Assignment in Ethics for Scientists and Engineers


(Research topics in ethics like risk, resource allocation, conflicting ethical methods, and intuition in ethical decision making. List your references.) Write a paper of modest length (up to 2 pages, typed, double spaced, not including reference pages(s).
last 2 paragraphs should be your opinion

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Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering
Quality Control
Assignment in Ethics for Scientists & Engineers
ABET Outcome Performance Criteria #(f) (f1) & (f2)
(f): Students will have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
(f1). Understand professional conduct
(f2). Learn importance of ethics for engineers
Case 14.3 Informed Consent (from Fundamental of Ethics for Scientists & Engineers; Edmund G.
Seebauer & Robert L. Barry; Oxford University Press, 2001 Publication).
“You asked to talk to me, Conrad?” said Martin Diesirae as he knocked on the office door.
Conrad, the senior development chemist at Tripos Metal Polish, looked up and nodded. “Since you’re in
charge of our customer relations these days, I needed to bounce something off you…”
“You mean about the new metal dip you developed—for museums?” Martin broke in. “I really don’t
think we ought to pursue that. The company has just been through too many changes.”
Conrad smiled at Martin’s earnestness. “I agree with you, although that’s not what I wanted to talk
about right now. I’m thinking about something different. It’s about a reformulation of our APZ polish for
aluminum. I’ve found a way to make the polish more cheaply by using a slightly different mix of
ingredients and a revised heating procedure. What I get meets all the specs of our commercial productetch rate, degree of flatness, residue, and the like.”
“So what’s the question?” queried Martin.
“Well, when you use this stuff on aluminum alloys, it behaves a little differently than what we sell now.
The etch rate actually starts out a little higher, but the new stuff isn’t as good at dissolving certain
metals. So if you have aluminum mixed with a little copper, for example, the copper tends to build up on
the surface. The etching still proceeds, but slower. Plus, you get a surface composition a little different
from that of the bulk material.”
“But I thought you said your new polish met our specs.”
“It does, for any practical purpose I can think of,” replied Conrad. “Usually in the applications this polish
is used for you don’t want to take off more than about 100 micrometers of material. Often it’s much
less. But because of the transition metal buildup, if you try to take more than 100 micrometers off, the
etch rate eventually falls below our specification. And in any case, you get a surface more highly
enriched in the resistant metal than you might expect. I can’t see why that would ever matter, but
conceivably it might”.
“What are you asking me?” responded Martin.
“Since we meet our specs for practical applications, I want to try out this new formulation on some of
our customers. But I can’t see any up side to telling them what we’re doing. Some customers get scared
if you tell them you’re tampering with their feed materials. And if you explain to them exactly what
you’re doing and what effect it might have, they don’t always understand you. Some of our customers
make toys! They don’t know or care about etching chemistry! They just want something that will make
their product look shiny the way it always has. They might get spooked and jump to another supplier.
And we can’t afford that right now. So I’m asking you if the change is OK.”
Martin frowned. “I don’t know, Conrad. What if something goes wrong? We think we know what our
customers use this stuff for, but we don’t know for sure. They may do other things we don’t know
“I know there’s a risk, but I think it’s small,” Conrad replied. “We can make a better profit with this new
material, and it’s hard for me to imagine an application where we wouldn’t meet our specified etch rate.
As for surface composition, we only warrant that our material doesn’t deposit junk. We don’t say
anything about changing composition because of differential etching. So legally I think we’re fine.”
“I’m still not sure, Conrad. I’ll have to think about it.”
What should Martin recommend?
(Research topics in ethics like risk, resource allocation, conflicting ethical methods, and intuition in
ethical decision making. List your references.) Write a paper of modest length (up to 2 pages, typed,
double spaced, not including reference pages(s).

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