Mechanical Engineering

Written by Patricia Skinner
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The Broadest Engineering Field?

Mechanical engineering is without doubt one of the broadest of the engineering disciplines. In fact, to a certain extent at least, mechanical engineering of some kind is required for ever other kind of engineering at some point, and it is an integrative part of many other disciplines. So what exactly is mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineers design, test and manufacture tools, machines, engines and any number of mechanical devices for use by themselves or by other industries. Mechanical engineering will be used on a wide range of seemingly unrelated projects, such as refrigerators, aircraft design, biotechnology of all kinds, air-conditioning equipment, elevators and much, much more. Mechanical engineering also encompasses the production of tools that will be used by other engineers.

New Materials and Mechanical Engineering

The world of mechanical engineering has been completely revolutionized by the use of computers and specially designed software, called CAD (computer assisted design). This software makes design and development a lot speedier and a lot less capital-intensive than it ever was in the past. But this is not the only area where mechanical engineering is developing and progressing at an amazing pace.

The introduction of a host of new materials to the mechanical engineering field has meant that whole new fields of research have been opened up. The study of nanotechnology, as it is called, means that the production of what are called high-performance materials has changed or made obsolete many older principles of mechanical engineering. In days gone by, metals were the chief stock in trade of the mechanical engineer. This is no longer so. A host of composite materials and space age plastics are now used alongside more traditional materials to bring strength as well as lightness and flexibility to engineering projects where such properties are required.

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