MECHANICAL ENGINEERING: Mechanical engineering is a diverse subject that derives its breadth from the need to design and manufacture everything from small individual parts and devices (e.g., microscale sensors and inkjet printer nozzles) to large systems (e.g., spacecraft and machine tools). The role of a mechanical engineer is to take a product from an idea to the marketplace. The mechanical engineer needs to acquire particular skills and knowledge. He/she needs to understand the forces and the thermal environment that a product, its parts, or its subsystems will encounter; to design them for functionality, aesthetics, and the ability to withstand the forces and the thermal environment they will be subjected to; and to determine the best way to manufacture them and ensure they will operate without failure. Perhaps the one skill that is the mechanical engineer’s exclusive domain is the ability to analyze and design objects and systems with motion. To put it simply, mechanical engineering deals with anything that moves, including the human body, a very complex machine. Mechanical engineers learn about materials, solid and fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, control, instrumentation, design, and manufacturing to understand mechanical systems. Specialized mechanical engineering subjects include biomechanics, cartilage-tissue engineering, energy conversion, laser-assisted materials processing, combustion, MEMS, microfluidic devices, fracture mechanics, nanomechanics, mechanisms, micropower generation, tribology (friction and wear), and vibrations.
Some of the specializations of mechanical engineering are:
1. INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING/ MANAGEMENT: Industrial engineers (IEs) are responsible for designing integrated systems of people, machines, material, energy, and information. An industrial engineer may be responsible for the quality of automobiles coming off the end of a manufacturing line, the scheduling of a hospital’s emergency room, or even designing a better cockpit to improve the performance of a fighter pilot. Industrial engineers figure out how to do things better. They engineer processes and systems that improve quality and productivity. They work to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, energy, and other resources. This is why more and more companies are hiring industrial engineers and then promoting them into management positions.
2. MANUFACTURING AND PRODUCTION ENGINEERING: Manufacturing is the process of converting raw materials into products. A major activity of mechanical engineers is studying and working with various production methods and techniques, integrating creative design activities into actual fabricated products. The emphasis in the manufacturing program is to provide hands-on experience with state-of-the-art and computer-integrated processes and manufacturing methods. Laboratories have state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment for conventional and non-traditional machining, three-dimensional measurement, and plastic injection molding. Computer-oriented manufacturing is also an emphasis of the program. A manufacturing engineer will have a solid background in manufacturing processes and systems as well as in statistics, design, controls, and applications of microprocessors.
3. THERMAL ENGINEERING: This area of interest emphasizes the fundamentals of heat transfer and thermodynamics and their application to the design of advanced engineering systems. The objective of this program of study is to introduce the fundamental processes of heat transfer and thermodynamics in complex engineering systems to enable more efficient, cost effective, and reliable designs with less environmental pollution and impact. An understanding of heat transfer and thermodynamics is required for the design of efficient, cost-effective systems for power generation (including advanced energy conversion systems), propulsion (including combustion engines and gas turbines), heat exchangers, industrial processes, refining, and chemical processing. This area of interest is important to many industries-aerospace, defense, automotive, metals, glass, paper, and plastic-as well as to the thermal design of electronic and computer packages.
4. ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT: Engineering management is a unique educational path that specifically addresses the skills and requirements that engineers need to become better leaders and engineering team managers. Leadership is especially important in the engineering profession, where scientists and engineers often work as a part of a cross-disciplinary team. Each member of the team brings his or her own unique expertise to the group, working on a small piece of the larger process or system. Ensuring the coordination and communication between these individuals is a key responsibility of the team leader and is vital to project success.
5. ROBOTICS: Roboticists develop man-made mechanical devices that can move by themselves, whose motion must be modelled, planned, sensed, actuated and controlled, and whose motion behaviour can be influenced by “programming”. Robots are called “intelligent” if they succeed in moving in safe interaction with an unstructured environment, while autonomously achieving their specified tasks.
6. AUTOMOBILE ENGINEERING: Automobile engineers design, test, develop and manufacture automotive products such as heavy and light vehicles. They help the automotive industry to meet new challenges, for example, making sure that vehicles are safe, environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient. Designing and developing a vehicle involves a very wide range of engineering knowledge. For example, automobile engineers use their knowledge of mechanical engineering, combustion, vehicle structures and aerodynamics.
7. INDUSTRIAL DESIGN: Industrial design (ID) is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. Industrial designers develop these concepts and specifications through collection, analysis and synthesis of data guided by the special requirements of the client or manufacturer. They are trained to prepare clear and concise recommendations through drawings, models and verbal descriptions. Industrial design services are often provided within the context of cooperative working relationships with other members of a development group. Typical groups include management, marketing, engineering and manufacturing specialists. The industrial designer expresses concepts that embody all relevant design criteria determined by the group.
8. MECHATRONICS: Mechatronics is a synergistic combination of precision engineering, electronic control and mechanic systems. It is the science that exists at the interface among the other five disciplines Mechanics, Electronics, Informatics, Automation, and Robotics. It includes programmable electronic devices and electromechanical systems for embedded, distributed structure of the sensors, processing signals, actuators and communications
9. FLUID MECHANICS: This field of study is based on the fundamentals of fluid mechanics and their broad range of applications in the biomedical and engineering arenas. Areas of current research include blood circulation in the body and its potential role in the regulation of normal physiological function and in the development of disease; groundwater and atmospheric flows and their implications for pollutant transport and environmental concerns; aerodynamic flow around transportation vehicles and its impact on vehicle performance; and flow in combustion engines and other energy systems with considerations of efficiency and environmental impact. These areas are investigated both experimentally and computationally.
10. GROUND VEHICLE SYSTEMS: An aspect of mechanical engineering is the design of surface vehicles. The emphasis in on the design of more environmentally benign vehicles that can provide transportation while using fewer resources. Innovations in this field require competence in vehicle dynamics, propulsion and engine concepts, control of power transmission, and construction of lightweight manufacturable structures and systems. Alternatively fueled power systems, including electric drives, are also studied.
11. MACHINE DESIGN AND SOLID MECHANICS: Machine Design: design and analysis of machine components or structures. Mechanics of Materials is a branch of mechanics that studies the relationships between the loads and deformations of solid materials Material Engineering. The principle objective is to determine the stresses, strains and displacements in structure and their components.
12. MECHANICAL DESIGN: The creation and improvement of products, processes, or systems that are mechanical in nature are the primary activities of a professional mechanical engineer. The development of a product, from concept generation to detailed design, manufacturing process selection and planning, quality control and assurance, and life-cycle considerations are areas of study and specialization in the area of mechanical design. Solutions to such major social problems as environmental pollution, lack of mass transportation and of raw materials, and energy shortages will depend heavily on the engineer’s ability to create new types of machinery and mechanical systems. The engineer-designer must have a solid and relatively broad background in the basic physical and engineering sciences and have the ability to solve a variety of problems. In addition to having technical competence, the designer must be able to consider the socio-economic consequences of a design and its possible impact on the environment. Product safety, reliability and economics are other considerations.
13. SYSTEM DYNAMICS AND CONTROL: Engineers are increasingly concerned with the performance of integrated dynamics systems in which it is not possible to optimize component parts without considering the overall system. System dynamics and control specialists are concerned with the modeling, analysis, and simulation of all types of dynamic systems and with the use of automatic control techniques to change the dynamic characteristics of systems in useful ways. The emphasis in this program is on the physical systems that are closely related to mechanical engineering, but the techniques for studying these systems apply to social, economic, and other dynamic systems.
14. TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS: An important aspect of mechanical engineering is the planning, design, and operation of transportation systems. As society recognizes the increasing importance of optimizing transportation systems to minimize environmental degradation and energy expenditure, engineers will need to consider major innovations in the way people and goods are moved. Such innovations will require competence in vehicle dynamics, propulsion and control, and an understanding of the problems caused by present-day modes of transportation.
15. ENERGY MANAGEMENT: The energy management field is experiencing unprecedented growth, due to the restructuring of the utility industry, the automation of building management systems, and increasing demand for energy services. There is a
growing need for executives with skills in energy, environmental, and facilities management.