List of definitions of terms and concepts commonly used in mechanical engineering
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Abrasion – is the process of scuffing, scratching, wearing down, marring, or rubbing away. It can be intentionally imposed in a controlled process using an abrasive. Abrasion can be an undesirable effect of exposure to normal use or exposure to the elements.
Accelerated life testing – is the process of testing a product by subjecting it to conditions (stress, strain, temperatures, voltage, vibration rate, pressure etc.) in excess of its normal service parameters in an effort to uncover faults and potential modes of failure in a short amount of time. By analyzing the product's response to such tests, engineers can make predictions about the service life and maintenance intervals of a product.
Accuracy and precision – In measurement of a set, accuracy is closeness of the measurements to a specific value, while precision is the closeness of the measurements to each other. More commonly, accuracy or trueness is a description of systematic errors, a measure of statistical bias, while precision is a description of random errors, a measure of statistical variability; the two concepts are independent of each other. Alternatively, ISO defines accuracy as describing a combination of both random and systematic observational error, so high accuracy requires both high precision and high trueness.
Acoustic droplet ejection– (ADE) uses a pulse of ultrasound to move low volumes of fluids (typically nanoliters or picoliters) without any physical contact. This technology focuses acoustic energy into a fluid sample in order to eject droplets as small as a picoliter. ADE technology is a very gentle process. This feature makes the technology suitable for a wide variety of applications including proteomics and cell-based assays.
Active cooling – An active cooling system is one that involves the use of energy to cool something, as opposed to passive cooling that uses no energy. Such systems circulate a coolant to transfer heat from one place to another. The coolant is either a gas, such as in air cooling of computers, or a liquid such as in a car engine. In the latter case, liquid is pumped to transfer heat from the engine to the radiator, which in turn is cooled by passing air over it. Other active cooling systems make use of a refrigeration cycle.
Actual mechanical advantage – The actual mechanical advantage (AMA) is the mechanical advantage determined by physical measurement of the input and output forces. Actual mechanical advantage takes into account energy loss due to deflection, friction, and wear.
Adjoint equation – is a linear differential equation, usually derived from its primal equation using integration by parts. Gradient values with respect to a particular quantity of interest can be efficiently calculated by solving the adjoint equation. Methods based on solution of adjoint equations are used in wing shape optimization, fluid flow control and uncertainty quantification. For example this is an Itō stochastic differential equation. Now by using Euler scheme, we integrate the parts of this equation and get another equation, , here is a random variable, later one is an adjoint equation.
Aerodynamics – is the study of the motion of air, particularly its interaction with a solid object, such as an airplane wing. It is a sub-field of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, and many aspects of aerodynamics theory are common to these fields.
Agitator (device) – is a device or mechanism to put something into motion by shaking or stirring. Agitators usually consist of an impeller and a shaft; an impeller is a rotor located within a tube or conduit attached to the shaft, which helps enhance the pressure in order for the flow of a fluid be done.
Air handler – An air handler, or air handling unit (often abbreviated to AHU), is a device used to regulate and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.
Air compressor – is a device that converts power (using an electric motor, diesel or gasoline engine, etc.) into potential energy stored in pressurized air (i.e., compressed air). By one of several methods, an air compressor forces more and more air into a storage tank, increasing the pressure. When tank pressure reaches its engineered upper limit the air compressor shuts off. The compressed air, then, is held in the tank until called into use.
Air conditioner – Air conditioning (often referred to as AC, A/C, or air con) is the process of removing heat and moisture from the interior of an occupied space, to improve the comfort of occupants. Air conditioning can be used in both domestic and commercial environments.
Air preheater – (APH) is any device designed to heat air before another process (for example, combustion in a boiler) with the primary objective of increasing the thermal efficiency of the process. They may be used alone or to replace a recuperative heat system or to replace a steam coil.
Airflow – Airflow, or air flow is the movement of air from one area to another. The primary cause of airflow is the existence of pressure gradients. Air behaves in a fluid manner, meaning particles naturally flow from areas of higher pressure to those where the pressure is lower. Atmospheric air pressure is directly related to altitude, temperature, and composition. In engineering, airflow is a measurement of the amount of air per unit of time that flows through a particular device.
Allowance – is a planned deviation between an exact dimension and a nominal or theoretical dimension, or between an intermediate-stage dimension and an intended final dimension. The unifying abstract concept is that a certain amount of difference allows for some known factor of compensation or interference. For example, an area of excess metal may be left because it is needed to complete subsequent machining. Common cases are listed below. An allowance, which is a planned deviation from an ideal, is contrasted with a tolerance, which accounts for expected but unplanned deviations.
Applied mechanics – describes the behavior of a body, in either a beginning state of rest or of motion, subjected to the action of forces. Applied mechanics, bridges the gap between physical theory and its application to technology. It is used in many fields of engineering, especially mechanical engineering and civil engineering. In this context, it is commonly referred to as Engineering Mechanics.
Artificial intelligence – (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. In computer science AI research is defined as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. Colloquially, the term "artificial intelligence" is applied when a machine mimics "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving".
Automobile handling – Automobile handling and vehicle handling are descriptions of the way a wheeled vehicle responds and reacts to the inputs of a driver, as well as how it moves along a track or road. It is commonly judged by how a vehicle performs particularly during cornering, acceleration, and braking as well as on the vehicle's directional stability when moving in steady state condition.
Automotive engineering – Automotive engineering, along with aerospace engineering and marine engineering, is a branch of vehicle engineering, incorporating elements of mechanical, electrical, electronic, software and safety engineering as applied to the design, manufacture and operation of motorcycles, automobiles and trucks and their respective engineering subsystems. It also includes modification of vehicles. Manufacturing domain deals with the creation and assembling the whole parts of automobiles is also included in it. The automotive engineering field is research -intensive and involves direct application of mathematical models and formulas. The study of automotive engineering is to design, develop, fabricate, and testing vehicles or vehicle components from the concept stage to production stage. Production, development, and manufacturing are the three major functions in this field.
Axle – is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the axle may be fixed to the wheels, rotating with them, or fixed to the vehicle, with the wheels rotating around the axle. In the former case, bearings or bushings are provided at the mounting points where the axle is supported. In the latter case, a bearing or bushing sits inside a central hole in the wheel to allow the wheel or gear to rotate around the axle. Sometimes, especially on bicycles, the latter type axle is referred to as a spindle.
Backdrive – is a component used in reverse to obtain its input from its output. This extends to many concepts and systems from thought based to practical mechanical applications.
Backlash – sometimes called lash or play, is a clearance or lost motion in a mechanism caused by gaps between the parts. It can be defined as "the maximum distance or angle through which any part of a mechanical system may be moved in one direction without applying appreciable force or motion to the next part in mechanical sequence",p. 1-8.
Ball detent – is a simple mechanical arrangement used to hold a moving part in a temporarily fixed position relative to another part. Usually the moving parts slide with respect to each other, or one part rotates within the other.
Ball screw – is a mechanical linear actuator that translates rotational motion to linear motion with little friction. A threaded shaft provides a helical raceway for ball bearings which act as a precision screw. As well as being able to apply or withstand high thrust loads, they can do so with minimum internal friction.
Ball spline – Ball splines (Ball Spline bearings) are a special type of linear motion bearing that are used to provide nearly frictionless linear motion while allowing the member to transmit torque simultaneously. There are grooves ground along the length of the shaft (thus forming splines) for the recirculating ground balls to run inside. The outer shell that houses the balls is called a nut rather than a bushing, but is not a nut in the traditional sense—it is not free to rotate about the shaft, but is free to travel up and down the shaft.
Beale Number – is a parameter that characterizes the performance of Stirling engines. It is often used to estimate the power output of a Stirling engine design. For engines operating with a high temperature differential, typical values for the Beale number range from ( 0.11 ) to ( 0.15 ); where a larger number indicates higher performance.
Bearing pressure – is a particular case of contact mechanics often occurring in cases where a convex surface (male cylinder or sphere) contacts a concave surface (female cylinder or sphere: bore or hemispherical cup). Excessive contact pressure can lead to a typical bearing failure such as a plastic deformation similar to peening. This problem is also referred to as bearing resistance.
Bearing surface – is the area of contact between two objects. It usually is used in reference to bolted joints and bearings, but can be applied to a wide variety of engineering applications. On a screw the bearing area loosely refers to the underside of the head. Strictly speaking, the bearing area refers to the area of the screw head that directly bears on the part being fastened. For a cylindrical bearing it is the projected area perpendicular to the applied force. On a spring the bearing area refers to the amount of area on the top or bottom surface of the spring in contact with the constraining part. The ways of machine tools, such as dovetail slides, box ways, prismatic ways, and other types of machine slides are also bearing surfaces.
Belt – is a loop of flexible material used to link two or more rotating shafts mechanically, most often parallel. Belts may be used as a source of motion, to transmit power efficiently or to track relative movement. Belts are looped over pulleys and may have a twist between the pulleys, and the shafts need not be parallel.
Belt friction – is a term describing the friction forces between a belt and a surface, such as a belt wrapped around a bollard. When one end of the belt is being pulled only part of this force is transmitted to the other end wrapped about a surface. The friction force increases with the amount of wrap about a surface and makes it so the tension in the belt can be different at both ends of the belt. Belt friction can be modeled by the Belt friction equation.
Bending – In applied mechanics, bending (also known as flexure) characterizes the behavior of a slender structural element subjected to an external load applied perpendicularly to a longitudinal axis of the element.
Body in white - or BIW refers to the stage in automobile manufacturing in which a car body's components have been joined together, using one or a combination of different techniques: welding (spot, MIG/MAG), riveting, clinching, bonding, laser brazing etc. BIW is termed before painting & before the engine, chassis sub-assemblies, or trim (glass, door locks/handles, seats, upholstery, electronics, etc.) have been assembled in the frame structure.
Bonded seal – is a type of washer used to provide a seal around a screw or bolt. Originally made by Dowty Group, they are also known as Dowty seals or Dowty washers. Now widely manufactured, they are available in a range of standard sizes and materials 
Buckling – is instability that leads to a failure mode. When a structure is subjected to compressivestress, buckling may occur. Buckling is characterized by a sudden sideways deflection of a structural member. This may occur even though the stresses that develop in the structure are well below those needed to cause failure of the material of which the structure is composed.
Bushing – or rubber bushing is a type of vibration isolator. It provides an interface between two parts, damping the energy transmitted through the bushing. A common application is in vehicle suspension systems, where a bushing made of rubber (or, more often, synthetic rubber or polyurethane) separates the faces of two metal objects while allowing a certain amount of movement. This movement allows the suspension parts to move freely, for example, when traveling over a large bump, while minimizing transmission of noise and small vibrations through to the chassis of the vehicle. A rubber bushing may also be described as a flexible mounting or antivibration mounting.
Car handling – Automobile handling and vehicle handling are descriptions of the way a wheeled vehicle responds and reacts to the inputs of a driver, as well as how it moves along a track or road. It is commonly judged by how a vehicle performs particularly during cornering, acceleration, and braking as well as on the vehicle's directional stability when moving in steady state condition.
Carbon fibers – or carbon fibres (alternatively CF, graphite fiber or graphite fibre) are fibers about 5–10 micrometres in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. Carbon fibers have several advantages including high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance and low thermal expansion. These properties have made carbon fiber very popular in aerospace, civil engineering, military, and motorsports, along with other competition sports. However, they are relatively expensive when compared with similar fibers, such as glass fibers or plastic fibers.
Clean room design – is the method of copying a design by reverse engineering and then recreating it without infringing any of the copyrights associated with the original design. Clean-room design is useful as a defense against copyright infringement because it relies on independent invention. However, because independent invention is not a defense against patents, clean-room designs typically cannot be used to circumvent patent restrictions.
Clock – is an instrument used to measure, keep, and indicate time. The clock is one of the oldest human inventions, meeting the need to measure intervals of time shorter than the natural units: the day, the lunar month, and the year. Devices operating on several physical processes have been used over the millennia.
Clutch – is a mechanical device which engages and disengages power transmission especially from driving shaft to driven shaft.
CNC – (CNC)), is the automated control of machining tools (drills, boring tools, lathes) by means of a computer. An NC machine alters a blank piece of material (metal, plastic, wood, ceramic, or composite) to meet precise specifications by following programmed instructions and without a manual operator.
Coefficient of thermal expansion – describes how the size of an object changes with a change in temperature. Specifically, it measures the fractional change in size per degree change in temperature at a constant pressure. Several types of coefficients have been developed: volumetric, area, and linear. The choice of coefficient depends on the particular application and which dimensions are considered important.
Coil spring – also known as a helical spring, is a mechanical device which is typically used to store energy and subsequently release it, to absorb shock, or to maintain a force between contacting surfaces. They are made of an elastic material formed into the shape of a helix which returns to its natural length when unloaded.
Composite material – (also called a composition material, or shortened to composite), is a material made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components. The individual components remain separate and distinct within the finished structure, differentiating composites from mixtures and solid solutions.
Compressive strength – or compression strength is the capacity of a material or structure to withstand loads tending to reduce size, as opposed to tensile strength, which withstands loads tending to elongate. In other words, compressive strength resists compression (being pushed together), whereas tensile strength resists tension (being pulled apart). In the study of strength of materials, tensile strength, compressive strength, and shear strength can be analyzed independently.
Computer-aided design – (CAD) is the use of computer systems (or workstations) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. CAD software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications through documentation, and to create a database for manufacturing. CAD output is often in the form of electronic files for print, machining, or other manufacturing operations. The term CADD (for Computer Aided Design and Drafting) is also used.
Computer numerical control – Numerical control (NC), (also computer numerical control (CNC)), is the automated control of machining tools (drills, boring tools, lathes) and 3D printers by means of a computer. An NC machine alters a blank piece of material (metal, plastic, wood, ceramic, or composite) to meet precise specifications by following programmed instructions and without a manual operator.
Conservation of mass – The law of conservation of mass or principle of mass conservation states that for any system closed to all transfers of matter and energy, the mass of the system must remain constant over time, as system's mass cannot change, so quantity can neither be added nor be removed. Hence, the quantity of mass is conserved over time.
Deformation (engineering) – refers to the change in size or shape of an object. Deformation that is reversible is termed as elastic deformation, while irreversible deformation is termed plastic deformation. Strain is the relative deformation of an infinitesimally small cube of material, and is generally linearly proportional to the forces or stresses acting on the cube while the deformation is elastic. The determination of the stress and strain throughout a solid object is given by the field of strength of materials and for a structure by structural analysis.
Design for manufacturability – (also sometimes known as design for manufacturing or DFM), is the general engineering practice of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture. The concept exists in almost all engineering disciplines, but the implementation differs widely depending on the manufacturing technology.
Differential –A differential is a gear train with three shafts that has the property that the rotational speed of one shaft is the average of the speeds of the others, or a fixed multiple of that average.
Elasticity – In physics, elasticity is the ability of a body to resist a distorting influence and to return to its original size and shape when that influence or force is removed. Solid objects will deform when adequate forces are applied to them. If the material is elastic, the object will return to its initial shape and size when these forces are removed. Hooke's law states that the force should be proportional to the extension. The physical reasons for elastic behavior can be quite different for different materials. In metals, the atomic lattice changes size and shape when forces are applied (energy is added to the system). When forces are removed, the lattice goes back to the original lower energy state. For rubbers and other polymers, elasticity is caused by the stretching of polymer chains when forces are applied.
Electrical engineering – Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design and application of equipment, devices and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.
Machinery's Handbook – is a classic, one-volume reference work in mechanical engineering and practical workshopmechanics published by Industrial Press, New York, since 1914; its 31st edition was published in 2020. Recent editions of the handbook contain chapters on mathematics, mechanics, materials, measuring, toolmaking, manufacturing, threading, gears, and machine elements, combined with excerpts from ANSI standards.
Wedge – is a triangular shaped tool, and is a portable inclined plane, and one of the six classical simple machines. It can be used to separate two objects or portions of an object, lift up an object, or hold an object in place. It functions by converting a force applied to its blunt end into forces perpendicular (normal) to its inclined surfaces. The mechanical advantage of a wedge is given by the ratio of the length of its slope to its width. Although a short wedge with a wide angle may do a job faster, it requires more force than a long wedge with a narrow angle.
Wheel – In its primitive form, a wheel is a circular block of a hard and durable material at whose center has been bored a hole through which is placed an axlebearing about which the wheel rotates when torque is applied to the wheel about its axis. The wheel and axle assembly can be considered one of the six simple machines.
Wheel and axle – is a machine consisting of a wheel attached to a smaller axle so that these two parts rotate together in which a force is transferred from one to the other. The wheel and axle can be viewed as a version of the lever, with a drive force applied tangentially to the perimeter of the wheel and a load force applied to the axle, respectively, that are balanced around the hinge which is the fulcrum.
Yield strength – or yield stress, is a material property and is the stress corresponding to the yield point at which the material begins to deform plastically. The yield strength is often used to determine the maximum allowable load in a mechanical component, since it represents the upper limit to forces that can be applied without producing permanent deformation. In some materials, such as aluminium, there is a gradual onset of non-linear behavior, making the precise yield point difficult to determine. In such a case, the offset yield point (or proof stress) is taken as the stress at which 0.2% plastic deformation occurs. Yielding is a gradual failure mode which is normally not catastrophic, unlike ultimate failure.
Young's moduli are typically so large that they are expressed not in pascals but in gigapascals (GPa).
Zero Defects – (or ZD), was a management-led program to eliminate defects in industrial production that enjoyed brief popularity in American industry from 1964 to the early 1970s. Quality expert Philip Crosby later incorporated it into his "Absolutes of Quality Management" and it enjoyed a renaissance in the American automobile industry—as a performance goal more than as a program—in the 1990s. Although applicable to any type of enterprise, it has been primarily adopted within supply chains wherever large volumes of components are being purchased (common items such as nuts and bolts are good examples).
Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics – If body A is in thermal equilibrium (no heat transfers between them when in contact) with body C, and body B is in thermal equilibrium with body C, then A is in thermal equilibrium with B.
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Russell & Norvig (2003) harvtxt error: no target: CITEREFRussellNorvig2003 (help) (who prefer the term "rational agent") and write "The whole-agent view is now widely accepted in the field" (Russell & Norvig 2003, p. 55) harv error: no target: CITEREFRussellNorvig2003 (help).
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^A Guide to Zero Defects: Quality and Reliability Assurance Handbook. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower Installations and Logistics). 1965. p. 3. OCLC 7188673. 4155.12-H. Retrieved May 29, 2014. Early in 1964 the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations and Logistics) invited the attention of the Military Departments and the Defense Supply Agency to the potential of Zero Defects. This gave the program substantial impetus. Since that time Zero Defects has been adopted by numerous industrial and Department of Defense activities.