The purpose of this class is to address the issue of sustainability from an engineering perspective. First we review the concept of sustainability from several points of view including economics, ecology, and engineering. This discussion includes the widely used Triple Bottom Line approach of industry. The current state of the Science of Sustainability will be reviewed. We then develop a resource accounting perspective in some detail with the emphasis in four areas: (1) energy resources analysis, energy flows, balances, efficiencies, primary energy use, energy return on investment, net energy analysis, renewable energy. (2) material resources analysis (including not only the materials used in the delivery of products and services, but also the effects on major material cycles such as carbon, water, and nitrogen). This approach will be expanded to aggregate both fuels and non-fuel materials by using an exergy analysis approach. (3) life cycle assessment of products and services (including variations on the method such as input-output models, hybrid models, and exergy models and a critique of the utility of LCA). (4) accounting for the role of ecosystem services in supporting industrial activities.
Introduction to the major dilemma that faces manufacturing (and society) for the 21st Century; how to provide economic growth while protecting the environment. Subject explores scientific data, models and scenarios for the future, and green engineering values, then addresses the major engineering themes of energy, materials, processing, life cycle analysis, design for the environment, recycling, and the economy. Class conducted in a discussion format, topics are usually presented through journal articles and selected texts, often with opposing views. Term long project. Journal quality project required for grad credit. Enrollment limited to 20.
Introduction to manufacturing systems and manufacturing processes including assembly, machining, injection molding, casting, thermoforming, and more. Emphasis on the relationship between physics and randomness to quality, rate, cost, and flexibility. Attention to the relationship between the process and the system, and the process and part design. Project (in small groups) requires fabrication (and some design) of a product using several different processes (as listed above).