Good Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4

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We discussed the following three qualities in Part 1Part 2 and Part 3:

  1. Good listener
  2. Visualizing the physics – Ties into quality 4 below
  3. Getting your hands dirty – Production floor
  4. Free Body Diagrams
  5. Attention to Detail
  6. FAA Regulations
  7. Cross functional knowledge
  8. Be open to be questioned
  9. Humor

OK, now let us get into Good Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4.

Good Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4

Essential Quality 10 – Memory, remembering important numbers

Good Stress Engineer Quality 10
Good Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4: Quality 10

So what is the importance of this memory thingy you might ask. I can tell you from my own memories of people who remember things. This skill will make you look intimidatingly knowledgeable. Make a note and remember important numbers.

So what are some examples?

  1. Let us say you were part of a static test. You witnessed the ultimate load that a component was taken to. And you were also lucky enough to have witnessed the failure load it was taken to. Remember those numbers. If it is used again in a PDR (preliminary design review), it could be invaluable to have that load information at the tip of your tongue. When you do offer those numbers at the right time, you look like a rock star.
  2. Another example may be an FEM you built which was validated with testing. Remember the key validation numbers. They may be loads or displacements. You never know when you may need to use them in a meeting or a conference call. Help avoid costly mistakes and bad decisions early on in the design cycle.

So the bottom line is that stress engineers who remember numbers are generally considered more knowledgeable an respected more than others. Of course there are many factors that go into that, but memory will only help not hurt in bolstering your position.

Good Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4

Essential Quality 11 – Napkin Calculations, quick back of the envelope type calculations on the spot

Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4
Good Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4: Quality 11

Napkins, really?? What the heck are you talking about Surya?

Relax, we are not wiping any… ahem… stuff here. What I am talking about is the ability or skill to do quick and dirty calculations, on the spot, on a piece of paper or a napkin.

It does not have to be fancy or accurate. Just rough back of the envelope calculations with simple FBDs, moment balancing and force balancing will do the trick.

Trust me, this will also make you look awesome if you use it consistently and precisely when needed. There is nothing like numbers speak when you need to know if a part design is going in the right direction.

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Good Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4

Essential Quality 12 - Squeaky Wheels, yeah they get the grease

Good Stress Engineer Quality 12
Good Stress Engineer Qualities Part 4: Quality 12

Squeaky wheels, now what do I mean by that? It's a metaphor, and not necessarily a bad thing.

What I mean by it is that if you know, deep down in your gut, and based on your own calculations, it's your duty and job to make noise about it.

Like squeaky wheels do. When it gets annoying people throw grease at them and then they are happy but in a good way, it's a relief.

So you must do what you can to talk to the management, team leads or colleagues and get it addressed or at least make sure that you are wrong. A lot of people might freak at this, being wrong. But believe me it is a wonderful thing to know you are wrong when you try to find out about it yourself. Instead of getting slapped in the face at the wrong time, you better take initiative and prove yourself wrong, people will actually like and respect you for it.

So am I inventing a new science here with the points above? Absolutely not, but it's amazing how many people don't try or even care.

So set yourself apart, follow the best practices and bring out the rock star that you are deep down inside.

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Surya Batchu
Surya Batchu

Surya Batchu is the founder of Stress Ebook LLC. A senior stress engineer specializing in aerospace stress analysis and finite element analysis, Surya has close to a decade and a half of real world industry experience. He shares his expertise with you on this blog and the website via paid courses, so you can benefit from it and get ahead in your own career.