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Mechanical engineers apply their knowledge of mechanics, materials science, kinematics, structural analysis, electricity, thermodynamics, and physics to research, analyze, design, produce, and perform maintenance on mechanical systems. They typically deal with manufacturing and operation of tools and machines.
These can be large industrial plants, component designs, or anything in between. Mechanical engineers can be involved in all or some of the phases of a project or product, from analysis and development to production and installation.
Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest fields of engineering. Subfields include mechatronics, robotics, thermodynamics and thermo-science, structural analysis, design and drafting, nanotechnology, and biomechanics.
Mechanical engineers must have an excellent knowledge of core concepts of the field, such as thermodynamics, instrumentation, electronics, hydraulics, engineering design, structural analysis, mechanics, and kinematics. An advanced knowledge of mathematics, linear and abstract algebra, and differential geometry is essential. Mechanical engineers must also know how to use product lifecycle management (PLM) systems, computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools.
Mechanical engineers must have above average conceptual, planning, problem-solving, and designing skills. Potential employers also value engineers with good commercial awareness and people skills.
Mechanical engineers usually have a degree in mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, computer-aided engineering, engineering science and agricultural engineering.
Mechanical engineering is a broad and diverse discipline and job opportunities are available across many different sectors. Depending on their field of expertise, mechanical engineers can analyze, improve, and create industrial equipment, transport systems, medical devices, industrial plants and machinery, heating or cooling systems, and a number of other products and tools. They are also often involved in prototype testing, the production process, and implementation. They sometimes lead and coordinate teams and are in charge of managing resources on a project.
A mechanical engineer’s responsibilities typically include proposing and implementing cost-effective modifications to make equipment more efficient, evaluating theoretical concepts and design improvements, making sure that each piece of equipment performs consistently, proposing and designing new manufacturing processes, and dealing with issues related to safety.