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question for engineers

fattyfatty Member Posts: 54
thanks. that was the bit of advice i was looking for. that really is the distinction... yes. i want both worlds. i will try to find a way.
thank you


  • fattyfatty Member Posts: 54

    heating and cooling with water fascinate me. i don't know why. i love the mechanics of energy transfer. i'd like to work with geothermal sources. i prefer a creative environment. i like to invent.

    what kind of graduate program would you recommend for someone like me?

  • mikemike Member Posts: 675
    mechanical engineering?

  • BrianBrian Member Posts: 94

    I would think a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering would be where you could really explore thermal dynamics to your hearts content. Most MS ME programs allow you to concentrate your studies to an area that you want to explore. A MS program usually requires a masters thesis, which is where you could explore and theorize the topic of your choice. As a masters student you can participate in research projects. Your bachelors degree usually dictates whether you can be accepted into a particular college or university graduate program. If you don't have the required prerequisites you may find yourself taking some undergrad classes first. Most likely, you'll also need to score satisfactorily on the GRE exam. If you have the bug to is a great investment.
  • BCBC Member Posts: 20

    I don't mean to ne nosy, but my answer would depend on your background somewhat - what sort of education/work background do you have? Technical degree, trade school, etc.
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935
    engineering physics

    take for 2-3 years then branch out on your own.
  • Anna CondaAnna Conda Member Posts: 122

    Up here in the Great White North you'd be looking at a degree in power engineering. It covers all of that.
  • fattyfatty Member Posts: 54

    thanks guys. i'm happy to give more details. i'm 26, i have a degree (BA) in art history and architectural studies. my specialty was baroque architecture. i know... i know. i'm at square 1.

    i was a teacher out of college, since then i've been working for myself- restoring victorian houses in the northeast for the last few years.

    i'm happy to go back and take undergrad classes to get into the right program. i have a strong desire to learn and nowhere else to turn to. while teaching myself what i could get my hands on - i read 3 of dan holohan's books... that's how i ended up here.

    i took the GRE on my own time and did pretty well. the verbal was ok, 600-something i dont remember, but i was shocked to get a 790 on the quantitative section, 5 on the writing. i never took a math course in college.

    i know my brain is wired to be an engineer. i was always pushed by my family to be an artist or architect. i'm good at that but its not me. i love big machinery, physics, energy, big projects and new ideas.
  • RickRick Member Posts: 1
    hot water heting

    What type of hot system do you use with a reset control. I have three zones two zones of basebaord and one zone with radiators. Is it worth buy this control.My domestic hot water also is off the heating system mega-stor.

  • DerheatmeisterDerheatmeister Member Posts: 950

    How about tru the RPA ?
  • GLENNGLENN Member Posts: 58
    Please get some practical experience

    This industry deals with too many "engineers" who design totally impractical or outdated designs due to the fact that they don't keep up with changes in the industry. When job problems arise they play CYA insted of learning what to do properly... Just an opinion of one "engineer" tasked to fix the may bad designs that we run across.... Spend some time in the field as well as getting the training...
  • DerheatmeisterDerheatmeister Member Posts: 950

    Glenn, yes that is so ! Hat's off to the Old time Engineers that were in the field to not just behind a desk.
  • fattyfatty Member Posts: 54

    nevermind i'll find help somewhere else.
  • BCBC Member Posts: 1
    off to a good start

    Since you already have Dan's books I'd make sure you get a copy of John Siegenthalers book - great reading for engineers and non-engineers alike. Not sure if you are contemplating full-time or part time school, but if you have a good local community college that offers engineering courses it might be a good place to start. Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, and Heat Transfer form the core of the ME curriculum and also happen to be very relevant to the HVAC industry. Read the Wall daily while taking these and you'll start to see the connections!
  • PhilPhil Member Posts: 172
    Bad design

    Glenn, I see that you mentioned bad design but I'm curious to know what would be considered good design and how an engineer can avoid the mistake of bad design. I'm also looking to go back to school and have an interest in heating systems for high rise office buildings. Would looking in the library section of this site and studying the old systems be a good start?
  • GLENNGLENN Member Posts: 58

    Looking at the old designs is good for practical knowlege and a good place to see where we have been. You must also balance that with training on the new technologies which continue to change the way we design and install heating and cooling systems. All too often we see designs which look like they were taken from an "out of date" textbook and run into engineers and architects who refuse to listen to advice or who are unwilling to change a design when a better alternative is presented to them. Yes Dan's books are a great start, but only a start, there is so much out there to see and many good installers in the field will be the first to tell you that the things they are doing today are very different from 10 years ago....
  • ALHALH Member Posts: 1,790

    Unfortunately, as a consulting engineer you rarely have the option of speaking with the contractor during the design phase of a project, because the contractor has not yet been selected. And fundamentally changing a design during the construction phase really is not desirable for financial and possibly legal reasons. Another problem is time. It takes quite a bit of training to become a licensed engineer, just as it takes quite a bit of training to become a licensed plumber. Neither has so many extra years of his/her life to spend training for the other's job.

    Part of the problem is that the system is set up against open communication between engineers and contractors. Another part of the problem is the pre-conceived ideas each of us has about people in each profession. Another part of the problem is that there are many different ways to skin a cat. One contractor's preferred method may not be the next contractor's preference. The engineer has to pick his/her preferred method and then make sure the project is built as it was designed and for the bid amount.

    My point is that it's more complicated than saying that engineers dont listen to contractors and that engineers should spend more time in the field to know what they're doing.

    My advice to the original poster is to decide whether you would like to work with your hands more or less. There are all kinds of engineering jobs, but consulting engineering doesn't offer a lot of opportunities to get your hands dirty. Working for a contractor for a while might be a good way to make the decision whether going to school for 4 years (maybe 3 in your case) and then working 4 years for the opportunity to take the PE test is going to get you where you want to be. Either path is tough, but the feeling of satisfaction you get from preparing a set of plans and specs is very diferent from standing back and looking at the finished mechanical system you created for your customer.
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