Wednesday, January 30, 2008

First off, I was scared to death to take these two graduate classes this semester. I hate doing things that I have never done before when I don't think I will be any good at them. Plus I didn't know how the professors would be or what the work load would be or if the lectures would be boring or... well anything. I took a graduate class last semester as an undergrad and was terribly bored (not by the content, I liked that, but the professor would put me to sleep every day). Anyhow, so enter this year where I sign up to take two grad classes as a grad (meaning I have to do all the work that a grad student would do, meaning one extra project). Both of my professors so far have been incredible!! I love the classes and I love the material even more than last year. I am still a little bit scared of the workload, but I think it should be okay.

My first class is ENME695 - Reliability Engineering. What is that? We study what reliability is. Why in the world would you study that? Well, because companies need to know how and when a product is going to fail before they put it on the market so that can predict warranties and stuff like that. Let's start with a definition: Reliability is the ability of a product to properly function within specified performance limits, for a specified period of time, under the life cycle application conditions. So we have to learn how to perdict that specified period of time and what kind of conditions the product is being put through. Wow, this sounds boring. I'm not bored. Today we bent paper clips until they broke and saw that we all use differnt forces when bending them and that unless we have standarized tests we really can't perdict reliable results. So there is a class of 22 students and we all had to break three different paper clips. It was great. It wasn't like one of those dumb labs where we all stand around and dumbly stare at each other, but the professor kept lecturing as we played with the pc.

We also studied the bathtub curve in great detail today. What is that? A curve that looks like a bathtub. A good example is the human life. When you are first born you have a higher chance to survive the next day, if you have survived the previous day. So you get stronger as you get older. If you die early on it is called infant mortality or in engineering, early failure. So the rate is really high that you will die when really young, but then decreases and flatten out to a straight line as you steady out in the middle of your life. The only deaths that occure during the middle of the life are what we call random or chance failures (they are unexplained acts of God or things that we can't perdict). Finally we get to later life where your chances of dying are increasing. So the curve goes back up. We call these types of failures wearout failures. So the curve looks like a bathtub if you picture the whole thing. Products follow the same curve. There are some products that never work or die early on because of defect in the product. Some will stop working because of random things that can't be explain, but most will last until the end and wearout.

My second class is ENME808Z. It is the second part to the class I took last year. The work in this class is going to be crazy, but I love the professor. I need to talk to him about doing grad work with him. I talked to him last semester, but he suggested talking to his grad students, other professors, and watching him lecture before I made a decision. I haven't met anyone else that I admire more in the ME department. Plus, he lets us out of class early because he says it is stupid to lecture for the full time period if you can cover everything in less time. So yesterday we were only in class for 50 minutes instead of the full hour and 15 minutes.

Anyhow, I have homework to do. Pray I have wisdom about what to do next year. So basically pray that doors will be closed if they are supposed to be closed. It is greatly appreciated. Thanks!


riverrat said...

I would like to speak to the RELIABILITY ENGINEER about my Whirlpool oven that died on it's third birthday.This makes the SECOND expensive appliance I've had that hasn't made it out of that section of the "bathtub".
(Thank-you for defining your classes-I can live vicariously through you:-) Now can you tell me how to italicize the words on my blog)?
I am praying.

Sue said...

Praying for you. Love you. Sounds exciting!