December 12, 2017

FREE CIVIL VIDEO OF THE MONTH - Transportation: Freeway Capacity

This video covers a core element of a roadway’s operation – level of service. The general topic of density is an Civil AM topic, while the application of density for measuring a freeway’s level of service spans into the Transportation PM area. Density, in terms of passenger cars in 1 mile of one lane of a freeway, is tied to the level of service that drivers experience – the higher the density of vehicles, the worse the level of service. - Dr. Daniel Findley

Dr. Daniel Findley’s Explanation of Freeway Capacity


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December 7, 2017

Wind Turbines - Solving the Energy Storage Dilemma

Wind turbines are one of my favorite systems, as they incorporate not only mechanical engineering in their support structure and drive systems, but aerodynamics as well in the design of their rotating blades. One of the limiting factors in the use of wind power is storing the energy during peak times and making it available during times when there is no wind. Batteries are one option, however Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will be testing a new design in Hamburg, Germany that is really innovative. Energy from a wind turbine will be used to heat a 1,000 tons of rock to 600 ºC. When needed, the heat from the rocks will power a standard steam power plant to produce electricity. There is something about that concept that excites the imagination, at least mine.

"Combined cycles" is one of the major topics we cover in our Thermal/Fluids PE Review course.  Maybe it is time to incorporate a wind turbine system like the one Siemens is building as part of the Review. - Dr. Tom



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December 6, 2017

We Have the Plan! You Just Have To Do the Work!

Our plan for your success is based on what we call the Dr. Tom Method. We call it that because Dr. Tom came up with it, but over the years we have all worked together to fine tune and develop this method into a highly structured review that step by step helps you develop the skills and resources you need to pass the PE exam. We’ve taken the guesswork out of what to study and what not to study. Follow the plan, do the work, and you’ll be a PE!

“I passed the PE Exam! Dr. Tom's Classroom was instrumental in my success. Each week is very well organized and left me with virtually no questions as I worked through the syllabus.Throughout the course there is a lot time spent on organization of your Personalized Resource Notebooks but believe me, the time spent is well worth it come exam day. I found the Exam Day Companion especially useful during the exam in quickly finding the equations I needed to work the problems. Dr. Tom's lesson videos were excellent. The pace was perfect and the material covered was exactly what I needed to work the majority of the problems on the exam. It is very important that you work or attempt to work the challenge problems yourself each week before watching the solution videos. I highly recommend Dr. Tom's Classroom to prepare you for the PE exam!”
- Robert Strong, PE, Tulsa, OK


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December 5, 2017

Time Lapse Tappan Zee

The first span of the bridge to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York was completed this fall. Construction on the Cuomo bridge started in 2013 with the first passengers making the journey from Westchester County to Rockland County in August, with the reverse pattern opening in October. Check out this great time-lapse video to see construction of the piers, girders, road deck, and stay cables.


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December 4, 2017

TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK - I Passed!

The results of the October 2017 Exam are starting to come in, and we love to hear those two words – I Passed!

“I PASSED!!!! Your step by step course really did make all the difference! This was my third attempt at taking this thing. Thank you so much for everything!
Erica Kerr, PE, North Las Vegas, NV

“I successfully passed the exam on my second attempt. I went in much more confident and I can thank your class for that.”
Brandon F., PE, Dallas, TX

“I passed the ME exam and thank you so much! I am 100% confident saying that without your course, I wouldn't have succeeded with a first-time go.”
CPT Chandler Alford, PE, United States Army, Seattle, WA


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November 30, 2017

Hybrid Airships - the Cargo Plane of the Future?

Airships have always been one of my fascinations. During WWII they played a key role in submarine warfare. Despite the tragic crash of the Hindenburg which was the result of hydrogen being used instead of helium, there is still great interest in finding ways to use these unique aircraft in a variety of ways.

A recent Outer Places article highlights the Airlander 10, currently the largest aircraft in the world. Designed and built by the British company Hybrid Air Vehicles, variations of the Airlander 10 were originally tested in military operations. When the US Army cancelled the project, the Airlander 10 evolved with commercial opportunities in mind, mainly air cargo. Apparently there are a great many locations in the world where conventional cargo planes cannot land, or when disasters make conventional runways inoperable.

The Airlander 10 has an unusual shape compared to the Goodyear blimps were are accustomed to seeing. Rather than a circular cross section it has an elliptical one, which aids in lift and stability. It's projected payload is 7 to 15 tons, which is significant for places where currently only small planes can land. Watching the video of an Airlander 10 land is so captivating, moving in slow motion with only a low whir of the engines guiding it to a soft landing. Somehow I have to believe that a design to carry people is also in the works.  What an adventure that would be. - Dr. Tom


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November 29, 2017

Build Your Career, Get Your PE!

You want to build your career. We want to help you. So let’s work together. DTC has a step-by-step plan for your success with our highly structured PE Exam reviews. They help you develop the skills and resources you need to pass the PE exam. So sign up today, and let’s get started!

“I knew I wanted my PE license long before I was eligible to take the exam, but I've never been a great test taker. I always had a problem with the time limits and knew that the PE exam was going to be no different. Dr. Tom's course had a solid plan, and by the time exam day came around, I was very prepared. I took the exam using Dr. Tom's strategy and was able to finish with enough time to check my work in both the AM and PM portions of the exam. I passed on my first try, and I'm excited to move on with my career. I would recommend this course to any engineer who is serious about giving themselves the best chance possible to pass the PE exam.”
- Brian, PE, Taylor Machine Works, Starkville, Mississippi


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November 28, 2017

Sacrificial Braces for Earthquake Design Bring Many Benefits

Engineers in earthquake-prone areas have dedicated entire careers to developing earthquake-resistant design techniques. In many parts of the world, however, there are buildings that predate the modern design standards. Researchers in Scotland have developed a new steel frame design that could be used on existing structures and, once installed, allow for easier, faster repair when damage does occur. 




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November 27, 2017

TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK - Get on the Right Track

"The most valuable aspect of the course for me was that Dr. Tom provides a finite range of material to study, so that I did not have to guess about what might be on the exam. That alone was worth the price of the course. It also helped me to have the structure of the course to follow. I am a teacher myself, and I recognize that Dr. Tom is personally invested in the success of his students. He puts a lot of thought and work into providing good instruction. Dr. Tom and staff, thank you so much for all of your help."
- John Gravitt, PE   

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November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from Everyone at Dr. Tom’s Classroom!

We are very thankful for the many wonderful folks who have put their trust in us to help them pass the Civil and Mechanical Professional Engineering Exams.

To express our gratitude, we are offering a special Thanksgiving Discount of $150 off our 20-Week Reviews from Friday, November 24 through Monday, November 27.

Save $150 on any 20-Week Review!
Use discount code: THANKS20w150
Friday 11/24 - Monday 11/27 
drtomsclassroom.com  


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November 17, 2017

MECHANICAL PROBLEM OF THE MONTH - Machine Design & Materials NCEES Problem 521 - Thick-Wall Cylinder

Problem 521 in the NCEES Mechanical Practice Exam for Machine Design & Materials has a very straightforward solution, however the origin of the equation used was not clear to participants in our review or myself. Consequently, there was great discussion in our DTC Participant Forum as to where it came from until one of the participants realized how it could be obtained. This Instructional Companion provides the details of the approach suggested by that participant. - Dr. Tom

Dr. Tom’s Solution to Mechanical: Machine Design & Materials NCEES Problem 521



DTC recommends that anyone taking the PE Exam purchase the NCEES Practice Exam for the exam they are taking. It is an essential exam review resource. https://account.ncees.org/exam-prep/

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November 16, 2017

No More Spare Tire?

Like many other features that were once common in cars (ignition keys, ashtray, cigarette lighters, and vent windows), the spare tire is starting to disappear in new cars as well.

According to a New York Times article, this is part of a trend that has seen full-size spares shrink to smaller “doughnut” spares. The upside: less weight and better gas mileage. The downside: no spare. Of course thinking about tires and spares leads to a lot more engineering solutions to think about: run-flat tire design, self-sealing tires, providing leak repair kits and compressors. Of course, with surveys showing that 20 percent of drivers don’t know how to change a flat tire, maybe our cars just need to come with roadside assistance.


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November 15, 2017

Whatever Your Pace, DTC Has a Time Frame for You

We’re all a little different, with different needs and different schedules. Some of us like to take our time when we’re learning, others like a steady, brisk pace, and there are even some who like to totally immerse themselves for a short time.

That’s why DTC offers our PE Exam Reviews in three time frames:

     • Extended Review: 12 months to 6 months before the exam 

     • 20-Week Review: 6 months to 3 months before the exam 


     • Fast Track Review: 3 months to 1 month before the exam 


With each of these options, you receive the same comprehensive review, available to you from the day you sign up until the day of the exam. The only difference is how long you have access to the course. Right now you can sign up for a 20-Week Review for the April 2018 Exam or the Extended Review for the October 2018 Exam. In January you’ll be able to sign up for the Fast Track Review for the April 2018 Exam.

With three flexible options, one is the right choice for you! drtomsclassroom.com


“I previously took the mechanical systems exam and failed 3 times, but after taking Dr Tom's Extended Review, I passed it right away!”
PE, New Hampshire

“Dr. Tom's 20-Week Review is the reason that I passed the PE. The week to week structure of the course kept me on track, so I did not run out of time days before the exam.”
Stephen E. Kreidler, PE, Tulsa, OK

“I thought the Fast Track Review course was excellent. It provided the structure, practice, and review that I needed 25 years after receiving my M.E. degree."
-Joel Lemke, PE, Emerson, Chanhassen, MN

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November 14, 2017

Bugborgs Let the Insect Do the Flying

I find it almost impossible to sit outside for very long and, when any insect flies by, not say to myself, "How does that thing fly? How does it maneuver like it does?" Insects are amazing, almost miraculous, aviators. They take off and land in an instant, and zoom around at blurring speeds. It is no wonder that so much research is taking place at trying to duplicate the flight capabilities of insects for all kinds of uses.

However trying to build lightweight wings and have them support and carry battery packs and tiny motors has proved illusive. So, according to an ASME article, researchers at Draper Laboratory decided to turn the problem upside down and let a real insect do the flying, requiring only an onboard system to direct the insect's own flight and navigation controls. The insect they have chosen is a dragon fly which has only 16 neurons associated with navigation and apparently a great deal is known about how these neurons function.

At this point they have the innovative control system mounted on a dragon fly, named "DragonflEye," although they have yet to control it precisely.  But the concept seems to have great potential, and so the research continues. Instead of creating a "bugbot," they are creating a "bugborg."  As they say, "What will they think of next?"


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November 13, 2017

TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK - Don’t Go It Alone!

“I passed the April 2017 exam on my first try taking the PE, and I do not believe I would have passed without the help this course provided. Dr Tom's help in identifying errors in NCEES and PPI published solutions was very helpful and I would have been ill prepared studying on my own. This course was tremendously helpful and I have already begun recommending it to friends and colleagues gearing up to take the PE. Just wanted to give a sincere thank you for conducting this course for the Machine Design PE exam.”
- Patrick Cable, PE


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