Engineering and mechanical education

Unless you’re an engineer, or, studying engineering, it’s likely that your knowledge on the subject is not overly involved. However, it is a subject that we should have a basic understanding of – whether it be at a personal or home-level, or, at a higher level such as rig pumps and valves – understanding the basics can help you out in life. At a home-level, for example, this knowledge could be used in an emergency or even to save money through maintenance work.

While the higher level information may not be applicable to you, the basic understanding will prove worthy when understanding the fundamentals.

Throughout this short guide, we will be looking at kitchen appliance fundamentals; car engineering basics and, high-level industrial engineering.

Kitchen Appliance Fundamentals

There are plenty of devices in the average kitchen that could, and will, require engineering work and/or maintenance. These include, but are not limited to washing machines; tumble-dryers; dish-washers; oven-cookers and refrigerators.

One of the most common faults in a kitchen appliance, is your refrigerator not cooling as it should. This common fault has a very easy fix. It’s normally relating to the coils at the back being dirty and clogged. This can be solved by gently cleaning the coils with a suitable cleaner. You can even vacuum up the loose dust and dirt that has built up.

Washing machines again have a common problem where they don’t drain properly. This is caused by a fault with the pump. It can be caused by a blockage caused by an object in the wash, that shouldn’t have been there, got sucked into the sump pump, and blocked the hose. You can remove the blockage by removing the cover on the front of the machine, exposing the filer, and removing the object from there.

These are just a couple of basic faults, but there are a lot more than you can come across. You can find more detailed guides on handyman sites. These are usually crowdsourced, and should include a fix to most issues.

Car Mechanical Issue Basics

As it is with kitchen appliances, there are a few usual suspects when it comes to car mechanical faults that you should be able to fix yourself. With a little basic knowledge, you could become well versed in car mechanics and engineering.

Two of the more common faults relate around the spark plugs and the radiator.

Spark plugs initiate the combustion in your engine. Without working spark plugs, you don’t have a working vehicle. They often become fault due to basic wear and tear, where they become clogged up with general dirt, and engine fluids such as oil. The fix for this, like the aforementioned refrigerator, is very simple. It’s just a case of cleaning them, or replacing them. They are not too expensive, so if you can, it will always be more beneficial to replace them completely.

Radiators in cars can tend to leak, which, might not seem like a lot, but, this can cause a lot of hassle. Again, there are two options – repairing or replacing. It’s again better to replace completely, as repairing is temporary and only delaying the inevitable.

To remove your car radiator, jack up the car and remove the drain bolt directly under the radiator to remove any remnants. Unplug the cooling fans and remove the top radiator hose and brackets, and you can remove the radiator. Then you can either repair by welding or sealing, or replace with a new one.

High-Level Industrial Engineering

When it comes to an industrial level, it won’t be as applicable as the above, but, an understanding certainly won’t do you any harm with your engineering education.

Some of the world’s biggest industries – minerals & mining; oil; and gas – wouldn’t be as effective as they are without two things – pumps and valves. You can drill for oil as much as you want, but something has got to pull it out of the ground. Furthermore, pumps are used to lubricate the drilling pumps themselves, and circulate the drilling fluid at the highest of pressures.

These pumps are arguably just massive versions of commonplace drills and pumps, as they work with a common double cylinder pump, like many pumps and engines. But, the energy that these things are producing, requires a much faster acting and effective coolant system.

As mentioned above, drilling fluid, or drilling mud is circulated around the drill itself while it is working. Not only does this help cool the machine, but it also aids to the drilling itself. You can get a better understanding of positive displacement mud pumps here. It’s a very digestive piece of content that anyone can take an understanding from.

These high-end pumps, such as those that Gabbioneta manufacture, have a wide range of impressive features. These centrifugal pumps can survive in temperatures up to 400°C without a water coolant, so that should give you an idea of the temperatures these drills reach if they do indeed need coolant at some point.

Undertaking more research into industrial engineering may not help you on your day-to-day issues, but, it’s an interesting topic. And, as said before, the better your understanding of engineering in general, the more chance you have of success if you’re tackling engineering problems yourself. 

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