Posts Tagged: Revision

The Relevance of Engineering

Thursday 14th January 2010

Exam Time. I have 3 next week, had one already this week. My last one next week is Structural Analysis, and a part of that is Finite Element Analysis. We first encountered this in the 2nd year (where it actually wasn’t taught to us as such, we just had to use the concepts for some coursework), and it’s pretty powerful.

Anyway, you’ll be more than aware that as well as being an engineer, I’m also an F1 geek. F1 teams use FEA too, to model various aspects of their cars. Earlier on I came across this on iTunes, an Open University thing about, uhm, how an F1 team uses FEA. This has got to be the best distraction from revision ever; not only is it F1 related and so therefore interesting, it’s actually vaguely relevant to what I should be doing anyway. More relevant than, say, watching past episodes of Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe on YouTube, which I of course haven’t done at all…

Posted In: EngineeringMotorsport Tagged: | 2 Comments

Workload (or: The Obligatory Revision Rant)

Saturday 26th April 2008

So it’s just over two weeks before my exams start. I have four spread over a fortnight, before I shuffle off to Devon for a field course for a week (sidebar: who the hell thought it’d be a good idea to go on the same day as the Monaco GP? One of my favourite races on the calendar, and I have to miss it. Or, more to the point, get Mum to record it and then devoutly avoid any news sources for a week. Which shouldn’t be hard – apparently the place we’re going doesnt even have cashpoints…).

Anyway, just over two weeks before exams, and we’re still being taught new material, meaning it’s still worth going to some lectures. Oh, and we have a bunch of coursework due in the next two weeks. One is a design module, which we’re yet to start the drawings for. Which means dealing with possibly THE least intuitive piece of software ever.

Obviously, one of the things we have to do (by “we”, I mean “me”. Being the resident geek means that getting things out of AutoCAD is my job…) is the FUN task of getting drawings out of AutoCAD. YAY! It’s just like printing a word document, only on A2 paper and so loading the plotter is massively awkward. Oh, and obviously as it’s an engineering drawing it’s pretty much useless if it’s not to scale. But getting things to scale in AutoCAD is a black art; you play around with various options and hope one of them gets the damn thing to the right scale. Otherwise, there’s the risk that it’ll come out at 1:1, which… Well we’re designing a 3-storey office block at the moment, you do the maths…

Changing linetype is even more fun. We managed to get dashed lines on the last drawing we did, but I don’t think any of us knows how the hell we did it.

Can you tell I hate that software?

Also, theres maths to be done. Loads of our calcs (i.e. designing the RC beams and slab so that the thing would stand up, if it were ever built) have gaps, where we’ve started and got bored… Good idea at the time, but bad when it comes to write them up and we find out that we’ve left bits out. And ESPECIALLY bad when you do part of those calcs and find out that your floor slab fails servicability checks… (You basically design for two cases. The ultimate case is the absolute maximum loading that something will take before it fails; in other words “if you exceed this, the thing will fall down”. The other one is the servicability state. If it fails this, then the structure won’t fall down, but it will do something that it shouldnt. So it might crack or bend too much in certain places, or something like that. It’s safe, but isn’t doing its job properly, which means that as a design it’s failed. A perfect example is the Millennium Bridge in London; that wobbled because of the loadings placed upon it and was uncomfortable but not unsafe. But, a bridge that people don’t want to use is pretty useless, so the structure is said to have failed*. In the case of our friend the floor slab, it fails a deflection check, although thinking about it it’s only just over the limit, so we’ll probably be ok. Huzzah for factors of safety!)

So yeah, beyond the design module, I’ve also got maths coursework due in next friday. Which I haven’t started yet. That’s on Matlab, and I’m not actually sure what we’ve got to do for it. In fact, all I know is that “it’s solid!”, which doesn’t help…

Aaaand on top of that, we have to update our Professional Development folder (think NRA, except that this counts towards a module) for… Well I think that’s in for the week before exams, but to be honest I’m not entirely sure. Hmm. And I found out the other day that because of something I’ve gotta do on Wednesday, I’m going to be missing a guest lecture which we’re expected to write a report on. So I’m gonna have to half-inch someone else’s notes to write some sort of waffle for that.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is: my timetable sucks. I’m trying to revise, but between lectures and coursework and other stuff, it doesn’t always happen. That said, I went down to the library a few times this week and got a decent stack of revision notes done, which doesn’t suck. Ideally I want to have all my notes done by a week on Sunday, but after printing out circa 40 pages of notes on Law that I need to learn, I think that target is slightly optimistic…

Now I’m sure I’m not the worst affected. I’m sure someone will leave a comment like “well you think that’s bad? I’ve got 100 STRAIGHT hours of exams, a 20,000 word essay due in the week before, and my lectures finish AFTER my exams!”, but damn it, it’s my blog and I’ll moan if I want to :-p. It just seems so silly to still be teaching us stuff and expecting work off us right up to the start of the exam period. This is why I wasn’t looking forward to coming back to Uni after Easter.

I still feel far too unstressed though. They haven’t shifted from “too far away to worry about” to “Imminent! You’re bloody screwed!” yet…


*Writing that makes me happy, because it means that I’ve learned something during the last couple of years…

Posted In: RantSleepStuff Tagged: | 6 Comments