The Definition of Robust in Mechanical Engineering

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Eugene Shubert, Sep 6, 2009.

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  1. Eugene Shubert Registered Senior Member

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    I'm looking for one or more good textbook definitions the word robust from the field of mechanical engineering. How do your textbooks define the term?
     
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  3. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    They don't, we generally go by the dictionary definition.
    Why should engineering have its own definition?
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Technical fields often have their own meanings for words.
     
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  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed, when the "normal" definition is insufficient or whatever.
    "Robust" isn't a word that's used a great deal in mech. eng.
    "Functional", "fit for purpose" etc, but "robust"? Nah, I don't think I've ever used it.
     
  8. przyk squishy Valued Senior Member

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    In mechanical engineering, an organism is considered "robust" or "fit" if it is well adapted to surviving and reproducing in its current environment, particularly in comparison with organisms of other species and/or other members of its own species. Essentially, it is an organism who's genetic makeup is likely to prevail over evolutionary selection pressures.
     
  9. Watcher Just another old creaker Registered Senior Member

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    I'm a mechanical engineer - automotive. I find that engineers usually steer away from words that are not precise and definite when describing a design. So a better word might be "proven" or "sufficiently strong" or something more along those lines, suggesting that a design has been analyzed or tested and showed to meet some standard or requirement. I do hear engineers using the word "robust" sometimes, but usually suggesting that a prospective design has some potential, not that it has met some specific requirement.
     
  10. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Hardly.
    Mechanical engineers rarely bother with organisms.
    The prat who designed them ignored any facility whatsoever for upgrading or adding new features through the use of a spanner or screwdriver.
    And welding add-ons is a complete bugger...
     
  11. weed_eater_guy It ain't broke, don't fix it! Registered Senior Member

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    When I use the term "robust", I usually use it in comparison to something else. To simply say "yes, this design is quite robust" feels like it's coming from the slap-shit-together engineer who lives by the two mantras "Needs more duck tape." and "Needs more engine." Nothing wrong with that kind of engineering, it's fun! But in a professional setting, I dunno...
     
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    "Robust" has implications of "Well I've jumped up and down on it a couple of times, and dinged it fairly hard with a sledge hammer and it's still working".
    As Weed_Eater said, NOT a term for professional engineering...
     
  13. Grim_Reaper I Am Death Destroyer of Worlds Registered Senior Member

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    I work with many types of engineer's and I dont think I have ever heard them describe anything as robust. I have heard them describe things as Weed_Eater has said. But I a side note I have all so heard the same engineers say "That if you can break that mother fucker I will kiss your ass." So I guess they do have a language of there own.
     
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I studied engineering and we used the term robust in a more casual parlance when describing something that remains fit for purpose in the face of numerous (engineering) changes and within a wide-ranging tolerance. But it was always a comparative ("this is more robust than that" etc).

    A design that is ultra-sensitive to its operating parameters and only worked, say, in temperatures of 10 to 11 deg C, would not be as robust as a similar design that works in a wider range, for example.

    Likewise a design that had no redundancy and no fragile parts would not be as robust as one that had redundancy and could be dropped on its head, etc.

    Also, a prototype might be considered a robust design if it is more adaptable to subsequent required changes than a prototype that can not be altered in any way.

    But there's no single Engineering definition as far as I know.
     
  15. mugaliens Registered Member

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    Robust = ?

    elasticity, stiffness, hardness... I understand. But robustness seems like term applied to the whole system, perhaps as a general way of describing it's ability to "take a licking, and keep on ticking."
     
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