Systems and Design

Most mechanical engineers work in the design and control of mechanical, electromechanical and fluid power systems. As a mechanical engineer functioning as a design engineer it is likely that you would be involved with one ore more technical specialties, for example: Robotic System Design; Computer Coordinated Mechanisms; Expert Systems in Design; Computer-Aided Engineering; Geometric Design; Design Optimization; Kinematics and Dynamics of Mechanisms; Cam Design/Gear Design; Power Transmission; or Design of Mechine Elements. Design engineers take into account a truly wide number of factors in the course of their work, such as: product performance, cost, safety, manufacturability, serviceability, human factors, aesthetic appearance, durability, reliability, environmental impact and recycleability.

Dynamic Systems & Control

Where there is movement there must be control. A modern production line is a dynamic system, because its movement and speed can be controlled. ME's create the software, hardware and feedback devices that form control and robotic systems. This requires a knowledge of heat and mass transfer, fluid and solid mechanics, the plants or processes to be controlled, elements of electronics and computers. Controls are needed everywhere - in aerospace and transportation, biomedical equipment, production machinery, energy and fluid power systems, expert systems, and environmental systems.

Fluid Power Systems & Technology

Fluid power technology allows the application of enormous power with precisionand flexibility, applicable in automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and power industries.

Design Engineering

ME's design componenets, entire machines, complex structures, systems and processes. This work requires a knowledge of the basic sciences, engineering principles, materials, computer techniques, manufacturing methods, and even economics. New and challenging problems come along with regularity. If you are working for an aircraft company, today's problem may be vibration in an engine; tomorrow it may be wind noise, stress on the landing gear, or a need to increase lift at low speeds.

Computers in Engineering

Mechanical engineers have developed a wealth of computer applications software, based on their knowledge of mechanics, fluids, heat, kinetics and manufacturing. Some of the interests in this area include computer-aided design and simulation; computer-aided manufacturing; finite element analysis; visualization techniques; robots and controls; computer vision and pattern recognition; systems (hardware, software and networks); and management information systems.

ME's in the Electrical and Computer Industries

There are mechanical components in electrical, electronic and computer equipment, all of which are manufactured through automated and mechanical processes, all components must fit precisely and unwanted heat must be transferred elsewhere. All of these activities are in the domain of mechanical engineering. The PC is very largely a mechanical device. Consider disk drives, circuit boards, keyboards, the chasis structure and of course the mouse.

Electrical & Electronic Packaging

A large number of mechanical engineers work for the manufacturers of electrical electronic and computer equipment. The major focus for ME's in this area is the physical design and manufacture of these products in such a way that unwanted heat is removed and desired heat is retained where and to the degree it is needed.

Information Storage & Processing Systems

Quite a few mechanical engineers work for companies that manufacture computer peripherals. Any storage device on your computer - the CD, DVD or hard drives - has electrical, electronic and mechanical componenets. ME's help to design and manufacture these precision devices. Their interests touch on hard disk technologies, data storage and equipment, wear and lubrication in datastorage devices, microsensors and controls.

Microelectromechanical Systems

Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) combines computers with tiny mechanical devices such as sensors, valves, gears, and actuators embedded in semiconductor chips. A MEMS device contains micro-circuitry on a silicon chip into which a mechanical device such as a mirror or a sensor has been contructed. Among the presently available uses of MEMS or those under study are: 1) Sensors built into the fabric of an airplane wing so it can sense and react to air flow by changing the wing surface resistance; effectively creating a myriad of tiny wing flaps, 2) Sensor-driven heating and cooling systems that dramatically improve energy savings, and 3) Building supports with imbedded sensors that can alter the flexibility properties of a material based on atmospheric stress sensing.