Integrating Electrical Engineering Applications  College Level
Resources and ideas for integrating electrical engineering applications into other collegelevel 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
 10^{8}

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
steadystate 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 highvoltage power lines
 Electrostatics is the principle behind
electrostatic precipitators which
are used in some coalfired 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 prewritten 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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