abort: the disruption of normal operation.
absolute pressure: a pressure measured relative to zero pressure.
absorption Loss: when sound or vibration energy is lost in a transmitting or reflecting medium. This is the result of generation of other forms of energy such as heat.
absorptive law: a special case of Boolean algebra where A(A+B) becomes A.
AC (Alternating Current): most commonly an electrical current and voltage that changes in a sinusoidal pattern as a function of time. It is also used for voltages and currents that are not steady (DC). Electrical power is normally distributed at 60Hz or 50Hz.
AC contactor: a contactor designed for AC power.
acceptance Test: a test for evaluating a newly purchased system’s performance, capabilities, and conformity to specifications, before accepting, and paying the supplier.
accumulator: 1. a temporary data register in a computer CPU 2.
accuracy: the difference between an ideal value and a physically realizable value. The companion to accuracy is repeatability.
acidity: a solution that has an excessive number of hydrogen atoms. Acids are normally corrosive.
acoustic: another term for sound.
acknowledgment (ACK): a response that indicates that data has been transmitted correctly.
actuator: a device that when activated will result in a mechanical motion. For example a motor, a solenoid valve, etc.
A/D: Analog to digital converter (see ADC).
ADC (Analog to Digital Converter): a circuit that will convert an analog voltage to a digital value, also refered to as A/D.
ADCCP (Advanced Data Communications Procedure): ANSI standard for synchronous communication links with primary and secondary functions.
address: a code (often a number) that specifies a location in a computers memory.
address register: a pointer to memory locations.
adsorption: the ability of a material or apparatus to adsorb energy.
agitator: causes fluids or gases to mix.
AI (Artificial Intelligence): the use of computer software to mimic some of the cognitive human processes.
algorithms: a software procedure to solve a particular problem.
aliasing: in digital systems there are natural limits to resolution and time that can be exceeded, thus aliasing the data. For example. an event may happen too fast to be noticed, or a point may be too small to be displayed on a monitor.
alkaline: a solution that has an excess of HO pairs will be a base. This is the compliment to an acid.
alpha rays: ions that are emitted as the result of atomic fission or fusion.
alphanumeric: a sequence of characters that contains both numbers and letters.
ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit): a part of a computer that is dedicated to mathematical operations.
AM (Amplitude Modulation): a fixed frequency carrier signal that is changed in amplitude to encode a change in a signal.
ambient: normal or current environmental conditions.
ambient Noise: a sort of background noise that is difficult to isolate, and tends to be present throughout the volume of interest.
ambient temperature: the normal temperature of the design environment.
analog signal: a signal that has continuous values, typically voltage.
analysis: the process of review to measure some quality.
and: a Boolean operation that requires all arguments to be true before the result is true.
annealing: heating of metal to relieve internal stresses. In many cases this may soften the material.
annotation: a special note added to a design for explanatory purposes.
ANSI (American National Standards Organization): a developer of standards, and a member of ISO.
APF (All Plastic Fiber Cable) -
API (Application Program Interface): a set of functions, and procedures that describes how a program will use another service/library/program/etc.
APPC (Advanced Program to Program Communication):
APT (Automatically Programmed Tools): a language used for directing computer controlled machine tools.
application: the task which a tool is put to, This normally suggests some level of user or real world interaction.
application layer: the top layer in the OSI model that includes programs the user would run, such as a mail reader.
arc: when the electric field strength exceeds the dielectric breakdown voltage, electrons will flow.
architecture: they general layout or design at a higher level.
armature: the central rotating portion of a DC motor or generator, or a moving part of a relay.
ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency): now DARPA. Originally funded ARPANET.
ARPANET: originally sponsored by ARPA. A packet switching network that was in service from the early 1970s, until 1990.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): a set of numerical codes that correspond to numbers, letters, special characters, and control codes. The most popular standard
ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit): a specially designed and programmed logic circuit. Used for medium to low level production of complex functions.
aspirator: a device that moves materials with suction.
assembler: converts assembly language into machine code.
assembly language: a mnemonic set of commands that can be directly converted into commands for a CPU.
associative dimensioning: a method for linking dimension elements to elements in a drawing.
associative laws: Boolean algebra laws A+(B+C) = (A+B)+C or A(BC) = (AB)C
asynchronous: events that happen on an irregular basis, and are not predictable.
asynchronous communications (serial): strings of characters (often ASCII) are broken down into a series of on/off bits. These are framed with start/stop bits, and parity checks for error detection, and then send out one character at a time. The use of start bits allows the characters to be sent out at irregular times.
attenuation: to decrease the magnitude of a signal.
attenuation: as the sound/vibration energy propagates, it will undergo losses. The losses are known as attenuation, and are often measured in dB. For general specifications, the attenuation may be tied to units of dB/ft.
attribute: a non-graphical feature of a part, such as color.
audible Range: the range of frequencies that the human ear can normally detect from 16 to 20,000 Hz.
automatic control: a feedback of a system state is compared to a desired value and the control value for the system is adjusted by electronics, mechanics and/or computer to compensate for differences.
automated: a process that operates without human intervention.
auxiliary power: secondary power supplies for remote or isolated systems.
AWG (American Wire Gauge): specifies conductor size. As the number gets larger, the conductors get smaller.
B-spline: a fitted curve/surface that is commonly used in CAD and graphic systems.
backbone: a central network line that ties together distributed networks.
background: in multitasking systems, processes may be running in the background while the user is working in the foreground, giving the user the impression that they are the only user of the machine (except when the background job is computationally intensive).
background suppression: the ability of a sensing system to discriminate between the signal of interest, and background noise or signals.
backplane: a circuit board located at the back of a circuit board cabinet. The backplane has connectors that boards are plugged into as they are added.
backup: a redundant system to replace a system that has failed.
backward chaining: an expert system looks at the results and looks at the rules to see logically how to get there.
band pressure Level: when measuring the spectrum of a sound, it is generally done by looking at frequencies in a certain bandwidth. This bandwidth will have a certain pressure value that is an aggregate for whatever frequencies are in the bandwidth.
base: 1. a substance that will have an excess of HO ions in solution form. This will react with an acid. 2. the base numbering system used. For example base 10 is decimal, base 2 is binary
baseband: a network strategy in which there is a single carrier frequency, that all connected machines must watch continually, and participate in each transaction.
BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Basic Instruction Code): a computer language designed to allow easy use of the computer.
batch processing: an outdated method involving running only one program on a computer at once, sequentially. The only practical use is for very intensive jobs on a supercomputer.
battery backup: a battery based power supply that keeps a computer (or only memory) on when the master power is off.
BAUD (): The maximum number of bits that may be transmitted through a serial line in one second
Baudot code: an old code similar to ASCII for teleprinter machines.
BCC (Block Check Character): a character that can check the validity of the data in a block.
BCD (Binary Coded Decimal): numerical digits (0 to 9) are encoded using 4 bits. This allows two numerical digits to each byte.
BCP (Byte Controlled Protocol) -
beam: a wave of energy waves such as light or sound. A beam implies that it is not radiating in all directions, and covers an arc or cone of a few degrees.
bearing: a mechanical support between two moving surfaces. Common types are ball bearings (light weight) and roller bearings (heavy weight), journal bearings (rotating shafts).
beats: if two different sound frequencies are mixed, they will generate other frequencies. if a 1000Hz and 1001Hz sound are heard, a 1Hz (=1000-1001) sound will be perceived.
benchmark: a figure to compare with. If talking about computers, these are often some numbers that can be use to do relative rankings of speeds, etc. If talking about design, we can benchmark our products against our competitors to determine our weaknesses.
Bernoulli’s principle: a higher fluid flow rate will result in a lower pressure.
beta ratio: a ratio of pipe diameter to orifice diameter.
beta rays: electrons are emitted from a fission or fusion reaction.
beta site: a software tester who is actually using the software for practical applications, while looking for bugs. After this stage, software will be released commercially.
big-endian: a strategy for storing or transmitting the most significant byte first.
BIOS (Basic Input Output System): a set of basic system calls for accessing hardware, or software services in a computer. This is typically a level lower than the operating system.
binary: a base 2 numbering system with the digits 0 and 1.
bit: a single binary digit. Typically the symbols 0 and 1 are used to represent the bit value.
bit/nibble/byte/word: binary numbers use a 2 value number system (as opposed to the decimal 0-9, binary uses 0-1). A bit refers to a single binary digit, and as we add digits we get larger numbers. A bit is 1 digit, a nibble is 4 digits, a byte is 8 digits, and a word is 16 digits.
BITNET (Because It’s Time NET): An academic network that has been merged with CSNET.
blackboard: a computer architecture when different computers share a common memory area (each has its own private area) for sharing/passing information.
block: a group of bytes or words.
block diagrams: a special diagram for illustrating a control system design.
binary: specifies a number system that has 2 digits, or two states.
binary number: a collection of binary values that allows numbers to be constructed. A binary number is base 2, whereas normal numbering systems are base 10.
blast furnace: a furnace that generates high temperatures by blowing air into the combustion.
bleed nozzle: a valve or nozzle for releasing pressure from a system.
block diagram: a symbolic diagram that illustrates a system layout and connection. This can be used for analysis, planning and/or programming.
BOC (Bell Operating Company): there are a total of 7 regional telephone companies in the U.S.A.
boiler: a device that will boil water into steam by burning fuel.
BOM (Bills Of Materials): list of materials needed in the production of parts, assemblies, etc. These lists are used to ensure all required materials are available before starting an operation.
Boolean: a system of numbers based on logic, instead of real numbers. There are many similarities to normal mathematics and algebra, but a separate set of operators, axioms, etc. are used.
bottom-up design: the opposite of top-down design. In this methodology the most simple/basic functions are designed first. These simple elements are then combined into more complex elements. This continues until all of the hierarchical design elements are complete.
bounce: switch contacts may not make absolute contact when switching. They make and break contact a few times as they are coming into contact.
Bourdon tube: a pressure tube that converts pressure to displacement.
BPS (Bits Per Second): the total number of bits that can be passed between a sender and listener in one second. This is also known as the BAUD rate.
branch: a command in a program that can cause it to start running elsewhere.
bread board: a term used to describe a temporary electronic mounting board. This is used to prototype a circuit before doing final construction. The main purpose is to verify the basic design.
breadth first search: an AI search technique that examines all possible decisions before making the next move.
breakaway torque: the start-up torque. The value is typically high, and is a function of friction, inertia, deflection, etc.
breakdown torque: the maximum torque that an AC motor can produce at the rated voltage and frequency.
bridge: 1. an arrangement of (typically 4) balanced resistors used for measurement. 2. A network device that connects two different networks, and sorts out packets to pass across.
broadband networks: multiple frequencies are used with multiplexing to increase the transmission rates in networks.
Broad-Band Noise: the noise spectrum for a particular noise source is spread over a large range of frequencies.
broadcast: a network term that describes a general broadcast that should be delivered to all clients on a network. For example this is how Ethernet sends all of its packets.
brush: a sliding electrical conductor that conducts power to/from a rotor.
BSC (Binary Synchronous Communication): a byte oriented synchronous communication protocol developed by IBM.
BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution): one of the major versions of UNIX.
buffer: a temporary area in which data is stored on its way from one place to another. Used for communication bottlenecks and asynchronous connections.
bugs: hardware or software problems that prevent desired components operation.
burn-in: a high temperature pre-operation to expose system problems.
burner: a term often used for a device that programs EPROMs, PALs, etc. or a bad cook.
bus: a computer has buses (collections of conductors) to move data, addresses, and control signals between components. For example to get a memory value, the address value provided the binary memory address, the control bus instructs all the devices to read/write, and to examine the address. If the address is valid for one part of the computer, it will put a value on the data bus that the CPU can then read.
byte: an 8 bit binary number. The most common unit for modern computers.
C: A programming language that followed B (which followed A). It has been widely used in software development in the 80s and 90s. It has grown up to become C++ and Java.
CAA (Computer Aided Analysis): allows the user to input the definition of a part and calculate the performance variables.
cable: a communication wire with electrical and mechanical shielding for harsh environments.
CAD (Computer Aided Design): is the creation and optimization of the design itself using the computer as a productivity tool. Components of CAD include computer graphics, a user interface, and geometric modeling.
CAD (Computer Aided Drafting): is one component of CAD which allows the user to input engineering drawings on the computer screen and print them out to a plotter or other device.
CADD (Computer Aided Design Drafting): the earliest forms of CAD systems were simple electronic versions of manual drafting, and thus are called CADD.
CAE (Computer Aided Engineering): the use of computers to assist in engineering. One example is the use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to verify the strength of a design.
CALS (Computer Aided Acquisition and Logistics Support) -
CAM (Computer Aided Engineering):
capacitor: a device for storing energy or mass.
capacitance: referring to the ability of a device to store energy. This is used for electrical capacitors, thermal masses, gas cylinders, etc.
capacity: the ability to absorb something else.
carrier: a high/low frequency signal that is used to transmit another signal.
carry flag: an indication when a mathematical operator has gone past the limitations of the hardware/software.
cascade: a method for connecting devices to increase their range, or connecting things so that they operate in sequence. This is also called chaining.
CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering): software tools are used by the developer/programmer to generate code, track changes, perform testing, and a number of other possible functions.
cassette: a holder for tapes normally.
CCITT (Consultative Committee for International Telegraph and Telephone): recommended X25. A member of the ITU of the United Nations.
CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read Only Memory): originally developed for home entertainment, these have turned out to be high density storage media available for all platforms at very low prices (< $100 at the bottom end). The storage of these drives is well over 500 MB.
CE: a mark placed on products to indicate that they conform to the standards set by the European Common Union.
Celsius: a temperature scale the uses 0 as the freezing point of water and 100 as the boiling point
centrifugal force: the force on an orbiting object the would cause it to accelerate outwards.
centripetal force: the force that must be applied to an orbiting object so that it will not fly outwards.
channel: an independent signal pathway.
character: a single byte, that when displayed is some recognizable form, such as a letter in the alphabet, or a punctuation mark.
checksum: when many bytes of data are transmitted, a checksum can be used to check the validity of the data. It is commonly the numerical sum of all of the bytes transmitted.
chip: a loose term for an integrated circuit.
chromatography: gases or liquids can be analyzed by how far their constituent parts can migrate through a porous material.
CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing): computers can be used at a higher level to track and guide products as they move through the facility. CIM may or may not include CAD/CAM.
CL (Cutter Location): an APT program is converted into a set of x-y-z locations stored in a CL file. In turn these are sent to the NC machine via tapes, etc.
clear: a signal or operation to reset data and status values.
client-server: a networking model that describes network services, and user programs.
clipping: the automatic cutting of lines that project outside the viewing area on a computer screen.
clock: a signal from a digital oscillator. This is used to make all of the devices in a digital system work synchronously.
clock speed: the rate at which a computers main time clock works at. The CPU instruction speed is usually some multiple or fraction of this number, but true program execution speeds are loosely related at best.
closed loop: a system that measures system performance and trims the operation. This is also known as feedback. If there is no feedback the system is called open loop.
CMOS (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semi-conductor): a low power microchip technology that has high noise immunity.
CNC (Computer Numerical Control): machine tools are equipped with a control computer, and will perform a task. The most popular is milling.
coalescing: a process for filtering liquids suspended in air. The liquid condenses on glass fibers.
coaxial cable: a central wire contains a signal conductor, and an outer shield provides noise immunity. This configuration is limited by its coaxial geometry, but it provides very high noise immunity.
cogging: a machine steps through motions in a jerking manner. The result may be low frequency vibration.
coil: wire wound into a coil (tightly packed helix) used to create electromagnetic attraction. Used in relays, motors, solenoids, etc. These are also used alone as inductors.
collisions: when more than one network client tries to send a packet at any one time, they will collide. Both of the packets will be corrupted, and as a result special algorithms and hardware are used to abort the write, wait for a random time, and retry the transmission. Collisions are a good measure of network overuse.
colorimetry: a method for identifying chemicals using their colors.
combustion: a burning process generating heat and light when certain chemicals are added.
command: a computer term for a function that has an immediate effect, such as listing the files in a directory.
communication: the transfer of data between computing systems.
commutative laws: Booleans algebra laws A+B = B+A and AB=BA.
compare: a computer program element that examines one or more variables, determines equality/inequality, and then performs some action, sometimes a branch.
compatibility: a measure of the similarity of a design to a standard. This is often expressed as a percentage for software. Anything less than 100% is not desirable.
compiler: a tool to change a high level language such as C into assembler.
compliment: to take the logical negative. TRUE becomes false and vice versa.
component: an interchangeable part of a larger system. Components can be used to cut down manufacturing and maintenance difficulties.
compressor: a device that will decrease the volume of a gas: and increase the pressure.
computer: a device constructed about a central instruction processor. In general the computer can be reconfigured (software/firmware/hardware) to perform alternate tasks.
Computer Graphics: is the use of the computer to draw pictures using an input device to specify geometry and other attributes and an output device to display a picture. It allows engineers to communicate with the computer through geometry.
concentric: a shared center between two or more objects.
concurrent: two or more activities occur at the same time, but are not necessarily the same.
concurrent engineering: all phases of the products life are considered during design, and not later during design review stages.
condenser: a system component that will convert steam to water. Typically used in power generators.
conduction: the transfer of energy through some medium.
configuration: a numbers of multifunction components can be connected in a variety of configurations.
connection: a network term for communication that involves first establishing a connection, second data transmission, and third closing the connection. Connectionless networking does not require connection.
constant: a number with a value that should not vary.
constraints: are performance variables with limits. Constraints are used to specify when a design is feasible. If constraints are not met, the design is not feasible.
contact: 1. metal pieces that when touched will allow current to pass, when separated will stop the flow of current. 2. in PLCs contacts are two vertical lines that represent an input, or internal memory location.
contactor: a high current relay.
continuous Noise: a noise that is ongoing, and present. This differentiates from instantaneous, or intermittent noise sources.
continuous Spectrum: a noise has a set of components that are evenly distributed on a spectral graph.
control relay: a relay that does not control any external devices directly. It is used like a variable in a high level programming language.
control variable: a system parameter that we can set to change the system operation.
controls: a system that is attached to a process. Its purpose is to direct the process to some set value.
convection: the transfer of heat energy to liquid or gas that is moving past the surface of an object.
cook’s constant: another name for the fudge factor
core memory: an outdated term describing memory made using small torii that could be polarized magnetically to store data bits. The term lives on when describing some concepts, for example a ‘core dump’ in UNIX. Believe it or not this has not been used for decades but still appears in many new textbooks.
Coriolis force: a force that tends to cause spinning in moving frames of reference. Consider the direction of the water swirl down a drain pipe, it changes from the north to the south of the earth.
correction factor: a formal version of the ‘fudge factor’. Typically a value used to multiply or add another value to account for hard to quantify values. This is the friend of the factor of safety.
counter: a system to count events. Tis can be either software or hardware.
cps (characters per second): This can be a good measure of printing or data transmission speed, but it is not commonly used, instead the more confusing ‘baud’ is preferred.
CPU (Central Processing Unit): the main computer element that examines machine code instructions and executes results.
CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check): used to check transmitted blocks of data for validity.
criteria: are performance variables used to measure the quality of a design. Criteria are usually defined in terms of degree: for example, lowest cost or smallest volume or lowest stress. Criteria are used to optimize a design.
crosstalk: signals in one conductor induce signals in other conductors, possibly creating false signals.
CRT (Cathode Ray Tubes): are the display device of choice today. A CRT consists of a phosphor-coated screen and one or more electron guns to draw the screen image.
crucible: 1. a vessel for holding high temperature materials 2.
CSA (Canadian Standards Association):
CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection): a protocol that causes computers to use the same communication line by waiting for turns. This is used in networks such as Ethernet.
CSNET (Computer+Science NETwork): a large network that was merged with BITNET.
CTS (Clear To Send): used to prevent collisions in asynchronous serial communications.
current loop: communications that use a full electronic loop to reduce the effects of induced noise. RS-422 uses this.
current rating: this is typically the maximum current that a designer should expect from a system, or the maximum current that an input will draw. Although some devices will continue to work outside rated values, not all will, and thus this limit should be observed in a robust system. Note: exceeding these limits is unsafe, and should be done only under proper engineering conditions.
current sink: a device that allow current to flow through to ground when activated.
current source: a device that provides current from another source when activated.
cursors: are movable trackers on a computer screen which indicate the currently addressed screen position, or the focus of user input. The cursor is usually represented by an arrow, a flashing character or cross-hair.
customer requirements: the qualitative and quantitative minimums and maximums specified by a customer. These drive the product design process.
cycle: one period of a periodic function.
cylinder: a piston will be driven in a cylinder for a variety of purposes. The cylinder guides the piston, and provides a seal between the front and rear of the piston.
daisy chain: allows serial communication of devices to transfer data through each (and every) device between two points.
Darlington coupled: two transistors are ganged together by connecting collectors to bases to increase the gain. These increase the input impedance, and reduce the back propagation of noise from loads.
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency): replaced ARPA. This is a branch of the US department of defense that has participated in a large number of research projects.
data acquisition: refers to the automated collection of information collected from a process or system.
data highway: a term for a communication bus between two separated computers, or peripherals. This term is mainly used for PLC’s.
data link layer: an OSI model layer
data logger: a dedicated system for data acquisition.
data register: stores data values temporarily in a CPU.
database: a software program that stores and recalls data in an organized way.
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) -
DCA (Defense Communications Agency): developed DDN.
DCA (Document Content Architecture):
DCD (Data Carrier Detect): used as a handshake in asynchronous communication.
DCE (Data Communications Equipment):
DCE (Distributed Computing Environment): applications can be distributed over a number of computers because of the use of standards interfaces, functions, and procedures.
DDCMP (Digital Data Communication Message Protocol):
DDN (Defense Data Network): a group of DoD networks, including MILNET.
dead band: a region for a device when it no longer operates.
dead time: a delay between an event occurring and the resulting action.
debounce: a switch may not make sudden and complete contact as it is closes, circuitry can be added to remove a few on-off transitions as the switch mechanically bounces.
debug: after a program has been written it undergoes a testing stage called debugging that involves trying to locate and eliminate logic and other errors. This is also a time when most engineers deeply regret not spending more time on the initial design.
decibel (dB): a logarithmic compression of values that makes them more suited to human perception (for both scaleability and reference)
decision support: the use of on-line data, and decision analysis tools are used when making decisions. One example is the selection of electronic components based on specifications, projected costs, etc.
DECnet (Digital Equipment Corporation net): a proprietary network architecture developed by DEC.
decrement: to decrease a numeric value.
dedicated computer: a computer with only one task.
default: a standard condition.
Demorgan’s laws: Boolean laws great for simplifying equations ~(AB) = ~A + ~B, or ~(A+B) = ~A~B.
density: a mass per unit volume.
depth first search: an artificial intelligence technique that follows a single line of reasoning first.
derivative control: a control technique that uses changes in the system of setpoint to drive the system. This control approach gives fast response to change.
design: creation of a new part/product based on perceived needs. Design implies a few steps that are ill defined, but generally include, rough conceptual design, detailed design, analysis, redesign, and testing.
design capture: the process of formally describing a design, either through drafted drawings, schematic drawings, etc.
design cycle: the steps of the design. The use of the word cycle implies that it never ends, although we must at some point decide to release a design.
design Variables: are the parameters in the design that describe the part. Design variables usually include geometric dimensions, material type, tolerances, and engineering notes.
detector: a device to determine when a certain condition has been met.
device driver: controls a hardware device with a piece of modular software.
DFA (Design For Assembly): a method that guides product design/redesign to ease assembly times and difficulties.
DFT (Design for Testability): a set of design axioms that generally calls for the reduction of test steps, with the greatest coverage for failure modes in each test step.
DIA (Document Interchange Architecture):
diagnostic: a system or set of procedures that may be followed to identify where systems may have failed. These are most often done for mission critical systems, or industrial machines where the user may not have the technical capability to evaluate the system.
diaphragm: used to separate two materials, while allowing pressure to be transmitted.
differential amplifier: an amplifier that will subtract two or more input voltages.
diffuse field: multiple reflections result in a uniform and high sound pressure level.
digital: a system based on binary on-off values.
diode: a semiconductor device that will allow current to flow in one direction.
DIP switches: small banks of switches designed to have the same footprint as an integrated circuit.
DISOSS (DIStributed Office Support System) -
distributed: suggests that computer programs are split into parts or functions and run on different computers
distributed system: a system can be split into parts. Typical components split are mechanical, computer, sensors, software, etc.
DLE (Data Link Escape): An RS-232 communications interface line.
DMA (Direct Memory Access): used as a method of transferring memory in and out of a computer without slowing down the CPU.
DMD (Directory Management Domain) -
DNS (Domain Name System): an Internet method for name and address tracking.
documentation: (don’t buy equipment without it): one or more documents that instruct in the use, installation, setup, maintenance, troubleshooting, etc. for software or machinery. A poor design supported by good documentation can often be more useful than a good design unsupported by poor documentation.
domain: the basic name for a small or large network. For example (unc.edu) is the general extension for the University on North Carolina.
Doppler shift: as objects move relative to each other, a frequency generated by one will be perceived at another frequency by the other.
DOS (Disk Operating System): the portion of an operating system that handles basic I/O operations. The most common example is Microsoft MS-DOS for IBM PCs.
dotted decimal notation: the method for addressing computers on the internet with IP numbers such as ‘184.108.40.206’.
double pole: a double pole switch will allow connection between two contacts. These are useful when making motor reversers. see also single pole.
double precision: a real number is represented with 8 bytes (single precision is 4) to give more precision for calculations.
double throw: a switch or relay that has two sets of contacts.
download: to retrieve a program from a server or higher level computer.
downtime: a system is removed from production for a given amount of downtime.
drag: a force that is the result of a motion of an object in a viscous fluid.
drop: a term describing a short connection to peripheral I/O.
drum sequencer: a drum has raised/lowered sections and as it rotates it opens/closes contacts and will give sequential operation.
dry contact: an isolated output, often a relay switched output.
DSP (Digital Signal Processor): a medium complexity microcontroller that has a build in floating point unit. These are very common in devices such as modems.
DSR (Data Set Ready): used as a data handshake in asynchronous communications.
DTE (Data Terminal Equipment): a serial communication line used in RS-232
DTR (Data Terminal Ready): used as a data handshake in asynchronous communications to indicate a listener is ready to receive data.
dump: a large block of memory is moved at once (as a sort of system snapshot).
duplex: serial communication that is in both directions between computers at the same time.
dynamic braking: a motor is used as a brake by connecting the windings to resistors. In effect the motor becomes a generator, and the resistors dissipate the energy as heat.
dynamic variable: a variable with a value that is constantly changing.
EAROM (Electrically Alterable Read Only Memory):
EBCDIC (Extended Binary-Coded Decimal Information Code): a code for representing keyboard and control characters.
eccentric: two or more objects do not have a common center.
ECMA (European Computer Manufacturer’s Associated) -
eddy currents: small currents that circulate in metals as currents flow in nearby conductors. Generally unwanted.
EDIF (Electronic Design Interchange Format): a standard to allow the interchange of graphics and data between computers so that it may be changed, and modifications tracked.
EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory):
effective sound pressure: the RMS pressure value gives the effective sound value for fluctuating pressure values. This value is some fraction of the peak pressure value.
EIA (Electronic Industries Association) -
electro-optic isolator: uses optical emitter, and photo sensitive switches for electrical isolation.
electromagnetic: a broad range term referring to magnetic waves. This goes from low frequency signals such as AM radio, up to very high frequency waves such as light and X-rays.
electrostatic: devices that used trapped charge to apply forces and caused distribution. An example is droplets of paint that have been electrically charged can be caused to disperse evenly over a surface that is oppositely charged.
electrostatics discharge: a sudden release of static electric charge (in nongrounded systems). This can lead to uncomfortable electrical shocks, or destruction of circuitry.
email (electronic mail): refers to messages passed between computers on networks, that are sent from one user to another. Almost any modern computer will support some for of email.
EMI (ElectroMagnetic Interference): transient magnetic fields cause noise in other systems.
emulsify: to mix two materials that would not normally mix. for example an emulsifier can cause oil and water to mix.
enable: a digital signal that allows a device to work.
encoding: a conversion between different data forms.
energize: to apply power to a circuit or component.
energy: the result of work. This concept underlies all of engineering. Energy is shaped, directed and focused to perform tasks.
engineering work stations: are self contained computer graphics systems with a local CPU which can be networked to larger computers if necessary. The engineering work station is capable of performing engineering synthesis, analysis, and optimization operations locally. Work stations typically have more than 1 MByte of RAM, and a high resolution screen greater than 512 by 512 pixels.
EOT (End Of Transmission): an ASCII code to indicate the end of a communications.
EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) -
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript): a high quality graphics description language understood by high end printers. Originally developed by Adobe Systems Limited. This standard is becoming very popular.
error signal: a control signal that is the difference between a desired and actual position.
ESD: see electrostatic discharge.
esters: a chemical that was formed by a reaction between alcohol and an acid.
even parity: a checksum bit used to verify data in other bits of a byte.
execution: when a computer is under the control of a program, the program is said to be executing.
expansion principle: when heat is applied a liquid will expand.
expert systems: is a branch of artificial intelligence designed to emulate human expertise with software. Expert systems are in use in many arenas and are beginning to be seen in CAD systems. These systems use rules derived from human experts.
fail safe: a design concept where system failure will bring the system to an idle or safe state.
false: a logical negative, or zero.
Faraday’s electromagnetic induction law: if a conductor moves through a magnetic field a current will be induced. The angle between the motion and the magnetic field needs to be 90 deg for maximum current.
Fahrenheit: a temperature system that has 180 degrees between the freezing and boiling point of water.
fatal error: an error so significant that a software/hardware cannot continue to operate in a reliable manner.
fault: a small error that may be recoverable, or may result in a fatal error.
FAX (facsimile): an image is scanned and transmitted over phone lines and reconstructed at the other end.
FCS (Frame Check Sequence): data check flag for communications.
FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface): a fiber optic token ring network scheme in which the control tokens are counter rotating.
FDX (Full Duplex): all characters that are transmitted are reflected back to the sender.
FEA (Finite Element Analysis): is a numerical technique in which the analysis of a complex part is subdivided into the analysis of small simple subdivisions.
feedback: a common engineering term for a system that examines the output of a system and uses is to tune the system. Common forms are negative feedback to make systems stable, and positive feedback to make systems unstable (e.g. oscillators).
fetch: when the CPU gets a data value from memory.
fiberoptics: data can be transmitted by switching light on/off, and transmitting the signal through an optical fiber. This is becoming the method of choice for most long distance data lines because of the low losses and immunity to EMI.
FIFO (First In First Out): items are pushed on a stack. The items can then be pulled back off last first.
file: a concept of a serial sequence of bytes that the computer can store information in, normally on the disk. This is a ubiquitous concept, but file is also used by Allen Bradley to describe an array of data.
filter: a device that will selectively pass matter or energy.
firmware: software stored on ROM (or equivalent).
flag: a single binary bit that indicates that an event has/has not happened.
flag: a single bit variable that is true or not. The concept is that if a flag is set, then some event has happened, or completed, and the flag should trigger some other event.
flame: an email, or netnews item that is overtly critical of another user, or an opinion. These are common because of the ad-hoc nature of the networks.
flange: a thick junction for joining two pipes.
floating point: uses integer math to represent real numbers.
flow chart: a schematic diagram for representing program flow. This can be used during design of software, or afterwards to explain its operation.
flow meter: a device for measuring the flow rate of fluid.
flow rate: the volume of fluid moving through an area in a fixed unit of time.
fluorescence: incoming UV light or X-ray strike a material and cause the emission of a different frequency light.
FM (Frequency Modulation): transmits a signal using a carrier of constant magnitude but changing frequency. The frequency shift is proportional to the signal strength.
force: a PLC output or input value can be set on artificially to test programs or hardware. This method is not suggested.
format: 1. a physical and/or data structure that makes data rereadable, 2. the process of putting a structure on a disk or other media.
forward chaining: an expert system approach to examine a set of facts and reason about the probable outcome.
fragmentation: the splitting of an network data packet into smaller fragments to ease transmission.
frame buffers: store the raster image in memory locations for each pixel. The number of colors or shades of gray for each pixel is determined by the number of bits of information for each pixel in the frame buffer.
free field: a sound field where none of the sound energy is reflected. Generally there aren’t any nearby walls, or they are covered with sound absorbing materials.
frequency: the number of cycles per second for a sinusoidally oscillating vibration/sound.
friction: the force resulting from the mechanical contact between two masses.
FSK (Frequency Shift Keying): uses two different frequencies, shifting back and forth to transmit bits serially.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): a popular Internet protocol for moving files between computers.
fudge factor: a number that is used to multiply or add to other values to make the experimental and theoretical values agree.
full duplex: a two way serial communication channel can carry information both ways, and each character that is sent is reflected back to the sender for verification.
fuse: a device that will destruct when excessive current flows. It is used to protect the electrical device, humans, and other devices when abnormally high currents are drawn. Note: fuses are essential devices and should never be bypassed, or replaced with fuses having higher current rating.
galvonometer: a simple device used to measure currents. This device is similar to a simple DC motor.
gamma rays: high energy electromagnetic waves resulting from atomic fission or fusion.
gate: 1. a circuit that performs on of the Boolean algebra function (i.e., and, or, not, etc.) 2. a connection between a runner and a part, this can be seen on most injection molded parts as a small bump where the material entered the main mold cavity.
gateway: translates and routes packets between dissimilar networks.
Geiger-Mueller tube: a device that can detect ionizing particles (e.g., atomic radiation) using a gas filled tube.
global optimum: the absolute best solution to a problem. When found mathematically, the maximum or minimum cost/utility has been obtained.
gpm (gallons per minute): a flow rate.
grafcet: a method for programming PLCs that is based on Petri nets. This is now known as SFCs and is part of the IEC 1131-3 standard.
gray code: a modified binary code used for noisy environments. It is devised to only have one bit change at any time. Errors then become extremely obvious when counting up or down.
ground: a buried conductor that acts to pull system neutral voltage values to a safe and common level. All electrical equipment should be connected to ground for safety purposes.
GUI (Graphical User Interface): the user interacts with a program through a graphical display, often using a mouse. This technology replaces the older systems that use menus to allow the user to select actions.
half cell: a probe that will generate a voltage proportional to the hydrogen content in a solution.
handshake: electrical lines used to establish and control communications.
hard copy: a paper based printout.
hardware: a mechanical or electrical system. The ‘functionality’ is ‘frozen’ in hardware, and often difficult to change.
HDLC (High-level Data Link Control): an ISO standard for communications.
HDX (Half Duplex): a two way serial connection between two computer. Unlike FDX, characters that are sent are not reflected back to the sender.
head: pressure in a liquid that is the result of gravity.
hermetic seal: an airtight seal.
hertz: a measure of frequency in cycles per second. The unit is Hz.
hexadecimal: a base 16 number system where the digits are 0 to 9 then A to F, to give a total of 16 digits. This is commonly used when providing numbers to computers.
high: another term used to describe a Boolean true, logical positive, or one.
high level language: a language that uses very powerful commands to increase programming productivity. These days almost all applications use some form of high level language (i.e., basic, fortran, pascal, C, C++, etc.).
horsepower: a unit for measuring power
host: a networked (fully functional) computer.
hot backup: a system on-line that can quickly replace a failed system.
hydraulic: 1. a study of water 2. systems that use fluids to transmit power.
hydrocarbon: a class of molecules that contain carbon and hydrogen. Examples are propane, octane.
hysteresis: a sticking or lagging phenomenon that occurs in many systems. For example, in magnetic systems this is a small amount of magnetic repolarization in a reversing field, and in friction this is an effect based on coulomb friction that reverses sticking force.
IAB (Internet Activities Board): the developer of Internet standards.
IC (Integrated Circuit): a microscopic circuit placed on a thin wafer of semiconductor.
IEC (International Electrical Commission) -
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) -
IEEE802: a set of standards for LANs and MANs.
IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange Specification): a standard for moving data between various CAD systems. In particular the format can handle basic geometric entities, such as NURBS, but it is expected to be replaced by PDES/STEP in the near future.
impact instrument: measurements are made based by striking an object. This generally creates an impulse function.
impedance: In electrical systems this is both reactive and real resistance combined. This also applies to power transmission and flows in other types of systems.
impulse Noise: a short duration, high intensity noise. This type of noise is often associated with explosions.
increment: increase a numeric value.
inductance: current flowing through a coil will store energy in a magnetic field.
inductive heating: a metal part is placed inside a coil. A high frequency AC signal is passed through the coil and the resulting magnetic field melts the metal.
infrared: light that has a frequency below the visible spectrum.
inertia: a property where stored energy will keep something in motion unless there is energy added or released.
inference: to make a decision using indirect logic. For example if you are wearing shoes, we can infer that you had to put them on. Deduction is the complementary concept.
inference engine: the part of an expert system that processes rules and facts using forward or backward chaining.
Insertion Loss: barriers, hoods, enclosures, etc. can be placed between a sound source, and listener, their presence increases reverberant sound levels and decreases direct sound energy. The increase in the reverberant sound is the insertion loss.
instruction set: a list of all of the commands that available in a programmable system. This could be a list of PLC programming mnemonics, or a list of all of the commands in BASIC.
instrument: a device that will read values from external sensors or probes, and might make control decision.
intake stroke: in a piston cylinder arrangement this is the cycle where gas or liquid is drawn into the cylinder.
integral control: a control method that looks at the system error over a long period of time. These controllers are relatively immune to noise and reduce the steady state error, but the do not respond quickly.
integrate: to combine two components with clearly separable functions to obtain a new single component capable of more complex functions.
intelligence: systems will often be able to do simple reasoning or adapt. This can mimic some aspects of human intelligence. These techniques are known as artificial intelligence.
intelligent device: a device that contains some ability to control itself. This reduces the number of tasks that a main computer must perform. This is a form of distributed system.
interface: a connection between a computer and another electrical device, or the real world.
interlock: a device that will inhibit system operation until certain conditions are met. These are often required for safety on industrial equipment to protect workers.
intermittent noise: when sounds change level fluctuate significantly over a measurement time period.
Internet: an ad-hoc collection of networks that has evolved over a number of years to now include millions of computers in every continent, and by now every country. This network will continue to be the defacto standard for personal users. (commentary: The information revolution has begun already, and the Internet has played a role previously unheard of by overcoming censorship and misinformation, such as that of Intel about the Pentium bug, a military coup in Russia failed because they were not able to cut off the flow of information via the Internet, the Tianneman square massacre and related events were widely reported via Internet, etc. The last stage to a popular acceptance of the Internet will be the World Wide Web accessed via Mosaic/Netscape.)
Internet address: the unique identifier assigned to each machine on the Internet. The address is a 32 bit binary identifier commonly described with the dotted decimal notation.
interlacing: is a technique for saving memory and time in displaying a raster image. Each pass alternately displays the odd and then the even raster lines. In order to save memory, the odd and even lines may also contain the same information.
interlock: a flag that ensures that concurrent streams of execution do not conflict, or that they cooperate.
interpreter: programs that are not converted to machine language, but slowly examined one instruction at a time as they are executed.
interrupt: a computer mechanism for temporarily stopping a program, and running another.
inverter: a logic gate that will reverse logic levels from TRUE to/from FALSE.
I/O (Input/Output): a term describing anything that goes into or out of a computer.
IOR (Inclusive OR): a normal OR that will be true when any of the inputs are true in any combinations. also see Exclusive OR (EOR).
ion: an atom, molecule or subatomic particle that has a positive or negative charge.
IP (Internet Protocol): the network layer (OSI model) definitions that allow Internet use.
IP datagram: a standard unit of information on the Internet.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network): a combined protocol to carry voice, data and video over 56KB lines.
ISO (International Standards Organization) -
isolation: electrically isolated systems have no direct connection between two halves of the isolating device. Sound isolation uses barriers to physically separate rooms.
isolation transformer: a transformer for isolating AC systems to reduce electrical noise.
JEC (Japanese Electrotechnical Committee):
JIC (Joint International Congress): drafted relay logic standards.
JIT (Just in Time): a philosophy when setting up and operating a manufacturing system such that materials required arrive at the worksite just in time to be used. This cuts work in process, storage space, and a number of other logistical problems, but requires very dependable supplies and methods.
jog: a mode where a motor will be advanced while a button is held, but not latched on. It is often used for clearing jams, and loading new material.
jump: a forced branch in a program
jumper: a short wire, or connector to make a permanent setting of hardware parameters.
k, K: specifies magnitudes. 1K = 1024, 1k = 1000 for computers, otherwise 1K = 1k = 1000. Note: this is not universal, so double check the meanings when presented.
Kelvin: temperature units that place 0 degrees at absolute zero. The magnitude of one degree is the same as the Celsius scale.
KiloBaud, KBaud, KB, Baud: a transmission rate for serial communications (e.g. RS-232C, TTY, RS-422). A baud = 1bit/second, 1 Kilobaud = 1KBaud = 1KB = 1000 bits/second. In serial communication each byte typically requires 11 bits, so the transmission rate is about 1Kbaud/11 = 91 Bytes per second when using a 1KB transmission.
Karnaugh maps: a method of graphically simplifying logic.
kermit: a popular tool for transmitting binary and text files over text oriented connections, such as modems or telnet sessions.
keying: small tabs, prongs, or fillers are used to stop connectors from mating when they are improperly oriented.
kinematics/kinetics: is the measure of motion and forces of an object. This analysis is used to measure the performance of objects under load and/or in motion.
label: a name associated with some point in a program to be used by branch instructions.
ladder diagram: a form of circuit diagram normally used for electrical control systems.
ladder logic: a programming language for PLCs that has been developed to look like relay diagrams from the preceding technology of relay based controls.
laminar flow: all of the particles of a fluid or gas are traveling in parallel. The complement to this is turbulent flow.
laptop: a small computer that can be used on your lap. It contains a monitor ad keyboard.
LAN (Local Area Network): a network that is typically less than 1km in distance. Transmission rates tend to be high, and costs tend to be low.
latch: an element that can have a certain input or output lock in. In PLCs these can hold an output on after an initial pulse, such as a stop button.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display): a fluid between two sheets of light can be polarized to block light. These are commonly used in low power displays, but they require backlighting.
leakage current: a small amount of current that will be present when a device is off.
LED (Light Emitting Diode): a semiconductor light that is based on a diode.
LIFO (Last In First Out): similar to FIFO, but the last item pushed onto the stack is the first pulled off.
limit switch: a mechanical switch actuated by motion in a process.
line printer: an old printer style that prints single lines of text. Most people will be familiar with dot matrix style of line printers.
linear: describes a mathematical characteristic of a system where the differential equations are simple linear equations with coefficients.
little-endian: transmission or storage of data when the least significant byte/bit comes first.
load: In electrical system a load is an output that draws current and consumes power. In mechanical systems it is a mass, or a device that consumes power, such as a turbine.
load cell: a device for measuring large forces.
logic: 1. the ability to make decisions based on given values. 2. digital circuitry.
loop: part of a program that is executed repeatedly, or a cable that connects back to itself.
low: a logic negative, or zero.
LRC (Longitudinal Redundancy Check):
LRC (Linear Redundancy Check): a block check character
LSD (Least Significant Digit):
LSI (Large Scale Integration): an integrated circuit that contains thousands of elements.
LVDT (Linear Variable Differential Transformer): a device that can detect linear displacement of a central sliding core in the transformer.
machine language: CPU instructions in numerical form.
macro: a set of commands grouped for convenience.
magnetic field: a field near flowing electrons that will induce other electrons nearby to flow in the opposite direction.
MAN (Metropolitan Area Network): a network designed for municipal scale connections.
manifold: 1. a connectors that splits the flow of fluid or gas. These are used commonly in hydraulic and pneumatic systems. 2. a description for a geometry that does not have any infinitely small points or lines of contact or separation. Most solid modelers deal only with manifold geometry.
MAP (Manufacturers Automation Protocol) -
mask: one binary word (or byte, etc) is used to block out, or add in digits to another binary number.
mass flow rate: instead of measuring flow in terms of volume per unit of time we use mass per unit time.
mass spectrometer: an instrument that identifies materials and relative proportions at the atomic level. This is done by observing their deflection as passed through a magnetic field.
master/slave: a control scheme where one computer will control one or more slaves. This scheme is used in interfaces such as GPIB, but is increasingly being replaced with peer-to-peer and client/server networks.
mathematical models: of an object or system predict the performance variable values based upon certain input conditions. Mathematical models are used during analysis and optimization procedures.
MB MByte, KB, KByte: a unit of memory commonly used for computers. 1 KiloByte = 1 KByte = 1 KB = 1024 bytes. 1 MegaByte = 1 MByte = 1MB = 1024*1024 bytes.
MCR (Master Control Reset): a relay that will shut down all power to a system.
memory: binary numbers are often stored in memory for fast recall by computers. Inexpensive memory can be purchased in a wide variety of configurations, and is often directly connected to the CPU.
memory: memory stores binary (0,1) patterns that a computer can read or write as program or data. Various types of memories can only be read, some memories lose their contents when power is off.
RAM (Random Access Memory): can be written to and read from quickly. It requires power to preserve the contents, and is often coupled with a battery or capacitor when long term storage is required. Storage available is over 1MByte
ROM (Read Only Memory): Programs and data are permanently written on this low cost ship. Storage available is over 1 MByte.
• EPROM (ELECTRICALLY Programmable Read Only Memory): A program can be written to this memory using a special programmer, and erased with ultraviolet light. Storage available over 1MByte. After a program is written, it does not require power for storage. These chips have small windows for ultraviolet light.
-EEPROM/E2PROM (Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory): These chips can be erased and programmed while in use with a computer, and store memory that is not sensitive to power. These can be slower, more expensive and with lower capacity (measured in Kbytes) than other memories. But, their permanent storage allows system configurations/data to be stored indefinitely after a computer is turned off.
memory map: a listing of the addresses of different locations in a computer memory. Very useful when programming.
menu: a multiple choice method of selecting program options.
message: a short sequence of data passed between processes.
microbar: a pressure unit (1 dyne per sq. cm)
microphone: an audio transducer (sensor) used for sound measurements.
microprocessor: the central control chip in a computer. This chip will execute program instructions to direct the computer.
MILNET (MILitary NETwork): began as part of ARPANET.
MMI (Man Machine Interface): a user interface terminal.
mnemonic: a few characters that describe an operation. These allow a user to write programs in an intuitive manner, and have them easily converted to CPU instructions.
MODEM (MOdulator/DEModulator): a device for bidirectional serial communications over phone lines, etc.
module: a part o a larger system that can be interchanged with others.
monitor: an operation mode where the computer can be watched in detail from step to step. This can also refer to a computer screen.
MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor):
motion detect flow meter: a fluid flow induces measurement.
MRP (Material Requirements Planning): a method for matching material required by jobs, to the equipment available in the factory.
MSD (Most Significant Digit): the largest valued digit in a number (e.g.. 6 is the MSD in 63422). This is often used for binary numbers.
MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure): the average time (hours usually) between the last repair of a product, and the next expected failure.
multicast: a broadcast to some, but not necessarily all, hosts on a network.
multiplexing: a way to efficiently use transmission media by having many signals run through one conductor, or one signal split to run through multiple conductors and rejoined at the receiving end.
multiprocessor: a computer or system that uses more than one computer. Normally this term means a single computer with more than one CPU. This scheme can be used to increase processing speed, or increase reliability.
multivibrator: a digital oscillator producing square or rectangular waveforms.
NAK (Negative AKnowledgement): an ASCII control code.
NAMUR: A European standards organization.
NAND (Not AND): a Boolean AND operation with the result inverted.
narrowband: uses a small data transmission rate to reduce spectral requirements.
NBS (National Bureau of Standards):
NC: see normally opened/closed
NC (Numerical Control): a method for controlling machine tools, such as mills, using simple programs.
negative logic: a 0 is a high voltage, and 1 is a low voltage. In Boolean terms it is a duality.
NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association): this group publishes numerous standards for electrical equipment.
nephelometry: a technique for determining the amount of solids suspended in water using light.
nesting: a term that describes loops (such as FOR-NEXT loops) within loops in programs.
network: a connection of typically more than two computers so that data, email, messages, resources and files may be shared. The term network implies, software, hardware, wires, etc.
NFS (Network File System): a protocol developed by Sun Microsystems to allow dissimilar computers to share files. The effect is that the various mounted remote disk drives act as a single local disk.
NIC (Network Interace Card): a computer card that allows a computer to communicate on a network, such as ethernet.
NIH (Not Invented Here): a short-lived and expensive corporate philosophy in which employees believe that if idea or technology was not developed in-house, it is somehow inferior.
NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology): formerly NBS.
node: one computer connected to a network.
noise: 1. electrical noise is generated mainly by magnetic fields (also electric fields) that induce currents and voltages in other conductors, thereby decreasing the signals present. 2. a sound of high intensity that can be perceived by the human ear.
non-fatal error: a minor error that might indicate a problem, but it does not seriously interfere with the program execution.
nonpositive displacement pump: a pump that does not displace a fixed volume of fluid or gas.
nonretentive: when power is lost values will be set back to 0.
NOR (Not OR): a Boolean function OR that has the results negated.
normally opened/closed: refers to switch types. when in their normal states (not actuated) the normally open (NO) switch will not conduct current. When not actuated the normally closed (NC) switch will conduct current.
NOT: a Boolean function that inverts values. A 1 will become a 0, and a 0 will become a 1.
NOVRAM (NOn Volatile Random Access Memory): memory that does not lose its contents when turned off.
NPN: a bipolar junction transistor type. When referring to switching, these can be used to sink current to ground.
NPSM: American national standard straight pipe thread for mechanical parts.
NPT: American national standard taper pipe thread.
NSF (National Science Foundation): a large funder of science projects in USA.
NSFNET (National Science Foundation NETwork): funded a large network(s) in USA, including a high speed backbone, and connection to a number of super computers.
NTSC (National Television Standards Committee): a Red-Green-Blue based transmission standard for video, and audio signals. Very popular in North America, Competes with other standards internationally, such as PAL.
null modem: a cable that connects two RS-232C devices.
OCR (Optical Character Recognition): Images of text are scanned in, and the computer will try to interpret it, much as a human who is reading a page would. These systems are not perfect, and often rely on spell checkers, and other tricks to achieve reliabilities up to 99%
octal: a base 8 numbering system that uses the digits 0 to 7.
Octave: a doubling of frequency
odd parity: a bit is set during communication to indicate when the data should have an odd number of bits.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) -
off-line: two devices are connected, but not communicating.
offset: a value is shifted away or towards some target value.
one-shot: a switch that will turn on for one cycle.
on-line: two devices are put into communications, and will stay in constant contact to pass information as required.
opcode (operation code): a single computer instruction. Typically followed by one or more operands.
open collector: this refers to using transistors for current sourcing or sicking.
open loop: a system that does monitor the result. open loop control systems are common when the process is well behaved.
open-system: a computer architecture designed to encourage interconnection between various vendors hardware and software.
operand: an operation has an argument (operand) with the mnemonic command.
operating system: software that existing on a computer to allow a user to load/execute/develop their own programs, to interact with peripherals, etc. Good examples of this is UNIX, MS-DOS, OS/2.
optimization: occurs after synthesis and after a satisfactory design is created. The design is optimized by iteratively proposing a design and using calculated design criteria to propose a better design.
optoisolators: devices that use a light emitter to control a photoswitch. The effect is that inputs and outputs are electrically separate, but connected. These are of particular interest when an interface between very noisy environments are required.
orifice: a small hole. Typically this is places in a fluid/gas flow to create a pressure difference and slow the flow. It will increase the flow resistance in the system.
oscillator: a device that produces a sinusoidal output.
oscilloscope: a device that can read and display voltages as a function for time.
OSF (Open Software Foundation): a consortium of large corporations (IBM, DEC, HP) that are promoting DCE. They have put forth a number of popular standards, such as the Motif Widget set for X-Windows programming.
OSHA (Occupational safety and Health Act): these direct what is safe in industrial and commercial operations.
OSI (Open System Interconnect): an international standards program to promote computer connectivity, regardless of computer type, or manufacturer.
overshoot: the inertia of a controlled system will cause it to pass a target value and then return.
overflow: the result of a mathematical operation passes by the numerical limitations of the hardware logic, or algorithm.
parallel communication: bits are passed in parallel conductors, thus increasing the transmission rates dramatically.
parallel design process: evaluates all aspects of the design simultaneously in each iteration. The design itself is sent to all analysis modules including manufacturability, inspectibility, and engineering analysis modules; redesign decisions are based on all results at once.
parity: a parity bit is often added to bytes for error detection purposes. The two typical parity methods are even and odd. Even parity bits are set when an even number of bits are present in the transmitted data (often 1 byte = 8 bits).
particle velocity: the instantaneous velocity of a single molecule.
Pascal: a basic unit of pressure
Pascal’s law: any force applied to a fluid will be transmitted through the fluid and act on all enclosing surfaces.
PC (Programmable Controller): also called PLC.
PCB (Printed Circuit Board): alternate layers of insulating materials, with wire layout patterns are built up (sometimes with several layers). Holes thought the layers are used to connect the conductors to each other, and components inserted into the boards and soldered in place.
PDES (Product Data Exchange using Step): a new product design method that has attempted to include all needed information for all stages of a products life, including full solids modeling, tolerances, etc.
peak level: the maximum pressure level for a cyclic variation
peak-to-peak: the distance between the top and bottom of a sinusoidal variation.
peer-to-peer: a communications form where connected devices to both read and write messages at any time. This is opposed to a master slave arrangement.
performance variables: are parameters which define the operation of the part. Performance variables are used by the designer to measure whether the part will perform satisfactorily.
period: the time for a repeating pattern to go from beginning to end.
peripheral: devices added to computers for additional I/O.
permanent magnet: a magnet that retains a magnetic field when the original magnetizing force is removed.
petri-net: an enhanced state space diagram that allows concurrent execution flows.
pH: a scale for determining is a solution is an acid or a base. 0-7 is acid, 7-4 is a base.
photocell: a device that will convert photons to electrical energy.
photoconductive cell: a device that has a resistance that will change as the number of incident photons changes.
photoelectric cell: a device that will convert photons to electrical energy.
photon: a single unit of light. Light is electromagnetic energy emitted as an electron orbit decays.
physical layer: an OSI network model layer.
PID (Proportional Integral Derivative): a linear feedback control scheme that has gained popularity because of it’s relative simplicity.
piezoelectric: a material (crystals/ceramics) that will generate a charge when a force is applied. A common transducer material.
ping: an Internet utility that makes a simple connection to a remote machine to see if it is reachable, and if it is operating.
pink noise: noise that has the same amount of energy for each octave.
piston: it will move inside a cylinder to convert a pressure to a mechanical motion or vice versa.
pitch: a perceptual term for describing frequency. Low pitch means low frequency, high pitch means a higher frequency.
pitot tube: a tube that is placed in a flow stream to measure flow pressure.
pixels: are picture elements in a digitally generated and displayed picture. A pixel is the smallest addressable dot on the display device.
PLA (Programmable Logic Array): an integrated circuit that can be programmed to perform different logic functions.
plane sound wave: the sound wave lies on a plane, not on a sphere.
PLC (Programmable Logic Controller): A rugged computer designs for control on the factory floor.
pneumatics: a technique for control and actuation that uses air or gases.
PNP: a bipolar junction transistor type. When referring to switching, these can be used to source current from a voltage source.
poise: a unit of dynamic viscosity.
polling: various inputs are checked in sequence for waiting inputs.
port: 1. an undedicated connector that peripherals may be connected to. 2. a definable connection number for a machine, or a predefined value.
positive displacement pump: a pump that displaces a fixed volume of fluid.
positive logic: the normal method for logic implementation where 1 is a high voltage, and 0 is a low voltage.
potentiometer: displacement or rotation is measured by a change in resistance.
potting: a process where an area is filled with a material to seal it. An example is a sensor that is filled with epoxy to protect it from humidity.
power level: the power of a sound, relative to a reference level
power rating: this is generally the maximum power that a device can supply, or that it will require. Never exceed these values, as they may result in damaged equipment, fires, etc.
power supply: a device that converts power to a usable form. A typical type uses 115Vac and outputs a DC voltage to be used by circuitry.
PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol): allows router to router or host to network connections over other synchronous and asynchronous connections. For example a modem connection can be used to connect to the Internet using PPP.
presentation layer: an OSI network model layer.
pressure: a force that is distributed over some area. This can be applied to solids and gases.
pressure based flow meter: uses difference in fluid pressures to measure speeds.
pressure switch: activated above/below a preset pressure level.
prioritized control: control operations are chosen on the basic of priorities.
procedural language: a computer language where instructions happen one after the other in a clear sequence.
process: a purposeful set of steps for some purpose. In engineering a process is often a machine, but not necessarily.
processor: a loose term for the CPU.
program: a sequential set of computer instructions designed to perform some task.
programmable controller: another name for a PLC, it can also refer to a dedicated controller that uses a custom programming language.
PROM (Programmable Read Only Memory) -
protocol: conventions for communication to ensure compatibility between separated computers.
proximity sensor: a sensor that will detect the presence of a mass nearby without contact. These use a variety of physical techniques including capacitance and inductance.
pull-up resistor: this is used to normally pull a voltage on a line to a positive value. A switch/circuit can be used to pull it low. This is commonly needed in CMOS devices.
pulse: a brief change in a digital signal.
purge bubbling: a test to determine the pressure needed to force a gas into a liquid.
PVC: poly vinyl chloride: a tough plastic commonly used in electrical and other applications.
pyrometer: a device for measuring temperature
QA (Quality Assurance): a formal system that has been developed to improve the quality of a product.
QFD (Quality Functional Deployment): a matrix based method that focuses the designers on the significant design problems.
quality: a measure of how well a product meets its specifications. Keep in mind that a product that exceeds its specifications may not be higher quality.
quality circles: a team from all levels of a company that meets to discuss quality improvement. Each members is expected to bring their own perspective to the meeting.
rack: a housing for holding electronics modules/cards.
rack fault: cards in racks often have error indicator lights that turn on when a fault has occurred. This allows fast replacement.
radar (): radio waves are transmitted and reflected. The time between emission and detection determines the distance to an object.
radiation: the transfer of energy or small particles (e.g., neutrons) directly through space.
radiation pyrometry: a technique for measuring temperature by detecting radiated heat.
radix: the base value of a numbering system. For example the radix of binary is 2.
RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks): a method for robust disk storage that would allow removal of any disk drive without the interruption of service, or loss of data.
random noise: there are no periodic waveforms, frequency and magnitude vary randomly.
random-scan devices: draw an image by refreshing one line or vector at a time; hence they are also called vector-scan or calligraphic devices. The image is subjected to flicker if there are more lines in the scene that can be refreshed at the refresh rate.
Rankine: A temperature system that uses absolute 0 as the base, and the scale is the same as the Fahrenheit scale.
raster devices: process pictures in parallel line scans. The picture is created by determining parts of the scene on each scan line and painting the picture in scan-line order, usually from top to bottom. Raster devices are not subject to flicker because they always scan the complete display on each refresh, independent of the number of lines in the scene.
rated: this will be used with other terms to indicate suggested target/maximum/minimum values for successful and safe operation.
RBOC (Regional Bell Operating Company):
Read/Write (R/W): a digital device that can store and retrieve data, such as RAM.
reagent: an chemical used in one or more chemical reactions. these are often used for identifying other chemicals.
real-time: suggests a system must be able to respond to events that are occurring outside the computer in a reasonable amount of time.
reciprocating: an oscillating linear motion.
redundancy: 1. added data for checking accuracy. 2. extra system components or mechanisms added to decrease the chance of total system failure.
refreshing: is required of a computer screen to maintain the screen image. Phosphors, which glow to show the image, decay at a fast rate, requiring the screen to be redrawn or refreshed several times a second to prevent the image from fading.
regenerative braking: the motor windings are reverse, and in effect return power to the power source. This is highly efficient when done properly.
register: a high speed storage area that can typically store a binary word for fast calculation. Registers are often part of the CPU.
regulator: a device to maintain power output conditions (such as voltage) regardless of the load.
relay: an electrical switch that comes in may different forms. The switch is activated by a magnetic coil that causes the switch to open or close.
relay: a magnetic coil driven switch. The input goes to a coil. When power is applied, the coil generates a magnetic field, and pulls a metal contact, overcoming a spring, and making contact with a terminal. The contact and terminal are separately wired to provide an output that is isolated from the input.
reliability: the probability of failure of a device.
relief valve: designed to open when a pressure is exceeded. In a hydraulic system this will dump fluid back in the reservoir and keep the system pressure constant.
repeatability: the ability of a system to return to the same value time after time. This can be measured with a standard deviation.
repeater: added into networks to boost signals, or reduce noise problems. In effect one can be added to the end of one wire, and by repeating the signals into another network, the second network wire has a full strength signal.
reset: a signal to computers that restarts the processor.
resistance: this is a measurable resistance to energy or mass transfer.
resistance heating: heat is generated by passing a current through a resistive material.
resolution: the smallest division or feature size in a system.
resonant frequency: the frequency at which the material will have the greatest response to an applied vibration or signal. This will often be the most likely frequency of self destruction.
response time: the time required for a system to respond to a directed change.
return: at the end of a subroutine, or interrupt, the program execution will return to where it branched.
reverberation: when a sound wave hits a surface, part is reflected, and part is absorbed. The reflected part will add to the general (reverberant) sound levels in the room.
Reynolds number: a dimensionless flow value based on fluid density and viscosity, flow rate and pipe diameter.
RFI (Radio Frequency Interference):
RFS (Remote File System): allows shared file systems (similar to NFS), and has been developed for System V UNIX.
RGB (Red Green Blue): three additive colors that can be used to simulate the other colors of the spectrum. This is the most popular scheme for specifying colors on computers. The alternate is to use Cyan-Magenta-Yellow for the subtractive color scheme.
ripple voltage: when an AC voltage is converted to DC it is passed through diodes that rectify it, and then through capacitors that smooth it out. A small ripple still remains.
RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer): the more standard computer chips were CISC (Complete Instruction Set Computers) but these had architecture problems that limited speed. To overcome this the total number of instructions were reduced, allowing RISC computers to execute faster, but at the cost of larger programs.
rlogin: allows a text based connection to a remote computer system in UNIX.
robustness: the ability of a system to deal with and recover from unexpected input conditions.
rotameter: for measuring flow rate with a plug inside a tapered tube.
router: as network packets travel through a network, a router will direct them towards their destinations using algorithms.
RPC (Remote Procedure Call): a connection to a specific port on a remote computer will request that a specific program be run. Typical examples are ping, mail, etc.
RS-232C: a serial communication standard for low speed voltage based signals, this is very common on most computers. But, it has a low noise immunity that suggests other standards in harsh environments.
RS-422: a current loop based serial communication protocol that tends to perform well in noisy environments.
RS-485: uses two current loops for serial communications.
RTD (Resistance Temperature Detector): as temperature is changed the resistance of many materials will also change. We can measure the resistance to determine the temperature.
rung: one level of logic in a ladder logic program or ladder diagram.
safety margin: a factor of safety between calculated maximums and rated maximums.
SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition): computer remote monitoring and control of processes.
scan-time: the time required for a PLC to perform one pass of the ladder logic.
schematic: an abstract drawing showing components in a design as simple figures. The figures drawn are often the essential functional elements that must be considered in engineering calculations.
scintillation: when some materials are high by high energy particles visible light or electromagnetic radiation is produced
SCR (Silicon Controlled Rectifier): a semiconductor that can switch AC loads.
SDLC (Synchronous Data-Link Control): IBM oriented data flow protocol with error checking.
self-diagnosis: a self check sequence performed by many operation critical devices.
sensitivity: the ability of a system to detect a change.
sensor: a device that is externally connected to survey electrical or mechanical phenomena, and convert them to electrical or digital values for control or monitoring of systems.
serial communication: elements are sent one after another. This method reduces cabling costs, but typically also reduces speed, etc.
serial design: is the traditional design method. The steps in the design are performed in serial sequence. For example, first the geometry is specified, then the analysis is performed, and finally the manufacturability is evaluated.
servo: a device that will take a desired operation input and amplify the power.
session layer: an OSI network model layer.
setpoint: a desired value for a controlled system.
shield: a grounded conducting barrier that steps the propagation of electromagnetic waves.
Siemens: a measure of electrical conductivity.
signal conditioning: to prepare an input signal for use in a device through filtering, amplification, integration, differentiation, etc.
simplex: single direction communication at any one time.
simulation: a model of the product/process/etc is used to estimate the performance. This step comes before the more costly implementation steps that must follow.
single-discipline team: a team assembled for a single purpose.
single pole: a switch or relay that can only be opened or closed. See also single pole.
single throw: a switch that will only switch one line. This is the simplest configuration.
sinking: using a device that when active will allow current to flow through it to ground. This is complimented by sourcing.
SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol): a method to run the Internet Protocol (IP) over serial lines, such as modem connections.
slip-ring: a connector that allows indefinite rotations, but maintains electrical contacts for passing power and electrical signals.
slurry: a liquid with suspended particles.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): the basic connection protocol for passing mail on the Internet.
snubber: a circuit that suppresses a sudden spike in voltage or current so that it will not damage other devices.
software: a program, often stored on non-permanent media.
solenoid: an actuator that uses a magnetic coil, and a lump of ferrous material. When the coil is energized a linear motion will occur.
solid state: circuitry constructed entirely of semiconductors, and passive devices. (i.e., no gas as in tubes)
sonar: sound waves are emitted and travel through gas/liquid. they are reflected by solid objects, and then detects back at the source. The travel time determines the distance to the object.
sound: vibrations in the air travel as waves. As these waves strike the human ear, or other surfaces, the compression, and rarefaction of the air induces vibrations. In humans these vibrations induce perceived sound, in mechanical devices they manifest as distributed forces.
sound absorption: as sound energy travels through, or reflects off a surface it must induce motion of the propagating medium. This induced motion will result in losses, largely heat, that will reduce the amplitude of the sound.
sound analyzer: measurements can be made by setting the instrument for a certain bandwidth, and center frequency. The measurement then encompasses the values over that range.
sound level: a legally useful measure of sound, weighted for the human ear. Use dBA, dBB, dBC values.
sound level meter: an instrument for measuring sound exposure values.
source: an element in a system that supplies energy.
sourcing: an output that when active will allow current to flow from a voltage source out to a device. It is complimented by sinking.
specific gravity: the ratio between the density of a liquid/solid and water or a gas and air.
spectrometer: determines the index of refraction of materials.
spectrophotometer: measures the intensities of light at different points in the spectrum.
spectrum: any periodic (and random) signal can be described as a collection of frequencies using a spectrum. The spectrum uses signal power, or intensity, plotted against frequency.
spherical wave: a wave travels outward as if on the surface of an expanding sphere, starting from a point source.
SQL (Structured Query Language): a standard language for interrogating relational databases.
standing wave: if a wave travels from a source, and is reflected back such that it arrives back at the source in phase, it can undergo superposition, and effectively amplify the sound from the source.
static head: the hydrostatic pressure at the bottom of a water tank.
steady state: describes a system response after a long period of time. In other words the transient effects have had time to dissipate.
STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product model data): a standard that will allow transfer of solid model data (as well as others) between dissimilar CAD systems.
step response: a typical test of system behavior that uses a sudden step input change with a measured response.
stoichiometry: the general field that deals with balancing chemical equations.
strain gauge: a wire mounted on a surface that will be stretched as the surface is strained. As the wire is stretched, the cross section is reduced, and the proportional change in resistance can be measured to estimate strain.
strut: a two force structural member.
subroutine: a reusable segment of a program that is called repeatedly.
substrate: the base piece of a semiconductor that the layers are added to.
switching: refers to devices that are purely on or off. Clearly this calls for discrete state devices.
synchronous: two or more events happen at predictable times.
synchronous motor: an AC motor. These motors tend to keep a near constant speed regardless of load.
syntax error: an error that is fundamentally wrong in a language.
synthesis: is the specification of values for the design variables. The engineer synthesizes a design and then evaluates its performance using analysis.
system: a complex collection of components that performs a set of functions.
T1: a 1.54 Mbps network data link.
T3: a 45 Mbps network data link. This can be done with parallel T1 lines and packet switching.
tap: a connection to a power line.
tare: the ratio between unloaded and loaded weights.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): a transport layer protocol that ensures reliable data communication when using IP communications. The protocol is connection oriented, with full duplex streams.
tee: a tap into a larger line that does not add any special compensation, or conditioning. These connectors often have a T-shape.
telnet: a standard method for logging into remote computers and having access if connect by a dumb terminal.
temperature: the heat stored in an object. The relationship between temperature and energy content is specific to a material and is called the specific heat.
temperature dependence: as temperature varies, so do physical properties of materials. This makes many devices sensitive to temperatures.
thermal conductivity: the ability of a material to transfer heat energy.
thermal gradient: the change in temperature as we move through a material.
thermal lag: a delay between the time heat energy is applied and the time it arrives at the load.
thermistor: a resistance based temperature measurement device.
thermocouple: a device using joined metals that will generate a junction potential at different temperatures, used for temperature measurement.
thermopiles: a series of thermocouples in series.
thermoresistors: a category including RTDs and thermistors.
throughput: the speed that actual data is transmitted/processed, etc.
through beam: a beam is projected over an opening. If the beam is broken the sensor is activated.
thumbwheel: a mechanical switch with multiple positions that allow digits to be entered directly.
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): an image format best suited to scanned pictures, such as Fax transmissions.
time-division multiplex: a circuit is switched between different devices for communication.
time-proportional control: the amount of power delivered to an AC device is varied by changing the number of cycles delivered in a fixed period of time.
timer: a device that can be set to have events happen at predetermined times.
titration: a procedure for determining the strength of a solution using a reagent for detection. A chemical is added at a slow rate until the reagent detects a change.
toggle switch: a switch with a large lever used for easy reviews of switch settings, and easy grasping.
token: an indicator of control. Often when a process receives a token it can operate, when it is done it gives it up.
TOP (Technical Office Protocol):
top-down design: a design is done by first laying out the most abstract functions, and then filling in more of the details as they are required.
topology: 1. The layout of a network. 2. a mathematical topic describing the connection of geometric entities. This is used for B-Rep models.
torque: a moment or twisting action about an axis.
toroidal core: a torus shaped magnetic core to increase magnetic conductivity.
TPDDI (Twisted Pair Distributed Data Interface): counter rotating token ring network connected with twisted pair medium.
transceiver (transmitter receiver): a device to electrically interface between the computer network card, and the physical network medium. Packet collision hardware is present in these devices.
transducer: a device that will convert energy from one form to another at proportional levels.
transformations: include translation, rotation, and scaling of objects mathematically using matrix algebra. Transformations are used to move objects around in a scene.
transformer: two separate coils wound about a common magnetic coil. Used for changing voltage, current and resistance levels.
transient: a system response that occurs because of a change. These effects dissipate quickly and we are left with a steady state response.
transmission path: a system component that is used for transmitting energy.
transport layer: an OSI network model layer.
TRIAC (TRIode Alternating Current): a semiconductor switch suited to AC power.
true: a logic positive, high, or 1.
truth table: an exhaustive list of all possible logical input states, and the logical results.
TTL (Transistor Transistor Logic): a high speed for of transistor logic.
turbine: a device that generates a rotational motion using gas or fluid pressure on fan blades or vanes.
turbulent flow: fluids moving past an object, or changing direction will start to flow unevenly. This will occur when the Reynold’s number exceeds 4000.
twisted pair: a scheme where wires are twisted to reduce the effects of EMI so that they may be used at higher frequencies. This is casually used to refer to 10b2 ethernet.
UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) -
UDP (User Datagram Protocol): a connectionless method for transmitting packets to other hosts on the network. It is seen as a counterpart to TCP.
ultrasonic: sound or vibration at a frequency above that of the ear (> 16KHz typ.)
ultraviolet: light with a frequency above the visible spectrum.
UNIX: a very powerful operating system used on most high end and mid-range computers. The predecessor was Multics. This operating system was developed at AT & T, and grew up in the academic environment. As a result a wealth of public domain software has been developed, and the operating system is very well debugged.
UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) -
user friendly: a design scheme that simplifies interaction so that no knowledge is needed to operate a device and errors are easy to recover from. It is also a marketing term that is badly misused.
user interfaces: are the means of communicating with the computer. For CAD applications, a graphical interface is usually preferred. User friendliness is a measure of the ease of use of a program and implies a good user interface.
UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy Program): a common communication method between UNIX systems.
vacuum: a pressure that is below another pressure.
vane: a blade that can be extended to provide a good mechanical contact and/or seal.
variable: a changeable location in memory.
varistor: voltage applied changes resistance.
valve: a system component for opening and closing mass/energy flow paths. An example is a water faucet or transistor.
variable: it is typically a value that will change or can be changed. see also constant.
VDT (Video Display Terminal): also known as a dumb terminal
velocity: a rate of change or speed.
Venturi: an effect that uses an orifice in a flow to generate a differential pressure. These devices can generate small vacuums.
viscosity: when moved a fluid will have some resistance proportional to internal friction. This determines how fast a liquid will flow.
viscosity index: when heated fluid viscosity will decrease, this number is the relative rate of change with respect to temperature.
VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) -
volt: a unit of electrical potential.
voltage rating: the range or a maximum/minimum limit that is required to prevent damage, and ensure normal operation. Some devices will work outside these ranges, but not all will, so the limits should be observed for good designs.
volume: the size of a region of space or quantity of fluid.
volatile memory: most memory will lose its contents when power is removed, making it volatile.
vortex: a swirling pattern in fluid flow.
vortex shedding: a solid object in a flow stream might cause vortexes. These vortexes will travel with the flow and appear to be shed.
VRV (Vertical Redundancy Check) -
watchdog timer: a timer that expects to receive a pulse every fraction of a second. If a pulse is not received, it assumes the system is not operating normally, and a shutdown procedure is activated.
watt: a unit of power that is commonly used for electrical systems, but applies to all.
wavelength: the physical distance occupied by one cycle of a wave in a propagating medium.
word: 1. a unit of 16 bits or two bytes. 2. a term used to describe a binary number in a computer (not limited to 16 bits).
write: a digital value is stored in a memory location.
WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get): newer software allows users to review things on the screen before printing. In WYSIWYG mode, the layout on the screen matches the paper version exactly.
X.25- a packet switching standard by the CCITT.
X.400: a message handling system standard by the CCITT.
X.500: a directory services standard by the CCITT.
X rays: very high frequency electromagnetic waves.
X Windows: a window driven interface system that works over networks. The system was developed at MIT, and is quickly becoming the standard windowed interface. Personal computer manufacturers are slowly evolving their windowed operating systems towards X-Windows like standards. This standard only specifies low level details, higher level standards have been developed: Motif, and Openlook.
xmodem: a popular protocol for transmitting files over text based connections. compression and error checking are included.
ymodem: a popular protocol for transmitting files over text based connections. compression and error checking are included.