt pavements crack due to heavy traffic loads, and the pavement surface experiences wear and tear due to various climatic conditions in addition to heavy traffic loads. The load carrying capacity is mainly based on the base, structural and friction courses of the pavement. Therefore, the aggregates should be hard enough to resist abrasion. Properties of pavement materials is a suggested topic for study prior to the FE exam.

Asphalt Design Mix Variations as per Pavement Design and Standards

The first recorded asphalt road is at 625 B.C., which marks the evidence of asphalt being used in road construction. Today, asphalt paving has become common; ninety percent of all paved roads and streets throughout the nation are paved with asphalt. Asphalt mixes are classified into three types based on the presence of voids in the mix. Each design mix should be designed and recommended for specific use, specific locations and average daily traffic volume, but they also have distinct purposes and advantages. The pavement riding responses are then used as inputs in ride index models. Pavement responses, also known as transfer functions, are used to predict cumulative pavement distresses over a period of time. In the pavement design, it is important to understand the purpose of the pavement. Therefore, we can optimize the selection of materials and mix designs for roadway construction. Once the mix type has been selected, the pavement must be designed accurately to achieve the best performance index. Pavement design considers materials and mixture data for the development of calibration models within the pavement design. Many of the mixtures used today include modified asphalt binders, warm mix asphalt technologies, high reclaimed asphalt pavement contents or recycled asphalt material. Asphalt design structural numbers and pavement layer thickness theory and calculations are discussed in the Transportation Engineering section of the FE exam review course. Asphalt mixture performance tester is an engineering device that is used to test mixtures and their performance for quality control and quality assurance of pavement construction.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Transportation, Safety and Environment: An Engineering Perspective

Transportation Engineering Significance in Socioeconomic Development 

It is recognized worldwide that good highway transportation facilities have a great impact on economic growth. However, there are many negative effects associated with developing suitable highway transportation infrastructure including negative impacts on safety and the environment. The magnitude of road safety has been a subject of discussion worldwide due to an increase in road accidents. Similarly, the associated environmental effects while developing and maintaining transportation infrastructure is of concern on the FE exam.

The materials used in the transportation industry are predominantly comprised of fossil fuel combustion byproducts, such as fly ash produced from thermal power stations and aggregate dust from the cement industry; these are the largest sources of air pollution. Transportation infrastructure development also causes health and social issues such as noise pollution, the loss of agriculture land and rural unemployment.  However, the transportation of industrial products and people is key for socioeconomic development. Transportation promotes trade and provides an opportunity for employment, education and provincial development. Minimizing deforestation and employing ecologically friendly measures are necessary to significantly curb the greenhouse gas emissions of the transportation industry.

Importance of Transportation Engineering Strategies for Safety and Environment

To overcome the environmental and safety challenges of highway transportation, a number of strategies have been developed and implemented.  Implementation of these strategies is mainly based on current knowledge of various environmental measures and highway safety. The effect of current highway safety measures on the environment is high. Further, there is a need for a better understanding and an examination of the potential interactions of highway safety measures with the environment while planning and executing the development of transportation infrastructure.  Transportation engineers play an important role in identifying and developing appropriate strategies that have multiple safety benefits without any adverse effects on the environment.

Basic Highway Engineering Parameters for Better Transportation, Safety and Environment

There are different categories of specifications and standards that are usually followed worldwide and are also discussed during FE exam review. Providing better road connectivity, considering measures for reducing vehicle traffic noise, education and training of carrier communities on regular vehicle maintenance are important parameters. These parameters are essential to improve the efficiency of transportation system operations.  It is important to encourage and enforce ridesharing, car sharing and carpooling activities as well as bicycling, walking and the use of public transportation. It is also necessary to use technologies that increase fuel saving efficiency, provide tax benefits to promote green technologies and expand mass rapid transit systems. These measures will have positive effects on road safety and pollution by lowering road accidents, reducing the total distance traveled and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

Quality Control and Quality Assurance in Implementation of Precaution Measures

There are several limitations of applying all of these precaution measures. The range of specific implementation of each potential measure is too large, and hence, the results depend on successful implementation. Focusing on relatively broad environmental and road-safety measures of highway engineering will improve your score on the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. Further, the classification of road-safety and environmental effects are very broad. The measures identified can have both positive and negative effects, and the final outcome of any measure always depends on quality control and quality assurance of implementation. 

The application of Geotechnical investigation tools in Civil Engineering

Geotechnical investigation is an important component of civil engineering. The investigation pertaining to geotechnical aspects helps you in understanding the surface conditions and subsurface conditions. This kind of investigation is relevant in the planning phase of  buildings and projects for public purposes. Inappropriate procedures and technical investigations can lead to faulty designs, construction delays, cost escalations and sometimes even major environmental risks.  

Despite differences in the use of various geotechnical tools among geotechnical experts from various countries, there are set  international standards on the minimum number of tests and types of laboratory tests that are required before beginning a construction project. Geotechnical investigation methods and standards are also important in PE exam preparation

In general, we know that compromising the required investigation procedure can increase the risk of structural vulnerability. Therefore, performing relevant investigations are necessary to reduce the risks. These optimum geotechnical investigation procedures should be followed for minimizing the risks and improving the overall structural durability. It becomes an engineer’s responsibility to acquire the required skills and techniques for promoting the best engineering practices to meet the growing needs of society and the environment. The civil engineers and their technical skills ensure better neighborhoods, good public facilities and safe transportation infrastructure. 

Geotechnical engineering is an important and useful discipline for the Professional Engineering exam in civil engineering. This discipline demands knowledge, skills, appropriate equipment and experienced personnel. The above mentioned parameters are necessary to fulfill the requirements of geotechnical engineering aspects for the best design, economical construction and strong, durable, environmentally and energy friendly structures that could persist over generations. 

The involvement of an enormous amount of resources for adopting the geo-technological advances is one of the major impediments in the construction industry. However, the conceptualization and implementation of suitable geotechnical applications in designing and constructing major projects of public utility like dams in seismic zones, high-rise apartments in loose soils, nuclear power stations and similar projects demanding 100% disaster-free facilities may prevent various social, economic, environmental and population hazards. 

The civil engineering discipline has a great potential to improve the safety, quality and sustainability of different projects pertaining to human development by balancing both economic and environmental conservation. Rapid urbanization in both developed and developing economies across the world compounded with a shortage of quality procedures and standards demand more professional civil engineers with a PE exam certification than ever before.  

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Are You Meant to be an Engineer?

Strong Problem-Solving Skills

Successful engineering is all about battling through challenges to find the right solution. In fact,this is the reason why every PE review course is designed to test the problem-solving ability of each student.

Attention to Detail

While grasping the big picture is relatively easier,it takes a shrewd professional to dig deeper into the minutest details of a project.

Ability for Analysis

Regardless of the discipline of engineering, one common skill that sets good engineers apart is their ability to handle numbers.From creating building designs to developing software, engineers need analytical skills backed by a strong passion for numbers.

A Fair Sense of Inquisitiveness

Children who cannot stop with their long series of "what if" and "why" questions could grow up to become successful engineers. Inquisitiveness and reasoning are at the core of engineering.

Commendable Project Management Skills

Bigger projects and better opportunities come along, and the engineer must be well-equipped to handle them. This is where the engineer's project management skills come in handy. When engineers possess these skills and have educational opportunities and resources, they become empowered to tackle difficult projects.

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Friday, 19 August 2016

Geosynthetic Reinforcement of Soil and its Application to Reduce the Angle of Dilation


Over the past few years Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Structures have gained increasing popularity in civil engineering construction industry. In construction, geosynthetic reinforced soil structures have showed several distinct advantages over conventional construction engineering practices. In general, structures using geosynthetic reinforcement requires less excavation, therefore they are quite easy in designing as well as for construction, resists to differential settlement and to earthquakes.

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Geosynthetic Reinforcement Soil Structures Engineering Parameters

Reinforcement of soil is a composite construction practice adopted by combining soil with the reinforcement of tensile materials. Due to this structures possesses high compressive and tensile strength. In the current civil engineering applications, the reinforcement usually consists of sheets or strips of galvanized steel, anchors, planks, rope and combination of these or other tensile materials. In the early days, the metal strips were used as reinforcement, and the composite material was termed ‘Reinforced Earth’ by Henry Vidal (1966, 1969) who presented the concept of improving the strength of a soil mass by placing reinforced material within the soil. Construction procedures and operational methods, properties of construction materials are thoroughly discussed in PE Civil Engineering exam review course. Therefore, it helps the PE Exam aspirants to achieve passing score at these sections.

Testing Models and Engineering Analysis of Geosynthetic Reinforcement Soil Structures

An experimental model was developed to describe the actual contribution of reinforcement strength and reinforcement spacing in between individual strips or sheets. The engineering model specifically used to calculate lateral displacement of a geosynthetic soil structure. The engineering model can be used in regular design for determining the reinforcement strength. A series of field tests also called composite tests, are designed and conducted to analyze the behavior of a geosynthetic reinforcement composite with variable spacing, and strength requirements.

The test data is used for verifying the analytical model to calculate strength properties of a geosynthetic reinforcement soil composite. With the help of test data, the effect of reinforcement, and shear strength of soil composites are analyzed. Principles of Engineering exam review course refresh geotechnical investigation methods and their ASTM testing codes for PE Civil Exam preparation.

Engineering Analysis and Observations

The placement of geosynthetic reinforcement has a characteristic of minimizing dilation of the nearby soil mass by lowering the dilation angle of the reinforced soil. The angle of dilation is one of the physical properties of geosynthetic reinforcement soil. Several tests with variable reinforcement capacity, reinforcement spacing, and confining pressures are carried out to prove the angle of dilation that will be minimized through geosynthetic reinforcement soil. Since the angle of dilation is lower than the dilation angle of natural soil mass without any reinforcement, majority of the construction engineering works are adopting geosynthetic reinforcement to reduce angle of dilation. 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Role of Water Resources Management in Mining Industry

Managing water resources is one of the greatest environmental challenges we are facing currently, and the challenge is likely to become greater in the upcoming years. Swift urbanization, industrialization, deforestation, and an increase in the rate and momentum of mining operations throughout the planet will make managing water resources the greatest public concern and become an even bigger environmental challenge. Thoughtful management practices of water resources are very important for the FE exam and are urgently needed to avoid the water scarcity and contamination issues associated with mining operations. 

Effects of Mining Operations on Water Resources

Mineral extraction industries and mining operations have an enormous impact on water resources; both the surface and ground water resources are influenced by these operations. Here we will discuss the detrimental effects of mining operations on ground water resources as well as the FE exam review course. Mining invariably affects water resources, both the water quality and water body levels in the long term. There is an immediate need to implement the appropriate measures and precautions to prevent the mining-induced effects on the quality of ground water coming from the natural water springs. By employing suitable strategies, we will be able to protect the water quality and ground water table level. Best management practices help avoid significant business risks, which can sometimes include the closure of  entire business operations due to significant environmental impact.  
Due to mining, water resources profoundly affect the wet and dry conditions of soil. Wetness leads to flooding because mining operations undermine the capacity of water holding facilities. Similarly, dryness results from an inadequate availability of water for mining site operations that eventually require water to be pumped from the groundwater table. Situations of this nature create conflicts between mining industries and water management boards. This is a major concern for mining industries worldwide as well as the environment. 

Engineer Interns and their Professional Responsibilities 

Civil engineers with a Fundamentals of Engineering exam certification play a vital role in managing water resources, protecting the environment and facilitating economic mining operations. Water resources management is a very complex process as it involves a greater understanding of local hydrology and meteorology like rainfall pattern, water logging, water movement and the water holding capacity of soil. 

A better understanding of the above mentioned topics of water resources engineering will give us better ideas and help us to devise suitable strategies to prevent the impact on our valuable water resources. Further it will also facilitate the sustainability of non-contaminated water resources for human consumption as well as for smooth-running mining operations. There is a considerable need for developing and validating suitable strategies and practices, which could lead to the exploration of mining opportunities to sustain economic growth.