# Integrating Electrical Engineering Applications - College Level

Resources and ideas for integrating electrical engineering applications into other college-level courses are described below.

## Biology

• The excimer laser was orginally developed by IBM in 1979 to etch computer microchips because of the extremely fine precision and smoothness of the excimer laser beam. The excimer laser is now being used for refractive surgery applications (i.e., LASIK eye surgery).
• Medical imaging (tomography, ultrasound) is a part of signal processing in electrical engineering
• Artificial neural networks have been developed to computationally mimic the neural processes of the human brain
• Electrocardiogram (EKG) - voltage produced by heart across the human chest
• Electroencephalography (EEG) - voltage between two points on the human scalp
Comparative Currents and Voltages
Phenomenon Current (Amps) Phenomenon Voltage (Volts)
Lightning bolt 10,000 Lightning 108
Common household appliance 5 - 10 Static electricity 30,000
Causes ventricular fibrillation
(fatal to humans)
0.1 Residential wiring (U.S.) 110
Threshold of human sensation 10-3 (1 mA) Electrocardiogram (EKG) 10-3 (1 mV)
Nerve cell in brain (synaptic current) 10-13 Electroencephalography (EEG) 10-5

## Chemistry

• Relative locations of metal conductors (such as Fe, Al, Cu) and semiconductors (for example, Si, Ge) on a periodic table of the elements
• Batteries for energy storage; can show the chemical formulas
• Combustion for electricity generation; chemical balance relations
• Fuel cells for dc electricity generation; an alternative to combustion
• Electrolysis rate is based upon the current flow
• Electroplating

## Mathematics

### General examples

• Fractions: combining resistors in parallel
• Algebra to find various quantities, including:
• Ohm's Law: Voltage across a resistor is the current multiplied by the resistance (v = i R)
• Power: Power [in watts] is current times voltage (P = i v)
• Trigonometry: the magnitude of an impedance (Z) for an ac circuit is composed of resistance (R) and reactance (X) in the same way that the hypotenuse of a right triangle is related to the triangle's legs by the Pythagorean theorem, that is, Z² = R² + X². And the phase angle of the impedance is ß = arctan(R/Z).
• L'Hopital's rule with intial/final value theorem: typically used to find steady-state response values
• Derivatives to describe various phenomena, examples include:
• current is the derivative of charge over time (i = dq/dt)
• voltage across an inductor is proportional to the derivative of current over time (v = L di/dt)
• current through a capacitor is proportional to the derivative of voltage over time (i = C dv/dt)
• Maclaurin series: find that exp(±j ß) = cos(ß) ± j sin(ß), and further to derive Euler's Identities for cos(ß) and sin(ß)
• Binomial series expansion: derive the classic expression for kinetic energy (E = ½mv²) from the relativistic expression

### Math use in technology table (web link)

A general reference that provides a table of how math is used in several technology areas is available from the Math Department at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (Canada). Included in their table are several Electrical Examples, including:

They have also been kind enough to provide some background theory on a few of the electrical circuits principles used in these examples, including:

### ASU Math Dept (web link)

Professor Matthias Kawski at ASU has developed a lot of useful tools. A sampling of these is described below:

## Physics

• A table of Interdisciplinary Electrical Analogies exist between mechanical, hydraulic and thermal disciplines has been developed by Dr. Holbert.
• Flywheels for kinetic energy storage for application to electric energy storage
• Use of Wheatstone bridge in instrumentation systems where the sensor is a resistive transducer (for example, strain gage or resistance temperature detector)
• Relay operation as an application of magnetic force
• The basis of operation for numerous instrumentation system transducers lies in one or more principles of physics
• The principle of many electricity generation schemes originates in the laws of physics related to motion, gravity, etc.
• Electric and magnetic fields created by high-voltage power lines
• Electrostatics is the principle behind electrostatic precipitators which are used in some coal-fired power plants to remove flyash from plant emissions
• Electrostatics is also important to the xerographic process (photocopying)

### Laboratory Experiments

Agilent (Hewlett Packard) has an Educator's Corner website which has resources for engineering educators. The site includes:

• Experiments: both pre-written labs and interactive (Java) experiments
For example, see the Coupled Oscillators from Rice University Physics Department
• Teacher's Tools Last Updated: February 20, 2003
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