What is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is perhaps the broadest of all the engineering disciplines in its range of activities and functions.

Mechanical engineers are concerned with design, manufacturing and operations of a wide range of components, devices, or systems. For example:

  • A low-emissions, high-efficiency engine located at the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory could improve the reliability and efficiency of the electrical power grid
  • microscopic parts to gigantic gears
  • more efficient heating, ventilation, refrigeration
  • laser technology
  • biomedical applications
  • automotive industry
  • computer-aided design, automation, robotics
  • predictive maintenance and reliability technologies

What do Mechanical Engineers do?

Mechanical engineers research, develop, design, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices.

They work on 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 equipment, machine tools, material handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing.

Design

  • machines that manufacture and package all varieties of products
  • rotating equipment – pumps, compressors, blowers, turbomachinery
  • internal combustion engines
  • pressure vessels – reactors, heat exchangers, boilers
  • storage tanks
  • piping systems
  • materials handling equipment – conveyers, robots
  • vehicles – cars, trucks, heavy equipment, buses, aircraft

Analyze

  • equipment failures
  • equipment to improve performance and reliability
  • heat transfer
  • vibration

Fabrication

  • coordinate fabrication of equipment
  • develop improved fabrication techniques and methods

Testing

  • test quality, performance, safety, and reliability of products, equipment, processes

Sales

  • work as technical salespersons for companies that manufacture various products and equipment