Materials and Structures

In order to arrive at the best design for a product, mechanical engineers use a wide variety of metal plastic and ceramic materials. They also use composites made up of more than one type of material. Once designed, built and in service, elements like pipeline welds and sections, gears and other drive-train elements may need inspection for structural integrity or the effects of mechanical wear. Non-Destructive Evalutation, as its name implies, allows ME's to use X-ray, magnetic particle, ultrasound and other techniques to examine the internal condition of structural and machine parts without causing them to fail or removing them from service. This analysis is particularly important in assuring the reliablility and safety of pressure vessels and piping
systems.

Materials Engineering

Materials has grown into a distinct and important technology. The Materials ME focuses on the properties of mateirals and their effect on design, fabrication, quality and performance. ME's find ways to give matierals specific properties - strength, ductility and resistance to fracture, fatique and corrosion. The goal is to have materials that can be casted, forged, stamped, rolled, machined or welded. Mechanical engineers are interested in many aspects of plant engineering, including the pressure vessels and piping that are an essential part of many industrial plants and processes.

Non-Destrcutive Evaluation

The manager of a large petrochemical plant needs to know whether a massive pressure vessel and two pumps are maintaining their structural integrity. There's a 50-50 chance that it won't be possible to reassemble the equipment once it's taken apart, and replacement will force a month-long shutdown. It's time to call in a mechanical engineer who specializes in non-destructive evaluation - materials testing, non-destructive testing, pressure vessel research, welding technologies, equipment design and repair strategies.

Pressure Vessels & Piping

Many industries depend on pressure vessels and piping to perform critical functions. These vessels must be durable and safe when subjected to high-temperatures, pressure, corrosion or undersea conditions. Mechanical engineers develop materials that will resist fatigue and fracture, plan the fabrication of equipment, perform inspections and tests, and design components using computer visualization and modeling techniques.