Mechanical engineering is without a doubt one of the oldest and broadest disciplines in all of engineering.


   

When the industrial revolution took place a couple of hundred years ago it was the mechanical engineering experts that were at the heart of this explosion in construction and manufacturing.

But even then the science of mechanical engineering had been around for a long time – even thousands of years if you consider the work done in mechanics dating back to the ancient empires and civilizations of the world.

But what is mechanical engineering?

Mechanical Engineering Definition


   
Simply put mechanical engineering is all about taking scientific principles from fields such as physics or materials science, and then using these principles to create, design, maintain and assess mechanical processes and systems.

So basically if you think about any sort of mechanical tool, equipment or operation, then there has been some form of mechanical engineering used to visualize and create the process and the tools used to make that process as efficient as possible.

Sub Disciplines Of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is all about taking scientific principles and creating practical applications in mechanics.

Therefore, as the scientific knowledge based has expanded, so to has the function of the mechanical engineer.

There are now a number of different specialties, some of which are listed below:

  • Mechanics
  • Robotics
  • Kinematics
  • Thermo-dynamics
  • Structural Analysis
  • Drafting

These specialties are expanding all the time as more information is learned by scientists.

Mechanical Engineering Job Description

Well, as you can see from the different sub-fields mentioned above, the work done by a mechanical engineer is obviously going to depend on which field they work in.

And because the work is so broad, the kinds of tasks done by mechanical engineers are far too numerous to mention in one article.

But their actual work can be broken down into a few key areas:

Create & Design

The first job done in mechanical engineering has to do with creation and design. That’s kind of a broad statement, but if you think about all the applications of mechanics in today’s society, at some point in time there was someone who had to come up with the idea for each and every one of those.

So basically what the mechanical engineer does is take principles from science involving energy in some way, and then use these to create and design new tools or ways of doing things.

For example, let’s say a new building was being created, a mechanical engineer might be called in to design the most efficient heating and/or cooling systems for that building.

So they’ll use their knowledge of thermo science and thermo dynamics to create an air conditioning and heating system that delivers the best results based on the sort of building design that the architect and developers had in mind.

Maintenance

It’s all well and good to design and create, but at some point those tools and systems are going to be in need of some maintenance.

The mechanical engineer will be called upon to provide instructions about how this maintenance should be done, as well as continually try to identify ways these maintenance efforts can be improved.

Analysis

Another key role of mechanical engineers is to analyse current tools, products, buildings etc and work out why failures have occurred or where improvements could be made.

Mechanical Engineer Salary & Career Info


   
Mechanical engineering is the second largest sector of the entire engineering field behind civil engineering, with rough estimates putting the number of mechanical engineers employed in the U.S at just under a quarter of a million.

Because this is such an established industry, the employment growth is stable rather growing at a rapid rate. Projected numbers put job growth in mechanical engineering at around 6% over the next decade.

And the average mechanical engineer salary is quite good. Starting salaries are around $56,000 and the average salary is just under $80,000

So if you’re thinking about pursuing a careers in mechanical engineering, you can rest assured that you will be paid well, and there are plenty of jobs out there for you.

 

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