Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand how the world is in the process of ‘being made’, right down to the earth beneath our feet;

  • consider how islands are shaped by a dynamic relationship between territories and flows;

  • show how human life is entangled with non-human forces and processes in the making of today's globalised world.


Author(s): The Open University

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1.1Aim

The aim of this section is to practise the use of diagramming techniques as part of a fundamental shift in interpreting issues – from an assembly of static objects to a network of dynamic relationships.


Author(s): The Open University

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4.2.3 The significance of the distribution of energies

Near room temperature (300 K), the average bundle of thermal energy associated with a particle is 0.026 eV (look back at Box 2 Temperature and energy). This is not going to do much damage to something stuck together with bonds that have an energy of a few eV – just as the average wage earne
Author(s): The Open University

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1.2 Key resources

When you need to find information in technology, how confident are you that you know the best places to search (e.g. search engines, subject gateways, online databases, etc.) to find the information you need?

  • 5 – Very confident

  • 4 – Confident

  • 3 – Fairly confident

  • 2 – Not very confident

  • 1 – Not confident at all

How familiar are you with journal articles
Author(s): The Open University

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6.5 Market experience

It is some 20 years since the Topper project was conceived by Peter Bean, Technical Director of Rolinx and Ian Proctor, the designer of the original GRP boat. Sales initially were excellent, especially to sailing schools and clubs where there was much demand for a small, light and very safe sailing boat for children. But after that, the market became saturated, sales were heavily dependant on individuals and families, so decreased despite attempts to export the boat to the USA and Israel, for
Author(s): The Open University

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3.2.2 Ethane cracking

Although ethane can be cracked thermally, the reaction is slow and does not necessarily yield ethylene at high severity. Careful control of reaction conditions, however, allows the reaction to occur

The yield of ethylene is typically nearly 50 wt% with the rest composed o
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3.4 Systems concepts: structure

As suggested earlier, the structure of a system is its functional or physical arrangement; the term that is often used in systems engineering is ‘architecture’. The architecture of a system can be deconstructed to reveal its constituent elements. I suggested in Section 1 that an existing knowledge base has an important bearing on the way in which a change problem is perceived. The way that this is conceived by one armaments system integrator is illustrated in
Author(s): The Open University

2.2 A modern view

Modern attempts to define engineering recognise the importance of the resources identified by Sage, and that the subject can be divided into two components: engineering knowledge – the ‘know-what’, and engineering process – the ‘know-how’. Engineering knowledge is:

[…] the growing body of facts, experience and skills in science, engineering and technology disciplines; coupled to an understanding of th
Author(s): The Open University

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4.2 The piezoelectric effect at the atomic scale

It has been mentioned above that by changing the state of polarisation of a piezoelectric material we can generate movement, and vice versa. Let's examine a little more deeply what is meant by ‘state of polarisation’ and how we can maximise its effect to get the best out of electrically controlled micro-actuators.

In order to electrically polarise a material we need, by definition, to cause a separation of charges within the material. The more we can do this the greater the d
Author(s): The Open University

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Introduction

This unit examines how small features can be etched and cut out of solid materials at a very small scale.

This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course Engineering small worlds: micro and nano technologies (T356).


Author(s): The Open University

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3.1.2 Shutter

The electronic shutter that freezes the frame for read-out adds more complexity, but can be based on the standard MOS fabrication steps. In effect, at the end of image capture, the charge at each pixel is first switched into another ‘blind’ MOS capacitor that sits in the read-out line for each row, as the middle of the three buckets per pixel. You should have already guessed that the switch is yet another MOS device. Once switched into the read-out line, the row data are isolated from the
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1.2 MOS structures

Carefully designed metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) structures are a common building block in digital electronics, primarily intended to form part of a transistor-based switch. However, throughout the active regions of a microelectronic chip there will be secondary MOS structures that arise because metal tracks are insulated from the semiconductor substrate by a layer of oxide; equally careful design is necessary to ensure that these do not form part of a switch. The acronym is a mixture o
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4.1 The experimental result

One way to establish the speed of sound is to measure it experimentally. That is, one measures how long the sound takes to travel a known distance, and from this works out the speed. The answer turns out to depend somewhat on the prevailing temperature and humidity. At an air temperature of 14 °C the speed is 340 metres per second and at about 22.5 °C it is 345 metres per second. That is a change of speed of less than 1.5 per cent for an appreciable change of temperature. To a reasonable ap
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2.1 The importance of sine waves

For much of the rest of this unit we shall be concerned with the properties of a type of sound wave that when represented as a graph has a characteristic shape known as a sine wave. Figure 1 shows you what a sine-wave graph looks like. For the moment you need not be concerned with what this grap
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17.2 Getting finance and organisational backing

Like talk, ideas are cheap. Even generating a prototype of an invention can be cheap compared with the resources needed to produce and market an innovation. The independent inventor or designer is likely to have to rely on family and friends for financial backing, particularly in the early stages. Seed capital is sometimes available in the form of innovation grants from government bodies, such as the Department for Trade and Industry in the UK, which offers development funding to individuals
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4.4 What was innovative about the telephone?

The most obvious innovative aspect was that speech was being transmitted, so in principle anyone could use a telephone for communication. The use of the telegraph required skilled operatives. A message had to be translated into the dots and dashes of Morse code and transmitted using a single keypad making and breaking the connection in an electrical circuit. At the other end of the wire another Morse operator translated the received clicks into the words of the message. With the telephone no
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1 Part 1 Investigating the innovation process

In Part 1 I invite you to look around at the technological products in your home or at work and consider their development history and their impact on the lives of you and your family. I then define the key concepts associated with the process of invention, design, innovation and diffusion.


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2 New products – old failings

This section introduces product ‘usability’. It offers a case study of a vegetable peeler to illustrate how usability issues exist alongside other important concerns in the product development process.

If you look around high-street or shopping-mall stores, you cannot help but notice the number and variety of new products on offer. This year's washing machine or dishwasher, stylish furniture, multi-feature telephones, audio systems, DVD players, digital cameras and camcorders, all b
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5.11 Plumbo-solvency

Many water supplies in the UK are naturally acidic, and when this type of water is supplied through lead pipes the lead dissolves into the water. Lead pipes are dominant in many older established areas. The Drinking Water Directive has set a maximum admissible concentration of 10 μg 1−1 lead in water, to be achieved by the year 2013. The obvious solution to this problem is to remove all lead piping but this is a costly exercise. As an interim measure, the water l
Author(s): The Open University

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