Technically, Mechanical Engineering is the application of the principles and problem-solving techniques of engineering from design and manufacturing to the marketplace for any object. Mechanical engineers analyze their work using the principles of motion, energy and force ensuring that designs function safely, efficiently, and reliably, all at a competitive cost.
Mechanical engineers make a difference. That’s because mechanical engineering careers concentrate on creating technologies to meet human needs. Virtually every product or service in modern life has probably been touched in some way by a mechanical engineer.
This includes solving today’s problems and creating future solutions in Health Care, Energy, Transportation, World Hunger, Space Exploration, Climate Change, and more.
Being ingrained in many challenges and innovations across many fields means a Mechanical Engineering education is versatile. To meet broad worldwide demand, mechanical engineers may design a component, a machine, a system, or a process. This ranges from the macro to the micro, from the largest systems like cars and satellites to the smallest components like sensors and switches. Anything that needs to be manufactured indeed anything with moving parts needs the expertise of a high-qualified mechanical engineer.
Mechanical Engineering combines creativity, knowledge, and analytical tools to complete the difficult task of shaping an idea into reality. This transformation happens at a personal scale, affecting human lives on a level we can reach out and touch like robotic prostheses. It happens on the local scale, affecting people in community-level spaces, like with agile interconnected microgrids. And it happens on bigger scales, like with advanced power systems, through engineering that operates nationwide or across the globe.
Mechanical engineers have an enormous range of opportunity and their education mirrors this breadth of subjects. Students concentrate on one area while strengthening analytical and problem-solving skills applicable to any engineering situation.
Technology itself has also made a great impact on the working processes of mechanical engineering. The suite of mechanical tools has also become quite powerful in recent decades. Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) is an umbrella term that covers everything from typical CAD techniques to Computer-Aided Manufacturing and Computer-Aided Engineering, involving Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). These tools and others have further broadened the horizons of mechanical engineering.
Society depends on Mechanical Engineering. This field has a great impact on modern society and its technical development, and as such, there is no real limit for young and prominent mechanical engineers. Jobs are always in demand, particularly in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, biotechnology, and energy industries.
Research and experiments in mechanical engineering fields focus on how forces are transmitted to and throughout a mechanical structure. Once a system is in motion, mechanical engineers look at dynamics, or what velocities, accelerations, and resulting forces come into play. Then kinematics examines how a mechanism behaves as it moves through its range of motion.
Materials Science delves into determining the best materials for different applications. A part of that is the materials’ strength in testing support loads, stiffness, brittleness, and other properties which are essential for many construction, automobile, and medical materials.
How energy gets converted into useful power is the major subject of studies of thermodynamics, as well as determining what energy is lost in the process. One specific kind of energy, heat transfer, is crucial in many applications and requires gathering and analyzing temperature data and distributions.
Fluid Mechanics, which also has a variety of applications, conducts research on many properties of fluids including pressure drops from fluid flow and aerodynamic drag forces.
Manufacturing is an important field of science in Mechanical Engineering. Within the field, researchers investigate the best processes to make manufacturing more efficient. Laboratory methods of research and analysis focus on improving how to measure both thermal and mechanical engineering products and processes.
Likewise, in Machine Design, the most important is the development of equipment-scale processes while electrical engineering focuses on circuitry. All this equipment produces Vibrations, another field of Mechanical Engineering, in which researchers study how to predict and control Vibrations. Engineering Economics makes Mechanical Designs relevant and usable in the real world by estimating manufacturing and life cycle costs of materials, designs, and other engineered products.
Breakthroughs in Materials and Analytical Tools has opened new frontiers for mechanical engineers. Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Composites, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and Acoustical Engineering have all expanded the Mechanical Engineering toolbox.
Nanotechnology allows conducting the engineering of materials on the smallest of scales. With the ability to design and manufacture materials down to the elemental level, the possibilities for objects grow immensely.
Composites are another area where the manipulation of materials allows to open new manufacturing opportunities. By combining materials with different characteristics in innovative ways, the best of each material can be employed and new solutions found. CFD allows mechanical engineers to study complex fluid flows and analyze them with specific algorithms. This allows modeling the situations that would previously have been impossible. Acoustical Engineering examines Vibration and Sound, providing the opportunity to reduce noise in devices and increase efficiency in everything from biotechnology to architecture.
Careers in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering range over a broad scope. Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineers research, design, build, test, maintain and improve all manner of things. These include power plants, renewable energy systems, electrical generators, robots, computer systems, aircraft engines, and cars.
In recent times, mechanical and manufacturing engineers have had to adapt to the changing needs of the technology era. Now they design bionic limbs and prosthetic joints, develop high-performance composite materials, and work on more flexible manufacturing processes. As technology demands it, these engineers respond with an ingenious invention or more efficient process.
To be a successful Mechanical Engineer, some of the most important skills you can develop are:
Whoever you are and whatever you choose to do, your forming years are important. This applies to you too, aspiring mechanical engineer! The more cultures and people you get to know, the more you learn about different ways to find solutions to problems.
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