Last Updated on August 10, 2022
Mechanical engineering is a discipline that involves the practical application of science and math to solve problems, develop technologies, and produce products. Mechanical engineers often work on teams with other engineers and technicians, including computer programmers, designers, drafters, and other professionals. For those of you who are seeking the The Types Of Mechanical Engineering
So you have decided to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. You have explored what this major entails and have decided that this is a field you want a future in. Now that you have decided, it is important to understand the different types of mechanical engineering majors available to you, asides from that you can also get information relating to The Types Of Mechanical Engineering, mechanical engineering courses, masters in mechanical engineering specializations & mechanical engineering degree.
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The Types Of Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineering emerged as a field during the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 18th century; however, its development can be traced back several thousands of years around the world. It is perhaps the most diverse of engineering disciplines.
Mechanical engineers are able to design and manufacture everything from small parts like miniature connectors to large machine tools like drill presses. They take a product from start to finish, and design for aesthetics, functionality, and durability. Examples of products that mechanical engineers can design and develop are: transmissions; engine parts; aircraft engines; control systems; prosthetic devices; disk drives; printers; semiconductor tools; sensors; gas turbines; wind turbines; fuel cells; compressors; robots; and machine tools.
7 Types of Mechanical Engineering Degrees
Sound is vibration; vibration is sound… and that’s probably why the overarching field of mechanical engineering claims acoustical engineering as its own. The goals of this field include noise and vibration control, though the design of objects such as hearing protectors, noise buffers, and sound barriers; fidelity enhancement, through the design of vessels such as announcement systems and concert halls; and the use of ultrasonic frequencies, through applications such as medicine, sonar and nondestructive testing. Machine recognition and synthesis of speech is another important area for acoustical engineering. Acoustic engineers frequently start with undergrad studies in mechanical engineering, before moving onto specialize in the field via graduate study. The Acoustical Society of America (ASU) is an international organization; it got its start at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in the late 1920s.
So you want to be a rocket scientist? Two overlapping branches comprise this field, which is concerned with the development of aircraft (aeronautical engineering) and spacecraft (astronautical engineering). Because of the complexity involved, aerospace engineers generally work in multidisciplinary teams comprised of specialists in aerodynamics, avionics, manufacturing, materials science, propulsion and structural analysis. There are numerous schools for studying aerospace engineering. Based on peer assessment studies, U.S. News & World Report identifies the Top 5 schools (among those where a doctorate is the highest degree offered) as MIT, Georgia Tech, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Stanford and Caltech. A main resource for the field is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), which serves as the U.S. representative for the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), based in Paris.
Baby, you can drive my car. One of three branches of vehicle engineering (along with aerospace and marine engineering), this field focuses on the production, development and manufacture of all types of road vehicles. Specializations include automotive electronics, fuel economy, quality management and safety engineering. In the U.S., very few universities and colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in automotive engineering; interested students often study mechanical engineering before narrowing their concentration through graduate-level study. A top resource for the field is SAE International, formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Ship ahoy! This field concerns itself with the development, design, operation and maintenance of all types of water-based craft. It includes oceanographic engineering, which works with the physical and biological aspects of the ocean; and offshore engineering, which involves the design of structures such as offshore wind farms and oil platforms. Marine engineering programs are often found at schools with nearby bodies of water, such as the University of New Orleans (UNO), as well as government-run schools such as the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). A top resource for professionals in the field is the Society for Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME).
And then, of course, there’s plain old mechanical engineering itself — but it’s a broad and diverse field with nothing plain about it. One of the oldest of all the engineering disciplines, it focuses on mechanical systems — their design, analysis, manufacture and maintenance. The field encompasses many core areas including thermodynamics, materials science, structural analysis and more. Mechanical engineering touches everything from factories and industrial equipment to heating and cooling systems to weaponry, and just about any type of machinery you can think of. Degrees in mechanical engineering are offered throughout the world; in the U.S., most programs fall under the auspices of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET); for four-year degrees alone, 318 programs are currently listed. There are several professional resources that serve the field as well, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in New York and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in London; both are international organizations with members throughout the world.
Mecha-what? Japanese engineer Tetsuro Mori coined the term “mechatronics” in 1969 to describe a hybrid approach to mechanics and electronics. This is an evolving field that revolves around the design and manufacture of intelligent systems built to streamline processes, such as industrial robots, machine vision systems and many of the “smart” devices that have transformed a wide variety of industries. The internet of things (IoT) will be largely comprised of mechatronic components. At present, the number of colleges and universities offering degrees in mechatronic engineering is small, but interested students often complete mechanical engineering studies with a leaning toward robotics and automation. Several schools also have labs for mechatronic research. =
The first time most kids hear the term “engineer,” they probably think of the person who runs a train. Well, turns out they’re not so far off when it comes to this field, which deals with the design, construction and operation of all types of rail transport systems. The history of rail technology goes back further than many of the other transportation engineering disciplines, but that doesn’t make it any less essential. Freight rail, in particular, continues to catalyze economic development, along with easing highway congestion, saving energy and reducing carbon emissions. According to Progressive Railroading, a growing number of colleges and universities are offering electives in rail-related studies; there is also Penn State Altoona, which offers a four-year undergraduate degree. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) serves as a strong resource about the state of the industry and its technology.
What Does A Mechanical Engineer Do
Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and most diverse of the engineering disciplines. It is the branch of engineering that involves the design, production, and operation of machinery by applying physics, engineering, mathematics, and materials science principles.
Mechanical engineering is seen in areas such as composites, mechatronics, and nanotechnology, and often overlaps with manufacturing engineering, metallurgical engineering, civil engineering, aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, and other engineering disciplines to varying amounts.
In order to design and manufacture mechanical systems, mechanical engineers need to have a deep understanding of mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, electricity, and structural analysis. They also need to be able to use computers, CAD (computer-aided design), and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) to produce and analyze their designs, as well as to monitor the quality of products.
Mechanical engineers typically do the following:
- Analyze problems to see how a mechanical device might help solve the problem
- Design or redesign mechanical devices, creating blueprints so the device can be built
- Develop a prototype of the device and test the prototype
- Analyze the test results and change the design as needed
- Oversee the manufacturing process
Mechanical engineers use many types of tools, engines, and machines, such as:
- Electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines
- Power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning
- Industrial production equipment, including robots used in manufacturing
- Other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators
- Machine tools and tools for other engineers
- Material-handling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations
Duties of Mechanical Engineers
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 engineering fields. Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries.
Mechanical engineers design power-producing machines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines, as well as power-using machines, 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 use computers extensively. Mechanical engineers are routinely responsible for the integration of sensors, controllers, and machinery. Computer technology helps mechanical engineers create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work, interact with connected systems, and generate specifications for parts.
The following are examples of types of mechanical engineers:
Auto research engineers seek to improve the performance of cars. These engineers work to improve traditional features of cars such as suspension, and they also work on aerodynamics and new possible fuels.
Heating and cooling systems engineers work to create and maintain environmental systems wherever temperatures and humidity must be kept within certain limits. They develop such systems for airplanes, trains, cars, schools, and even computer rooms.
Robotic engineers plan, build, and maintain robots. These engineers plan how robots will use sensors for detecting things based on light or smell, and they design how these sensors will fit into the designs of the robots.
mechanical engineering subjects
Standards set by each country’s accreditation society are intended to provide uniformity in fundamental subject material, promote competence among graduating engineers, and to maintain confidence in the engineering profession as a whole. Engineering programs in the U.S., for example, are required by ABET to show that their students can “work professionally in both thermal and mechanical systems areas.” The specific courses required to graduate, however, may differ from program to program. Universities and Institutes of technology will often combine multiple subjects into a single class or split a subject into multiple classes, depending on the faculty available and the university’s major area(s) of research.
The fundamental subjects required for mechanical engineering usually include:
- Mathematics (in particular, calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra)
- Basic physical sciences (including physics and chemistry)
- Statics and dynamics
- Strength of materials and solid mechanics
- Materials engineering, Composites
- Thermodynamics, heat transfer, energy conversion, and HVAC
- Fuels, combustion, Internal combustion engine
- Fluid mechanics (including fluid statics and fluid dynamics)
- Mechanism and Machine design (including kinematics and dynamics)
- Instrumentation and measurement
- Manufacturing engineering, technology, or processes
- Vibration, control theory and control engineering
- Hydraulics and Pneumatics
- Mechatronics and robotics
- Engineering design and product design
- Drafting, computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)
How to Become a Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineers who sell services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia.
Education for Mechanical Engineers
Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design. Mechanical engineering technology programs focus less on theory and more on the practical application of engineering principles. They may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in industry.
Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.
ABET accredits programs in engineering and engineering technology. Most employers prefer to hire students from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.
Important Qualities for Mechanical Engineers
Creativity. Mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery. A creative mind is essential for this kind of work.
Listening skills. Mechanical engineers often work on projects with others, such as architects and computer scientists. They must listen to and analyze different approaches made by other experts to complete the task at hand.
Math skills. Mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
Mechanical skills. Mechanical skills allow engineers to apply basic engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices and systems.
Problem-solving skills. Mechanical engineers need good problem-solving skills to take scientific principles and discoveries and use them to design and build useful products.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Mechanical Engineers
Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a mechanical engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires
- A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
- A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
- Relevant work experience typically at least 4 years
- A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam.
The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.
Several states require engineers to take continuing education to renew their licenses every year. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.
Several professional organizations offer a variety of certification programs for engineers to demonstrate competency in specific fields of mechanical engineering.
Other Experience for Mechanical Engineers
During high school students can attend engineering summer camps to see what these and other engineers do. Attending these camps can help students plan their coursework for the remainder of their time in high school.
Advancement for Mechanical Engineers
A Ph.D. is essential for engineering faculty positions in higher education, as well as for some research and development programs. Mechanical engineers may earn graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology, broaden their education, and enhance their project management skills. Mechanical engineers may become administrators or managers after gaining work experience.
mechanical engineer salary
The median annual wage for mechanical engineers is $88,430. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $57,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $138,020.
The median annual wages for mechanical engineers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Scientific research and development services||$101,780|
|Computer and electronic product manufacturing||$95,260|
|Architectural, engineering, and related services||$90,560|
|Transportation equipment manufacturing||$90,350|
Most mechanical engineers work full time and some work more than 40 hours a week.
mechanical engineering fields of specialization
Computational Engineering is an advanced Mechanical engineering course where you’d learn to design using simulation software, i.e., via computer. It’s important that automotive, aerospace, and bioengineering industries have effective and functional modeling of their mechanics.
This is where students learn computational engineering, which is an emerging field now, with the advent of technology which only seems to grow at a faster pace ever since the worldwide pandemic. Here, you’ll learn using simulation software tools to not just design but also see how designs work in practice. This ensures the functionality of a mechanical piece of object.
MS graduates create computer-aided design tools for process simulations. In the biomedical space, graduates can work on novel algorithms for the (bio)modeling of molecules using computational methods.
Machine Design & Development / Automotive Design
This mechanical engineering specialization focuses on the design and development of not only automotive but other complex engineering systems.
Students will work on problems affecting the analysis, synthesis, design, automation, fabrication, testing, evaluation, and optimization of mechanical systems.
Undoubtedly, a rewarding career is awaiting those willing to spend their days and nights reading the equations of this course. More importantly, students are also expected to be in touch with their artistic and creative side, after all, it’s designing stuff as well at the end of the day.
Students learn to develop integrated manufacturing cells and machines that contain automated material handling systems, machining, tool path planning, sensor systems, quality control, and error handling.
Students are exposed to broad fields including composite materials, micro-electromechanical systems, laser machining and laser processing of materials, thin-film fabrication, and tool wear.
Automation and Control Systems
This specialization addresses the broad spectrum of control science and engineering from mathematical theory to computer implementation.
On the theoretical side, faculty and graduate students pursue research on adaptive and optimal control, digital control, robust control, modeling, and identification, learning, intelligent control, and nonlinear control, to name a few.
On the application side, research teams engage in projects involving a variety of mechanical systems such as robot manipulators, manufacturing systems, vehicles and intelligent vehicle highway systems, motion control systems, computer storage devices, and biomedical systems.
Courses in this area cover linear system theory, digital control, nonlinear control, adaptive control, modeling and identification, multivariable robust control theory, real-time use of microcomputers for signal processing and control, and control of robot manipulators.
The main objective of the Fluid Mechanics specialization is to deliver the state of the art knowledge for modeling complex fluid dynamic related engineering problems of various industrial processes.
Training in the Fluid Mechanics group provides students with an understanding of the fundamentals of fluid flow. At the Masters level, all students are typically required to complete a one-year course in fluid dynamics before specializing in particular areas.
In addition, students get a firm foundation in the analytical, computational, and experimental essentials of fluid dynamics. Research activities span the Reynolds number range from creeping flows to planetary phenomena.
Mechatronics is a newly growing interdisciplinary course within the field of engineering; It aims to combine the principles of engineering from the fields of mechanics, computers, robotics, electricity, and automation.
Mechatronics engineers have a promising career within the field and their responsibilities mostly include designing, developing, and testing a wide range of automated machines and engineering systems, from industries of AI, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer products, etc.
Robotics is a multi-disciplinary study drawing expertise from various engineering departments. The specialization allows students to take a hands-on approach to learn.
Robotics combines mechanical engineering with other technical disciplines, such as electrical engineering, software programming, or biomedical engineering.
Students will need to design and construct robotic systems or their components. As with all engineering design and implementation, students will need to communicate their design to their peers so that different components can work together or in a bigger system.
Students can further super-specialize in the following:
- Medical Robotics
- Precision Robotics
- Industrial Robotics
Renewable Energy / Energy Engineering
Energy-related research in Mechanical Engineering encompasses a broad range of science and technology areas spanning a variety of applications that involve storage, transport, conversion, and use of energy. Students will particularly focus on Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer.
The specialization in Energy Engineering prepares students for the exciting future of working in the energy industry, where students are taught the relevant fields and themes, like renewable energy sources and the energy industry in the US, Canada, Europe, and worldwide.
Research in these areas ranges from fundamental research, that aims to understand and/or model critically important processes and mechanisms, to applied research that explores new energy technology concepts at the application level.