Hi everyone. I was talking with some colleagues the other day, and we were speaking about how some of our software is used by very broad groups of people, as well as very narrow groups of people. Mathcad, for instance, is a horizontal application, since math is in so many disciplines of engineering.
We got to thinking… A software engineer can loosely be defined as someone who develops or QAs code/programs (and of course other related tasks). A civil engineer (my former profession) is pretty broad – it could be land development, site engineering, traffic engineering, bridge maintenance, etc. But the general space of ‘civil engineering’ is discernible from other forms of engineering, just as the general space of 'software engineering' is discernible. As in, you'd never confuse software engineering for civil engineering, and vice versa.
How about hardware engineering? Or a hardware engineer? What connotation comes to mind when you see or read that? Is that how your role our other colleagues’ roles are defined? And what does ‘hardware’ mean to you, in this context, or your context?
In my experience, Hardware Engineers determine clamping force needed, assess any creep and/or stress issues due to forces acting on the clamped joint including extreme heat cycles, and specify and/or design "Hardware" and specify number of fasteners and the fastener torque to meet the design criteria.
Whe I worked at the DOE where we processed nuclear waste, I helped an Engineer with some design concepts of a special bolt/nut concept that would equalize the stress along all the threads in the axial length. Typically, the first few threads in a nut and the corresponding threads in the bolt closest to the surface being clamped have much higher stress than the threads farther away. Due to the extreme thermal cycles and continuous heat of these units it was calculated that the bolts were going to stretch (creep) over the lifespan of the unit, lowering the clamping force and possibly allowing dangerous nuclear waste to spill in the cell. The extremely critical nature of these bolts required some really interesting ideas to egualize the stress on the threads to help eliminate this.
So, in a nutshell, "Hardware" to me means fasteners.