What is Mechanical Engineering?
Mechanical engineering is an engineering branch that combines engineering physics and mathematics principles with materials science, to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering branches.
Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test. They deal with anything that moves, from components to machines to the human body.
Technically, mechanical engineering is the application of the principles and problem-solving techniques of engineering from design, through manufacture, to the market for any object. Mechanical engineers analyze their work using the principles of motion, energy, and force to ensure designs perform safely, efficiently, and reliably, all at a competitive cost.
Mechanical engineers make a difference. That’s because mechanical engineering careers focus on creating technology that meets human needs. Virtually every product or service in modern life has probably been touched upon in some way by a mechanical engineer to help humanity.
This includes solving today’s problems and creating tomorrow’s solutions in healthcare, energy, transportation, world hunger, space exploration, climate change, and more.
Being rooted in many challenges and innovations in many fields means that mechanical engineering education is versatile. To meet this broad demand, mechanical engineers can design a component, machine, system, or 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 requires the expertise of a mechanical engineer.
What Mechanical Engineers Do?
Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, including tools, engines, and machines.
Mechanical engineering combines creativity, knowledge and analytical tools to tackle the difficult task of turning an idea into reality.
This transformation is happening on a personal level, affecting human life on a level that we can reach and touch like robotic prosthetics. It’s happening at the local level and affecting people in spaces at the community level, like agile, interconnected microgrids. And it’s happening on a larger scale, as with advanced energy systems, through engineering that’s national or global.
Mechanical engineers have an enormous range of opportunities and their education reflects this breadth of subjects. Students focus on one area while strengthening analytical and problem-solving skills applicable to any technical situation.
Mechanical engineers typically do the following:
- Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve a particular problem
- Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices or subsystems, using analysis and computer-aided design
- Investigate equipment failures or difficulties to diagnose faulty operation and to recommend remedies
- Develop and test prototypes of devices they design
- Analyze the test results and change the design or system as needed
- Oversee the manufacturing process for the device
Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest fields of engineering. Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries.
Mechanical engineers design machines that produce electricity, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines, and machines that use electricity, such as refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
Mechanical engineers design other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators. They also design material handling systems such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations.
Like other engineers, mechanical engineers make extensive use of computers. Mechanical engineers are routinely responsible for integrating sensors, controls, and machines. Computer technology helps mechanical engineers create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is expected to perform, interact with connected systems, and create specifications for parts.
What Tasks Do Mechanical Engineers Do?
Careers in mechanical engineering call for a variety of tasks.
- Conceptual design
- Presentations and report writing
- Multidisciplinary teamwork
- Concurrent engineering
- Benchmarking the competition
- Project management
- Data Interpretation
- Developmental design
- Analysis (FEA and CFD)
- Working with suppliers
- Customer service
The essence of engineering is problem-solving. With this in mind, mechanical engineering also requires applied creativity and a practical understanding of the job, as well as strong interpersonal skills such as networking, leadership, and conflict management.
Creating a product is only part of the equation; knowing how to deal with people, ideas, data, and business are what makes a mechanical engineer complete.
Is mechanical engineering a good career?
Yes. A mechanical engineering degree can lead to careers in many fields, including manufacturing and aerospace. These careers provide strong annual salaries.
Is mechanical engineering a stressful job?
Yes, mechanical engineering is a stressful job. This is because mechanical engineers are always busy designing, developing, and testing mechanical and thermal devices. According to the Bureau of Labor Studies, more than one-third of mechanical engineers work over 40 hours a week.
Which job is best for mechanical engineers?
Here are the six best-paying jobs in mechanical engineering:
- Automation engineer.
- Research and development engineer.
- Senior mechanical engineer.
- Senior design engineer.
- Powertrain engineer.
- Instrumentation engineer.
Is mechanical engineering hard?
The field of mechanical engineering ranks as one of the hardest majors in part because of its technical requirements. Students must take advanced mathematics and science courses as part of their training.
How many years does it take to be a mechanical engineer?
A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, which usually takes four years to earn, ensures that students have the fundamental technical knowledge for obtaining a license and getting started with a job in the field.
Is mechanical engineering good for the future?
This career opens up numerous opportunities for employment in diverse industries. The industries that welcome candidates from this field are automobile, aerospace, railway coach factory, research and development, oil and exploration, chemical manufacturing plants, and many others.
Are mechanical engineers in demand?
Employment of mechanical engineers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 20,200 openings for mechanical engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
Are mechanical engineers happy?
As it turns out, mechanical engineers rate their career happiness 3.0 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 33% of careers.