What Is Mechanical Engineering?


What is mechanical engineering and what type of work does it involve? How is it that these kinds of engineers are different from others yet they share very similar “sub-disciplines”? This article will provide you with a summer of what to expect in this field of work as well as the types of educational requirements that you will need to obtain should you choose to pursue this career path.

Mechanical engineering is the discipline in which one applies the laws of physics as well as material science, to aid in the design, manufacturing process and also the operational maintenance of mechanical systems. It also utilizes the power of mechanics and heat to design and produce all the machines and equipment we see around us today.

Mechanical engineering isn’t something new though, it is fundamental to our lives and has been around since man learned to build simple machines, but was most notably apparent during the European industrial revolution in the 18th century.

It is an incredibly broad field of engineering which involves many scientific disciplines, some of which include: kinematics, pneumatics, energy and fluid mechanics just to name a few. Mechanical engineers need to strongly versed in math as well since mathematics is the core tool in which most projects rely upon.

Mechanical engineers play an integral part alongside different fields and professions. Despite the fact that this discipline is incredibly old, technology is forever evolving and mechanical engineers are required to constantly research new ways of doing things and to discover new materials to utilize in the manufacturing process to make equipment and products more cost-efficient, more durable and better. Technological advances such as nanotechnology is  a good example and is of particular interest to mechanical engineers of late, especially in the medical fields.

How To Become Qualified

In order to obtain a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, one needs to undertake 4-5 years of study in a university. In most colleges and universities across the globe, students will learn and also put to practice what they have learned within the engineering projects. To graduate, students are required to complete these projects during their time in university as part of their assessment. Students are required to understand the core principles such as mechanics, kinematics, material science, thermodynamics, and structural analysis. Other areas of study might include fluid dynamics, pneumatics, along with other areas of science and design.

Mechanical engineers will utilize these core principles  in conjunction with computer-aided engineering and product life cycle management to design, test and analyze a range of different industrial equipment and machinery. Some of which include, aircraft engines, boats, robotics, medical devices, transport, heating and cooling systems.

Of the graduates, some will go out and seek employment while others might pursue further students in related fields or even a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Cross Disciplines with Other Types of Engineering

Mechanical engineering is definitely not a singular and well-defined career field. Rather, it is a collective of multiple sub-disciplines that when combined, allow them to solve engineering problems.  This form of engineering includes different fields of study which often overlaps other disciplines. For example, it might share the discipline of fluid dynamics with Aeronautical engineering, and stress analysis with its civil engineering counterpart. In hardware manufacturing,  computer engineering would be the common denominator.

Overall, mechanical engineers strive to develop new knowledge and technology to create higher quality, safer and more cost and energy efficient products and mechanical systems to benefit our society.