Thermal engineering is a specialized sub-discipline of
Mechanical engineering is the study of physical machines that may involve force and movement. It is an engineering branch that combines engineering physics and mathematics principles with materials science, to design, analyze, manufacture, and ...
that deals with the movement of heat energy and transfer. The
In physics, energy (from Ancient Greek: ἐνέργεια, ''enérgeia'', “activity”) is the quantitative property that is transferred to a body or to a physical system, recognizable in the performance of work and in the form of heat ...
can be transferred between two mediums or transformed into other forms of energy. A thermal engineer will have knowledge of thermodynamics
and the process to convert generated energy from thermal sources into chemical, mechanical, or electrical energy. Many process plants use a wide variety of machines that utilize components that use heat transfer in some way. Many plants use heat exchangers in their operations. A thermal engineer must allow the proper amount of energy to be transferred for correct use. Too much and the components could fail, too little and the system will not function at all. Thermal engineers must have an understanding of
Economics () is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents and how economies work. Microeconomics analyzes ...
and the components that they will be servicing or interacting with. Some components that a thermal engineer could work with include heat exchangers, heat sinks, bi-metals strips, radiators and many more. Some systems that require a thermal engineer include; Boilers,
A heat pump is a device that can heat a building (or part of a building) by transferring thermal energy from the outside using a refrigeration cycle. Many heat pumps can also operate in the opposite direction, cooling the building by removing ...
s, water pumps, engines, and more.
Part of being a thermal engineer is to improve a current system and make it more efficient than the current system. Many industries employ thermal engineers, some main ones are the automotive manufacturing industry, commercial construction, and Heating Ventilation and Cooling industry. Job opportunities for a thermal engineer are very broad and promising.
Thermal engineering may be practiced by
Mechanical engineering is the study of physical machines that may involve force and movement. It is an engineering branch that combines engineering physics and mathematics principles with materials science, to design, analyze, manufacture, ...
and chemical engineers
One or more of the following disciplines may be involved in solving a particular thermal engineering problem: Thermodynamics
Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics of fluids (liquids, gases, and plasmas) and the forces on them.
It has applications in a wide range of disciplines, including mechanical, aerospace, civil, chemical and biomed ...
Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the generation, use, conversion, and exchange of thermal energy (heat) between physical systems. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as thermal conduction, ...
Mass transfer is the net movement of mass from one location (usually meaning stream, phase, fraction or component) to another. Mass transfer occurs in many processes, such as absorption, evaporation, drying, precipitation, membrane filtration ...
One branch of knowledge used frequently in thermal engineering is that of thermofluids
** Cooling of computer chips
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is the use of various technologies to control the temperature, humidity, and purity of the air in an enclosed space. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. H ...
*Process Fired Heaters
*Compressed Air Systems
* Thermal insulation
*Thermal power plants
Thermal Engineering branch at Goddard Space Flight Center]List of related fields in UNESCO thesaurus