Engineering Spotlight: Mechanical Engineering Back »

What does a Mechanical Engineer do?

Mechanical Engineers combine the principles of materials, energy, mathematics, and physics to design and manufacture machines utilized in all aspects of life. Mechanical engineering is a very broad field encompassing research, design, development, and manufacturing. Many of its sub-disciplines spill over into other fields of engineering.

Mechanical engineering can be broken down into several sub-disciplines including but not limited to:

  • Biomechanical: Mechanical engineers who emphasize in biomechanical engineering combine their knowledge of mechanical engineering principles with biological and chemical understanding to develop medical devices, treat diseases, and so much more.
  • Energy and Thermodynamics: These engineers specialize in understanding various forms of energy including mechanical, chemical, and electrical. Thermodynamics at its simplest is the understanding of how energy changes within a system. These engineers work to design engines, heating and cooling systems, power plants, and so much more.
  • Mechanics: These engineers focus on the study of forces (both static and dynamic) and how they affect matter. This type of engineering is used to predict and analyze behaviors of materials when forces are exerted on them allowing engineers to improve machine design. Engineers who have a mechanics emphasis may be found designing vehicles, or the machines used to mass produce circuits for electronics.
  • Mechatronics and Robotics: Engineers that work under this discipline combine electronics with mechanics to develop systems that allow machines to be automated. These automated systems can increase public safety, increase manufacturing productivity, and relieve humans of unfavorable jobs.

Where do they work?

Mechanical engineers are found everywhere from NASA and the Mayo Clinic to the manufacturing facility down the road.

Who are they?

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