Portal:Engineering

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Introduction

The InSight lander with solar panels deployed in a cleanroom

Engineering is the application of knowledge in the form of science, mathematics, and empirical evidence, to the innovation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, devices, systems, processes, and organizations. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.

The term engineering is derived from the Latin ingenium, meaning "cleverness" and ingeniare, meaning "to contrive, devise".

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For thousands of years, devices have been used to measure and keep track of time. The current sexagesimal system of time measurement dates to approximately 2000 BCE from the Sumerians.

The Ancient Egyptians divided the day into two 12-hour periods, and used large obelisks to track the movement of the sun. They also developed water clocks, which were probably first used in the Precinct of Amun-Re, and later outside Egypt as well; they were employed frequently by the Ancient Greeks, who called them clepsydrae. The Zhou dynasty is believed to have used the outflow water clock around the same time, devices which were introduced from Mesopotamia as early as 2000 BCE.

Other ancient timekeeping devices include the candle clock, used in ancient China, ancient Japan, England and Mesopotamia; the timestick, widely used in India and Tibet, as well as some parts of Europe; and the hourglass, which functioned similarly to a water clock. The sundial, another early clock, relies on shadows to provide a good estimate of the hour on a sunny day. It is not so useful in cloudy weather or at night and requires recalibration as the seasons change (if the gnomon was not aligned with the Earth's axis).


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Credit: DeltaFalcon

In electronics and electrical engineering, a fuse is a type of low resistance resistor that acts as a sacrificial device to provide overcurrent protection, of either the load or source circuit. Its essential component is a metal wire or strip that melts when too much current flows through it, interrupting the circuit that it connects. Short circuits, overloading, mismatched loads, or device failure are the prime reasons for excessive current. Fuses can be used as alternatives to circuit breakers.

A fuse interrupts an excessive current so that further damage by overheating or fire is prevented. Wiring regulations often define a maximum fuse current rating for particular circuits. Overcurrent protection devices are essential in electrical systems to limit threats to human life and property damage. The time and current operating characteristics of fuses are chosen to provide adequate protection without needless interruption. Slow blow fuses are designed to allow harmless short term currents over their rating while still interrupting a sustained overload. Fuses are manufactured in a wide range of current and voltage ratings to protect wiring systems and electrical equipment. Self-resetting fuses automatically restore the circuit after the overload has cleared, and are useful in environments where a human replacing a blown fuse would be difficult or impossible, for example in aerospace or nuclear applications.


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