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Mechanical engineering is an
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specializ ...

engineering
branch that combines
engineering physics Engineering physics, or engineering science, refers to the study of the combined disciplines of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and b ...
and
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
principles with
materials science The interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge that is Education, taught and resea ...
, to
design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a prototype, product or process. The verb ''to design' ...

design
, analyze, manufacture, and maintain
mechanical system A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine A molecular machine, nanite, or nanomachine is a molecular component that produc ...
s. It is one of the oldest and broadest of the engineering branches. The mechanical engineering field requires an understanding of core areas including
mechanics Mechanics (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million ...

mechanics
,
dynamics Dynamics (from Greek language, Greek δυναμικός ''dynamikos'' "powerful", from δύναμις ''dynamis'' "power (disambiguation), power") or dynamic may refer to: Physics and engineering * Dynamics (mechanics) ** Aerodynamics, the study o ...
,
thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these quantities is governed b ...

thermodynamics
,
materials science The interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge that is Education, taught and resea ...
,
structural analysis Structural analysis is the determination of the effects of load Load or LOAD may refer to: Aeronautics and transportation *Load factor (aeronautics), the ratio of the lift of an aircraft to its weight *Passenger load factor, the ratio of reve ...
, and
electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electricity
. In addition to these core principles, mechanical engineers use tools such as
computer-aided design Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of s (or ) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a . This software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications th ...
(CAD),
computer-aided manufacturing Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining is the use of software to control machine tools and related ones in the manufacturing of work pieces. This is not the only definition for CAM, b ...
(CAM), and
product lifecycle In industry, product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its inception through the engineering, design, and manufacture, as well as the service and disposal of manufactured products. PLM ...
management to design and analyze
manufacturing plants Manufacturing is the creation or production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
,
industrial equipment Industrial technology is the use of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The d ...
and
machinery A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine A molecular machine, nanite, or nanomachine is a molecular component that produc ...
,
heating and cooling systems
heating and cooling systems
,
transport Transport (in British English), or transportation (in American English), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals, and cargo, goods from one location to another. In other words, the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of ...

transport
systems,
aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift or by using the Lift (force), dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in ...

aircraft
,
watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or n ...
,
robotics Robotics is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other fields like s ...

robotics
,
medical devices Artificial pacemaker, a Class III device in the United States A medical device is any device intended to be used for medical purposes. Significant potential for hazard A hazard is a potential source of harm. Substances, events, or circumstances ...
,
weapons A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting Hunting is the practice of see ...

weapons
, and others. It is the branch of engineering that involves the design, production, and operation of
machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine that uses Power (physics), power to apply Force, forces and control Motion, moveme ...

machine
ry. Mechanical engineering emerged as a field during the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
in Europe in the 18th century; however, its development can be traced back several thousand years around the world. In the 19th century, developments in
physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...

physics
led to the development of mechanical engineering science. The field has continually evolved to incorporate advancements; today mechanical engineers are pursuing developments in such areas as
composites
composites
,
mechatronics Mechatronics, also called mechatronics engineering, is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws kn ...

mechatronics
, and
nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by havi ...

nanotechnology
. It also overlaps with
aerospace engineering Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipli ...

aerospace engineering
,
metallurgical engineering Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
,
civil engineering Civil engineering is a professional engineering Regulation and licensure in engineering is established by various jurisdictions of the world to encourage public welfare, safety, well-being and other interests of the general public and to defin ...
,
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical enginee ...

electrical engineering
,
manufacturing engineering Manufacturing engineering is a branch of professional that shares many common concepts and ideas with other fields of engineering such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, and industrial engineering. Manufacturing engineering requires the abilit ...
,
chemical engineering Chemical engineering is a certain type of which deals with the study of operation and design of chemical plants as well as methods of improving production. Chemical engineers develop economical commercial processes to convert raw material into u ...
,
industrial engineering Industrial Engineering is an engineering profession that is concerned with the optimization of complex processes A process is a series or set of Action (philosophy), activities that interact to produce a result; it may occur once-only or be recu ...
, and other engineering disciplines to varying amounts. Mechanical engineers may also work in the field of biomedical engineering, specifically with
biomechanics Biomechanics is the study of the structure, function and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems, at any level from whole organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an indivi ...
,
transport phenomena In engineering Engineering is the use of scientific method, scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encomp ...
,
biomechatronicsBiomechatronics is an applied interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other fie ...
,
bionanotechnology Nanobiotechnology, bionanotechnology, and nanobiology are terms that refer to the intersection of nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also shortened to nanotech, is the use of matter on an atomic, molecular, and Supramolecular complex, supramolec ...
, and modelling of biological systems.


History

The application of mechanical engineering can be seen in the archives of various ancient and medieval societies. The six classic
simple machines A simple machine is a mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature' ...

simple machines
were known in the
ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
. The
wedge A wedge is a shaped tool, and is a portable , and one of the six s. It can be used to separate two objects or portions of an object, lift up an object, or hold an object in place. It functions by converting a applied to its blunt end into fo ...
and the
inclined plane An inclined plane, also known as a ramp, is a flat supporting surface tilted at an angle, with one end higher than the other, used as an aid for raising or lowering a load. The inclined plane is one of the six classical simple machines defin ...

inclined plane
(ramp) were known since
prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study ...

prehistoric
times. The
wheel File:Roue primitive.png, An early wheel made of a solid piece of wood A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axle An axle or axletree is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the ...

wheel
, along with the
wheel and axle The windlass is a well-known application of the wheel and axle. The wheel and axle is a simple machine A simple machine is a mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force In physics Physics (from grc, ...

wheel and axle
mechanism, was invented in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
(modern Iraq) during the 5th millennium BC. The
lever A lever ( or ) is a simple machine consisting of a beam or rigid rod pivoted at a fixed hinge Image:Hamburgerpaumelle.JPG, A barrel hinge A hinge is a mechanical bearing that connects two solid objects, typically allowing only a limited angle o ...

lever
mechanism first appeared around 5,000 years ago in the Near East, where it was used in a simple
balance scale A scale or balance is a device to measure weight or mass. These are also known as mass scales, weight scales, mass balances, and weight balances. The traditional scale consists of two plates or bowls suspended at equal distances from a Lever, ...
, and to move large objects in
ancient Egyptian technology Ancient Egyptian technology describes devices and technologies invented or used in Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situat ...
. The lever was also used in the
shadoof A shadoof or shaduf (from the Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontine ...

shadoof
water-lifting device, the first crane machine, which appeared in Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC. The earliest evidence of
pulley A pulley is a wheel File:Roue primitive.png, An early wheel made of a solid piece of wood A wheel is a circular component that is intended to rotate on an axle An axle or axletree is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On ...

pulley
s date back to Mesopotamia in the early 2nd millennium BC. The
Sakia A sāqiyah or saqiya ( ar, ساقية), also spelled sakia or saqia) is a mechanical water lifting device. It is also called a Persian wheel, tablia, rehat, and in Latin tympanum. It is similar in function to a scoop wheel, which uses buckets, jar ...
was developed in the
Kingdom of Kush The Kingdom of Kush (; : 𓎡𓄿𓈙 ''kꜣš'', : ''Ku-u-si'', in grc, Κυς and Κυσι; cop, ; he, כּוּשׁ) was an ancient kingdom in , centered along the in what is now northern and southern . The region of Nubia was an ea ...
during the 4th century BC. It relied on animal power reducing the tow on the requirement of human energy.
Reservoir A reservoir (; from French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily loca ...

Reservoir
s in the form of
Hafirs A hafir is an artificially constructed water catchment basin with a circular earthen wall and diameters of between 70-250 m and heights of up to 7 m. Adapted to semi-desert conditions, the hafirs catch the water during the rainy season to ...
were developed in Kush to store water and boost irrigation.Fritz Hintze, Kush XI; pp.222-224. Bloomeries and
blast furnace A blast furnace is a type of used for to produce industrial metals, generally , but also others such as or . ''Blast'' refers to the combustion air being "forced" or supplied above atmospheric pressure. In a blast furnace, fuel (), , and ( ...
s were developed during the seventh century BC in . Kushite
sundials A sundial is a horological device that tells the time of day (in modern usage referred to as civil time In modern usage, civil time refers to statutory time scales designated by civilian authorities, or to local time indicated by clocks. Mo ...
applied mathematics in the form of advanced trigonometry. The earliest practical
water-power Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of ...
ed machines, the
water wheel The reversible water wheel powering a mine hoist in ''De re metallica'' (Georgius Agricola">De_re_metallica.html" ;"title="mine hoist in ''De re metallica">mine hoist in ''De re metallica'' (Georgius Agricola, 1566) A water wheel is a machi ...

water wheel
and
watermill A watermill or water mill is a mill that uses hydropower Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water to Electricity generation, produce electricity or to power machines. T ...

watermill
, first appeared in the
Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in founded by . Ranging at its greatest extent from the and proper in the west to the in the east, it ...
, in what are now Iraq and Iran, by the early 4th century BC. In
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
, the works of
Archimedes Archimedes of Syracuse (; grc, ; ; ) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

Archimedes
(287–212 BC) influenced mechanics in the Western tradition. In
Roman Egypt , conventional_long_name = Roman Egypt , common_name = Egypt , subdivision = Province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrativ ...

Roman Egypt
,
Heron of Alexandria The herons are long-legged, long-necked, freshwater and coastal bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class (biology), class Aves , characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the Oviparity, laying of ...

Heron of Alexandria
(c. 10–70 AD) created the first
steam-powered from Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria, England A steam engine is a heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy ...
device (
Aeolipile An aeolipile, aeolipyle, or eolipile, also known as a Hero's engine, is a simple, bladeless radial steam turbine which spins when the central water container is heated. Torque In physics and mechanics Mechanics (Ancient Greek, Greek: ) ...

Aeolipile
). In
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
,
Zhang Heng Zhang Heng (; AD 78–139), formerly romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for ...

Zhang Heng
(78–139 AD) improved a
water clock A water clock or clepsydra (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximat ...
and invented a
seismometer A seismometer is an instrument that responds to ground noises and shaking such as caused by earthquakes An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of ...

seismometer
, and Ma Jun (200–265 AD) invented a chariot with differential gears. The medieval Chinese horologist and engineer
Su Song Su Song (; courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere, including China, Japan, K ...
(1020–1101 AD) incorporated an
escapement An escapement is a mechanical linkage in mechanical watches and clocks that gives impulses to the timekeeping element and periodically releases the gear train to move forward, advancing the clock's hands. The impulse action transfers energy to ...

escapement
mechanism into his
astronomical Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It uses mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Gr ...
clock towerA clock tower is an architectural structure housing a turret clock. Clock Tower may also refer to: Buildings * Clock Tower, Anantapur * Clock Tower of Ateca The Clock Tower of Ateca is a structure in Ateca, Spain. A leaning tower of Mudéjar ...

clock tower
two centuries before escapement devices were found in medieval European clocks. He also invented the world's first known endless power-transmitting
chain drive Chain drive is a way of from one place to another. It is often used to convey power to the wheels of a vehicle, particularly s and s. It is also used in a wide variety of machines besides vehicles. Most often, the power is conveyed by a , known ...
. During the
Islamic Golden Age The Islamic Golden Age was a period of cultural, economic, and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam The history of Islam concerns the political, social, economic, and cultural developments of Muslim world, Islamic civilization. M ...
(7th to 15th century),
Muslim inventors Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam, a Monotheism, monotheistic Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religion. The derivation of "Muslim" is from an Arabic language, Arabic word meaning "submitter (to God)". Muslims consider the Quran ...
made remarkable contributions in the field of mechanical technology.
Al-Jazari Badīʿ az-Zaman Abu l-ʿIzz ibn Ismāʿīl ibn ar-Razāz al-Jazarī (1136–1206, ar, بديع الزمان أَبُ اَلْعِزِ إبْنُ إسْماعِيلِ إبْنُ الرِّزاز الجزري,), ) was a Muslim polymath ...
, who was one of them, wrote his famous ''
Book of Ingenious Devices The ''Book of Ingenious Devices'' (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcont ...
'' in 1206 and presented many mechanical designs. Al-Jazari is also the first known person to create devices such as the
crankshaft A crankshaft is a shaft Shaft may refer to: Rotating machine elements * Shaft (mechanical engineering), a rotating machine element used to transmit power * Line shaft, a power transmission system * Drive shaft, a shaft for transferring torque ...

crankshaft
and
camshaft A camshaft is a rotating object— usually made of metal— that contains pointed cam A cam is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage A mechanical linkage is an assembly of bodies connected to manage forces and movement. Th ...

camshaft
, which now form the basics of many mechanisms. In the 17th century, important breakthroughs in the foundations of mechanical engineering occurred in
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
and the
Continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

Continent
. The Dutch mathematician and physicist
Christiaan Huygens Christiaan Huygens ( , also , ; la, Hugenius; 14 April 1629 – 8 July 1695), also spelled Huyghens, was a Dutch mathematician, physicist, astronomer and inventor, who is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of all time and a major fig ...

Christiaan Huygens
invented the
pendulum clock A pendulum clock is a clock A clock or a timepiece is a device used to Measurement, measure and indicate time. The clock is one of the oldest Invention, human inventions, meeting the need to measure intervals of time shorter than the nat ...
in 1657, which was the first reliable timekeeper for almost 300 years, and published a work dedicated to clock designs and the theory behind them. In England,
Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics a ...

Isaac Newton
formulated
Newton's Laws of Motion Newton's laws of motion are three law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its ...
and developed the
calculus Calculus, originally called infinitesimal calculus or "the calculus of infinitesimals", is the mathematics, mathematical study of continuous change, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the study of generalizations ...

calculus
, which would become the mathematical basis of physics. Newton was reluctant to publish his works for years, but he was finally persuaded to do so by his colleagues, such as
Edmond Halley Edmond (or Edmund) Halley (; – ) was an English astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such ...

Edmond Halley
.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the " 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ...

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
is also credited with developing the calculus during this time period. During the early 19th century industrial revolution,
machine tool A machine tool is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an action. Machines can be driven by animals and people A people is a plurality of person A person (plural ...
s were developed in England,
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according to population within city l ...

Germany
, and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
. This allowed mechanical engineering to develop as a separate field within engineering. They brought with them manufacturing machines and the engines to power them. The first British professional society of mechanical engineers was formed in 1847
Institution of Mechanical Engineers The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is an independent professional association and learned society headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that represents mechanical engineers and the engineering profession. With over 120,000 members ...
, thirty years after the civil engineers formed the first such professional society
Institution of Civil Engineers The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is an independent professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) seeks to advocacy, further a particular profes ...

Institution of Civil Engineers
. On the
European continent Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions ...
, Johann von Zimmermann (1820–1901) founded the first factory for grinding machines in
Chemnitz Chemnitz (; cs, Saská Kamenice; from 1953 to 1990: ''Karl-Marx-Stadt'' ) is the third largest city in the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people ...

Chemnitz
, Germany in 1848. In the United States, the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers#REDIRECT American Society of Mechanical Engineers {{rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...
(ASME) was formed in 1880, becoming the third such professional engineering society, after the
American Society of Civil Engineers The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a tax-exempt Tax exemption is the reduction or removal of a liability to make a compulsory payment that would otherwise be imposed by a ruling power upon persons, property, income, or transact ...
(1852) and the
American Institute of Mining Engineers The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) is a professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) seeks to advocacy, f ...
(1871). The first schools in the United States to offer an engineering education were the
United States Military Academy The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point or simply Army is a four-year United States service academies, United States service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort, as it si ...
in 1817, an institution now known as
Norwich University Norwich University – The Military College of Vermont is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springf ...
in 1819, and
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute () (RPI) is a private university, private research university in Troy, New York, with additional campuses in Rensselaer at Hartford, Hartford and Groton, Connecticut. It was established in 1824 by Stephen Van Re ...
in 1825. Education in mechanical engineering has historically been based on a strong foundation in mathematics and science.


Education

Degrees in mechanical engineering are offered at various universities worldwide. Mechanical engineering programs typically take four to five years of study depending on the place and university and result in a
Bachelor of Engineering A Bachelor of Engineering (abbreviated as B.E., B.Eng. or B.A.I. in Latin form) is a first professional undergraduate Undergraduate education is education conducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically in ...
(B.Eng. or B.E.),
Bachelor of Science A Bachelor of Science (BS, BSc, SB, or ScB; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throu ...
(B.Sc. or B.S.), Bachelor of Science Engineering (B.Sc.Eng.),
Bachelor of Technology A Bachelor of Technology (Latin ''Baccalaureus Technologiae'', commonly abbreviated as B.Tech. or BTech; with Academic honors, honours as B.Tech. (Hons.)) is an undergraduate academic degree conferred after the completion of a three-year, a four- ...
(B.Tech.), Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.), or
Bachelor of Applied ScienceThe Bachelor of Applied Science, often abbreviated as B.AS., BAS, BSAS, BASc, B.A.Sc., or BAppSc, is an undergraduate degree. There is also a ''Bachelor of Arts and Science'' undergraduate degree, also abbreviated to ''BASc''. Usage In Canada, the ...
(B.A.Sc.) degree, in or with emphasis in mechanical engineering. In Spain, Portugal and most of South America, where neither B.S. nor B.Tech. programs have been adopted, the formal name for the degree is "Mechanical Engineer", and the course work is based on five or six years of training. In Italy the course work is based on five years of education, and training, but in order to qualify as an Engineer one has to pass a state exam at the end of the course. In Greece, the coursework is based on a five-year curriculum and the requirement of a 'Diploma' Thesis, which upon completion a 'Diploma' is awarded rather than a B.Sc. In the United States, most
undergraduate Undergraduate education ieducationconducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically includes all postsecondary programs up to the level of a bachelor's degree. For example, in the United States, an entry-level ...
mechanical engineering programs are
accredited Accreditation is a third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body (such as certification body, inspection body or laboratory) conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks (such a ...
by the
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology ABET, incorporated as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., is a non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili ad ...
(ABET) to ensure similar course requirements and standards among universities. The ABET web site lists 302 accredited mechanical engineering programs as of 11 March 2014. Mechanical engineering programs in Canada are accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB), and most other countries offering engineering degrees have similar accreditation societies. In
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, mechanical engineering degrees are awarded as Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) or similar nomenclature, although there are an increasing number of specialisations. The degree takes four years of full-time study to achieve. To ensure quality in engineering degrees,
Engineers Australia The Institution of Engineers Australia, often shortened to IEAust and/or trading as Engineers Australia (EA), is a professional body and not-for-profit organisation dedicated to being the national forum for the advancement of the engineering ...
accredits engineering degrees awarded by Australian universities in accordance with the global Washington Accord. Before the degree can be awarded, the student must complete at least 3 months of on the job work experience in an engineering firm. Similar systems are also present in South Africa and are overseen by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). In India, to become an engineer, one needs to have an engineering degree like a B.Tech or B.E, have a diploma in engineering, or by completing a course in an engineering trade like fitter from the Industrial Training Institute (ITIs) to receive a "ITI Trade Certificate" and also pass the All India Trade Test (AITT) with an engineering trade conducted by the National Council of Vocational Training (NCVT) by which one is awarded a "National Trade Certificate". A similar system is used in Nepal. Some mechanical engineers go on to pursue a postgraduate degree such as a Master of Engineering, Master of Technology, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Management (M.Eng.Mgt. or M.E.M.), a Doctor of Philosophy in engineering (Eng.D. or Ph.D.) or an engineer's degree. The master's and engineer's degrees may or may not include research. The Doctor of Philosophy includes a significant research component and is often viewed as the entry point to academia. The Engineer's degree exists at a few institutions at an intermediate level between the master's degree and the doctorate.


Coursework

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 Institute of technology, 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 Calculus, originally called infinitesimal calculus or "the calculus of infinitesimals", is the mathematics, mathematical study of continuous change, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the study of generalizations ...

calculus
, differential equations, and linear algebra) * Basic physical sciences (including
physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...

physics
and chemistry) * Statics and dynamics (mechanics), dynamics * Strength of materials and solid mechanics * Materials engineering, Composite material, Composites * Thermodynamics, heat transfer, energy conversion, and HVAC * Fuels, combustion, Internal combustion engine * Fluid mechanics (including fluid statics and fluid dynamics) * Mechanism (engineering), Mechanism and Machine (mechanical), Machine design (including kinematics and dynamics (mechanics), dynamics) * Instrumentation and measurement * Manufacturing engineering, technology, or processes * Vibration, control theory and control engineering * Hydraulics and Pneumatics * Mechatronics and
robotics Robotics is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other fields like s ...

robotics
* Engineering design and product design * Engineering drawing, Drafting,
computer-aided design Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of s (or ) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a . This software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications th ...
(CAD) and
computer-aided manufacturing Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining is the use of software to control machine tools and related ones in the manufacturing of work pieces. This is not the only definition for CAM, b ...
(CAM) Mechanical engineers are also expected to understand and be able to apply basic concepts from chemistry, physics, tribology,
chemical engineering Chemical engineering is a certain type of which deals with the study of operation and design of chemical plants as well as methods of improving production. Chemical engineers develop economical commercial processes to convert raw material into u ...
,
civil engineering Civil engineering is a professional engineering Regulation and licensure in engineering is established by various jurisdictions of the world to encourage public welfare, safety, well-being and other interests of the general public and to defin ...
, and
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical enginee ...

electrical engineering
. All mechanical engineering programs include multiple semesters of mathematical classes including calculus, and advanced mathematical concepts including differential equations, partial differential equations, linear algebra, abstract algebra, and differential geometry, among others. In addition to the core mechanical engineering curriculum, many mechanical engineering programs offer more specialized programs and classes, such as control systems, robotics,
transport Transport (in British English), or transportation (in American English), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals, and cargo, goods from one location to another. In other words, the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of ...

transport
and logistics, cryogenics, fuel technology, automotive engineering,
biomechanics Biomechanics is the study of the structure, function and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems, at any level from whole organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an indivi ...
, vibration, optics and others, if a separate department does not exist for these subjects. Most mechanical engineering programs also require varying amounts of research or community projects to gain practical problem-solving experience. In the United States it is common for mechanical engineering students to complete one or more internships while studying, though this is not typically mandated by the university. Cooperative education is another option. Future work skills research puts demand on study components that feed student's creativity and innovation.


Job duties

Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal devices, including tools, engines, and machines. Mechanical engineers typically do the following: * Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve the problem. * Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices using analysis and computer-aided design. * Develop and test prototypes of devices they design. * Analyze the test results and change the design as needed. * Oversee the manufacturing process for the device. * Manage a team of professionals in specialized fields like mechanical drafting and designing, prototyping, 3D printing or/and CNC Machines specialists. Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacturing of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries. They also 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. Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers to help create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work.


License and regulation

Engineers may seek licensing, license by a state, provincial, or national government. The purpose of this process is to ensure that engineers possess the necessary technical knowledge, real-world experience, and knowledge of the local legal system to practice engineering at a professional level. Once certified, the engineer is given the title of Professional Engineer (United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh and South Africa), Chartered Engineer (in the United Kingdom, Ireland, India and Zimbabwe), ''Chartered Professional Engineer'' (in Australia and New Zealand) or ''European Engineer'' (much of the European Union). In the U.S., to become a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), an engineer must pass the comprehensive FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam, work a minimum of 4 years as an ''Engineering Intern (EI)'' or ''Engineer-in-Training (EIT)'', and pass the "Principles and Practice" or PE (Practicing Engineer or Professional Engineer) exams. The requirements and steps of this process are set forth by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), a composed of engineering and land surveying licensing boards representing all U.S. states and territories. In the UK, current graduates require a BEng plus an appropriate master's degree or an integrated MEng degree, a minimum of 4 years post graduate on the job competency development and a peer reviewed project report to become a Chartered Mechanical Engineer (CEng, MIMechE) through the
Institution of Mechanical Engineers The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is an independent professional association and learned society headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that represents mechanical engineers and the engineering profession. With over 120,000 members ...
. CEng MIMechE can also be obtained via an examination route administered by the City and Guilds of London Institute. In most developed countries, certain engineering tasks, such as the design of bridges, electric power plants, and chemical plants, must be approved by a professional engineer or a chartered engineer. "Only a licensed engineer, for instance, may prepare, sign, seal and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval, or to seal engineering work for public and private clients." This requirement can be written into state and provincial legislation, such as in the Canadian provinces, for example the Ontario or Quebec's Engineer Act. In other countries, such as Australia, and the UK, no such legislation exists; however, practically all certifying bodies maintain a Ethical code, code of ethics independent of legislation, that they expect all members to abide by or risk expulsion.


Salaries and workforce statistics

The total number of engineers employed in the U.S. in 2015 was roughly 1.6 million. Of these, 278,340 were mechanical engineers (17.28%), the largest discipline by size. In 2012, the median annual income of mechanical engineers in the U.S. workforce was $80,580. The median income was highest when working for the government ($92,030), and lowest in education ($57,090). In 2014, the total number of mechanical engineering jobs was projected to grow 5% over the next decade. As of 2009, the average starting salary was $58,800 with a bachelor's degree.


Subdisciplines

The field of mechanical engineering can be thought of as a collection of many mechanical engineering science disciplines. Several of these subdisciplines which are typically taught at the undergraduate level are listed below, with a brief explanation and the most common application of each. Some of these subdisciplines are unique to mechanical engineering, while others are a combination of mechanical engineering and one or more other disciplines. Most work that a mechanical engineer does uses skills and techniques from several of these subdisciplines, as well as specialized subdisciplines. Specialized subdisciplines, as used in this article, are more likely to be the subject of graduate studies or on-the-job training than undergraduate research. Several specialized subdisciplines are discussed in this section.


Mechanics

Mechanics is, in the most general sense, the study of forces and their effect upon matter. Typically, engineering mechanics is used to analyze and predict the acceleration and deformation (both Elastic Deformation, elastic and Plastic Deformation, plastic) of objects under known forces (also called loads) or Stress (physics), stresses. Subdisciplines of mechanics include * Statics, the study of non-moving bodies under known loads, how forces affect static bodies * dynamics (mechanics), Dynamics the study of how forces affect moving bodies. Dynamics includes kinematics (about movement, velocity, and acceleration) and kinetics (about forces and resulting accelerations). * Mechanics of materials, the study of how different materials deform under various types of stress * Fluid mechanics, the study of how fluids react to forces * Kinematics, the study of the motion of bodies (objects) and systems (groups of objects), while ignoring the forces that cause the motion. Kinematics is often used in the design and analysis of Mechanism (engineering), mechanisms. * Continuum mechanics, a method of applying mechanics that assumes that objects are continuous (rather than wikt:discrete, discrete) Mechanical engineers typically use mechanics in the design or analysis phases of engineering. If the engineering project were the design of a vehicle, statics might be employed to design the frame of the vehicle, in order to evaluate where the stresses will be most intense. Dynamics might be used when designing the car's engine, to evaluate the forces in the pistons and cams as the engine cycles. Mechanics of materials might be used to choose appropriate materials for the frame and engine. Fluid mechanics might be used to design a ventilation system for the vehicle (see HVAC), or to design the intake system for the engine.


Mechatronics and robotics

Mechatronics is a combination of mechanics and electronics. It is an interdisciplinary branch of mechanical engineering,
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical enginee ...

electrical engineering
and software engineering that is concerned with integrating electrical and mechanical engineering to create hybrid automation systems. In this way, machines can be automated through the use of electric motors, servomechanism, servo-mechanisms, and other electrical systems in conjunction with special software. A common example of a mechatronics system is a CD-ROM drive. Mechanical systems open and close the drive, spin the CD and move the laser, while an optical system reads the data on the CD and converts it to bits. Integrated software controls the process and communicates the contents of the CD to the computer. Robotics is the application of mechatronics to create robots, which are often used in industry to perform tasks that are dangerous, unpleasant, or repetitive. These robots may be of any shape and size, but all are preprogrammed and interact physically with the world. To create a robot, an engineer typically employs kinematics (to determine the robot's range of motion) and mechanics (to determine the stresses within the robot). Robots are used extensively in industrial automation engineering. They allow businesses to save money on labor, perform tasks that are either too dangerous or too precise for humans to perform them economically, and to ensure better quality. Many companies employ assembly lines of robots, especially in Automotive Industries and some factories are so robotized that they can run Lights out (manufacturing), by themselves. Outside the factory, robots have been employed in bomb disposal, space exploration, and many other fields. Robots are also sold for various residential applications, from recreation to domestic applications.


Structural analysis

Structural analysis is the branch of mechanical engineering (and also civil engineering) devoted to examining why and how objects fail and to fix the objects and their performance. Structural failures occur in two general modes: static failure, and fatigue failure. ''Static structural failure'' occurs when, upon being loaded (having a force applied) the object being analyzed either breaks or is deformed plastic deformation, plastically, depending on the criterion for failure. ''Fatigue failure'' occurs when an object fails after a number of repeated loading and unloading cycles. Fatigue failure occurs because of imperfections in the object: a microscopic crack on the surface of the object, for instance, will grow slightly with each cycle (propagation) until the crack is large enough to cause ultimate failure. Failure is not simply defined as when a part breaks, however; it is defined as when a part does not operate as intended. Some systems, such as the perforated top sections of some plastic bags, are designed to break. If these systems do not break, failure analysis might be employed to determine the cause. Structural analysis is often used by mechanical engineers after a failure has occurred, or when designing to prevent failure. Engineers often use online documents and books such as those published by ASM to aid them in determining the type of failure and possible causes. Once theory is applied to a mechanical design, physical testing is often performed to verify calculated results. Structural analysis may be used in an office when designing parts, in the field to analyze failed parts, or in laboratories where parts might undergo controlled failure tests.


Thermodynamics and thermo-science

Thermodynamics is an applied science used in several branches of engineering, including mechanical and chemical engineering. At its simplest, thermodynamics is the study of energy, its use and transformation through a physical system, system. Typically, engineering thermodynamics is concerned with changing energy from one form to another. As an example, automotive engines convert chemical energy (enthalpy) from the fuel into heat, and then into mechanical work that eventually turns the wheels. Thermodynamics principles are used by mechanical engineers in the fields of heat transfer, thermofluids, and energy conversion. Mechanical engineers use thermo-science to design engines and power plants, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, heat exchangers, heat sinks, radiators, refrigeration, Thermal insulation, insulation, and others.


Design and drafting

Technical drawing, Drafting or technical drawing is the means by which mechanical engineers design products and create instructions for manufacture, manufacturing parts. A technical drawing can be a computer model or hand-drawn schematic showing all the dimensions necessary to manufacture a part, as well as assembly notes, a list of required materials, and other pertinent information. A U.S. mechanical engineer or skilled worker who creates technical drawings may be referred to as a drafter or draftsman. Drafting has historically been a two-dimensional process, but
computer-aided design Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of s (or ) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a . This software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications th ...
(CAD) programs now allow the designer to create in three dimensions. Instructions for manufacturing a part must be fed to the necessary machinery, either manually, through programmed instructions, or through the use of a
computer-aided manufacturing Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining is the use of software to control machine tools and related ones in the manufacturing of work pieces. This is not the only definition for CAM, b ...
(CAM) or combined CAD/CAM program. Optionally, an engineer may also manually manufacture a part using the technical drawings. However, with the advent of Numerical control#CNC arrives, computer numerically controlled (CNC) manufacturing, parts can now be fabricated without the need for constant technician input. Manually manufactured parts generally consist of thermal spray, spray coatings, surface finishes, and other processes that cannot economically or practically be done by a machine. Drafting is used in nearly every subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, and by many other branches of engineering and architecture. Three-dimensional models created using CAD software are also commonly used in finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).


Modern tools

Many mechanical engineering companies, especially those in industrialized nations, have begun to incorporate computer-aided engineering (CAE) programs into their existing design and analysis processes, including 2D and 3D solid modeling
computer-aided design Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of s (or ) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a . This software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications th ...
(CAD). This method has many benefits, including easier and more exhaustive visualization of products, the ability to create virtual assemblies of parts, and the ease of use in designing mating interfaces and tolerances. Other CAE programs commonly used by mechanical engineers include product lifecycle management (PLM) tools and analysis tools used to perform complex simulations. Analysis tools may be used to predict product response to expected loads, including fatigue life and manufacturability. These tools include finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and
computer-aided manufacturing Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining is the use of software to control machine tools and related ones in the manufacturing of work pieces. This is not the only definition for CAM, b ...
(CAM). Using CAE programs, a mechanical design team can quickly and cheaply iterate the design process to develop a product that better meets cost, performance, and other constraints. No physical prototype need be created until the design nears completion, allowing hundreds or thousands of designs to be evaluated, instead of a relative few. In addition, CAE analysis programs can model complicated physical phenomena which cannot be solved by hand, such as viscoelasticity, complex contact between mating parts, or Non-Newtonian fluid, non-Newtonian flows. As mechanical engineering begins to merge with other disciplines, as seen in
mechatronics Mechatronics, also called mechatronics engineering, is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws kn ...

mechatronics
, multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) is being used with other CAE programs to automate and improve the iterative design process. MDO tools wrap around existing CAE processes, allowing product evaluation to continue even after the analyst goes home for the day. They also utilize sophisticated optimization algorithms to more intelligently explore possible designs, often finding better, innovative solutions to difficult multidisciplinary design problems.


Areas of research

Mechanical engineers are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is physically possible in order to produce safer, cheaper, and more efficient machines and mechanical systems. Some technologies at the cutting edge of mechanical engineering are listed below (see also exploratory engineering).


Micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)

Micron-scale mechanical components such as springs, gears, fluidic and heat transfer devices are fabricated from a variety of substrate materials such as silicon, glass and polymers like SU8. Examples of MEMS components are the accelerometers that are used as car airbag sensors, modern cell phones, gyroscopes for precise positioning and microfluidic devices used in biomedical applications.


Friction stir welding (FSW)

Friction stir welding, a new type of welding, was discovered in 1991 by The Welding Institute (TWI). The innovative steady state (non-fusion) welding technique joins materials previously un-weldable, including several aluminum alloys. It plays an important role in the future construction of airplanes, potentially replacing rivets. Current uses of this technology to date include welding the seams of the aluminum main Space Shuttle external tank, Orion Crew Vehicle, Boeing Delta II and Delta IV Expendable Launch Vehicles and the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket, armor plating for amphibious assault ships, and welding the wings and fuselage panels of the new Eclipse 500 aircraft from Eclipse Aviation among an increasingly growing pool of uses.


Composites

Composites or composite materials are a combination of materials which provide different physical characteristics than either material separately. Composite material research within mechanical engineering typically focuses on designing (and, subsequently, finding applications for) stronger or more rigid materials while attempting to reduce weight, susceptibility to corrosion, and other undesirable factors. Carbon fiber reinforced composites, for instance, have been used in such diverse applications as spacecraft and fishing rods.


Mechatronics

Mechatronics is the synergistic combination of mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, and software engineering. The discipline of mechatronics began as a way to combine mechanical principles with electrical engineering. Mechatronic concepts are used in the majority of electro-mechanical systems. Typical electro-mechanical sensors used in mechatronics are strain gauges, thermocouples, and pressure transducers.


Nanotechnology

At the smallest scales, mechanical engineering becomes nanotechnology—one speculative goal of which is to create a molecular assembler to build molecules and materials via mechanosynthesis. For now that goal remains within exploratory engineering. Areas of current mechanical engineering research in nanotechnology include nanofilters, nanofilms, and nanostructures, among others.


Finite element analysis

Finite Element Analysis is a computational tool used to estimate stress, strain, and deflection of solid bodies. It uses a mesh setup with user-defined sizes to measure physical quantities at a node. The more nodes there are, the higher the precision. This field is not new, as the basis of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) or Finite Element Method (FEM) dates back to 1941. But the evolution of computers has made FEA/FEM a viable option for analysis of structural problems. Many commercial codes such as NASTRAN, ANSYS, and ABAQUS are widely used in industry for research and the design of components. Some 3D modeling and CAD software packages have added FEA modules. In the recent times, cloud simulation platforms like SimScale are becoming more common. Other techniques such as finite difference method (FDM) and finite-volume method (FVM) are employed to solve problems relating heat and mass transfer, fluid flows, fluid surface interaction, etc.


Biomechanics

Biomechanics is the application of mechanical principles to biological systems, such as humans, animals, plants, Organ (anatomy), organs, and Cell (biology), cells. Biomechanics also aids in creating prosthetic limbs and artificial organs for humans. Biomechanics is closely related to
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specializ ...

engineering
, because it often uses traditional engineering sciences to analyze biological systems. Some simple applications of Classical mechanics, Newtonian mechanics and/or
materials science The interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge that is Education, taught and resea ...
s can supply correct approximations to the mechanics of many biological systems. In the past decade, reverse engineering of materials found in nature such as bone matter has gained funding in academia. The structure of bone matter is optimized for its purpose of bearing a large amount of compressive stress per unit weight. The goal is to replace crude steel with bio-material for structural design. Over the past decade the Finite element method (FEM) has also entered the Biomedical sector highlighting further engineering aspects of Biomechanics. FEM has since then established itself as an alternative to in vivo surgical assessment and gained the wide acceptance of academia. The main advantage of Computational Biomechanics lies in its ability to determine the endo-anatomical response of an anatomy, without being subject to ethical restrictions. This has led FE modelling to the point of becoming ubiquitous in several fields of Biomechanics while several projects have even adopted an open source philosophy (e.g. BioSpine).


Computational fluid dynamics

Computational fluid dynamics, usually abbreviated as CFD, is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical methods and algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows. Computers are used to perform the calculations required to simulate the interaction of liquids and gases with surfaces defined by boundary conditions. With high-speed supercomputers, better solutions can be achieved. Ongoing research yields software that improves the accuracy and speed of complex simulation scenarios such as turbulent flows. Initial validation of such software is performed using a wind tunnel with the final validation coming in full-scale testing, e.g. flight tests.


Acoustical engineering

Acoustical engineering is one of many other sub-disciplines of mechanical engineering and is the application of acoustics. Acoustical engineering is the study of Sound and Vibration. These engineers work effectively to reduce noise pollution in mechanical devices and in buildings by soundproofing or removing sources of unwanted noise. The study of acoustics can range from designing a more efficient hearing aid, microphone, headphone, or recording studio to enhancing the sound quality of an orchestra hall. Acoustical engineering also deals with the vibration of different mechanical systems.


Related fields

Manufacturing engineering,
aerospace engineering Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipli ...

aerospace engineering
and automotive engineering are grouped with mechanical engineering at times. A bachelor's degree in these areas will typically have a difference of a few specialized classes.


See also

;Lists * Glossary of mechanical engineering * List of historic mechanical engineering landmarks * List of inventors * List of mechanical engineering topics * List of mechanical engineers * List of engineering journals and magazines#Mechanical engineering, List of related journals * List of mechanical, electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing companies by revenue ;Associations * American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) *
American Society of Mechanical Engineers#REDIRECT American Society of Mechanical Engineers {{rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...
(ASME) * Pi Tau Sigma (Mechanical Engineering honor society) * SAE International, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) * Society of Women Engineers (SWE) *
Institution of Mechanical Engineers The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is an independent professional association and learned society headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that represents mechanical engineers and the engineering profession. With over 120,000 members ...
(IMechE) (British) * Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) (British) * Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI) (Germany) ;Wikibooks * b:Engineering Mechanics, Engineering Mechanics * b:Engineering Thermodynamics, Engineering Thermodynamics * b:Engineering Acoustics, Engineering Acoustics * b:Fluid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics * b:Heat Transfer, Heat Transfer * b:Microtechnology, Microtechnology * b:Nanotechnology, Nanotechnology * b:Pro Engineer, Pro/Engineer (ProE CAD) * b:Strength of Materials, Strength of Materials/Solid Mechanics


References


Further reading

* * *


External links

{{Authority control Mechanical engineering, Engineering disciplines Mechanical designers