Mechanical Engineering: All You Need to Know
Mechanical Engineering is a branch of engineering that is concerned with the design and manufacture of machines. It is a large sub-division of engineering, which consists of topics like Machine Design, Manufacturing Processes, Thermal Engineering, Fluid Mechanics, Automobile Engineering, Mechatronics and so on. In Mechanical Engineering you will study the concepts that you studied in mechanics in your high school and college but in greater detail. You will also be introduced to newer topics such as computer integrated manufacturing, machine design, mechatronics and much more. It is a highly sought-after branch in engineering colleges.
Is this Stream Right for Me?
If the working of a machine and the principles behind it interest you, this field might be suitable for you. Being a diverse stream, you have a lot of options for pursuing specializations based on your interests further. A word of caution – if you plan to pursue Mechanical Engineering because you were proficient in Mechanics in your college days, then think again. Your strengths and weaknesses in your entrance exam preparation in no way reflect what field is suitable for you. Academics are quite different in engineering colleges compared to junior colleges. You should rather use other parameters such as your interest in that subject to decide. Deciding which branch suits you is an important decision but a difficult one to make. I would suggest you go through the curriculum and see if the topics being taught interest you.
Sub-Divisions of Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering has numerous sub-divisions. Some of them are described here in brief.
- Thermal Engineering and Fluid Engineering: Thermal and Fluid Engineering requires an understanding of concepts in Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer. It finds applications in various places such as air-conditioners, refrigerators, fuel cells, IC engines, power plants, steam and gas turbines and so on. It is a more research-oriented field. The mechanical part of energy engineering involves mostly thermal and fluid engineering. Knowledge of calculus, differential equations, numerical analysis along with some computer programming skills is needed.
- Machine Design: Machine design involves the design of machine parts and tools including gears, breaks, welded joints, clutches, etc. It requires a knowledge of solid mechanics, which includes stress-strain analysis and fracture mechanics. Material Sciences also cover a significant part in this sub-division. In these modern times, computer-aided design is an important part of machine design. The finite element analysis method is a numerical technique that is widely applied in machine design.
- Manufacturing/Production: Manufacturing Engineering, also known as production engineering, deals with planning, managing and controlling the operations of a manufacturing plant. In recent times, manufacturing has become heavily computer integrated. Computer Integrated Manufacturing deals with computer control and automation of manufacturing process. One needs good programming skills in this field.
- Automobile Engineering: As the name suggests, it deals with designing, manufacturing, and operating automobiles. It is all about vehicle design, vehicle safety, fuel efficiency and part of electronics and automation. This engineering field includes parts of thermal and fluid engineering and machine design. Keep in mind that fluid dynamics are involved heavily. Automobile engineering integrates mechanical engineering with parts of electrical engineering and is often offered as a separate course in many colleges.
- Mechatronics: Today, there’s a need for engineers with interdisciplinary knowledge. Engineers who have the knowledge of just one specific field are not adequate for the employers. Mechatronics is a branch, which combines elements of mechanical, electrical and computer engineering. It finds applications in automation and robotics, automobiles, computer machine controls and so on.
Future – Research and Job Opportunities
As a core engineering branch, there are a lot of opportunities for both research and jobs in mechanical engineering. Some of the research that goes on in machine design is – developing efficient and safe equipment and decreasing the vibrational effects of machines. Thermal and Fluid Engineering research encompasses developing energy efficient transmitting systems and innovative engines and gas turbines. Computational fluid dynamics is a prominent area of research in fluid mechanics. Thermal engineers also look to develop efficient internal combustion engines for automobiles. In manufacturing, research involves the development of new manufacturing technologies, implementation of automation in everyday industries and so on.
Job profiles for mechanical engineers mostly involve design, development and installation of mechanical components, quality control, manufacture and operation of computer-aided components and so on. There are also jobs in the Research and Development section of companies, and it involves the development of better mechanical systems. Many people chose to pursue a specialization or post graduate education in one of the sub-disciplines of mechanical engineering mentioned above. There is ample scope for whatever career path you choose in mechanical engineering.
So, this is all you need to know about mechanical engineering, folks. Read on here to know about Material Sciences branch.
Many end up making the wrong choices of branch once it comes to a choice. Read here about how you can avoid it.
Hope this helps you make the right career choice!