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Concrete Floats?

Have you ever heard of a concrete ship? The idea of a concrete ship may contradict your initial reaction – concrete doesn’t float. In fact, concrete can float. Objects can float in almost any medium under one of two techniques. The first, perhaps simplest, technique is: an object of lesser density...

I Just Tightened It… So Why Is It Loose?

Jeffrey A. Groves, P.E.

Jeffrey A. Groves, P.E.

I recently noticed that the glass on my oven door was hazy and needed to be cleaned. However, after cleaning both sides of the door, the haze was still there. Upon closer examination, it became apparent that the haze was located on the inside surface of the glass sheet that was a part of the multi...

Rendering - Odor and Opportunity

A colleague once commented to me, “that new assignment that you have at the rendering plant, just go ahead and throw up before you get there, it will save some time.” This engineer did not fully understand what the colleague was talking about until he arrived at the rendering plant during the summer...

Building Construction on Bay Mud

Many structures in the San Francisco Bay Area are constructed on bay mud. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of many areas in the United States which has structures supported on bay mud. Bay mud is the result of alluvial, sand deposited by streams flowing out to the bay. The material deposited is...

Circuit Breakers

Circuit Breakers. Most everyone has heard the term. Any residence built after 1960 has them, power plants have them, commercial buildings have them. But what are they, how do they work, and why do we need them? Wikipedia defines a circuit breaker as "an automatically operated electrical switch...

Why Utilize an Engineering Technician - What Can They Do?


By: James R. Grey Jr., Engineering Technician (EDT) An engineering technician is, by definition, a professional trained in skills and techniques related to a specific branch of technology, with a practical understanding of relevant engineering concepts. An engineering technician’s duties vary...


During the winter months, we see a number of malfunctions of the boilers and furnaces used to heat our homes and buildings. A common malfunction is a phenomenon known as a puffback. A puffback is the result of the ignition of a large amount of vaporized oil or gas vapors in the firebox, thereby...