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Posts Tagged ‘Science Education’

It’s National Engineers Week

Engineering is the science by which the properties of matter and the sources of power in nature are made useful to humans in structures, devices, machines, and products. An engineer is an individual who specializes in one of the many branches of engineering.

Engineering and Technical Science, The New York Public Library Science Desk Reference

There has been a lot of talk about in recent years about emphasizing STEM/STEAM in schools to help the U.S. fill jobs in many technical fields. One front in this effort is National Engineers Week, which in 2017 is February 19-25. Quoting from the website of DiscoverE, the organization behind it, National Engineers Week is intended to “Celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world; Increase public dialogue about the need for engineers; Bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents.” The site has activities, videos and other resources to help educators expose students to engineering concepts and career paths.

Engineering Research Topic

Engineering Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Teachers, eLibrary also has you covered. Of course, students and educators can search the database for lots of interesting articles, websites, transcripts and more relating to the various branches of engineering. But we also offer lots of Research Topics on specific topics in the sciences. They can be discovered while searching (look for drop-down lists while typing in search terms–many of the items here will return a Research Topic at the top of the results) and by browsing the list of all RTs. Here is a small sampling of relevant RTs to get your students started in exploring the impact of engineers and considering educational and career paths in the sciences:

Architect
Civil Engineer
Computer Software Engineer
Dams
Electrical Engineer
Engineering
Engineering Technician
Golden Gate Bridge
I-35W Bridge Collapse
Materials Science
Mechanics (Physics)
One World Trade Center
Skyscrapers
Three Gorges Dam

National Concrete Canoe Competition and the Wonders of Concrete

Concrete

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William S. Parker [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Canoe

Jarek Tuszynski [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons

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If you have ever suggested that someone’s idea was going to sink like a concrete canoe, hold on a minute; college students participating in the ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition would beg to differ with that simile. Every year since 1988, the American Society of Civil Engineers has held the national event, which grew from smaller competitions started in the 1960s. There is also a Canadian version of the competition and a less-scientific contest in Germany. The teams get hands-on experience in design, engineering and materials science, learning to enhance a material that has been in use for thousands of years. The 2014 event runs June 18-22. See the link above to read about the competition and to see pictures from previous years.

Roman Pantheon

The Pantheon in Rome

Concrete has a long history, with versions of it going as far back as 6500 BC in Syria, but the Romans took concrete construction to great new levels. Possibly their most famous concrete structure is the dome of the Pantheon, which, at 142 feet in diameter, is the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built.

Basic concrete is made up of only a few ingredients: Portland cement, aggregate (rocks and sand) and water. The cement, which is made by heating limestone, reacts chemically with the water to make a binder that becomes hard as it cures. The aggregate provides strength, as does steel or materials that are often embedded in the concrete. For an in-depth technical discussion of the science, see this University of Illinois site, available in eLibrary: Scientific Principles of Concrete. High-tech versions have additives to increase strength and flexibility to allow them to be used in a wide range of applications.

Besides being used in common places like sidewalks, highways and even countertops, concrete is the material used to create some of the largest structures in the world, including the Three Gorges Dam in China, Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the Hoover Dam in the U.S.

The study of concrete can provide insight into various subject areas, including history, chemistry, engineering and materials science. See the links above and below and search and browse in eLibrary and to discover lots of great stuff for your research project or for use in your classroom.

Research Topics:

Concrete
Cement
Civil Engineer
Materials Science

Subject browse sections (Click on underlined words to widen or narrow the scope and click on “View Results” to see eLibrary resources. Items with a star next to them will display a Research Topic pages.):

Chemistry
Engineering
Technology