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 Tips for up and coming engineers

Let me start by saying that being an engineer is an incredibly rewarding yet demanding career choice.

As ‘corny’ as it sounds, you will make a real difference in people’s lives, and as cliché as this sounds, ‘engineers really do make ‘it’ happen’.

Unfortunately when you’re first starting out, it can be an incredibly daunting and frustrating time for a young engineer, so here are five tips for my ‘brethren’ beginning their engineering journey.

  1. For A Short Period of Time It’s Going To Hurt

Graduating with a degree in engineering is an accomplishment in and of itself. Unfortunately the reality is that your degree is essentially a piece of paper that verifies you know how to use a calculator and chew gum at the same time.

Of course I am being facetious, but the end of your degree is actually the first step on a very long road ahead. You need to accept that for the first three to five years you will be confused and shrouded in self-doubt, constantly second guessing yourself as you struggle to make sense of the monumental amount of information you will be asked to absorb and comprehend.

Fight through that self-doubt. You’re going to be fine.

Grit your teeth, keep your eyes and ears open, commit to your growth, focus on your development and absorb as much as you can as quickly as you can, and before you know it you will have set the foundations of your career.

  1. Site Experience, Site Experience, Site Experience

In case it wasn’t emphasised enough, you’ve got to get site experience. It is unbelievable how important working in the field can be. Get on site and get dirty. For the first six months to a year, work as a labourer if you must, it doesn’t matter, just get out there. Site work will give you incredible insight that an office environment simply can’t, plus it will enable you to think beyond the numbers and formulas and expose you to factors and parameters you won’t learn from a text book.

  1. A Strong Work Ethic Is Mandatory

As an engineer, you will encounter countless variations of never ending problems from demanding clients that set ‘yesterday’ deadlines in an industry where competition grows exponentially, thanks to the wonders of ever changing technology.

There is simply too much information to process, and of course there never is enough time, so believe me when I tell you that 9-5 won’t cut it. Success requires early starts and late finishes, so forget about looking at your watch and repeat this mantra over and over:

  1. Modern Tech is A Double Edge Sword So Measure Twice Cut Once

One of the great things about modern engineering is the vast number of advanced tools we have at our disposal. Computers and modern technology have allowed us to tackle complex problems, communicate big ideas and share results faster and more efficiently than ever before.

In fact this piece was typed on a laptop connected to the internet via my Australian mobile phone connected to the Chinese network whilst sitting in a bullet train travelling at 305km/hr heading to Shenzhen to meet with Chinese engineering colleagues to discuss new concrete and steel technology.

Unfortunately, surrounded by all the modern tools, an engineer can become lazy and too trusting of the solution on the screen. Whether it’s a complex FEM program or a simple spreadsheet, you must develop a full and comprehensive understanding of the input ‘language’ to properly interpret the output results.

Do not rush to the keyboard before first developing your understanding of engineering philosophy and a ‘feel’ for the numbers.

My advice is simple, respect technology, don’t be afraid to use it, but apply a healthy dose of scepticism when reviewing the output file, and if it doesn’t ‘feel’ right, then check it with a hand calculation. Then check it again.

  1. Money Money Money Money Money

Do not let money be the main factor which determines the course of your career, because when you’re starting out, you will not be impressed by your pay cheque.

Don’t worry about money during the early stages.

First choose the branch/sector of your engineering discipline which most interests you, then focus on developing your skills and technical abilities.

It’s no secret or special advice, love your job and it won’t feel like work, and before you know it your knowledge base and ‘abilities’ will start expanding exponentially and you will become more ‘valuable’ to an organisation.

That’s when you start seeing the bigger numbers and that’s when other options start to appear.

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Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit

Automated rail transit is an environment friendly, rail-less, and driver-less vehicle that is projected to reduce traffic congestion in the highly populated cities. On effective execution of this project, which is presently under development in China, is expected to gain extensive traction in the near future. Due to its low construction cost and a huge carrying capacity, road jamming can be reduced significantly. Additionally, no track is required for its operation, multi-axle steering system, and also functions effectively under extreme climatic conditions.

The world’s first driverless autonomous rail rapid transit (ART) system, equipped with sensors for the measurement of road dimension and also helps to create its particular route, under a test run in the city of Zhuzhou in central China’s Hunan Province. It was revealed in Zhuzhou in Hunan province on June 2, 2017 and is expected to be operational in 2018.

The product has been described as a combination of a train, bus, and tram. An ART train with three carriages is around 30 meters long and costs about US$ 2.2 million to construct. It can travel at a speed of 70 km/h and provides space for maximum 300 passengers and a five-carriage train can carry an estimated 500 passengers.

Source: https://businessherald.co/tag/autonomous-rail-rapid-transit-market/

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Rio de Janeiro turns garbage into energy

Rio de Janeiro, a city of about 6.7 million is also one of more than 70 cities worldwide that are aiming to become “carbon neutral” by 2050, meaning they will produce no more climate-changing emissions than they can offset by other means, such as planting carbon-absorbing trees.

From planting trees to promoting renewable energy and cleaner methods of transport, such as electric cars and buses, each city is going about achieving its carbon neutral goals in different ways, and with varying degrees of success.

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Whirlpool provides energy to rural areas

This whirlpool can power a small village. It provides energy 24 hours a day. It can be installed in most streams and canals wherever a natural height difference occurs. It’s designed to bring electricity to rural areas and doesn’t require skilled labour to build.  Current technology is invasive and destructive but this device won’t harm the ecosystem.

How does it work?

It’s installed at a small,natural height difference. Land is excavated near the water. Prefabricated parts are installed, then the core of the turbine. The land is filled back in. Then the river wall is opened and the turbine starts working 24/7. The generator is the only moving part so it reduces the chance of failure.

This tech is being tested in rural areas and is producing promising results. It could energise the world over. What’s better than clean energy for all?

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Australian engineers quietly changing the world

Australian engineers have created some of the most incredible, life-changing innovations of past years. But very little is known about them, with everyday Australians often unaware that these inventions are homegrown. Now you can follow their journeys! With thanks to Engineers Australia for this wonderful initiative.

Check out episode 1 below:

EPISODE 1: The Planet Earth Avenger

EPISODE 1: The Planet Earth Avenger, Darren, takes on plastic pollution and turns waste into treasure. Want to become an engineering superhero and change the world?Join us today: http://bit.ly/planet-earth-avenger

Posted by Engineers Australia on Sunday, 17 February 2019

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What is smart city?

These modern cities, capable of implementing infrastructures (of water, electricity, gases, transport, etc.) communicating and sustainable to improve citizens’ comfort while developing in the environmental protection.

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Space technology to predict droughts several months in advance

Scientists from ANU have used new space technology to predict droughts and increased bushfire risk up to five months in advance.

ANU researcher Siyuan Tian said the team knew they needed to move into space to get closer to understanding the complex nature of drought.

They used data from multiple satellites to measure water below the Earth’s surface with unprecedented precision, and were able to relate this to drought impacts on the vegetation several months later.

“The way these satellites measure the presence of water on Earth is mind boggling,” said Ms Tian from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.

“We’ve been able to use them to detect variations in water availability that affect the growth and condition of grazing land, dryland crops and forests, and that can lead to increased fire risk and farming problems several months down the track.”

The drought forecasts will be combined with the latest satellite maps of vegetation flammability from the Australian Flammability Monitoring System at ANU to predict how the risk of uncontrollable bushfires will change over the coming months.

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Seabin: Rubbish bin for the ocean

More than 13 million tonnes of plastic enter Australia’s waterways every year, and some experts believe by 2050 there will be more plastic pieces in the world’s oceans than fish. Meet Seabin, a device designed to collect plastic waste floating in coastal areas before it gets to open water and breaks down into harmful microplastics.

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Earthquake-resistant concrete

A new seismic-resistant, fibre-reinforced concrete developed at the University of British Columbia will see its first real-life application this fall as part of the seismic retrofit of a Vancouver elementary school.

The material is engineered at the molecular scale to be strong, malleable, and ductile, similar to steel—capable of dramatically enhancing the earthquake resistance of a seismically vulnerable structure when applied as a thin coating on the surfaces.

Researchers subjected the material, called eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite (EDCC), to earthquake simulation tests using intensities as high as the magnitude 9.0–9.1 earthquake that struck Tohoku, Japan in 2011.

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