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1.1: Engineering

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    Following Wikipedia [7], engineering can be defined as:

    The application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to design, build, and maintain structures, machines, devices, systems, materials, and processes. It may encompass using insights to conceive, model, and scale an appropriate solution to a problem or objective. The discipline of engineering is extremely broad, and encompasses a range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of technology and types of application.

    The foundations of engineering lays on mathematics and physics, but more important, it is reinforced with additional study in the natural sciences and the humanities. Therefore, attending to the previously given definition, engineering might be briefly summarized with the following six statements:

    • to adapt scientific discovery for useful purposes;
    • to create useful devices for the service of society;
    • to invent solutions to meet society’s needs;
    • to come up with solutions to technical problems;
    • to utilize forces of nature for society’s purposes;
    • to convert energetic resources into useful work.

    On top of this, according to current social sensitivities, one should add: in an environmentally friendly manner.

    Following Wikipedia [6], aerospace engineering can be defined as:

    a primary branch of engineering concerned with the research, design, development, construction, testing, and science and technology of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. The former deals with aircraft that operate in Earth’s atmosphere, and the latter with spacecraft that operate outside it.

    Therefore, an aerospace engineering education attempts to introduce the following capabilities Newman [3, Chap. 2]:

    • Engineering fundamentals (maths and physics); innovative ideas conception and problem solving skills; the vision of high-technology approaches to engineering complex systems; and the idea of technical system integration and operation.
    • knowledge in the technical areas of aerospace engineering including mechanics and physics of fluids, aerodynamics, structures and materials, instrumentation, control and estimation, humans and automation, propulsion and energy conversion, aeronautical and astronautical systems, infrastructures on earth, the air navigation system, legislation, air transportation, etc.
    • The methodology and experience of analysis, modeling, and synthesis.
    • Finally, an engineering goal of addressing socio-humanistic problems.

    As a corollary, an aerospace engineering education should produce engineers capable of the following Newman [3, Chap. 2]:

    • Conceive: conceptualize technical problems and solutions.
    • Design: study and comprehend processes that lead to solutions to a particular problem including verbal, written, and visual communications.
    • Development: extend the outputs of research.
    • Testing: determine performance of the output of research, development, or design.
    • Research: solve new problems and gain new knowledge.
    • Manufacturing: produce a safe, effective, economic final product.
    • Operation and maintenance: keep the products working effectively.
    • Marketing and sales: look for good ideas for new products or improving current products in order to sell.
    • Administration (management): coordinate all the above.

    Thus, the student as a future aerospace engineer, will develop his or her professional career accomplishing some of the above listed capabilities in any of the activities that arise within the aerospace industry.

    1.1: Engineering is shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Manuel Soler Arnedo via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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