August 16, 2017

Everything to Gain and Nothing to Lose!

It costs you nothing to enter the DTC Fall Giveaway, and look what you have to gain... First, everyone who enters gets 10% off on a DTC PE Exam Review! That’ll save you $75 to $95 right there. You also get to see how our courses work and see sample lessons. Then if you’re one of our lucky winners, you could receive a Free or Half-Price Civil or Mechanical Review for the April 2018 PE Exam. And most importantly, you could be a PE! Here at DTC headquarters, we love helping people pass the PE Exam. So what are you waiting for? The deadline is September 30. Enter today!


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August 15, 2017

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles - Coming Soon?

Connected and autonomous – these are two terms used to describe the rapidly advancing technology of automobiles. Connected refers to a vehicle's ability to communicate with the driver, other vehicles, roadway infrastructure, and a larger communication network. Autonomous refers to a vehicle's ability to drive itself. Both of these characteristics will be important to improve our roadway system - most notably through improved safety and decreased congestion, which severely impact public health and quality of life. The biggest questions seem to be about WHEN the transition will happen (including how much of the vehicle fleet will transition and how quickly), not IF. Several automobile manufacturers have aggressive goals to begin releasing autonomous vehicles and transportation agencies are working quickly to provide the necessary hardware and software to connect to these vehicles.


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August 14, 2017

TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK - The Method Makes the Difference!

“Just wanted to let you know that I successfully passed the PE exam on my second attempt. I went in much more confident and I can thank your class for that. The binders that we made from the class proved to be a lifesaver and I was able to answer most of the questions simply from them alone. This saved a ton of time as I wasn't constantly flipping through the MERM and the other mountains of books desperately looking for an answer or random equation.

I feel like the biggest advantage that your class brings to the table is that you structure all of the information you need in a way that is much easier to find. I feel that any competent engineer should be able to answer just about every question the PE throws at them if given enough time, but the exam forces you to be fast and efficient. Even if you are the most well-versed engineer in the world if you don't have a method in place to quickly find the equation or topic that you are looking for it can make for a really tough test day.

I will definitely recommend your class to peers who are considering taking the PE in the future. Thanks for everything!”


Brandon F., PE
Dallas, TX

 
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August 11, 2017

PROBLEM OF THE WEEK - Mech: MDM NCEES Problem 510

NCEES Problem 510 in the 2016 NCEES PE Mechanical: Machine Design and Materials Practice Exam is a classic 2D equilibrium problem involving a mechanical device to hold up a weight by friction based forces. However, the solution presented by the NCEES is incorrect. In the application of one of the equilibrium equations to the free-body diagram of one of the two major pieces, two terms are missing. In the NCEES solution these two terms supposedly cancel when in fact they do not.  One the shortfalls of the NCEES solution is that the free-body diagram of the piece in question is not provided.  In this Instructional Companion, the Dr. Tom Method provides the necessary free-body diagrams and associated equilibrium equations. Try it on your own first, then watch the video.

Dr. Tom's Solution to NCEES MDM Problem 510

https://drtomsclassroom.com/copy-of-free-mechanical-videos/
 
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August 10, 2017

A Robot by Any Other Name

In the July 2017 issue of ASME’s Mechanical Engineering magazine, the editor-in-chief, John Falcioni, talked about how "robots" will become part of the fabric of our life, regardless of what we might call them. He noted that a speaker he had heard recently rejected the name "robot" for a driverless car, preferring "carbot" instead. It was interesting that inside the front cover was a photo of a little boy sitting at a table studying with his "iPal" robot.

The article brought to mind a similar debate that occurred in the early 80's when I was working for Burlington Industries in their Material Handling Group. The textile industry was then very labor intensive, and "robotics" seemed to hold a promising technology for the industry. We hired a young mechanical engineer from Ford Motor Company who had been involved in getting them into robotics. He and I shared an office, and one Friday afternoon he attended a meeting to discuss the installation of the first robotic material handling type device in one of our more modern plants.  He came back from the meeting very dejected, as the discussion was all about what to call the device. The term "robot" was not to be used as it might scare the workers into believing they would be put out of a job. He said they had the same discussion at Ford and came to the conclusion that no matter what you try to call something with AI, artificial intelligence, people are going to point at it and say, "robot!" We then decided to spend the rest of the afternoon coming up with alternative names, none of which we put down in writing. Management eventually realized a robot by any other name is still a robot.
      - Dr. Tom


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August 9, 2017

Enter to Win a Free PE Exam Review!

Everyone loves FREE, and here at DTC headquarters, we love helping people pass the PE Exam. When we can combine both, we’re a very happy bunch. So please enter our Fall Course Giveaway! You could win a Free or Half-Price Civil or Mechanical Review for the April 2018 PE Exam. And even if you don’t win, you get 10% off on a PE Review! You also get to see how our courses work and see sample lessons, and it doesn’t cost a penny to enter. The deadline is September 30, so get going and enter today!


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August 8, 2017

Tilting and Sinking, But Safe

The 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco is an example of where differential settlement across the pile foundation caused significant tilt in the tower and it has reduced the serviceability of the structure, and caused trouble for the residents of the tower. However, the City of San Francisco recently concluded that the tower is structurally safe and can withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake. While all of the details of the geotechnical engineering and the foundation design are not yet widely published, it appears that the tower foundations were designed to satisfy strength and extreme event loading, but service loading and displacement of the tower foundations may not have been considered in the foundation design. More on the geotechnical issues...


Displacements of groups of driven pile foundations are often considered to be negligible in the foundation design for a heavily loaded structure. In practice, the presumption has often been that driven piles fully mobilize their resistance when they are driven, therefore only minimal elastic displacements should be expected once the piles are loaded with the structure. This presumption is incorrect because cohesive soils tend to creep (i.e. deform slowly over time) and groups of piles can have a group loading effect that can extend significantly deeper below the tip of the piles in the group, and cause consolidation settlement of underlying soil layers. Piles are generally driven to a required driving resistance with the common presumption that once that resistance is reached, no settlement of the pile should be noticed that would affect the structure once it is loaded because it is typically driven to two to three times the unfactored design load for allowable stress design methodology. If the pile can support twice the design load, no settlement should be noticed once it is loaded to the design load, right? Unfortunately not, due to the reasons described above.

Serviceability and settlement of the structure should be considered in any foundation design, which requires expert local knowledge of the subsurface conditions, and requires the geotechnical engineer to be involved during foundation construction to confirm that the subsurface conditions encountered during pile installation are as expected, and that the foundations are installed in accordance with the engineer's recommendations.

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August 7, 2017

TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK - Costs Less AND Does More!

I am 100% confident saying that without your course, I wouldn't have succeeded with a first-time go. With my work and home life demands, I needed a prep course that told me how, what, and when to study. DTC was perfect in that regard. I walked into my study sessions daily not having to worry about what needed to be accomplished. The implementation of the MERM, Six-Minute Solutions, and NCEES example exam were instrumental in applying the lessons learned each week and understanding what is expected of us during the actual test. As a result, I was able to identify all of the test problems, what PRNs to use, and what pass-through to answer them in. Admittedly, I was nervous at first about taking DTC because of all the other more expensive courses, thinking the more expensive the better, but I was obviously wrong. Keep doing great things for future candidates!”

CPT Chandler Alford, PE
United States Army
Seattle, WA

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August 4, 2017

PROBLEM OF THE WEEK - Civil: Water Res/Env NCEES Problem 510

Problem 510 is a PM Exam problem found in the NCEES PE Civil: Water Resources and Environmental Practice Exam — but don’t be afraid to try it if you are just taking the AM portion as it’s a great problem to practice open channel flow computations!

This problem involves a channel and overbank area which need to convey a given design flood. The unknown in this problem is the width of the overbank needed such that the depth in the channel does not exceed a certain value. There are two given Manning’s n values for the channel and overbank area.

HINT: Separate the main channel and overbank areas into two rectangular cross-sections, and be careful when you compute the wetted perimeter, including only the parts of the channel and overbank that are wetted.

Dr. Beth Sciaudone’s Solution to NCEES PE Civil: Water Resources/Env Problem 510


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August 3, 2017

Formula E - Gaining Momentum

Formula 1 racing is the pinnacle of technology, speed and skill in motorsports with an enormous global following. But there is a new Formula Series is emerging, Formula E, where "E" is for electric. FE races are being held in some of the most glamorous and famous cities in the world, and the cars look much like their F1 counterparts. However, they only reach speeds of 140 mph verses 230 mph, and of course noise levels are considerably lower and higher pitched.

But momentum seems to be swinging their way with two legendary racing manufacturers, Mercedes and Porsche, planning to drop several of their current racing programs to compete in the new Formula E Series. Other famous racing giants may follow suit. In the movie "The Hunt for Red October" star Sean Connery as the Captain of the silent drive submarine Red October told his crew members, "once the world trembled at the sound of our rockets, today they will tremble at the sound of our silence."  That statement may very well apply someday to Formula E racing.


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August 2, 2017

You Could Be a Winner in the DTC 2017 Fall Giveaway!

It may be 100º in the shade here at DTC headquarters, but we know that fall is right around the corner. And that means it’s time for our 2017 Fall Course Giveaway! That’s right, it’s time to enter to Win a Free or Half-Price Civil or Mechanical Review for the April 2018 PE Exam. So get going and enter by the September 30 deadline, see how our courses work, and don’t forget, everyone who enters gets 10% off on a PE Review for the April 2018 Exam!

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August 1, 2017

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? - Shelly Island, NC

You've probably heard the news of the new "Shelly Island" which has formed off of Cape Hatteras, NC. These are the old stomping grounds of Beth Sciaudone, our Water Resources and Environmental instructor, who grew up on  the North Carolina Outer Banks. NASA has just released new photos of the island formation, which is a result of sand  carried by currents which meet just off Cape Hatteras.  The island has been growing since it first made headlines in June, but with hurricane season underway, it may disappear as quickly as it formed. We're keeping an eye on this fascinating example of hydrodynamics and sediment transport off our coast!


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July 31, 2017

TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK - Doing Is the Key to Succeeding!

“I’m 10 years out of school with 3 kids under 3 and a full time job in project management. DTC gave me a plan, helped me prioritize the key areas of study, not get bogged down into too much subject-matter detail, and spend my time effectively. The PRN’s were most helpful. I think the structured approach of developing them, organizing them, ensuring you have material for everything was key to success. Due to all the work put in in developing them, I did not end up using them much during the exam because I knew most of the material off-hand. That being the key to passing. I also liked the flexibility of video on demand. Most of my studying was done late at night.

Watching Dr Tom’s YouTube videos on how to approach the exam, he recommends the Thermo/Fluids test. I was very weak in Thermodynamics in school. Learning thermodynamics well enough to pass a test when I had such little foundation to build on was a big concern. Dr Tom’s approach to thermodynamics and his ability to explain things very clear and concise was a huuuuge help! The thermo questions on the test were cake. Dr. Tom's teaching is humorous and relatable. I loved how Dr Tom would explain the theory, and then relate it to why/how it’s actually useful…. So helpful when learning. I would absolutely recommend Dr. Tom’s 20-Week Review to others preparing for the ME PE Exam. It’s priced right, and has great content."

Lance Way, PE, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Texas


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July 28, 2017

Problem of the Week - Mech: Thermal/Fluids NCEES Problem 507

This week’s "Problem of the Week" is another problem from the 2016 NCEES Mechanical Practice Exam for Thermal and Fluid Systems. Problem 507 involves finding the stagnation pressure at the bow of a submarine. The NCEES solution leaves out the details of the origin of the equation used. This is also a problem involving external flow around a body in contrast to the usual problem of internal flow in a pipe or conduit. Therefore, the AE form of the Bernoulli equation is the most appropriate. However, it can also be approached using the CE form. Try both and see how you do. Then watch how Dr. Tom solves the problem using both approaches.

Dr. Tom's Solutions to NCEES TFS Problem 507


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July 27, 2017

Summer Fun Thanks to Engineering!

Check out this fun YouTube video of one of our Civil Engineering instructors, Daniel Findley, and his son on what is called the Aquaskipper. It is fascinating to watch, since it is not entirely obvious how the two of them stay up.  The rear main hydrofoil appears to be supporting their weight like a wing of an airplane, and the front hydrofoil is acting like a canard (like on the Concord supersonic jet) to keep the nose up.  Clearly a must have for summer fun on the water!


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