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Recommend me some good Engineering books/magazines!

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    Hi
    I'm thinking of doing Engineering at Uni (either Mechanical or Chemical) and was about to buy some Engineering books to read around the subject and to further my knowledge.

    The books I was going to buy were from the Cambridge engineering reading list http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/admissions/...n/reading.html . I was just wondering if anyone would want to recommend any other Engineering books they have read that were really good, preferably based around Mech or Chem eng but I'm open to any suggestions.

    Also, I was wondering if any knew of any good Engineering magazines kinda like "New scientist" but for Engineering - can't seem it's Eng equivalent.

    Many Thanks
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    Most of the magazines come from the institutes, and tend to require a subscription (although you might be able to find past issues available as pdf downloads)
    Check out the IET (electronics, computing, electrical), IMechE (mechanical), IChemE(chemical), IoM3(materials, minerals, mining) IMarEST (marine, shipping), or RAeS (aeronautical)

    "Professional Engineering" http://profeng.com/ is probably the closest equivalent of NewScientist, as it were, but it's harder to find. NewScientist and Scientific American usually have a fair few technology/engineering articles in them anyway.

    As for books, I never bothered - that reading list looks as good as any - Without the Hot Air is a very good (and free to download) read concerning renewable energy- http://www.withouthotair.com/
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    Most of the magazines come from the institutes, and tend to require a subscription (although you might be able to find past issues available as pdf downloads)
    Check out the IET (electronics, computing, electrical), IMechE (mechanical), IChemE(chemical), IoM3(materials, minerals, mining) IMarEST (marine, shipping), or RAeS (aeronautical)

    "Professional Engineering" http://profeng.com/ is probably the closest equivalent of NewScientist, as it were, but it's harder to find. NewScientist and Scientific American usually have a fair few technology/engineering articles in them anyway.

    As for books, I never bothered - that reading list looks as good as any - Without the Hot Air is a very good (and free to download) read concerning renewable energy- http://www.withouthotair.com/

    Stu Haynes MEng MIET MIEEE
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    'Sustainable Materials -with both eyes open' is also free to download. Another book from the same stable, but not free to download is 'Drugs without the hot air', though not engineering, obviously.
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    Im in the same situation, im starting uni in september and wanted to refresh my memory so i went with "Newnes Basic Engineering Mathematics" "A dummies guid to engineering" and Newnes Starting Electronics". But my reading is getting back to basics as i found in electrical principles everything builds on the basic principle of "ohms Law" im shure engineering is the same. Even if you know alot about engineering the way the "beginner" or "for dummies" book are wrote makes them enjoyable to read. As for mags i like that Focus but that is mainly science with engineering making an appearance every now and then.


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    (Original post by pheonix254)
    Most of the magazines come from the institutes, and tend to require a subscription (although you might be able to find past issues available as pdf downloads)
    Check out the IET (electronics, computing, electrical), IMechE (mechanical), IChemE(chemical), IoM3(materials, minerals, mining) IMarEST (marine, shipping), or RAeS (aeronautical)

    "Professional Engineering" http://profeng.com/ is probably the closest equivalent of NewScientist, as it were, but it's harder to find. NewScientist and Scientific American usually have a fair few technology/engineering articles in them anyway.

    As for books, I never bothered - that reading list looks as good as any - Without the Hot Air is a very good (and free to download) read concerning renewable energy- http://www.withouthotair.com/

    Stu Haynes MEng MIET MIEEE
    Thanks for the reply, especially for the sustainable energy link, which discipline in your opinion focuses the most on alternative energies? Is it between Mech eng and Chem eng? Possibly Mech eng because although they deal mainly with anything that has motion, alternative energies have got to work in Cars OR Cars will have to be enhanced/redesigned to run these alt. energies - hence involvement of motion. Or is the development of alt./sustainable energies something that engineers of pretty much any discipline would do at a phd level? i.e some sort of research project?
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    Which discipline? Well, alternative ENERGY is the clue, ENERGY generally = Electrical = Electrical Engineering is the only discipline which will allow you to explore all possible forms of alternative energies - mechanical will lend you well to the mechanical style ones, think wind turbines, tidal generation, flywheels and CCS but will be far less relevant when it comes to SOx or Hydrogen fuel cells, super-capacitors or thermoelectric/thermionic devices, where a chemical engineer may be involved (though I work on all these things and have yet to meet a chem eng in this field, as they're all working for big oil). An electrical engineer on the other hand can be involved in all of them. Mechanical automotive technologies such as regenerative braking - yeah, mech eng, depending on how the technology is, for turbine design - mech eng (though I do that too as an electronic engineer.). But electrification is everywhere, automotive, marine, aerospace - quite simply, electric motors can be much more efficient - (70-90%), compared to the best mechanical engines (40-50%), so energy leads in that direction.

    Your discipline choice doesn't count you out, per se - any engineer has the toolkit to be able to go into the field they want, but proving you have the ability and the knowledge is easier if you did the discipline - so you can, as a civil engineer, go and work in renewables, but you'll have to have a damn good interview and probably have experience in the field if they'll pick you over say an electrical graduate. Then again there are jobs for all types of engineers in most renewable tech, they'll just be doing different things.

    "Alternatives" is a "cool" subject at the moment. the reality of the world is that they're still too expensive, decades away due to technology immaturity, and causing an awful lot of problems with integration with existing infrastructure. These problems will have to be tackled, and will not go away, but the demand for engineers involved in what is essentially a loss-making industry for the foreseeable future is always going to be lower than demand for engineers in a profit-making industry. "Sustainability" is much more of a core subject, which every engineering discipline is embracing, but this generally involves improving older technology to work more efficiently.

    So all in all, that probably doesn't answer your question. The most relevant discipline is electrical, having the most branches into alternative/sustainable energy, though if you want to be working on chemical systems, choose chem, if mechanical systems interest you, choose mech. If you want to be doing structural engineering for the likes of wind turbines etc, choose civil. There is no one silver bullet in this area, you need a lot of disciplines working together.

    Power generation, think country-wide grids, is a VERY slow moving industry. Things need to be proven, completely stable, and offer no surprises. therefore you will never be involved in absolutely cutting edge technology. Aerospace has the same stringent safety requirements, but they do work on anything that is lighter, more power dense and longer lasting than that which is currently used, so more scope for the cutting edge here. Automotive probably is the most fast moving industry here. They have far fewer safety requirements and legislation to comply with (this is all relative, remember, I'm not saying cars are unsafe), and hence more freedom to explore. They're also leaning towards mechanical technologies at the moment, but again - remembering what I said about electrification and fast moving - you should be thinking 5 years ahead which is when you'll be graduating.

    An area which offers huge potential and is barely tapped is control systems - intelligent control can get a system performing far better, far more efficiently and with far less core requirements than a straight mechanical / electrical system by itself. It is currently a massive growth area, and providing massive benefits to those using it. Degrees that typically offer it will be systems engineering, electronic engineering, and perhaps manufacturing (mechanical) engineering to some extent.

    Anyway, hope this is useful,

    Stu Haynes MEng, MIET, MIEEE

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Updated: July 31, 2012
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